Another bargain mic from china.

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MAGLINK
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Joined: Mar 8 2007

Just received another bargain mic from china, this time a sennheiser G2 radio mic.

Once again a great price and the mic and receiver look genuine, it also has the interchangeable mic heads, this is the hyper cardioid so may be a little too tight for interviews so may change it for the cardioid version.

Will post some pics if required but it all works great and the mic is now better matched to my G2 portable receivers than the freeport ones I already have.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/320739034033?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_2706wt_1141

stuart621
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Joined: Oct 24 2001

What a strange array of other things they sell!

MAGLINK
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Joined: Mar 8 2007

Yes it was a concern at first but there seem to be several similar dealers selling these mics all at around the same price, I though it might be a fake but I doubt it as it is far too well made and is identical to all the other G2's I have used.

No doubt they may be left over from the olympics and as they are now discontinued they are a useful addition to my other G2 radio kit.

paulears
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Bad news is that they are 100% counterfeit. There are a number of giveaways, such as identical serial number stickers, but the main problem with these compared to genuine ones is the rubber mounts on the mic insert are much harder so there is much more handling noise from the handheld. Electronically, performance is very close, but the compander is different and is either absent, or very mild - so signal to noise is a little worse, and the tracking between the transmitters and receivers is not quite the same, so using a genuine receiver on a copy handheld produces more feedback issues than expected as the dynamic range is stretched - and the other way around you get compression you perhaps didn't want.

You can't get them into the Sennheiser rack mount because although the case holes are there - they aren't tapped!

Some also reveal the internals are different by having the receiver aerial sockets in slightly the wrong place, and the PSUs supplied look different to the Sennheiser ones.

Up until 3 or 4 months ago, there were hundreds on ebay, but they had a purge and they pulled the ads. There are no genuine Sennheisers available from China or Taiwan. In the entertainment industry these things are everywhere, with most people unaware they even have copies. Sennheiser don't actually make them any longer anyway, having moved to G3, but the copies are now starting to appear in that range too. In G3, they haven't yet copied the network capability of the 300/500 series, but I think they'll have that sorted too.

So far - they don't seem to be available in the new UK GB frequency band, but it won't be long.

I had a pair bought very cheaply, from ebay - and I guessed they'd be dodgy. However, this was for a specific project, so they'd be thrown away at the end. They performed fine, but the Chinese didn't have quality metal tube to use, so sticking the usual coloured tape on them to identify them resulted in all the surface paint peeling off when the tape was removed.

They will probably be pulled from ebay very shortly. Incidentally, the trade price if you buy 25 is so low as to be laughable.

They look and sound very, very close - but the differences are there. Tape the tube on a real one and compare that to the fake. Pull the lid off and the differences are pretty obvious.

As an extra mic to match existing kit, then they're fine - just never send it to Sennheiser for repair - it won't come back!

MAGLINK
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Joined: Mar 8 2007

I take your points Paul but why bother to copy all the packaging exactly the same, and the manual and go to so much trouble in the first place.

The mic I got works fine will all my other sennheiser kit and the one I have says designed in germany and made in the USA, it has several asian specific extra printed leaflets too and works on all the frequencies I have on my lav G2 set-ups.

The mic insert is identical to the other sennheisers I have as well and the genuine 845 mics I have.

I ain't bothered as it works just fine and sounds great to me and for £125 it was worth the punt.

Will try the paint thing but even the allen screws look the same and the metal mic housing is well machined. All the silk screened logos and identification is also spot on so if it is a fake then they should just make their own product and sell it on it's own merits.

As for sennheiser I suspect a margin of product protection here as cloning an SM58 is one thing but copying such a complex item in detail just doesn't make sense to me.

Mark M
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Gary Nattrass wrote:
I take your points Paul but why bother to copy all the packaging exactly the same, and the manual and go to so much trouble in the first place.

They've gone to all that effort to fool people like us. They've gone to all that effort because there's profit to be made in riding on the back of Sennheiser's reputation.
You bought this for £125. You're telling all your mates about it and what a bargain it was, we're all buying it: genuine Sennheiser kit at bargain prices... more profit. We wouldn't be rushing to buy Happy Hummingbird brand, would be? Great specs but no reputation.

The parts and labour costs in China are miniscule, what's expensive is invention. So copy something that works as closely as you can, sell it - pass it off - as the original, pocket the money. If it looked like a fake you'd have picked up on it and would be telling your friends "don't buy the fake Sennheisers from that e-Bay seller".

That's why they've gone to all that trouble.

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paulears
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The problem was so great at one point last year that ebay banned all out of the EC sales. What then happened was people ordered them direct, which is pretty simple if you trust the counterfeiters, which is actually safe to do in most cases. The thing to remember is that their opinions and beliefs are very different. They see no problem with taking a good product and copying it - over here, we take a dim view, over there it's just business. I sell lots of Chinese OEM microphones, minimum order for each one is usually 50, so I have a lot of stock. One of them I've done slow but steady sales with is identical to one a UK dealer sells with their own brand on it. The factory asked if I minded having this brand on the next order as they had made loads. I declined and waited two months for the next shipment as they had to make them. If I'd have sold these, the UK dealer would have been rather upset no doubt. To the factory, they didn't understand this at all.

So I sell products unbranded for the most part. However, my factory does sell counterfeit products too - they just see it as a business opportunity.

On ebay, UK people started to buy the G2 knock-offs, split them up and sell them as second hand from a UK address. Ebay then relented a little and now the direct sales ones are back for a while. They're just gearing up for G3, I was offered some, but don't really want to sell them - I'm just not comfy. To use myself, then I don't have as many scruples. In my line, they get lost, stolen, accidentally swapped, dropped and completely wrecked - I traded in all my legit ones (requiring the invoices) on the Government scheme, but kept a couple of the fakes and they give great service. They are not as good from the microphone point of view - but the electronics seem sonically ok and reliable. Useful for get you out of trouble jobs, or as Gary says - as an extra one for little money. I forgot one extra giveaway on the handhelds - after a bit of rotation, the bottom plastic cap starts to fall off. The plastic is a bit harder then the Sennheisers and not so flexible. Once it wears, it pops off.

The pcbs are made by one factory, another assembles the housings and the microphone factories supply the mic elements. This is why the bands available are a bit limited - pcb production is centred on the two old EU/US bands. The 600MHz version is not the new UK ch 38 one - it covers a bit of it.

My contact at the factory emailed to ask if I wanted to buy a guitar. Sent photos. On the net I found the Gibson factory made 8 of these, with special tree of life, mother of pearl inlay on the neck, and an old fashioned trapeze tailpiece with 3 colour body. Going price, second hand $8000. I have one hanging in my studio with a spotlight on it. It looks stunning, has Gibson on the headstock and the custom shop inlay. It plays fine. On the rear is a made in the USA stamping and a serial number. However, it's never been anywhere near a Gibson factory and certainly wasn't made in the US, but in Guanjong. Cost me $300, and it's great - but despite what it looks like, it's a copy.

Last thing - if you buy direct from China, there is always the danger of it being seized at the point of entry into the UK if it's counterfeit - but if you buy 25, you can get G2s for around $90 each. Fake Nike and Adidas trainers seem to be the focus for customs at present.

I think selling them as genuine is a real no no, and I've never done it and never will, but I'm not averse to getting a bargain for myself where the money is well spent.

If it helps, the G2 lavalier packs are also available and they are also pretty good. The mics supplied with them, however, are not quite as good - a little more fragile, but sound ok.

harlequin
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Gary Nattrass wrote:
I take your points Paul but why bother to copy all the packaging exactly the same, and the manual and go to so much trouble in the first place.

Cos it will look like the article it is meant to.
Same with pierre cardin fake bags etc.

Reverse engineering a multimillion $$$ research creation , and selling at anything up to that price , having spent a lot less = massive profit.

http://rt.com/news/fake-aircraft-parts-dealers-arrested-in-russia/ for example.

Gary MacKenzie

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paulears
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http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-Sennheiser-EW135-G3-wireless-microphone-EW-135-G3-/260842955172?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cbb73a1a4

A batch of Hong Kong G3 series for less than £200 each, and much better than the £500 people are retailing genuine ones for!

MAGLINK
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Joined: Mar 8 2007

Oh well then best go thru all my kit and camera's and send them back as they must be all fake as most of it was made in china! ;)

Good job the Rolex came from switzerland as the fake ones I have seen from thailand look really crap!

Barry Hunter
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Now now Gary, don`t throw ALL your toys out of the pram! :-)

Barry Hunter videos4all.org

MAGLINK
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Barry Hunter wrote:
Now now Gary, don`t throw ALL your toys out of the pram! :-)

At least my pram was british and not one of those chinese made three wheel drive buggys :D

China is now the largest manufacturing country in the world so whilst I appreciate that certain things may be fake or replica I personally have found every item I have bought off e-bay to be of good quality and fit for the purpose it was intended!

paulears
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I'm not saying it's not Gary, but Sennheisers from China at dirt cheap prices are not Sennheisers - and there are even ebay reviews and warnings you can read. They are not crap,and as you know, they work.Sennheiser genuine hand helds, of which I had 8 which were bought from genuine UK sources sound better, are better made and the Government gave people a good surrender value. They rejected copies as the surrender value was more than the brand new ones cost!

Of course some cheap brands are rubbish, but the ones you have are quite decent quality - but no better than the Sennheiser 835 and 845 Chinese cable microphones available from the same sources. These sell for around £25. ... and that is the kind of price that sets the quality of the mic insert. They sound like every other average cheap mic - and that is actually quite good. Just not as good as the genuine thing.

My 'Gibson' guitar looks like one, and performs nearly as good as many other non-Gibsons like the Epiphones that just happen to be made in the same town as the copies.

Mackie and EAW both have loudspeakers made in the same town too, and some of those also now seem to be appearing as 'B' stock or identical items with weird names. I suspect anything that doesn't meet the quality standards, as in imperfections in the casing, or line-up of the grills doesn't get thrown away, but is quietly removed and sold off.

If you buy from ebay and get a genuine product for a fake price, that was a good deal, but if you get a fake for a fake price and are happy, then that's a plus point too.

MAGLINK
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Well all I know is that the chinese one looks like the real deal, has removable capsule with the screw inside and sounds exactly like the two genuine ones I have and the two 845 cable mics that I also have that were all bought in the UK from sennheiser dealers.

I also tried your gaffa tape test and all the paint is still intact, I also looked at all my other serial number labels and they all say the same wording and have the same markings. The handling noise is the same as my two 845's and when you unscrew the windshield and the body the only way the capsule module is connected is to the inner body section and it is removed by unscrewing the silver screw on the small plate.

If it is a fake then they have gone to great lengths to disguise it and can not see how anyone would be able to tell it isn't one as it functions and sounds just like all the others I have and have ever rented or used on pro OB's etc.

Even the packaging is identical with no bad printing and it even has region specific extra documents that I didn't get with my UK ones.

MAGLINK
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OK then some pics:
First one I took the plug in mic module out, as I understood from John Willet the fake ones have the mic element glued in and you can see visible wires.

Sorry the label has blown out due to the flash and the serial number and designed in germany and assembled in the USA are not visible.

paulears
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They are good copies Gary, but it's not made in the USA, it's come from China. If you have one to compare it to, check the psu and the stand clip - the clip is made of harder plastic than the genuine one. At £100 less than the trade price to a UK dealer, there's no doubt in my mind whatsoever - but if it does the job, it's fine - but the ones I have had (and I still have the receiver somewhere) are also extremely good copies, and my ones also had really excellent vibrant coloured printing on the box.

The other items commonly counterfeited are Shure SM57 and 58 mics, and now the Beta 58s too - these are so close I can't see the difference, even having Shure stamped into the XLR insert - with identical coloured mic insert wiring. However, Shure can spot the difference, and annoyingly won't share the secret, although I can see their point as if they made the differences obvious, they'd soon sort it! A friend had a Shure radio system, sent it back for repair only to be told it wasn't genuine - they then offered her an upgrade price.

Without another to check the serial numbers against - we won't get anywhere. All I can tell you is that I've never seen these from a UK dealer at less that £360, and a spare mic from people like Hand-held Audio is more than you paid for the system.

The only question is the ebay source is the 835 model, this is an 845 model mic with the blue ring - on the ebay site it's not?

I spent some time tonight with John McNally from the Searchers comparing his genuine Rickenbacker 12 string with a Chinese copy, and superficially they were identical, but there were a significant number of small differences - oddly, he quite liked the copy because it was a little easier to play, and the idea of trashing a copy not an expensive original appealed. I think if I was going to take a radio mic to an outside event where it could get covered in mud, or rain or salt water - then I'd rather destroy the copy.

MAGLINK
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Ah yes but Gibson and Rickenbacker make some of their guitars in china and assemble them in the USA so they can badge them USA, sennheiser do the same with all their mic's as does Shure.

Sorry if I said made in the USA it actually says assembled in the USA, that implies that they are made elsewhere and therefore could also be assembled elsewhere to cut down costs.

I think there is a certain element of companies trying to deceive us and shure is one of them as they sell their genuine SM58's at far less than it would cost to make or even assemble them in the USA.

Dyson is another one, they can't make their product in the UK as it costs too much!

P.S PSU and clip is the same as all the other ones I have seen or have.

Oh and as we are on guitars have you ever bought a PRS guitar from the UK, well I certainly haven't as they are far too expensive with the dealer mark up so I buy all of mine direct from the country of manufacture, the same could be said for sennheiser mics they are far cheaper from the country of manufacture and as you say if it does the job then that is fine with me! If it breaks it goes in the bin and I just buy another.

MAGLINK
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Final pic and this is what I got for £125, the PSU is correct for the far east region too as it is a two pin 230v version, if they were taking all this trouble to produce fake ones to sell to the UK market then surely they would be copying the 3 pin plug version too?

Like the shotgun mikes I think that this is all kit left over from the olympics and whilst I don;t doubt there may be fakes out there sennheiser and other companies that sell into the UK dealership network are putting out a certain amount of wrong press to protect their markets.

And before anyone asks the printing on the box is creased due to the handling during shipping and my ID labels have been added to transmitter and receiver.

paulears
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The true shipping cost from China, even by EMS is pretty high. Out of the copies I have seen, then only practical problem was mounting the receiver in the 19" rack tray. None of mine have threads, just holes. Have a look and see if your holes are tapped. The packing and manuals I have to discount as all the one I have had look exactly like real ones with quality print - and proper polystyrene.

Final words from Sennheiser themselves.

Quote:
If you are tempted to purchase from an on-line auction site, try to establish where the product is shipping from. Genuine Sennheiser products are not shipped directly from China!
Paul Jordan
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Gary

I think you got a great deal and as you say all the mics are made in China anyway, some reportably assembled elsewhere!

When your mic arrived did you need to pay any vat or duties on the package?

Paul

MAGLINK
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Paul Jordan wrote:
Gary

I think you got a great deal and as you say all the mics are made in China anyway, some reportably assembled elsewhere!

When your mic arrived did you need to pay any vat or duties on the package?

Paul

Nope and never had for anything from china, me suspect when we gave them back Hong Kong deals were done!

MAGLINK
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paulears wrote:
The true shipping cost from China, even by EMS is pretty high. Out of the copies I have seen, then only practical problem was mounting the receiver in the 19" rack tray. None of mine have threads, just holes. Have a look and see if your holes are tapped. The packing and manuals I have to discount as all the one I have had look exactly like real ones with quality print - and proper polystyrene.

Final words from Sennheiser themselves.

Well they would say that wouldn't they and I am not buying from a sennheiser dealer anyway and I know that, so if they sold a shed load to china for the olympics and most of them were not used and sat in a warehouse somewhere and now they are discontinued and the dealers want to sell G3 systems would people who may have bought up all that stock not be selling them on.

It's what richer sounds have been doing for 20 years, buying last years model or stock from the distributors and knocking them out at rock bottom prices, are they all fakes as well?

will check the rack mounts later and a final note a good friend of mine was one of the tech co-ordinators for the olympics in china for two years before they happened and I know how much kit he had to buy in and have on standby just in case it was needed, he came home with some very nice sachtler tripod kits that were never used and just sat there for the whole gig.

MAGLINK
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Yup rack-mount holes look like they are tapped to me, I even got out my nikkor 60mm micro lens that I bought from Hong Kong especially for you Paul!:D


Person I bought mine from has been an e-bay member since 2006 and has a 100% feedback for more than 350 transactions, he has sold over 20 of the mics I bought with no negative feedback and he continues to sell them, if they were such a problem to sennheiser don't you think they would have done something about it by now?

And as for these that were written off a fakes too: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290533337142?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_944wt_907

128 sold and not a single negative feedback for them, I sometimes wonder why I bother and should just buy a load and pop them on e-bay for a profit like this guy does:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Camera-Microphone-panasonic-AG-HPX371-AG-HPX301-/290595045867?pt=UK_Consumer_Professional_RL&hash=item43a8d081eb#ht_599wt_1141
Ha ha he even copied the wrong chinese description that says it is a stereo mic, it must be genuine though as it is in the UK and not from china!

paulears
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All the ones I've seen had no threads - this is what gave mine away, as I was mounting them in a rack. I think the fact yours do have the threads makes your opinion they're genuine much more sound Gary.

I did actually lose $800 in one chinese scam - in this example 2 AKG 414s, that never arrived - but would these have been fakes? A phone call to AKG afterwards assured me that they would have been as they too don't ever supply product from China - all legitimate stock manufactured in China is shipped to Germany for onwards distribution worldwide. If any Chinese stock is genuine begs the question of where it came from. The olympics is an obvious source, but pristine condition with original boxes, on UK frequencies is stretching it a bit - but not impossible, I guess.