I saw this query today on one of my favorite nightmare audio sites:
“I have a set of SR-60 Grados that need new cables. They haven’t been used all that much, but the conductors inside the cable are intermittent. The factory wants $45 to replace the cable, presumably with the same quality, and I don’t think it’s worth it. Is there a relatively inexpensive cable available that I can install myself?- Buy Chinese, Bury Freedom“
I almost responded to this post on the site, but then what could I say that wouldn’t be considered insulting? After all, this guy thinks $45 for a new cable is too much (the actual cost for a cable replacement by Grado is only $25), yet it seems by his cut-line quote “Buy Chinese. Bury Freedom” that he would be predisposed to buying US or European-made cable over Chinese cable at all costs.
I could have begun my response, “Dear Cheapskate, you espouse “patriotic” buying habits, yet you seem unable or unwilling to pony up enough scratch to put your money where your mouth is. If you REALLY wanted to “buy American” having Grado, who are, at least when I last checked, a solidly US-based company, do the out-of-warranty repair would have been the right thing to do. Or if for some reason you don’t want original OEM cable, Drew at Moon Audio can make you a custom cable with either Cardas (US made) or his own special Blue, Silver or Black Dragon cables. But I guarantee it will cost you more than $45 for a meter-long cable and the premium non-Chinese-made hardware to connect it. So, which will it be, a cheap DIY solution using Chinese-made cable or will you put your money where you claim your politics lie.”
Nowadays, if you want entry-level high-performance audio gear chances are that it will have been manufactured in China, or Viet Nam, or Malaysia, or someplace other than the US or Western Europe. Manufacturing costs are simply lower a lot of places that are not the United States. If you must “buy American” for whatever reasons you choose, expect that it will cost you more, whether you’re buying cable or other audio components. And if you insist of going with the least expensive option, don’t be too all that surprised if it is NOT made in the USA.