Whenever you buy Beats headphones in the market, you have to be very careful to see whether the product being sold to you is genuine. Beats products are a big target for counterfeiters. Under the name of Beats, there are so many products that almost look genuine, but they are not. Especially in the western countries, it is absolutely difficult to recognize which Beats product is real and which one is not. They all sound the same, they all look the same at the beginning, but after a few days the product fails and you end up in frustration. Beats is not the only target these days. Sennheiser products are also being counterfeited on a large scale.
If you are in Europe or America, it is very likely you will be willing to pay full price for a good product coming from a reputed company. It is not the case in the developing countries, where income is not as high and not many can afford to spend nearly $100 for a headphone. The counterfeiters have found a market for themselves. Products are being replicated in Chinese factories. The cheap looking ones go to eastern nations where not many consumers care whether the product is genuine or not (situation seems to be changing these days), whereas the better finished goods arrive in Europe and America. Great care is taken to package the product so that the packing will look exactly identical to the original one. Whereas, the same headphones may be packed in a cheaper looking packaging and sold for even lower price. Packing is all it matters while selling. An extremely well packed product is sold for nearly same retail price as the original one and cheaply packaged goods end up on eBay for a very low price.
Why can’t they just sell the counterfeited products at the same price? Why the dual pricing? Those pieces that are more likely to fail quicker or that are not finished up to high standards will naturally remain unsold. Hence, selling them for a lower price under the original brand name often earns these counterfeiters big money.
Sennheiser brings justice
Such businesses often grow big and start hurting the original manufacturer. A recent crack down exposed the Sennheiser counterfeiter who managed to sell fake Sennheiser products worth £170,000. Another person selling his fake Sennheisers under the name Prime Electronics on Amazon was found to have sold nearly £235,000 worth of fake products. Fortunately, Sennheiser has managed to bring justice to the two of these fraudsters.
The fake products being sold are so similar to the actual ones, but it is very difficult to obtain the absolute perfection. There is always some misalignment in the printed lettering, if not there is some different kind of rubber being used for the in-ear models. It is also possible that the material used on the ear cushions of the over-ear headphones is different from the actual one even though the texture is very similar between the two.
Check out the two images below of the original and the fake CX series earphones.
The differences are so small that you cannot distinguish so easily unless you know the exact specifications of the original piece.
These tiny imperfections in the build, printed logos and quality of print often give away the fact that they are fakes. The misspelling of the brand name or the product name on Chinese packaging is a common mistake. It is quite common that they might miss a single letter on the product package and that is enough to reveal the fake product. Although high class counterfeiters go above and beyond to get everything perfect. Even so, there are not so easy ways to identify the fakes.
They even replicated the frequency response
Testing the frequency response of the drivers will instantly reveal the bad quality, which implies that the product is fake. Make sure that you read the specification sheet which will have a frequency response graph. Using a proper test setup, you can sweep across the entire audio band and record the speaker response. If it matches the spec sheet, it is original, if not it is a fake. Apparently, I would be living under a cave to say this because the counterfeiters have literally gone above and beyond. Check out the frequency response of a fake vs. the original Sennheiser earphones. They’re really, really close and our ears can’t really distinguish between the two. In this case, anyone would go for the cheaper, counterfeited product. In my opinion, if the counterfeiter is able to replicate even the audio frequency response, then why not create his own brand and sell his products? I believe they are just lazy and don’t want to bother establishing their own brand reputation of their own, rather suck on someone else’s established business.
Keep in mind that all original products from Sennheiser now come with their label such as the one shown below. A missing label should ring a bell in your head. But even so, a label is not that hard to replicate and you might end up buying a fake even when everything looks super original.
Counterfeit products have become a real menace these days and the only viable solution to get an original product is to get it from the official brand website or buy it from a well reputed retailer with a good rating.
Going further down into this story, I found out the real reason why counterfeit products are very well replicated to the point where even their frequency response is virtually identical to the original ones. The reason being that almost all electronic products are being manufactured in China, Taiwan and Korea. As we have seen over the years gone by, the Chinese are masters at reverse engineering products designed by someone else and then re-producing the same products and selling them under different brand name in the Asian market at a lower cost. As years have passed by, the Chinese seem to have expanded their business into the western countries and brought along the business counterfeited products. It becomes clear it is the mistake of the western businesses to trust the wrong guy and now they face the consequences.