The Speakon's quality of manufacture and reliability is said to make it a premium item, often used as a selling point in product brochures. That cachet is, naturally enough, reflected in the price, which represents an opportunity for unscrupulous producers to undercut Neutrik by passing off inferior connectors as Speakons.
"This isn't only about the commercial damage to Neutrik through loss of legitimate trade," says Neutrik's CEO, Werner Bachmann. "There is also damage to our reputation when users find inferior performance from what purports to be a premium product."
Bachmann explains that because the fake components are made of lower grade materials and often to incorrect manufacturing tolerances, connections may not be secure, leading to loss of audio quality and, over time, breakdowns. But there's a further aspect to the danger which also affects the reputation of other manufacturers.
"While manufacturers generally take care to use premium componentry with their top-of-the-range products, when it comes to their budget ranges they are often tempted to use a cheaper, unbranded source for cables and the like," explains Bachmann. "If they haven't satisfied themselves that the components used in these cables are the genuine article, they are not only harming Neutrik's reputation but doing themselves a disservice too."
Bachmann stresses that only by sourcing products through official channels can manufacturers and users be sure that they are getting the performance quality they are expecting.