Mark Levinson made a name for himself designing audio amplifiers in the '70s. And then he sold it. (Literally, he sold his name—it's now owned by the Harman Specialty Group, and he—Mark Levinson, the person—can't use the name "Mark Levinson" for marketing audio gear.) Recently, Mark Levinson (the person again), whose current company is called Red Rose Music, was outed for allegedly (yeah, that's it, allegedly) selling rebadged Chinese equipment as if it were the rarefied result of Herculean research and development efforts on the part of himself and his "associates." Compare, for example, the $5,000 Red Rose Music M1 and the $788 Korsun/Dussun D9. Guess that 6X markup is what you get for having a good name...well, sort of having it.
Say what you will about the camera industry, at least for the most part we know what's what, and consumers aren't very susceptible to the magic dust effect, whereby something can be touched with a magic name or a magic "modification" and be passed along for 6x or 12x profit margins (1.5x, maybe). In photography—again, generallly speaking—we can decide what we want to pay for a name, and we're more likely to make buying decisions based on features and performance.
(Oh, and incidentally, Chinese audio stuff is da Bomb. A lot of it is really good, and for the prices—the best prices, anyway—it laps the field. A great deal of the hoity-toity, high-priced specialty gear you can pay big bucks for at audio boutiques these days is Chinese OEM.)
Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON