Crazy collector prices in ebay and other strange occurrences.

Since my last article about the history of Beyerdynamic I had very little free time for writing, after all this is a personal blog and I work night shifts, so inspiration is not really around the corner.
On a very personal level some important things happened or are happening right now, so these days my mind isn’t really on this blog. I suppose the only good side of not making money from my writing is not actually having a schedule to follow, I write when I’m in the mood and that’s about it.
This is the part where I should promise making more updates and all that Jazz, but I’ll not make promises I can’t keep. I will on the other hand promise that I’ll try to share more photos of my compact disc and book collection just for kicks. After all vinyl enthusiasts do it all the time so why can’t compact disc collectors do the same.

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Franklin’s Indians

As for those collections, these last weeks were positively inspiring and quite expensive to be
completely sincere.
My music collection is slowly growing thanks to some online purchases on Ebay and CDON. Albums by Laura Pausini, Jimi Hendrix and the first three scores from the Indiana Jones movies are now in my possession. I’m still waiting for two Laura Pausini live albums and two studio ones by Meat Loaf.
In the book department and thanks to Ebay, I finally bought some books by David Hepworth, Akio Morita and Michael J. Fox, most of them are used but I don’t mind at all.
I also bought two pretty amazing books from other places, one is called “Franklin’s Indians” and the other is “Jazz Covers“, both books are excellent in my opinion. “Franklin’s Indians is about one of my favorite motorcycle brands. As for “Jazz Covers” it’s a very visual book about the covers of Jazz vinyl albums, it’s one of those book which is perfect for the vinyl audiophile. On a curious collector note, I paid 7€ for the Indian book, an amazing deal because these go for more than 30€ new and on amazon.com some try to sell them for more than $200!

Now let’s talk about Ebay and the reason for the strange title you read above.
Sellers these days are getting quite absurd for the money they request for old Sony Walkmans, some not working at all. I won’t even try to explain my anger when I see the price some ask for a original blue colored Sony TPS-L2 Walkman, more absurd is the fact some Marvel collectors actually buy it for insane prices just because it was in a movie! This arrived to the point of some people painting historical models that resemble the L2 just to sell them for more cash, disgusting I know but some Ebay sellers are completely bonkers.
That’s also a pretty good reason why I think the director of Guardians of the Galaxy trolled those sellers and collectors with a certain Microsoft flop, besides the joke that was intended on the movie of course.

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Sony TPS-L2

Anyway most vintage cassette Walkmans sold on Ebay these days are very expensive and sadly most were pieces of entry level gear at the time they were released so I don’t get the hype behind the sellers raising their prices.
Not all were entry models to be fair, some Walkmans were top of the line and I totally understand the higher prices for those, the TPS-L2 was a great machine for it’s time but the hype behind the pricing is totally unnecessary from my point of view. Sure we are not obliged to buy such a thing but sometimes I wish Sony would release a new L2 just to troll these people.

Ebay is a curious place full of strange occurrences.
I don’t buy really expensive stuff there but I often can’t believe the “no return” policy of some sellers, some of which don’t even take detailed photographs of their items or explain their current state. They go as far as to say that it’s the buyer who should make the questions, lazy unprofessional bastards!
Items marked “as is” or “not tested” only show the seller doesn’t really care about who buys the item, what’s important is to sell it to make a profit.  My favorite one is the “as new” in the description, when it doesn’t have all the accessories of a new item.
Ebay has all some fault in the current state of things, but sellers and buyers are also to blame. If people refused to buy bullshit, I’m sure many sellers would update their way of doing things.
Then there’s shipping, some sellers abuse the shipping option and increase their prices. Some will say it’s all part of the game but I prefer to call it bullshit fraud.

Not all things are bad on Ebay but some very strange occurrences do happen from time to time. As for me I’m glad I can buy stuff there, it saved me hundreds of Euros in a very short time.
That’s all for now and see you soon if things go as planned.

A glimpse in to the history of Beyerdynamic headphones.

I’m a fan of Beyerdynamic headphones since I had the chance to try the DT 880 in the 90s, right now I have some models from the brand in my collection and they are a joy to hear, so what comes next is a labour of love of an enthusiast and should be viewed as such.

I tried to be accurate on my research and I’m always open to corrections and constructive opinions. Any help is welcome so please feel free to leave a comment.
This article will focus on headphones I find relevant for the hobby and will be edited when needed.
It’s quite difficult to date some models without the original launch dates from Beyerdynamic, thus most release dates are approximated. I did my best but I can only do so much with the material available. A reference is provided in the end of the article.

Eugen Beyer and Beyerdynamic.

Eugen Beyer was born St. Petersburg in 1903. His German parents would later move to Stockholm, Sweden and at the age of eighteen the future electrical engineer moved from Stockholm to Berlin, a land of opportunity for a young intelligent mind.

In 1924 he founded in Berlin the “Elektrotechnische Fabrik Eugen Beyer”, a company that would start by manufacturing / developing amplifiers and loudspeakers for the first movies with sound circa 1926, a decade later in 1937 the company would release the DT 48 the first dynamic headphones. The DT 48 model would be manufactured for 56 years with only a very few modifications.

Many other technical achievements in recording and reproduction of sound would lay the foundations to a now global company.

1965_opening of the building in Heilbronn
Beyerdynamic building at Heilbronn 1965.

With approximately 350 employees in various departments , their research and
development is made “in house” and Beyerdynamic still manufactures products in Heilbronn, Germany. The company takes pride on the handcrafted work that goes it to their products and the “Made In Germany” logo further accentuates the importance given to their specialized employees who not only manufacture but also keep a close eye in the quality of the final product, something very few companies can do these days.

Eugen Beyer died in 1959, his family still owns the company after more than 90 years, an unusual practice by today’s business standards, but in my opinion also one of the reasons the company respects and listens to their clients.

Chronology 

1937 > DT 48 – A 75 years old legend.
Manufactured from 1937 to the end of 2012 the DT48 is an unusual sight in the consumer oriented world. Few companies can brag about having made a consumer product for so long.
The DT 48S model was released circa 1964, at the time it had a frequency response from 16 to 18000Hz just like the DT48, in 1971 the frequency response would go up to 20000Hz. These headphones are still avidly collected and have a massive community behind them. Tyll Hertsens from the site Innerfidelity.com measured the DT 48 E if you wonder about the sound and quality.

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The historical Beyerdynamic DT 48.

 

1969 > DT 480 Sound Juwel / DT 100 – The modular construction.
The DT 480 model had a impedance of 200 Ohm, with a frequency response from 20 to 20000Hz (Circa 1971), these Stereo headphones are in many ways similar with the DT 100 model which had an impedance of 400 Ohm and frequency response starting at 30Hz, much like the DT 202 model.
I still associate their modular construction with the 70’s and 80’s radio / TV broadcast headphones and headsets like the DT 102, or the DT 108 and DT 109 that would later be the exclusive headsets of the Olympic games in Seoul/Korea (1988).  

1970 > DT 900 – The 70’s child.
The DT 900 model had a impedance of 600 Ohm, with a frequency response from 30 to 18000Hz. The DT 900 came in a very 70’s red colour and even the ads were a product of that time.

1973 > DT 204 – Quadrophonic surround headphones.
A product of the sound advances of the 70’s these quadrophonic headphones would allow the reproduction of surround sound encoded media.

1976 > ET 1000 & N1000 – The electrostatics made in Germany.
The ET 1000 electrostatic model had a frequency response from 10Hz up to 25000Hz.
The N1000 was needed to push the power hungry electrostatics, in fact it could push two pairs if necessary. Sadly these were the only electrostatics Beyerdynamic ever did, they were made at least until circa 1984.
Looking at the quality of their current Tesla technology I can only imagine the amazing things they could have achieved had they continued developing electrostatic headphones.

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The Beyerdynamic ET 1000 & N1000.

1976 > DT 220 – A closed back with a lot of personality.
The DT 220 model had a impedance of 400 Ohm, with a frequency response from 20 to 20000Hz. These very robust closed back headphones probably were the inspiration for the DT 770 design.

1976 > DT 440 / DT 444 Infraphone – The silver twins.
Both models are similar in design, the DT 440 was a wired dynamic stereo headphone with a impendance of 600 Ohm and a frequency response from 20 to 20000Hz. The DT 444 Infraphone was a wireless model that needed a infrared emitter to work.
There was also a model called the DT 441. Sadly I couldn’t find more reference specifications about the 444 and 441 models.

1980 > DT 880 – A legend is born.
The release of the DT 880 would prove to be an advance in the quality of dynamic headphones. Beyerdynamic compared the performance of this model with electrostatic headphones something unheard at the time.
In the 80’s 3 versions of the DT 880 model were manufactured, the “Studio”, “Monitor” and standard versions, each had a different target market. They differed slightly between each other on design, construction choices and frequency response.
The “Studio” model had a frequency response from 5 to 35000Hz, the “Monitor” went from 5 to 30000Hz and the standard version went up to 25000Hz. All models had a 600 Ohm impedance. The vintage DT 880 is now a collectors item, after more than 3 decades some still sound amazing for their age.

DT880
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 during the 80’s.

1980 > DT 660 / DT 550 / DT 330 –  The forgotten ones.
In the 80’s Beyerdynamic had models that were sadly eclipsed by the DT 880 legend.
(Circa 1984) The DT 660 MKII had frequency response from 15 to 25000Hz with a 600 Ohm impedance. The DT 550 had a frequency response from 10 to 22000Hz also with a 600 Ohm impedance and finally the DT 330 MKII had a 40 Ohm impedance and a frequency response from 15 to 18000Hz. All the models had very respectable specifications so I’m sure many collectors still want them.

1985 > DT 770 – The musician best friend.
The DT 770 closed back model would also become a legend on it’s on right. The very robust Pro version is still cherished by musicians in every part of the world. The 10 to 30000Hz frequency response and 600 Ohms impedance (Circa 1993) were also probably very good reasons this model achieved a cult status in recording studios.

1985 > DT 990 – An open dynamic reference.
The DT 990 was for a time the best open back model Beyerdynamic had to offer, the 600 Ohm impedance and 5 to 350000Hz frequency response made these flagship headphones a professional reference.

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The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro and DT 770 Pro during the 90’s.

2006 > Headzone – Surrounded by sound.
A technology for reproducing 5.1 virtual surround sound via headphones, mostly a tool for professionals that would later be released to the mainstream public.

2009 > T1 – Tesla technology unleashed.
The T1 model was the first headphone to bring the new tesla technology to the table, the new flagship model had a frequency response from 5 to 50000Hz and a impedance of 600 Ohm.

2015 > DT 1770 Pro
Inspired by the DT 770 the new DT 1770 Pro is a closed back studio flagship which uses the same tesla technology as the T1. The frequency response goes from 5 to 40000Hz and the impedance is 250 Ohm.  

2016 > DT 1990 Pro
The DT 1990 Pro are the evolution of the DT 990 open back model. The specifications are the same as the DT 1770 Pro.

2024 > The Future.
Beyerdynamic will be 100 years in the year 2024.
I’m sure many good things are still yet to come.

Editor notes and acknowledgements.
Again please note the chronology above only refers to relevant headphones, the Beyerdynamic timeline is full of important achievements, for more information please visit beyerdynamic.com. Also I’m well aware I didn’t include the famous DT 49 used in Plattenbars (record-bars) in the 50’s.

The frequency response and impedance are there just to give an very general idea about the specifications of the headphones. You can visit the wegavision website and research the old Beyerdynamic catalogs or again go to Beyerdynamic.com and access their specification pages.

This article would not be possible without the help of many collectors who contributed with catalogs on the wegavision website and many others who devoted their time to collect, restore and measure Beyerdynamic headphones.  To all of them my sincere thank you!

My sincere gratitude goes also to Beyerdynamic for letting me use in this article the photographs of the Beyerdynamic building in Heilbronn and the DT48.
Last but not least for the correction on the city of birth of Eugen Beyer.

References:
http://www.generationaudio.com
http://www.beyerdynamic.com
wegavision.pytalhost.com (Catalogues)
http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/data/dt100.htm (Specifications)
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/historic-beyerdynamic-dt-48-e-25-ohm
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadraphonic_sound
http://www.radiomuseum.org
http://www.head-fi.org

Copyrights:
For legal reasons all images belong to their respective owners and are not included on the main Creative Commons license of my blog. 
If you want to use any image of this article please contact their respective owners.
The Beyerdynamic building in Heilbronn and DT48 photographs are used with permission from Beyerdynamic.
All other photos belong to the Beyerdynamic catalogues found at Wegavision, they are used to depict old models of historical interest.

My rules for ebay.

This is my way of buying stuff on ebay. It works for me, so maybe it works for others. I don’t sell stuff so I’ll not touch that topic.

  • Before buying stuff check the import rules of your country. When buying from outside Europe I never ever go above 22€, mostly because above that I’ll have to pay taxes in Portugal.
  • Be polite on your ratings and comments. If the seller is serious try to understand his/her point of view. Before going for a negative review, just request your money back. Most Sellers will return it. If they refuse ebay will try to solve the problem.
  • Always return if you found a serious shop, it’s better than getting ripped off just because the price was 5 cents cheaper.
  • Always pay attention to how many sales and negative feedback a shop has,  lots of complains are usually a no go for me.
  •  Pay attention to the shipping price, some things might look cheap but they aren’t.
  • Always read the description of the product, twice.
  • If it’s too amazing to be true, it’s not true. Scammers love eBay
  • Test the seller before committing too much money on a parcel.  When I buy in Europe I try to know a seller and only after some cheap buys will I risk buying expensive stuff.
  • Avoid bids if you can, and be prepared to lose sometimes if you bid on ebay.
  • Some things are just too expensive on ebay, I once saw four tuna cans selling on ebay for about 25€ plus shipping, in Portugal you can buy them for 6€. Enough said.
  • Last but most important, use common sense when buying stuff on ebay, always pay with paypal and never ever pay money outside the ebay system our you’ll probably lose it all for scammers.

This list is by no means a complete one, but it covers my basics of buying safely on ebay.

Consumerism gone bad.

In 2012 Charles Duhigg  wrote an amazing article in the NYT called “How Companies Learn Your Secrets“. The article is still fresh after all these years and depicts a consumer society gone bad.

Sadly these days consumer data is the new gold for corporations, social networks, search engines, online markets and other corporations will go to great lengths to acquire information about us.

Users are not forced to use said services and I understand that corporations need to make a living from selling services and goods, what I dislike is the fact most users and consumers think they can easily control what they share with corporations.

The fact some corporations have enough data to predict with confidence a pregnancy is enough to make me wonder what other things they can predict.

Ebay the Chinatown of the world.

chinatownDon’t get me wrong from the title because I love China, it has a beautiful culture, amazing views outside the urban areas, and pretty badass Ebay shops.

The Chinese I know are very hard workers, they take their work and income very seriously and thus Ebay is the perfect window to sell stuff to a compulsive consumer world.
People might complain about the time it takes to receive stuff from Shanghai and give bad reviews when they don’t receive their goods but they’ll keep coming back for more cheap stuff, let’s be sincere everybody loves free shipping.

I don’t like all made in China products, some have poor quality and very little user safety, but if you know what to buy and find a decent Ebay store, Chinese clones are amazing ways to save money. Sure I don’t enjoy all imitations but in some cases they actually improve the design of some products from the feedback they receive from customers.
I dare to say some factories in China are more open source than some GNU/Linux operating systems.

Some stuff I won’t buy from Chinese Ebay stores, mostly anything that is a intimation of a known brand or pirated media goods. Those I will never buy on Ebay!
One thing is to buy a multi-tool card imitation, or a cheap USB dust cover, the other is buying a clone of a swiss brand watch. Besides the massive headaches one might get because of legal issues of importing stuff like that, the quality of complex cheap goods is never a good one.

Ebay these days is in fact a Chinatown with all the good and bad things that brings.

One thing most American and European consumers don’t understand is the fact cheap stuff will often be made of cheap materials, be it of Chinese, Portuguese or American origin. Plus cheap stuff comes at a high social price but that’s a boring detail because free shipping is so nice isn’t it?

Ebay is an amazing tool, if consumers know what they want to buy, if sellers are actually serious, if you don’t have bad luck when receiving your parcels and if your country doesn’t have draconian import laws, in Portugal anything above 22€ (Product + Shipping) will be taxed and most people don’t try going around it because papers will be requested and the legal outcome will not be pretty. To be sincere I wouldn’t spend more than 20€ in one parcel from China anyway, the risk of losing money would be too high.

Be it in a true Chinatown or a online one be careful with your purchases, always use paypal and never ever go for any other type of payment especially if the seller requests it.
Remember there always be bad sellers, best way is to report them to Ebay and be safe.