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  1. #1
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    Busted, another nail in the coffin for 'high-end' audio..

    Good work from Audioholics via The Consumerist:

    http://consumerist.com/2010/01/compa...ts-caught.html

    http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/t...icon-outside-1

    Great gotcha journalism from Audioholics. Maybe it will open the door to more thorough investigation from other audio reviewers. And not necessarily the blatant rip-offs. I'm also referring the the insanely subjective reviews found in magazines such as Stereophile.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Not really all that earth shattering, but Lexicon is going to get their butts kicked in the war of public sentiment for awhile. They're hardly the only ones rebadging gear, no are they the only ones selling gear for crazy mark-ups.

    I still like some of their gear though.

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Wonder if there'll be any fallout to Oppo? They could be losing a significant customer here - but then again, maybe they'll just pick up Lexicon customers at the retail rate instead of the wholesale Lexicon rate?

  4. #4
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    How could Lexicon be so stupid as to think this wouldn't be found out (if that's what they were thinking)? Come on, the whole chassis is in there!

  5. #5
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    I just finished reading. Pretty good article

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Check out this link to Red Rose Music amps and notice the close resemblance to Dussun amps at a much lower retail.


    http://www.redrosemusic.com/passion.shtml

    Red Rose Passion
    The Passion offers twice the power and even more refined sonic quality. Housed in a more traditional 19" chassis, Passion is a very elegant, simple component that makes you want to listen to music. Although compact, Passion is heavy and solidly built to last for decades of musical enjoyment. Passion features all-discrete low noise circuitry throughout, and has a headphone jack on the front panel for private listening or monitoring.

    Only 4" tall and 13" deep, the Passion is a very compact 19" rack mount unit which drives virtually any quality speaker with ease. On/off, five inputs and a volume control are provided.

    The Passion is extremely affordable, yet offers tremendous power reserves for driving high performance speaker systems. Sonically, the Passion is the favorite of many listeners, combining warmth and delicacy with great body, authority, speed, and clarity.

    The Passion is a very elegant package that is at home in any setting. The front panel and volume control, designed by Mark Levinson, is a masterpiece of simplicity and function which is pleasing to the eye and pleasant to the touch.

    The Red Rose Passion 100W integrated amplifier costs $3,000.



    Now here is a picture of the Dussun DS99 that retails for around $500-$600 before the updated version came out.




    http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/dussun_ds99.htm
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 01-17-2010 at 12:30 PM.
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  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    Check out this link to Red Rose Music amps and notice the close resemblance to Dussun amps at a much lower retail.


    http://www.redrosemusic.com/passion.shtml

    Red Rose Passion
    The Passion offers twice the power and even more refined sonic quality. Housed in a more traditional 19" chassis, Passion is a very elegant, simple component that makes you want to listen to music. Although compact, Passion is heavy and solidly built to last for decades of musical enjoyment. Passion features all-discrete low noise circuitry throughout, and has a headphone jack on the front panel for private listening or monitoring.

    Only 4" tall and 13" deep, the Passion is a very compact 19" rack mount unit which drives virtually any quality speaker with ease. On/off, five inputs and a volume control are provided.

    The Passion is extremely affordable, yet offers tremendous power reserves for driving high performance speaker systems. Sonically, the Passion is the favorite of many listeners, combining warmth and delicacy with great body, authority, speed, and clarity.

    The Passion is a very elegant package that is at home in any setting. The front panel and volume control, designed by Mark Levinson, is a masterpiece of simplicity and function which is pleasing to the eye and pleasant to the touch.

    The Red Rose Passion 100W integrated amplifier costs $3,000.



    Now here is a picture of the Dussun DS99 that retails for around $500-$600 before the updated version came out.




    http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/dussun_ds99.htm
    Neat. There are companies that exist as manufacturers suppliers to name brand companies. These days everyone is using someone else's components in their equipment to some extent. Most aren't quite as obvious about is as Lexicon appears to be here.

    Mind you, what Lexicon has done IMO is not quite as bad as companies deliberately just changing the board layout or color, or add a few tertiary features that are largely irrelevant just to try and hide the fact it is the same piece of gear for all intents and purposes. That's blatant deception on top of gouging IMO.

    This isn't unique to the a/v industry either.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    This does not come as a surprise to me. For years many high end manufacturers have been pulling the wool over consumers eyes by using cheap components in their equipment and charging hundreds if not thousands more because they have the name to back it up.
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  9. #9
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    Tak about taking the concept of diminishing returns to a whole new level...

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    I personally hope it drives Lexicon out of business and the same for any company who does this. Taking a piece and modding it to be your own offering is one thing but what Lexicon did is a crime. This type of business practice shouldn't be taken lightly by any of you. "Nail in the coffen" may be correct, people see this and it is a black eye for higher end audio. A trust has been broken. Bring on the Chinese gear. I guess it's also a real lesson for us who buy to definitely rely on ourselves as to if we hear or see any improvement. I'ts buyer beware but....... that's just extreme.

    I remember back when Yamaha making Carver's tape decks and things like that went on, and you hear that manufacturers build to the brand's specs. Even if Carver had a straight yamaha with Carver's name it isn't as extreme as what Lexicon done. A $100.00 is one thing but $3k is another. Sure manufacturer's gear may share some parts when only a number of makers are available but you don't expect the end product to be the same.

  11. #11
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    How would you feel if you had bought one of these? I'm not talking to the ones who did, under the Oppo badge I should say, but if you paid $3.5K. It scares me to think how mad I'd be.

  12. #12
    IRG
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    I think this scam should be brought to light by the mainstream audio rags. They should expose them for the frauds they are, irregardless of their advertising budgets.

    I took an extended break from audiophile land, seems like deceipt and the snake oil products are still alive and well. Too bad too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    How would you feel if you had bought one of these? I'm not talking to the ones who did, under the Oppo badge I should say, but if you paid $3.5K. It scares me to think how mad I'd be.
    Yeah, the more I think of it...If I found out my Gaggia was a rebadged Hamilton Beach I'd be pretty pissed off.

    I give credit to Audioholics too. It takes balls to come out and say this - they risk being cut off from samples. Not just from Lexicon and Oppo, but other companies with something to hide. It's a bit gutsy.

    And THX is getting exposed a bit in this as well.

  14. #14
    IRG
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    Yeah I agree, kudos to Audioholics, I haven't read them before, but I will now. THey didn't try to sugar coat this at all, which gives them more credibility. I probably wouldn't have purchased a Lexicon product before, but now I never will.

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    Is Lexicon still under the same umbrella with Levinson and all the other Harmon products?

    I can't say how true this is but I don't see why this person would lie, I was speaking to a manager of a high end shop who dabbled with Levinson and decided not to go with them because they had defective products come in for eval.

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Is Lexicon still under the same umbrella with Levinson and all the other Harmon products?

    I can't say how true this is but I don't see why this person would lie, I was speaking to a manager of a high end shop who dabbled with Levinson and decided not to go with them because they had defective products come in for eval.
    Sadly, Lexicon (and Levinson) is still part of the Harman group...

  17. #17
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I personally hope it drives Lexicon out of business and the same for any company who does this. Taking a piece and modding it to be your own offering is one thing but what Lexicon did is a crime. This type of business practice shouldn't be taken lightly by any of you. "Nail in the coffen" may be correct, people see this and it is a black eye for higher end audio. A trust has been broken. Bring on the Chinese gear. I guess it's also a real lesson for us who buy to definitely rely on ourselves as to if we hear or see any improvement. I'ts buyer beware but....... that's just extreme.

    I remember back when Yamaha making Carver's tape decks and things like that went on, and you hear that manufacturers build to the brand's specs. Even if Carver had a straight yamaha with Carver's name it isn't as extreme as what Lexicon done. A $100.00 is one thing but $3k is another. Sure manufacturer's gear may share some parts when only a number of makers are available but you don't expect the end product to be the same.
    It really is a disgraceful move by Lexicon.... The standard practice in High End is to upgrade to more expensive parts (even if you use the same layout)... Whether those more expensive parts makes an improvement in performance is often up to debate... But to use the exact same parts is just a straight up scam...

    If they had at least replaced all the internal wiring with Nordost Valhala (or something suitably expensive) then they would have some basis for the significant jump in price, even if Audioholics tested it and found that it gave no significant performance improvements over the standard OPPO....

  18. #18
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagump
    Good work from Audioholics via The Consumerist:

    http://consumerist.com/2010/01/compa...ts-caught.html

    http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/t...icon-outside-1

    Great gotcha journalism from Audioholics. Maybe it will open the door to more thorough investigation from other audio reviewers. And not necessarily the blatant rip-offs. I'm also referring the the insanely subjective reviews found in magazines such as Stereophile.
    Good thread....

    Though I think you need to keep in mind that not all review mags/sites have the technical expertise as Audioholics...

    Stereophile focuses on Subjective and Measurements.... Not opening up chassis's and comparing to other brands...

    And they do identify when products are poor value for money based on measurements (and subjective reviews)... For example: In this recent review of the Bel Canto USB Link:

    http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcom...er/index1.html

    John Atkinson makes this comparison:

    Both the M-Audio and E-Mu devices provide the same basic conversion as the Bel Canto, with the added complication of the user having to install a driver program, but at significantly lower cost. When I played music CDs through them and the Benchmark DAC1, I could hear no appreciable differences among the three USB-S/PDIF converters. With the Assemblage DAC-1, the Bel Canto Link gave a sound that was cleaner than the E-Mu's but, to my surprise, was not appreciably different from the cheap M-Audio's, even with high-sample-rate files.
    And concludes with this:

    Provided it is used with a D/A processor that offers effective jitter rejection, the USB Link 24/96 does what Bel Canto promises it will do, and can be recommended. However, I can't pretend that the $495 USB Link doesn't come under strong competition from M-Audio's $100 Transit USB. Both handle sample rates up to 96kHz, and for a Mac user like me, the potential advantage of the Bel Canto of not having to manually set playback sample rate with Windows is moot. But with its aluminum enclosure, the made-in-America Bel Canto does feel like a high-end product; with the Chinese-made M-Audio, plastic is as plastic does.

  19. #19
    RGA
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    Unfortunately this action hurts the entire high end industry where most companies do in fact build or create or original products, or heavily modify parts. We know that there are very few companies making cd readers, transports etc but usually companies will modify them rather heavily. And they will sound and measure differently. For instance Sim Audio, Bryston BCD-1 and Audio Note's one box player all use the same Philips L1210 transport mechanism but then all three tell you that. Moreover, none of them sound the alike and under the chassis - you can see that all three have considerably different parts and layouts. It doesn't make sense to re-invent the wheel. Lexicon is a whole other matter.

    Plenty of companies though have rebadged Chinese gear from Shengya, Jungson etc under their own label - Vincent for example. But at least Vincent's prices are pretty much the same as the Chinese named counterparts and there isn't a direct model to compete with. And they don't hide from the fact.

    I had a Pioneer laserdisc player - they rebadged the identical player and put a piano black glossy front on it and rosewood side panels under the "Elite" name badge. My machine was $650 - the Elite was $1200. There was a Hitachi that was the exact same machine in gray instead of black for $500 or something. The machine was exactly the same. Pioneer also rebranded their receivers under the "Sears" logo for a long time - oddly the Sears branded models cost more.

  20. #20
    Ajani
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    Looks like we'll get an additional opinion on this, from Stereophile in the March issue:

    http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/s...r&Number=80773

    http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/s...gonew=1#UNREAD

  21. #21
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    This does not surprise me either that some of these "high end" companies are doing this kind of crap. That is why when I make purchases of higher end gear I do a bunch of research before I spend my money because crooks out there like lexicon are trying to sell you a Civic for the price of a Lexus. Nothing wrong with a civic they are great cars but paying 5 times the price for it is damn ridiculous and any car company doing it would be called crooks and they would probably be shut down for it but these high end companies are getting away with it like its a normal every day practice and is ok to do. ITS NOT OK and it pisses me off to be honest and makes me even more gun shy at buying higher end components. I know there is great stuff out there and companies that make high end components worth the money but this kind of crap is not going to set well with people especially ones that are just starting to get into this hobby as it will scare them off of going into the higher end stuff. This kind of stuff just makes me sick and I dought I will ever take Lexicon seriously ever again.

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  22. #22
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07
    This does not surprise me either that some of these "high end" companies are doing this kind of crap. That is why when I make purchases of higher end gear I do a bunch of research before I spend my money because crooks out there like lexicon are trying to sell you a Civic for the price of a Lexus. Nothing wrong with a civic they are great cars but paying 5 times the price for it is damn ridiculous and any car company doing it would be called crooks and they would probably be shut down for it but these high end companies are getting away with it like its a normal every day practice and is ok to do. ITS NOT OK and it pisses me off to be honest and makes me even more gun shy at buying higher end components. I know there is great stuff out there and companies that make high end components worth the money but this kind of crap is not going to set well with people especially ones that are just starting to get into this hobby as it will scare them off of going into the higher end stuff. This kind of stuff just makes me sick and I dought I will ever take Lexicon seriously ever again.
    Yep, that's the exact problem... it only serves to make high end into more of a joke to the masses...

    Nothing wrong with Lexicon using the basics from OPPO (just about all tech companies buy over the counter parts), but some SUBSTANTIAL amount of tweaking and new parts is expected to justify the price difference...

    The other option was for them to charge just a little more (for the prettier Lexicon chassis) and just make it clear that it is an OPPO designed to match other Lexicon components (for Lexicon owners who want a Blu-Ray Player that matches the aesthetics of their gear)...

    But $3.5K for a $0.5K product is a scam....
    Last edited by Ajani; 01-18-2010 at 11:02 AM.

  23. #23
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Is this really a surprise?
    Almost every product has some sort of this rebadging or marketing scam (too harsh a word??) similar to what happened here.

    My sister-in-law who works as a consultant to "high-end" cosmetic businesses told me a little marketing story. A company produces a jar of cold cream that costs them about $30 to produce and its quality is top notch but it is in the end only cold cream and the difference between it and some of its lower cost competitors is minimal.

    Now this company could put a $45-$60 price tag on it sell it everywhere and make alot of money. However this company makes alot of cosmetic products and is known as a "high-end" company that sells its products in only the most exclusive stores in the world. If they sold their product at a lower price regular retailers would pick it up and the company's reputation would actual suffer despite the quality of its product. So what does the company do? They price the $30 jar of cold cream at around $700 sell it in only "high-end" stores where their customers now routinely fork over their money solely based on the reputation of the company.

    My point is not that just because you pay alot for something that you are getting ripped off. My point is that you need to become educated enough in your purchases to know if the money spent is really going into the quality of the product or only in the name/marketing of the product. Unfortunately it sounds easier than it is.
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  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekid
    Is this really a surprise?
    Almost every product has some sort of this rebadging or marketing scam (too harsh a word??) similar to what happened here.

    My sister-in-law who works as a consultant to "high-end" cosmetic businesses told me a little marketing story. A company produces a jar of cold cream that costs them about $30 to produce and its quality is top notch but it is in the end only cold cream and the difference between it and some of its lower cost competitors is minimal.

    Now this company could put a $45-$60 price tag on it sell it everywhere and make alot of money. However this company makes alot of cosmetic products and is known as a "high-end" company that sells its products in only the most exclusive stores in the world. If they sold their product at a lower price regular retailers would pick it up and the company's reputation would actual suffer despite the quality of its product. So what does the company do? They price the $30 jar of cold cream at around $700 sell it in only "high-end" stores where their customers now routinely fork over their money solely based on the reputation of the company.

    My point is not that just because you pay alot for something that you are getting ripped off. My point is that you need to become educated enough in your purchases to know if the money spent is really going into the quality of the product or only in the name/marketing of the product. Unfortunately it sounds easier than it is.
    Agreed... that has always been the case with clothes and cosmetics... The same factory, in some poor country, that produces expensive name brand clothes will also produce 'no-name' clothes (that are exactly the same clothes without the tag, but sell for a fraction of the price)...

    But I think the real shock here is because Lexicon is a well established brand and part of a major group... so it really has no excuse for this... Some startup "High-End" brand would be expected to be involved in this type of scandal.....
    Last edited by Ajani; 01-17-2010 at 08:58 PM.

  25. #25
    3LB
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    The clothing industry is the same way. Same with shoes. I worked in a clothing factory when I was 18 (before it moved overseas) and after a large production run for a major label the overrun stuff would get the discount labels, for significantly cheaper.

    I've known that a lot of "high-end" electronics were like this and its not a recent developement either. And I'll bet that its not just the high-end brands that wished this info never saw the light of day. I'm so glad I don't have to grip over this.

    Its enough to make one rethink those magnetic bracelets too.
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