Revisiting Chinese Knockoff Cables

Why I don/t know, but the first thread has been removed recently. So, having benefited from it greatly, I felt compelled to recap my journey, so that others of limited budgets might make a huge leap that they otherwise could not afford:

When I first got my EVS 1200 I was using Series 8 WireWorld interconnects, speaker cables and Pangea Premier XL 1.5m coax cable. As you mentioned, I was extremely happy with the amp (compared to PS Audio M700s). Eventually I came across the Chinese Cable knockoff thread and first tried the fau-Nordost Odin 1.5m coax which was/is amazing: as they were so cheap compared to the $169 1.5m Pangea, I also bought a 1.0M Odin, but didn’t try it until after I replaced both the WW cables with Odin 2 XLRs and cables. Then I replaced the 1.5m with the 1.0 and was kinda blown away that 0.5m of the same coax could be THAT much better.

While my all SS system sounded very good, it was a bit too sharp, so I ordered Odin Gold speaker cables (at ~ $170/2.5m). Unfortunately one leg must of had a bad solder joint as it barely sent the music . It took a couple months before they replaced it, which I finally installed 2 days ago: BAM. Even immediately, but of course it needs break in time. The weather here (Ft Lauderdale) has been really bad, I have only left for short quick trips. Today we are under a tornado watch, so won't leave, but as soon as I can get out for a few hours I will put on my XLO burn-in disc, which I use on everything I insert, including the M 700s, EVS, and Voyager which expedites break in, which still takes a good 50-100-200 hours!

Summing this up: cables can/do make or break a system. If I had these cables when I first got the EVS, I probably would never have gotten the Voyager, which of course I am itching to compare again, but could still be awhile


For kicks (and a waste of a little disposable income), I decided to investigate these knock-off cables.  Or at least one in particular, the AudioQuest Vodka48.  I knew I'd be throwing away money so I picked one that was fairly cheap.  I happen to own a genuine Vodka48 and so this was an easy choice to make. 

The outer box looks pretty good but I have yet to compare it to my legit box which is stored away.  I also knew right away while opening the box, this cable was phony.  It is significantly lighter in weight than any of my AQ HDMI cables.  I own (3) Carbons and a Vodka48.  After finally untying all the tie-wires, I got the cable out and it was way, way too flexible.  The real AQ cables are VERY stiff.  This faux-AQ cable feels like many of the $15 - $20 generic cables that I've bought off of Amazon for my less expensive video sources.  The outer weave on the cable is also shinier and more blue than the OG.  But overall, it looks decent though that you probably wouldn't notice unless you do a direct comparison.  The connectors are probably the most realistic looking out of everything.  They did pretty well in copying the look of the AQ jackets. 

But if anyone is looking to buy used AQ HDMI cables (which I would never recommend even if a dealer is selling them), the cable is the most obvious clue in counterfeits.  AQ cables should be VERY stiff and heavy.  These are quite pliable, light and cheap feeling.  I am not even going to hook this piece up to any equipment.

This thread made me really curious.I bought a pair of  gold colored ICs called "Cardas" for $27.I have no idea which Cardas the pair is trying to emulate but it does indeed sound way over the top warm and fuzzy. Two things I enjoyed were the vocals are warm and beautiful, the bass is very deep,full,and articulate.But the highest frequencies have vanished,no cymbals anymore.Some instruments are over emphasized and there's poor separation and no depth. Extremely warm and "tubey".They look and feel substantial with very nice locking RCAs. It's either going in the junk box or upstairs on the receiver in the guest room. Curiosity satisfied.

@tweak1 - yes, I am using a AQ Wel Signature with DBS coax digital cable w/dbs.

Quiet, neutral, and nicely detailed too. 

All these cheap Chinese cables are NOT “knockoffs” ….they are illegal counterfeit crap build fakes …. A big distinction. It raises two complimentary issues : 

- the ethical issue of supporting illegal fakes flogged out of a repressive regime to avoid criminal prosecution for illegal trademark and/or patent infringement , and,

- without prejudice to the firmer, the quality build issue that the lion’s share are Simon crap build with no  comparison to OEM models.

“Knockoffs” are NOT illegal fakes

AGONers cannot confuse “knock-offs / replicas” with illegal counterfeit fakes. The difference between counterfeits and replica goods are huge: starting with legal versus illegal sales.

What are replica / “knockoff” goods ?

Replica goods are close copies of the original goods. Also referred to as “knockoffs”, they are acknowledged to be modelled after the original famous product. Therefore, even though they share a striking resemblance with the original goods, they are EXPRESSLY NOT passed off as being the real deal.


(1) without consideration to the points below, let’s assume that our understanding of knockoffs requires an understanding that legit knock-offs havevnot infringed illegally on any patent or trademark registered by the original. Otherwise it would still be illegal intellectual property infringement via a vis trademark or patent , or both .intuitively 

(2) Assuming no issue with (1) above, Replica or knockoff goods are considered to be legitimate copies because they do NOT BEAR the branded product’s TRADEMARK or infringe on a patent without the holder’s approval.
So, while a replica/ Knockoff might have the same feature and functionality of a famous or branded product, it usually carries a DIFFERENT SYMBOL OR LOGO to the famous one.

As a result, they are not outrightly illegal if and only if they are ADVERTISED AS REPLICAS advertised goods created to look similar to branded items, AND WITHOUT THE OEM REGISTERED TRADEMARK, AND prominently DISCLOSED AS JUST REPLICA fakes of unknown quality build not to be assumed as the same as the real deal.

What are illegal counterfeit goods?

Counterfeit goods can be defined as ILLEGITIMATE COPIES OR IMITATIONS of a product that are maliciously intended to be taken as authentic and genuine that could deceive a person.

Simply put, counterfeit goods are illegal fake products that are made of cheap substandard quality AND ARE BEING SOLD UNDER THE NAME AND TRADEMARK OF ANOTHER BRAND WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION FROM THE BRAND OWNER. …ergo subject to IP illegal infringements and criminal prosecutions forcrepesr offenders in worldwide jurisdictions respecting the rules of law. ( Hint: China doesn’t )

As a matter of fact, trafficking in counterfeit goods is criminalized and punishable under laws in the USA and Canada and most of the Western world. 

A core feature of counterfeit goods is that there is always the malicious intent to deceive and mislead buyers into believing or agnostically accepting that the product is authentic when it is actually the exact opposite. They are passed off as the genuine product. 

Therefore, counterfeit goods as illegal fakes VIOLATE the trademark and other intellectual property rights of the owner of the authentic brand. Counterfeiting further embraces the associated elements of copying the labeling, packaging, or any other expressive features of the genuine product.

Counterfeiters thrive because the counterfeit goods are sold and advertised as low-cost originals to buyers (NOTE victims are separated from any “other” buyers for thinking they are scoring the genuine product at a stupid low price.) 

Counterfeit cable goods are made in various locations with most in China, and there is a tsunami of threads on both AUDIOGON , CAM , etc. and also on the cable manufacturer websites, about the plethora of counterfeit crap build fakes being passed off as the real deal .The AliBaba and AliExpress illegal fakes are made in China and sold out of there and appeae in other foreign jurisdictions where illegal abuse of trademark intellectual property violation thrive. 


it’s a binary choice moral question in this and oft-repeated threads, whether AGON as an entire forum will express culling for fake listing ads ; and also express condemnation in its forums for obvious or admitted counterfeit illegal fake units support that simply fails to pass muster.

next, check out the OEM CARDAS and NORDOST quality vs counterfeit fake crap build quality differences in

OEM CARDAS quality versus illegal fake crap build personified in the pic ….. anybody still think the fakes are still “knockoffs “ of the original or going to sound anywhere marginally decent or anywhere close to the OEM. It’s graphic.


This is a well travelled and somehow still recurring post. These Chinese listings on eBay, Ali Baba et al are not “no name knockoffs” … these are just cheap crap build and illegal counterfeit fakes that illegally use trademarked brand names and patented designs thst escaped infringement litigation only because the vendors are sourced out of a repressive regime that supports it.

They are an inferior quality crap build (and choice morally) , with their obvious illegal and unethical practices, there are a buzzilion threads out there highlighting the crap construction . So here’s just a sampler highlighting all the the junk build and why they comparatively perform poorly. ... ese-cables

Counterfeit cables news on the KIMBER and CARDAS websites speak volumes.These two are 100% all made in USA premium OEMs. and they have posted news of the POS build and illegal counterfeit fakes.

Common denominator in both :

- ALIBABA and ALIEXPRESS are all crap build illegal fakes , and everything shipped out of Hong Kong and China is a fake,These cheap build counterfeit fakes are produced with the cheapest materials and build quality they can get away with , ..go check out the KIMBER crap build example pics and the CARDAS last line reproduced here too.

The poster child of what a buyer can actually get:

see KIMBER website pic below in the link , about gently sanding a counterfeit fake silver KIMBER cable that reveals it to be just POS cheaply tinned cheap-as-you-can find-it hardware store cheapest available rough and poor grade copper ( no OCC) made to look like silver cables.



Some things to look out for when purchasing Kimber Kable online:
- Where is it shipping from? Any Kimber product shipping from Hong Kong or China is fake. Furthermore, any Kimber product shipping across any international border is probably fake.
- Has the product been discontinued?
- Is the packaging missing or incorrect?
- ANY "Kimber Kable" from Alibaba or AliExpress is fake.
- Any items selling as "new" or "multiple available" from eBay, Audiogon, auction sites, or 3rd party marketplaces should be considered counterfeit. We cannot cover these items under our factory warranty.
- The only way to ensure that you are purchasing authentic Kimber Kable products is to buy new cables from an authorized Kimber dealer or distributor. However, we realize there will always be a market for second-hand buyers especially given that Kimber Kable products retain such a high re-sale value. This high demand for used products and the fact that Kimber Kable is a trusted brand has resulted in the unfortunate appearance of counterfeit cables. These cables will appear to be Kimber but in reality will use the poorest of materials they can get away with to fool the prospective buyer.

There is not a single Kimber product that is immune from counterfeits. Before bidding on or purchasing Kimber from a site you suspect, we ask that you contact us including a link to the auction or website that you are thinking about buying/bidding. We can often tell from who or where it is being sold if it is a legitimate Kimber Kable product or not. We will quickly look over the prospective product and let you know of what we find.

If you have experiences dealing with fake cables and have information that you feel would be valuable in helping pursue these counterfeiters, please contact us to help pass this information along.

CARDAS Counterfeit Cables

We’re proud that Cardas cables retain high resale value, even years after their production. But unfortunately, some unscrupulous opportunists prey upon unsuspecting consumers by selling counterfeits of our cables.

​Some of these fakes are remarkably well done, visually, and even come in authentic looking packaging. Others barely try, slapping "Cardas" on cables that don’t look like anything we’ve ever made.

​This is a buyer-be-ware situation. Some buyers are able to return their counterfeit products for a refund. But most are left without recourse.

How can I avoid counterfeits?
Work at Cardas Audio for at least 10 years . Our long-term employees can usually spot a fake about as fast as a mother can recognize her own child. Assuming you don’t work here (and statistically, you probably don’t), avoid sites like eBay and AliExpress. Every month we report dozens of obvious fakes using eBay’s reporting system, and nothing ever happens. Not a single post is removed, not a single seller is sanctioned. They just don’t care. AliExpress goes one further by having a broken reporting system. They pretend to have a mechanism for reporting counterfeits, but it is littered with dead links and buttons that can’t be clicked. they REALLY don’t care.

More trustworthy sources of second hand gear are Audiogon in the US and Canuck Audio Mart in Canada. Fakes rarely show up on these sites, and when they do, they’re both quick to remove them. There are probably trustworthy audio-focused sites in other countries. If you know of one, send us a link. If it looks good to us, we’ll list it here. And of course, consider buying from a Cardas dealer. Many of our dealers take trade-ins, and might have pre-owned cables.

Are some cables more counterfeited than others?
Yes. The two most commonly counterfeited Cardas cables are Hexlink and Clear Light.​

​Hexlink was a flagship cable from many years ago. There were many iterations, all using the word "Hexlink". It is, by far, the most faked cable. So much so that the majority of listings for Cardas Hexlink cables are fraudulent. The counterfeiters have produced more fake Hexlink than we ever made of the real thing.

​Clear Light is a more recent cable, and for whatever reason, is now quite commonly counterfeited. And whereas Hexlink fakes stand out (to us) like a sore thumb and can almost always be identified from pictures, Clear Light fakes are really well done (on the outside. Inside is garbage wire), including authentic looking packaging and documentation. Be very cautious when considering the purchase of any cable labeled as Hexlink or Clear Light.

What sort of wire is inside counterfeit cables?​
Bad wire. We’ve taken apart many counterfeits, and what we find is just hardware-store wire, at best.​

If you can hold your nose and still buy Chinese fakes, here’s some AGON snippets ... %2Bchinese ... se%2Bfakes

VDH FAKES EXAMINED ... 102-mkiii/

MORE ... s.1218411/