Are Fishman preamps on eBay legit?

I've been contemplating getting a new preamp installed in my acoustic. It currently has a Fishman Isys-T but I'd like to have something with an EQ. I emailed Fishman and they recommended the Presys+ or the Prefix Plus.
I have found lots of Presys+ on eBay for about £10 from China, while on Amazon they are a lot more, although a pickup is included.
Do the Chinese ones sound like they might be the real deal? They certainly look real. Is this the kind of thing that is being knocked off these days or they just OEM models?

Comments

  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 500Member
    Earlier this year I purchased a Fishman Sonitone Acoustic Guitar Pickup VT1 from eBay. There were lots for sale, some from China and others from UK sellers at higher prices. I chose to buy from a UK buyer for £30 after shaving a few pounds from their buy it now price. I wonder where the sellers buy their stock from. My guess is China. Whether they are ligit is anyone's guess as the packaging is lacking (only bubble wrap and a "Fishman Onboard " label) but it performs well and as far as I can tell, it's the same as the Sonitone factory fitted to my Guild. Maybe the lack of packaging is due the fact that this pick up is only supplied as a OEM model.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    Sounds like a legit model, Just Tel, just illegally sold individually.
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 500Member
    Think you might be right there Lester.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    Interesting. So is it illegal to buy them?
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 500Member

    Interesting. So is it illegal to buy them?

    Oh dear. Never thought of it like that.Better keep a look out for the Fishman police.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    LOL! As long as they aren't owned by Rickenbacker, I'd probably be ok.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 764Member
    I think it's pretty common when things are made out in the far East for a few (thousand) extras to be made and then sold on illegally. I guess they sell them to make a profit on the manufacturing, whereas Fishman themselves also need to recoup the considerable costs of design and development, hence the higher price. it's almost certainly illegal, and equally almost certain that you won't get caught/prosecuted because, frankly, nobody in a position to do anything about it cares enough, unless Fishman start kicking up a fuss.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    I didn't realise the manufacturers are making 'one for you, one for me', selling the 'one for you' to the owners and selling the rest for themselves. Wow.

    So the question now is, is it ethical?

    I think I know the answer to that. If you have to ask... Honestly, my need for a new preamp does not supercede my ability to come up with a few extra quid. If I need it, I can wait, save up, or just do without.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 830Member
    The question over Chinese manufacturing ethics is a moot point. On principle the Chinese don't believe in intellectual property (communism has bread this to an extent). So they don't see it as a problem and much less have the legal structure to do anything about it. The problem is widespread and makes spotting copies and original but unofficial from the OEM stuff quite difficult at times. Of course over here it is illegal to sell anything bearing a protected brand and passed off as such!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    I'm questioning if it's ethical for me to buy. There will always be unethical manufacturers, but I don't have to support them. It's my conscience I worry about, not theirs.
    The price difference is considerable, though - £10 versus £299.

    Let's put it to a vote - how many people here would just buy one and stop worrying about it? How many would leave it alone and move on?
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    Do you really need to think about whether it is ethical? A company, Fishman, contracts another, a Chinese factory, to do a job. The contract will be to provide Fishman branded products to Fishman and its authorised OEM producers. For the factory to sell Fishman branded products other than within the contract is in breach of contract.

    As for ethical, lets go back for a minute to the most basic of laws, the Ten Commandments. If you should not murder, steal or commit adultery but you thin it is alright for you to do so then it must be alright for everyone to do so. Where would society be if everyone murdered, stole and committed adultery? Not great.

    If every manufacturer that produced branded goods under contract decided to ignore the contract and sell direct to the customer, what goods or brands would still be in existence? Not a single Epiphone, Ibanez, Tanglewood, Faith, and many other makes of guitar would not be around as the head office is not the manufacturer - and the problem is compounded by the factory not being the designer.

    Nevertheless, it is a personal decision whether you wish to help society work or whether you think you are the exception to the rule and can get away with a great product at a back door price. I am sure I have done so in the past but now I try to do what I believe is right. You have to make your own decision on what you will do. Put me down for leaving it alone and moving on to either the proper, legit product or looking at cheaper alternatives from competitors.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 764Member
    I remember reading an interview with somebody at Ashdown Engineering when they started manufacturing in China, and he was saying that if you manufacture in China you must expect to see your products being sold elsewhere with different badges on, or sometimes just as your products.

    I remember getting asked years ago by an automotive design house who had links with China to quote for a full test programme for an off-road vehicle. It turned out to be for a Chinese company who were planning to take a Mitsubishi Shogun and just copy the platform, just changing it from the sills up. Needless to say we declined to be involved. I think I'm right in saying that the Chinese lady who was the director involved ended up going to prison for fraud
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    Lester said:

    Do you really need to think about whether it is ethical? A company, Fishman, contracts another, a Chinese factory, to do a job. The contract will be to provide Fishman branded products to Fishman and its authorised OEM producers. For the factory to sell Fishman branded products other than within the contract is in breach of contract.

    As for ethical, lets go back for a minute to the most basic of laws, the Ten Commandments. If you should not murder, steal or commit adultery but you thin it is alright for you to do so then it must be alright for everyone to do so. Where would society be if everyone murdered, stole and committed adultery? Not great.

    If every manufacturer that produced branded goods under contract decided to ignore the contract and sell direct to the customer, what goods or brands would still be in existence? Not a single Epiphone, Ibanez, Tanglewood, Faith, and many other makes of guitar would not be around as the head office is not the manufacturer - and the problem is compounded by the factory not being the designer.

    Nevertheless, it is a personal decision whether you wish to help society work or whether you think you are the exception to the rule and can get away with a great product at a back door price. I am sure I have done so in the past but now I try to do what I believe is right. You have to make your own decision on what you will do. Put me down for leaving it alone and moving on to either the proper, legit product or looking at cheaper alternatives from competitors.

    Very good points Lester. And I agree. I'm leaving that well enough alone. I'm glad to see you were standing up for what the you believe too. I used to get away with pirated software but went clean a long time ago because I knew it wasn't right. I'd never get caught, but that isn't the point. I had to tell friends I didn't want their serial numbers of music software they got from work.

    I remember reading an interview with somebody at Ashdown Engineering when they started manufacturing in China, and he was saying that if you manufacture in China you must expect to see your products being sold elsewhere with different badges on, or sometimes just as your products.

    I remember getting asked years ago by an automotive design house who had links with China to quote for a full test programme for an off-road vehicle. It turned out to be for a Chinese company who were planning to take a Mitsubishi Shogun and just copy the platform, just changing it from the sills up. Needless to say we declined to be involved. I think I'm right in saying that the Chinese lady who was the director involved ended up going to prison for fraud

    What a good story. It's sad that there is so much of this around.

  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,304Member
    Let me put a controversial opposing view. I'm not keen on intellectual property, and that goes for things I've created myself.

    If something came to me for free (i.e. an idea popped into my head) then why should I profit from it? When I say "something" came to me for free, I include music I've composed (there are only twelve notes, arrange them as you will), lyrics and articles I've written (there are only a few thousand English words, arrange them as you will), electronic circuits I've designed (there are only a few hundred relevant components at any one time, arrange them as you will) and software I've written (there are only a few keywords, structures etc in a programming language, arrange them as you will). I don't see that the process of arranging these things is worth very much; the labour of doing so should be paid at a suitable hourly rate, dependent on the skill involved.

    In my view, artists and designers should not be paid in perpetuity for their creations! In a musical context, this means musicians should be paid for their performance, either at a concert or in a studio. They should not profit excessively from sales of their music, and nor should anyone else. Just as an architect is paid a once-off fee for designing a building, so musicians should be paid a once-off session fee for recording a song. The architect doesn't get royalties for ever, so why should a musician?

    To paraphrase a leftist saying, intellectual property is intellectual theft. By preventing people from using your creations, you're impoverishing humanity as a whole. If something can be made in China for £10 why should we pay £300 for it? That's £290 going into someone's pocket for nothing, and it's probably not the original creator who's getting it.

    In case you're wondering, yes I have had some of my creations copied and sold illicitly. (Electronic hardware and software reverse engineered.) Do I care? No, "emulation is the sincerest form of flattery". It's a good thing that someone has thought it worthwhile to copy and that other people have benefited. I feel I've made a valued contribution.

    I say good luck to the Chinese copyists for making things available at a considerably lower price! Now if they can solve their quality problems (as the Japanese did) we'll benefit even more.

    Shoot me down in flames! :-D
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    DaveBass said:

    Shoot me down in flames!

    Why? Just because some may disagree with you that is no reason to be unreasonable.

    I thought you made your point well. I made mine above.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    Profit is what feeds employment. Everyone in the chain wants to make a living, from the floor sweepers to the CEOs.
    As far as artists profiting is concerned, you get everything for free anyhow! Your time, your ideas, the materials you work with. Everything comes from the earth at some point.

    It's more a matter of value. How much do you value something? Then exchange something of equal value to benefit from it.

    In other news, I'm a big fan of bartering and have made a few happy deals. It's more grass roots, and everyone wins.

    For the record, if you steal my stuff, I ain't gonna be happy.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 764Member
    DaveBass said:


    Shoot me down in flames! :-D

    I have to (respectrully) disagree with you. Although, in essence, I can't fault your logic about the 12 notes and only a few electronic components available to re-arrange, often the cost is not the original idea, but the development costs. As electronic equipment gets ever more complex, then the development costs get higher. New custom chips are designed, embedded software has to be developed, cases have to be designed, prototyped and then expensive manufacturing tooling produced. For somebody to just come in and copy that, immediately removing the development costs from their own costs, so they can sell it for merely what it costs to manufacture is wrong, in my opinion. We're not just talking about the money the guy who invented the device would get, but also the employment of all the people who worked on the project and, presumably, are now working on further projects. Where would the incentive be for anyone to go through that expensive development process if they then couldn't protect their IP? The result of that would surely be that no-one bothers, so the state of the art stagnates and employment is lost. In essence that's why there are no consumer goods worth a damn made in Russia in the Communist era, because nobody had any incentive. Name me a decent Russian car!

    The same goes for artistic endeavor. Why would anyone fund a movie if it was just going to be legally copied and distributed on the first day of release? Why would an artist spend months of their life creating anything if that could then be legally copied and distributed?

    I'd suggest that the example of an architect is a slight red herring. Surely a more appropriate analogy involving the architect would be if he designed a building, and then the building was copied in many other locations. In that case I'd say he does deserve a royalty for each identical building put up, but it kind of depends on how he's negotiated his contract.

    I guess there can also be issues involving damage to an organisation's reputation. For example, the Screaming Dave Amplifier Company Inc designs and manufactures a beautiful boutique amp, with a cabinet upholstered in tie-died rainbow suede and a colour-changing illuminated logo on the front. As it happens, the amp inside the cabinet is top-notch and is widely reckoned to be the best amp in the world. Then someone else buys one and copies it. They still use the rainbow suede and light-up logo, and the amp inside is the same circuit but instead of point-to-point hand-wired circuitry, they've stuffed it all on a PCB, dispensed with the valve rectifier and used much cheaper transformers. It sounds pants. But people buy it, thinking it's an original SDACI amp, and hate it, then word spreads on fora like this that SDACI amps are over-priced rubbish. They've now damaged my company, we go out of business and I have to sack all my workforce. That, surely, cannot be right. Can it?
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    ScreamingDave, where do I send my deposit for an amp like that?

    I'm with you. Nobody wants to work for free, and everyone needs something of value to trade with people to get what they can't make.

    I think it's easy for creatives to undervalue what they do because to them it's easy. To other people it's hard so they are willing to pay for it. I'm sure everyone here has had someone come up to them after playing and say "wow, how do you DO that?" You shrug and say "oh, it's nothing...." To you, yes. To them, not so much. Therefore it has no value to you, but to them it could be priceless.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 764Member

    ScreamingDave, where do I send my deposit for an amp like that?

    I'll PM my offshore bank account details to you. This is a crowdstarter, so we expect to have the funding by the end of 2019. We expect the prototype to be ready shortly after that, say mid 2020, and following extensive development we expect to start shipping to our backers by end of 2022. Now, if it's the tie-dyed suede cover and the colour-changing logo you're after then you'd be better to wait for the Chinese fakes to start shipping at the start of 2023!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
    Perfect. Well if I had to wait until 2022, so be it. I'm sure it will be worth it. Although I was rather hoping for the tie-dyed suede PlexiScreamer, but if what they say is true, the Behringer JaySeeEmm Steamer is even louder. I just want to make some ear drums...bleed...!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 713Member
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