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It's often the case that inexperienced shoppers see something that looks as impressive as what they may have seen at a much higher price, then think the item must be a bargain simply based on appearance. If audiophile-quality was only based on looks, than anything goes. This is the shortfall of many inexpensive Chinese audio connectors and cables, since often enough the manufacturers seem to only pay attention to looks, which is a swindle even if a fake brand name, model, or country of origin is not labeled on the product.
As to mechanical quality and safety issues, in one case the ground prong broke-off of a cheap Chinese AC plug while I was pulling it out of an AC outlet. I had to pull the snapped-off ground prong out of the AC outlet ground slot with a pair of pliers, which was ridiculous. Before it had failed, the same AC plug was found to sound unacceptable due to a plating that looks good for plated jewelry, but had serious sonic problems that I found unacceptable, to my ear. It was an utter waste of money, but I'm sure there are buyers that don't know the difference between a well-designed, high-performance Audio Grade AC connector or AC outlet and what may seem to be a sensibly priced alternative that simply does not deliver the audiophile goods. Safety should be an aspect of a true-value product as a given, while sound quality tends to be discovered and shared by audiophiles based on direct experiences.
Making an argument that the design of an AC connector does not matter since it's just about a basic connection of electricity is the voice of inexperience. When a buyer goes so far as to accuse brands like Furutech and Oyaide as perhaps being a waste of money, it becomes a point of ignorance. I don't feel compelled to explain why it matters, since the OP seems to have already made up his mind about something he's obviously not aware of.
The thing about companies like Furutech and Oyaide, is that they tell you what the product is and the pricing is reasonable given the manufacturing difficulties. You are free to decide if it is worth the money in sonic terms. if you buy, you know what you are buying. Like you I can't understand buying cheap, dangerous eye candy where failure could not only cause you hose to burn down, but give cause for your insurance to deny the claim. However, so much of what goes on is beyond my understanding. Denial (de Nile) is not just a river one Egypt. Oh well!
I agree, Dave. As well as often difficult manufacturing aspects in order to produce an audiophile-quality device, there is a level of R&D and material costs involved in the design of a HQ audiophile product, as well as the primary sonic merits or worth of a sometimes unique or original product within the audiophile marketplace.
There is sometimes a level of intellectual reward for offering a device that delivers the goods, above and beyond the expense of production and marketing. I don't consider a premium price to be unfair or necessarily exorbitant if a certain level of financial reward is necessary in order for a cottage industry audiophile device manufacturer to pay its employees and bills, since many audiophile gear manufacturers don't have the high-sales figures of major consumer electronics marketplace brands, which tend to serve the wants/needs of a less sophisticated intention.
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