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Warning: Neumann U-87 Scam Alert on Reverb
Old 17th January 2020
  #1
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Resolved : Neumann U-87 Scam Alert on Reverb - "Music City Pro Audio"

I purchased a used Neumann U-87 from Music City Pro Audio on Reverb. It had a fake/aftermarket capsule that costs $850 to replace.

I didn't know until I sent the mic to be evaluated/serviced by Neumann until 10 months later, well beyond the return period so I have no legal standing. I had my suspiscions and should have had it checked out earlier, but I have another one and didn't want to go through the paperwork, shipping, eval cost, etc.

I contacted the seller several times. He expressed no concern that he sold a fake mic -- just that it was beyond the return period, and that I couldn't prove it was the same U-87, or that I may have been the one that switched the capsules.

Lessons learned:

a.) Do not buy anything from this seller.

b.) If you're going to buy a used mic, have its authenticity verified by the manufacturer immediately (within return period).

-----
Update: 1/20/2020
I am fighting this after all. Because another person on Reverb has been scammed by this seller, I'm not going quietly into the night. I have demanded the full amount of the repair be refunded.

———
Update 1/21/2020
The fine folks at Reverb have covered the entire cost of the repair - including shipping, labor, taxes. That deserves a big 5 star rating.

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement from you who post here.

Last edited by CrankyChris; 21st January 2020 at 11:27 PM.. Reason: UPDATE
Old 17th January 2020
  #2
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

they seem to have several U87ai's.. But MANY on ebay..
It IS possible that it was like that when THEY bought it..Not taking up for them BUT possible..
Vintage King has NONE...

But, IF they stated "All original" then you should have options, IMHO..
Old 17th January 2020
  #3
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
they seem to have several U87ai's.. But MANY on ebay..
It IS possible that it was like that when THEY bought it..Not taking up for them BUT possible..
Vintage King has NONE...

But, IF they stated "All original" then you should have options, IMHO..
Right...but if you're buiness niche is a used Neumann mic seller.....

Reverb wouldn't refund. Also, they wouldn't let me redo my feedback which really pisses me off AND it may tell you why this seller has so much great feedback.

The listing text:
This microphone is in perfect functioning condition and good cosmetic condition. The plastic nub on the high pass filter switch has snapped off. The switch works but you will need to use a little pointy device to engage and unengage.

To me, "perfectly functioning" means the capsule functions exactly as a U87 capsule would.
Old 17th January 2020
  #4
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
Right...but if you're buiness niche is a used Neumann mic seller.....

Reverb wouldn't refund. Also, they wouldn't let me redo my feedback which really pisses me off AND it may tell you why this seller has so much great feedback.

The listing text:
This microphone is in perfect functioning condition and good cosmetic condition. The plastic nub on the high pass filter switch has snapped off. The switch works but you will need to use a little pointy device to engage and unengage.

To me, "perfectly functioning" means the capsule functions exactly as a U87 capsule would.
Well, not to nick pick but NOT the same as "100% original", that's more like "it works"..IMHO..
They don't seem to have a web site OR a address that I could find..
IM just curious why they seem to have MANY U87ai's??

As for the Feedback, ebay is the same, I had a deal go bad day one, refunded he's money, BUT he still was able to leave me negative feedback, I could NOT...that was a REAL shock ...
Old 17th January 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
they seem to have several U87ai's.. But MANY on ebay..
It IS possible that it was like that when THEY bought it..Not taking up for them BUT possible..
Vintage King has NONE...

But, IF they stated "All original" then you should have options, IMHO..
I doubt that. I don't think they'd be accusing the OP of switching the capsules and be so defensive if they didn't switch the capsules.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a Chinese K67 capsule, in fact I know a mic builder who thinks that 797 Audio's capsules are in some ways superior to Neumann's, and said person also owns some U87s. But here, it sounds like a switch was intentional. They may have had a damaged Neumann capsule and switched it for a higher quality Chinese one, instead of paying $800 for a replacement, but they should've mentioned it in the ad. Maybe they also sent one that had the Chinese capsule by mistake, but they shouldn't have been so defensive with the OP, and certainly shouldn't have refused a return. They should have at least given a partial refund, enough for the OP to get a replacement capsule from Neumann.
Old 17th January 2020
  #6
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Sorry about your trouble man.

I too had a bad experience with this seller and a u87. Firstly they are a bit deceptive and will swap out the Neumann shock mount with a cheap aftermarket one. I was hip to that.

The mic i ordered had a bit of a dent on the head basket which I knew about. It wasn’t specifically disclosed but was apparent in the pictures.

Mic arrived and the figure of 8 pattern was cutting in and out. Opened a case and seller asked me to ship it back for a repair. There was also some plating coming off that was not disclosed in pictures or text so i became very hesitant. I shipped the mic back for a refund out of my own pocket. THEN seller tried to deduct a restock fee. I claimed BS and fought with them for a few days without success. Ultimately involved Reverb and they agreed since the plating issue was not disclosed.

Bottom line is AVOID these guys.
Old 19th January 2020
  #7
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
...and certainly shouldn't have refused a return. They should have at least given a partial refund, enough for the OP to get a replacement capsule from Neumann.
Yup!
Old 19th January 2020
  #8
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Klaus's Avatar
 

Anyone who sells Neumann mics professionally without disclosing that the original capsule- the core of any Neumann mic, and the main reason for its reputation as industry leader- has been removed, or partially replaced and reinstalled with aftermarket parts does not deserve Reverb's protection in such sale. The (professional) seller not knowing is no excuse. Gross Negligence is the term.

Contact Reverb again, bump it up to management, support your claim with photos, and submit Neumann's letter verifying that an unsuitable capsule was installed.

As to a Chinese capsule being acceptable in a Neumann mic: Never. At least not until buyers are comfortable with a Chevy engine in a Ferrari bought at full price.

Last edited by Klaus; 20th January 2020 at 08:19 PM..
Old 20th January 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post
Anyone who sells Neumann mics professionally without disclosing that the original capsule- the core of any Neumann mic, and the main reason for its reputation as industry leader- has been removed, or partially replaced and reinstalled with aftermarket parts does not deserve Reverb's protection in such sale. The (professional) seller not knowing is no excuse (Gross Negligence is the term.)

Contact Reverb again, bump it up to management, support your claim with photos, and submit Neumann's letter verifying that an unsuitable capsule was installed.

As to a Chinese capsule being acceptable in a Neumann mic: Never. At least not until buyers are comfortable with a Chevy engine in a Ferrari bought at full price.
Eh, if it's a higher quality Chinese capsule, if it performs the same, I don't care, assuming the seller discounts it by the $700-800 bucks I'd be paying for a replacement. Of course, I'm not terribly picky as long as it does the job the same.

But yeah it has to be mentioned, or at the very least the OP should have been either partially refunded (IMO they should be refunded $900 or so, since they'll also need to pay shipping both ways) or the seller should (read: needs to) allow them to return it.
Old 20th January 2020
  #10
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Higher quality chinese capsule?

Hmm I wonder who has made comments that have ultimately led people to have that kind of impression.

On another note, it is a shame there is no way for someone browsing listings to report problematic sales on Reverb. Not too long ago I saw some vintage preamps that were completely mislabelled...in a way that at least doubled what the average buyer might think they are worth.

On eBay, you can report stuff like that, and if you give convincing info they just take the listing down. On Reverb, I don’t think there is that option at all.

Last edited by toledo3; 21st January 2020 at 12:09 AM..
Old 20th January 2020
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
Higher quality chinese capsule?

Hmm I wonder who has made comments that have ultimately led people to have that kind of impression.

On another note, it is a shame there is no way to report problematic sales on Reverb. Not to long ago I saw some vintage preamps that were completely mislabelled...in a way that at least doubled what the average buyer might think they are worth.

On eBay, you can report stuff like that, and if you give convincing info they just take the listing down. On Reverb, I don’t think there is that option at all.
Not all Chinese capsules are made equal. 3U Audio, Maiku, and 797 Audio are companies that make pretty good capsules. Not every capsule made in China is one of those 32mm K67 capsules with the huge 10 dB peak.
Old 20th January 2020
  #12
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
Not all Chinese capsules are made equal. 3U Audio, Maiku, and 797 Audio are companies that make pretty good capsules. Not every capsule made in China is one of those 32mm K67 capsules with the huge 10 dB peak.
Well, some makers aim to change the frequency response of a k67-esque capsule to be flatter so that they can be used in circuits that don’t correct for the rise.

I am now reminded of reading some mic maker writing about that, and I think they described it as better. Maybe that is what you are referring to. I think that perspective is definitely a matter of context, and kind of a “hot take”.

But in the context of a real k67, the rise is basically part of a pre emphasis routine that ultimately leads to lower noise floor.
Old 20th January 2020
  #13
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

The quality of a replacement capsule is irrelevant. If it wasn't original, or wasn't replaced with original parts, then that should be disclosed or cause for a refund. Unfortunately that 10-month time period is a killer. As a seller I would absolutely honor someone coming back to me a month or two later in such a case. But almost a year later? Sorry dude... I would try and make the situation better instead of worse but I doubt there would be a resolution that could make everyone happy at that point.

Of course I would also disclose anything of that nature of which I was aware up front. Sorry you are dealing with this!
Old 20th January 2020
  #14
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=Dohreetoh;14473662]Eh, if it's a higher quality Chinese capsule, if it performs the same, I don't care, assuming the seller discounts it by the $700-800 bucks I'd be paying for a replacement./QUOTE]

At that price level I don't just want a professional tool, I also want liquidity. I want to know that I can get my money back out, most or all of it or maybe even more, and I can get it pretty fast if I need to. Buy an 87 with a Chinese capsule and you're simply throwing that aspect of your investment away.
Old 20th January 2020
  #15
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstapper View Post
The quality of a replacement capsule is irrelevant.
Exactly. Buying a Corvette with a Ferrari engine....it doesnt' matter. The Corvette was DESIGNED and TESTED to work with the Corvette engine.
Old 20th January 2020
  #16
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hit him up or reverb and if they do nothing chargeback. **** that. scum people who pull that ****.
Old 21st January 2020
  #17
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Klaus's Avatar
 

Under the old ownership (Chicago Music Exchange) REVERB had always been very cooperative when it came to addressing misrepresentations of items I bought. I have not noticed that the new owner (Etsy) has change that policy.
Old 21st January 2020
  #18
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Thank you for posting. I will never buy from that seller.
Best of luck to you.
Old 21st January 2020
  #19
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
I didn't know until I sent the mic to be evaluated/serviced by Neumann until 10 months later, well beyond the return period so I have no legal standing.
Don't be so quick to say that you have no legal standing.

Where do you live, and where is the seller's business?

Just b/c Reverb's return policy has run out, that does not mean the statute of limitations has run out on a fraudulent sale. In fact, I believe in this case it would be 2 yrs from receipt of the merchandise.

And the switched capsule argument is BS. Does it take 10 mos to swap a capsule? You can receive the mic on Monday morn, swap the capsule Monday afternoon, and on Monday eve, request a return for an incorrect capsule. Don't let, oh, you could have... stand in your way.

Talk to a lawyer, and see what they say. If you are in the USA, you have a free option here.

Cheers.
Old 21st January 2020
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
Eh, if it's a higher quality Chinese capsule, if it performs the same, I don't care, assuming the seller discounts it by the $700-800 bucks I'd be paying for a replacement.
it will never perform the same as a legit k870/87/67 unless it was manufactured by Neumann.

Not sure what "a higher quality chinese capsule" really means, but it's a counterfeit item if it's a Neumann Mic with an undisclosed aftermarket capsule that was not a direct replacement from neumann. full stop.

you can get a mic with a decent chinese capsule for a few hundred bucks.. but in no way does that make it worth what you would charge for a u87.
Old 21st January 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
it will never perform the same as a legit k870/87/67 unless it was manufactured by Neumann.

Not sure what "a higher quality chinese capsule" really means, but it's a counterfeit item if it's a Neumann Mic with an undisclosed aftermarket capsule that was not a direct replacement from neumann. full stop.

you can get a mic with a decent chinese capsule for a few hundred bucks.. but in no way does that make it worth what you would charge for a u87.
I'm not arguing that it's not a fraudulent sale. I'm just saying if it's cheap enough, which in this case it isn't, I might just consider keeping it around myself. It would have to be around the same as the Peluso clone for me to want to keep it around (so they'd probably have to discount it like $1000, assuming they wanted something like $2200 to start, which I'm aware is pretty low for a U87ai). I don't know what price the seller requested.

Now, I'm not saying the OP should be okay with that. I'm just saying that if it ends up being the same price as a popular clone, I'd consider keeping it around.
Old 21st January 2020
  #22
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I'm not arguing that it's not a fraudulent sale. I'm just saying if it's cheap enough, which in this case it isn't, I might just consider keeping it around myself. It would have to be around the same as the Peluso clone for me to want to keep it around (so they'd probably have to discount it like $1000, assuming they wanted something like $2200 to start, which I'm aware is pretty low for a U87ai). I don't know what price the seller requested.

Now, I'm not saying the OP should be okay with that. I'm just saying that if it ends up being the same price as a popular clone, I'd consider keeping it around.
In case it's not already clear, what you've unwittingly tripped over is that Neumann capsules are well known for being preeminent and virtually impossible to replicate satisfactorily, and it's hard for anyone who knows anything to accept that any replacement capsule, let alone a Chinese one, might be comparable let alone better.
Old 21st January 2020
  #23
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Update: Reverb has refunded the entire cost of the repair. Not sure what will happen to the seller but I hope he’s in prison. Thanks Reverb! Very satisfied customer.
Old 21st January 2020
  #24
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
Update: Reverb has refunded the entire cost of the repair. Not sure what will happen to the seller but I hope he’s in prison. Thanks Reverb! Very satisfied customer.
Congrats man. I seriously thought there was no way in hell anything constructive would happen 10 months down the road as at that point it is impossible to say who did what and when. Glad to be wrong.
Old 22nd January 2020
  #25
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

So I decided to check the seller's inventory. Very interesting.

https://reverb.com/item/30596688-neu...on-reverb-u-87

That's the exact same non-original case that came with mine.

and another....same case...

https://reverb.com/item/29208945-neu...on-reverb-u-87

and another....

https://reverb.com/item/30597711-neu...i-lowest-price

And here's a TLM 49 with the same case.....

https://reverb.com/item/28410168-neu...rice-on-reverb

It would be interesting to know if these had the original capsules
Old 22nd January 2020
  #26
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post
Under the old ownership (Chicago Music Exchange) REVERB had always been very cooperative when it came to addressing misrepresentations of items I bought. I have not noticed that the new owner (Etsy) has change that policy.
Ditto on old ownership and I think the old team is still running day to day now...

Just send an email with a link to this thread... perhaps they’re not aware of the scam. Challenge them to order a mic and see what they get in the mail!
Old 22nd January 2020
  #27
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
Update: Reverb has refunded the entire cost of the repair. Not sure what will happen to the seller but I hope he’s in prison. Thanks Reverb! Very satisfied customer.
That’s amazing... Reverb is the best...
Old 22nd January 2020
  #28
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
So I decided to check the seller's inventory. Very interesting.

https://reverb.com/item/30596688-neu...on-reverb-u-87

That's the exact same non-original case that came with mine.

and another....same case...

https://reverb.com/item/29208945-neu...on-reverb-u-87

and another....

https://reverb.com/item/30597711-neu...i-lowest-price

And here's a TLM 49 with the same case.....

https://reverb.com/item/28410168-neu...rice-on-reverb

It would be interesting to know if these had the original capsules
Chris... did you share this info with Reverb? It’s easy enough for them to call up a few of the buyers and see if they’ve been scammed... or, see if they’ve already had complaints but hadn’t noticed a pattern. Although, since you got a refund maybe they are aware... but, regardless, send them your detective work and maybe you’ll save some poor guy down the road

Last edited by bgood; 22nd January 2020 at 01:27 AM.. Reason: Sp
Old 22nd January 2020
  #29
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
Eh, if it's a higher quality Chinese capsule, if it performs the same, I don't care, assuming the seller discounts it by the $700-800 bucks I'd be paying for a replacement. Of course, I'm not terribly picky as long as it does the job the same.

But yeah it has to be mentioned, or at the very least the OP should have been either partially refunded (IMO they should be refunded $900 or so, since they'll also need to pay shipping both ways) or the seller should (read: needs to) allow them to return it.
This is a stupefying comment...

Not terribly picky? That’s different than being a sucker or a victim of a fraud, mate
Old 22nd January 2020
  #30
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So happy that Reverb made it right. They did good for me on my screwed up transaction with this seller.
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