Can you spot the fake?

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,252
How good are you at spotting counterfeits?
I had a number of counterfeit mics come across my bench today. The supposed Shure SM58's are actually knock-offs with a retail value of about $12.

You may find online videos and blogs illustrating how to spot these counterfeits but, most testimonials are outdated and the counterfeiters actually use the posted information as feedback to improve their fakes. Visually these newest fakes are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. There are only 5 things that give them away - none of which are immediately apparent unless you really know your microphones:

1. Weight - the fake is just very slightly lighter due to inferior metal/guage.
2. Shock Mount - the look is there but the isolation is not. There is no true shock mount (this is part of what makes expensive mics expensive.)
3. Grill thread - The grill is not fully interchangeable with an genuine SM58
4. Frequency Response - (if you're able test) is only 70Hz - 10kHz

The counterfeits are sold at online auction sites between $69 and $109 USD but have a true retail value of only about $12 USD. In fact, some years ago Chauvet sold similar mics under it's brand with a dealer cost of about $8 each. They were great for karaoke because the 70-10k response was like having built in low-cut and high-cut filters; and the price meant they were essentially disposable. Having the knock off body of an SM58 made them easy to cannibalize and rebuild too. This was good for doing karaoke with rank amateurs on a budget.

That was at least an honest deployment of a cheap product. These others however, are being branded and sold as genuine Shure SM58 product. So - beware!

The 5th give away I didn't mention because unless you could do a side by side comparison (similar to swapping the grilles) it would likely go unnoticed: The edge radius (bevel) at the seam of upper and lower body shells is an aesthetic feature over-looked on the counterfeit.
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
Over the years I've bought a bunch of Sennheiser mics .. 2 were found to be fakes after the fact .. one from a dealer via eBay, the other from a dealer directly.

I check every mic now against the images you can find on line (check "fake xxxx microphone) .. it's amazing how much effort goes into faking some of these. They must sell a boatload.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,750
36
For Shure: Would the counterfeits come with the Shure carry bag that Shure includes with some of their mic systems? Would the box be exactly the same as the Shure units come in. Would they include the Shure warranty registration card, and user manual?

Same goes for Senheiser. If you buy from a Shure dealer, wouldn't the dealer be getting their product direct from Shure?

...So if you find out that you have a fake from a dealer that is a authorized Sinheiser or Shure dealer, can't you report that to the manufacturer...?
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
For Shure: Would the counterfeits come with the Shure carry bag that Shure includes with some of their mic systems? Would the box be exactly the same as the Shure units come in. Would they include the Shure warranty registration card, and user manual?

Same goes for Senheiser. If you buy from a Shure dealer, wouldn't the dealer be getting their product direct from Shure?

...So if you find out that you have a fake from a dealer that is a authorized Sinheiser or Shure dealer, can't you report that to the manufacturer...?
Yes .. my Sennheiser fakes had fake packaging and fake documentation. I don't remember about warranty cards as they are mostly meaningless.

Where the dealers got the ones I received .. I have no idea. Had I caught them earlier, I would have sent them back.
 
Reactions: ittigger

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,750
36
Yes .. my Sennheiser fakes had fake packaging and fake documentation. I don't remember about warranty cards as they are mostly meaningless.

Where the dealers got the ones I received .. I have no idea. Had I caught them earlier, I would have sent them back.

When it comes to Audio gear, I am only purchasing from completely reputable dealers. I will order lighting from wherever, but not the audio gear.

All my Microphones have been purchased at Guitar Center, IDJNOW, and Pro AudioStar. ...If I were to find a fake from Guitar Center for example, I'm sure if reported to the proper people at GC, and with the manufacturer, it would be a big issue.

Now lighting, I am willing to order from China, and not care if I am getting a knock off of a Chauvet or Martin or whatever, as long as it works well, lol
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
Both of the fakes came from reputable dealers (one was just via eBay). The one from eBay was listed as a new, open package .. whether someone substituted it when they returned it, I don't know. The other was supposed to be new.
 
Reactions: ittigger

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,252
A lot of fakes are sold as "used" items in very good condition on sites like eBay across hundreds of accounts that all look like individuals selling something they no longer want. There's no need to print fake boxes and documentation using this kind of scam and not having the pouch or cable strap would also not raise any red flags for used goods.

The red flags are in the 100% good feedback - everyone will have bought the exact same item! No one is likely to have hundreds of the same used mic to sell. A lot of the feedback is fake - generated by exchanges between the hundreds of accounts they use. The accounts are opened and closed in short order once enough sales are made.

A used SM58 for about $69 is not too good to be true, and is very common for that product sold used. That leaves about $57 margin for the counterfeiter - probably more than Shure makes on the legitimate mics.

Fake packaging is a much riskier scheme, and takes some sophisticated partners to get them into the hands of audio dealers. Typically, these are not going to be authorized Shure dealers - just electronic amd music stores who though they were getting a good deal on over-stocked brand name goods.