Bargain? Or Bunkum? The Great NZ Audio Swindle Revealed!

P.T. Barnum said it so succinctly all those years ago when he exclaimed “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

Countless examples of forgeries and scams abound on the internet: Nike shoes knocked up in backyard sheds, fake Rolex watches bought for $100 at carpark markets, let alone bogus investments in platinum and the foreign exchange market.
HiFi and HT electronics also have their fair share of rogue operators as well, and those looking to buy a bargain need to be forewarned – the products are basically crap with knobs on.

For the past 10 years or more scurrilous ‘salesman’ operating from white vans (white van scam) have been peddling brands such as Acoustic Studio Monitor, Linear Phase and Dynalab to unsuspecting victims. It’s a simple scam, they’ll pull up alongside you in a carpark or at the lights and offer their wares at an unbelievable price, usually as a result of ‘over ordering’ or quitting ‘end of line’ stock.
Typically these salesman are well versed in the art of the hard sell, and are only too willing to mark down the equipment from the usual $3995 to an unbelievable $600.

Watch this clip from a British documentary highlighting the poor quality of the goods, and the underhanded methods of white van scammers.

It sounds like the bargain of the century, but beware – the components or speakers lurking within each carton will be poorly made and terrible sounding at best, and dangerous at worst.
It’s pretty much a done deal that you’ll not find any of the international safety certificates stamped on the back, such as CE or UL ratings – this will mean the gear hasn’t been tested and met European or North American safety standards.

Doing the rounds on TradeMe at the moment is a brand called Marc Vincent, and at face value (and without knowledge of audio equipment) you’d consider the gear the bargain of the century.
After all, the website proudly proclaims its European lineage as a ‘synergy of Italian design and latest German audio technologies’.
What could possibly be wrong with that?

Sadly, after a closer look at the specifications and features of the equipment, all is not what it seems.

Equipped with advanced technology such as a ‘DTS Prosound 3 Decoder’, ‘MP3 digital PRO inputs’, ‘AC-3 active scan A/V inputs’ and delivering a whopping 3000 watt output, the non-HDMI equipped MV-8000s is nothing more than a poorly made piece of shit. In fact if there was ever a Transformer Elephant made from HiFi components, this is precisely what would be pouring out of its arse.

For all Marc Vincent’s claims about the amplifier being Blu-Ray ready, the lack of HDMI or any digital input is patently ridiculous. As for video connections, the best you’ll find on the sparsely populated tinplate rear panel is a solitary S-Video output along with a few composite outputs.

Not exactly value at the recommended $US2000MRSP is it?
Other dubious brands to watch out for are Symphony Orchestra (amps/speakers), while projector scam brands Oracle and Pro-Optics turn up like bad pennies quite often on TM.

So to finish off, always research the product before making a commitment to buy. Ask plenty of questions, and if possible look closely at pictures of the connection panel of the component – at the very least it should have a recognised safety certificate printed on the back, and if the ad states ‘Blu-Ray compatible’ or has internal DTS decoders, it must have the appropriate digital connections for it to work properly.
And don’t be sucked in by the apparent drastic price cut, or the fact that it has to be sold because ‘it’s way too big for my room’, or ‘just bought a home with a HT system pre-installed so don’t need this’ and other porkies.
The bottom line is: if it sounds too good to be true, then it bloody well definitely is…

Want to know more about these blatant ripoff’s? Click the links underneath.
Jackcola
Scamshield USA
Wikipedia

22 Comments

  1. With a name like ‘Vincent’ I’m not surprised he’s a scammer.

  2. It’s hard to believe that anyone still falls for these scams. It’s one to thing to bow to the hard-sell pressure tactics of some guy in a white van but buying this stuff online? A few minutes with Google tells all, so why buy without at least checking out the product on the Web?

    I wonder how they come up with those 3,000 watts ? Probably at 86% distortion while plugged straight into the nuclear reactor on an aircraft carrier? Maybe connected to the warp engines on the Enterprise?

  3. Had a poor young guy come into the shop the other day asking for advice on how to set up his $6K Mark Vincent system…. felt very sorry for him indeed…

  4. There are three ‘Marc Vincent’ products on TradeMe. If the products are fakes, shouldn’t TradeMe ban them?

  5. That’s the problem – they’re not fakes, just misrepresented. There is no such thing as a ‘DTS Prosound 3 Decoder’ and ‘MP3 digital PRO inputs’ just don’t exist. In fact advertising a non-existent DTS decoder should be alarming to Digital Theatre Technologies – here is a link to the DTS site http://www.dts.com/DTS_Audio_Formats/DTS_Audio_Formats.aspx
    No mention of Marc Vincent’s elusive decoder anywhere eh?

  6. I wonder how the real Marc Vincent (Head of Sennheiser China) feels now that his name has been hijacked by whitevanners.

  7. Ha ha! Probably well off his radar I guess, but these cretins must have been impressed by the German/Italian name…
    We should try to get a Marc Vincent amp for a WD review. I’m thinking some earthmoving equipment would be make for a fine durability test; once we’ve reduced it to a smoking ruin that is..

  8. White van and same sales pitch as all the reported scams this one operating in Pukekohe. Rego number of van “FEQ 248”.

  9. Great stuff Russell, let’s get our pitchforks and torches and run these varmints outta town!

  10. Marc Vincent can kiss my shiny metal ass! Oh…wait…I’m not Bender…

  11. Bloody Marc Vincent – grrrr…

  12. just been hit and I thought i was street wise …. NZ$800 … and for 30 mins i was chuffed. muppet but i will be on the look out

  13. Oh s**t Alex. I can’t believe people would stoop to ripping off an unwitting public, but that’s human nature I guess. Terrible 🙁

  14. Great story ,amazing that people get sucked into these scams !!!

  15. I USED TO CONSIDER MYSELF A FAIRLY “ON TO IT” AUDIOPHILE (ALLTHOUGH SOME YEARS AGO NOW) AND I THOUGHT I WAS REASONABLY STEETWISE AS WELL, BUT NO,I GOT SUCKED INTO A MARC VINCENT MV3000e HOME THEATRE SYSTEM BACK IN LATE NOVEMBER (SOLD BY A GUY & HIS WIFE/PARTNER, IN A WHITE TOYOTA HIACE VAN, DOING THE ROUNDS WHERE I WORK OUT IN OTAHUHU, AUCKLAND).
    I PAID $500.0O CASH FOR THE AMP/SUBWOOFER & FIVE SPEAKERS, WHICH SEEM TO WORK O.K, BUT THE AUDIO QUALITY IS SHIT & FOR SOME REASON THE WOOFER ONLY WORKS WHEN THE INBUILT RADIO INPUT IS SELECTED, AND NOT WHEN ANY OTHER FUNCTION IS SELECTED AND I ASSUME THERE IS NO IN BUILT DSP PROCESSOR AS THERE IS NO AUDIABLE DIFFERENCE IN THE SOUND WHEN SWITCHING BETWEEN DSP MODES, NO DIGITAL IN/OUTPUTS, NO HDMI IN/OUTPUTS & THE SYSTEM WAS DESCRIBED ON THE OUTER PACKAGING AS WELL AS ON THE AMP ITSELF AS BEING A 7.1 SURROUND SOUND SYSTEM, BUT THE REAR PANEL SPEAKER INPUTS & REMOTE ONLY HAS PROVISION FOR 5.1 SURROUND AND THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL HAS NO EXPLANATION OF HOW THE SYSTEM OR REMOTE CONTROL WORKS AT ALL, ONLY THE SPECIFICATIONS OF THE AMP & SPEAKERS AND SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO PLACE THE SPEAKERS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE SYSTEM……BUGGER ! IF ANYONE OUT THERE IN AUDIOPHILE LAND WANTS TO INSPECT OR POSSIBLY FIX/REPAIR MY AMP, I WOULD BE MORE THAN WILLING. CHEERS DARREN

  16. Sorry to hear this Darren, this is disgusting for you. By the way the cads responsible for Marc Vincent have released another skunky brand called ‘Kevlar Audio’. The specs are remarkably similar: http://www.kevlaraudio.com/products/amplifiers/

    Beware 🙁

  17. I got scammed!!!! GRRRRHHHHHH What do people do in these situations with their goods?

  18. Hey Russell do you know the rego you gave belonged to a 1994 green nissan largo?

  19. um I’m confused… I’ve been lent by a mate a MV300e Marc Vincent sound system and the bass and one of the speakers has already been set up… just cmon to check out how to set up the rest, not sure what you guys are talking about mine works great!

  20. But it comes from off the back of a van – what could possibly be dogy about that????

  21. Ma-3600 martinson audio made in Denmark. Being sold on TM and there ain’t nothing about them out there accept a dodgy website. If known as crap will complain to TM should get it out for false claim of made in denmark. ANyone know?

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