Audioquest Cable Authentication Process

Has anyone here ever sent cables in to Audioquest to have them authenticated?

For those unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, Audioquest offers a free service to authenticate cables with their name on them. You fill out an online form, ship them in to AQ, and they inspect them. If they’re legit, they ship them back to you at no cost. If, however, they are deemed to be counterfeits, they are destroyed, and you get nothing in return…

Well even if they are authentic they are not providing you a certificate to be able to resell as authentic. Other than piece of mind they are not helping you out just protecting their brand.

Well…If you buy something with PayPal, their “Purchase Protection” plan specifically protects you if you receive counterfeit goods, and they refund full price paid + shipping.

So I agree that as a seller, you don’t really have a way to get the authentication done to prove authenticity, but as a buyer, you can be protected if you do get a fake cable.

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Yes that makes sense. I never thought of that as an option. You will need audio quest to provide that documentation to pay pal.

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Don’t put a whole lot of trust into the buyer protection offer from PayPal. I could tell you personal horror stories. Suffice to say they don’t stand by it often.

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How do you prove the cable you received is the same cable you sent in for authentication? Does Audioquest send back a document stating the cable was counterfeit? A positive about PayPal protection. I ordered a 2m Audioquest Thunder from a seller on Audiogon he shipped USPS 1st class not insured from Arizona where it somehow went to Los Angeles Post Office system never to be found again. After 30 days I provided the information and I received a full refund. The seller wanted to split the cost of cable initially and would not offer full refund till PayPal stepped in.

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In early 2019, had sent Audioquest a package of three cables I suspected were counterfeit which were purchased on Ebay. The Columbia RCA 1.5m sounded substandard. The Columbia RCA 1m seemed like it had a loose connection. The Coffee HDMI cable wound up having sticky stuff on both ends where it connected at my Anthem processor and Oppo UDP-203.

The person from Audioquest called me back after examining them. He advised the connectors on the Columbia RCA 1m cable were okay, but they needed to replace the DBS on it - and they did with a newer one. After taking apart the Columbia RCA 1.5m cable, they discovered it was counterfeit. So they kept and destroyed it. The Coffee HDMI cable they replaced with a new one. He told me all Audioquest cables are always covered - just as long as they still part of the current offering. He could not answer why there was sticky stuff on the two ends of that cable.

I requested a replacement for the counterfeit cable with a Water 1.5m at a discount price, but he replied that service was unfortunately not available to them. I asked if arrangements could be made to have a dealer sell me that cable at a discount price. He answered it would be up to the dealer - and they could sell me that cable for any price they chose.

My dealer had zero sympathy and offered zero discount so I purchased my Water 1.5m through an authorized online dealer at a slightly lower cost.

Audioquest did not send any Certificates of Authenticity. How would a buyer know that it applied to that particular cable since there are no serial numbers?

Was very pleased with Audioquest’s service. Highly recommended for buyers of their cables which are not sold by authorized dealers. It helpful now that PS Audio getting all my business when purchasing Audioquest cables :slightly_smiling_face:

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As a general note, like all cables from hi end cable makers the markup on AQ is massive. But as result it is quite easy to get big discounts from msrp from authorized brick/mortar dealers (and AQ is most widely carried cable brand of all - probably half or more brick/mortar dealers sell), assuming you have built a relationship. Doesn’t mean everyone will but check around and build relationships. I don’t want to get into percentages but well worth the effort. Bundle a bunch of AQ stuff and discounts can really flow. Suffice it to say that AQ really incentivizes dealers to move their stuff and dealers usually will to pass a fair amount of the incentive on to good customers.

AQ posts their retail price list at bottom of their site.


Siltech and Crystal serialize their cables and will validate a serial number as authentic. This solves shipping and destruction of fakes of which there are many of these brands. Due diligence is required when buying used cables.

Nordost places serial numbers on their cables and other ways to verify
the genuineness of their products…

Best wishes

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I’ve never understood ‘authentication’ for cables that aren’t serial numbered. It seems to me when cables aren’t manufactured with some means, such as a unique serial number, branded into the cable itself ‘authentication’ would ultimately have to come down to destructive analysis. Meaning if the manufacturer has to resort to that you may be up a creek without a replacement. In short, for exactly the same reason all gear is serial numbered, cables should be as well. I would also sympathize with any manufacturer who says no to replacement of a counterfeit depending on how it was purchased. Buy only from a verified authorized dealer and buyer beware if purchased from any outlet that Audioquest (or any other cable manufacturer) doesn’t affirm is authorized. I’ve learned my lesson on this one. I refuse to purchase gear or accessories from anyone other than an authorized dealer I can verify is authorized (I’ve done so numerous times directly with the manufacturer).


There are obviously a number of non-destructive inspection techniques that can be used to identify knock-off cables (or other equipment, for that matter) if you know exactly what to look for. The manufacturer knows exactly what to look for, so I don’t question AQ’s ability to spot a fake.

I also agree that no manufacturer should be under any obligation to provide a replacement for a counterfeit product, unless it was purchased via an authorized channel. Interestingly, I’ve read of specific instances in the past where counterfeit golf equipment was being sold through authorized channels, and the sellers had no idea that the equipment wasn’t legit. In each of those cases, the equipment was manufactured in China, and the chain of custody was breached during shipping. In theory, the same could happen for stuff like cables coming out of China, in which case even an authorized retailer could unknowingly receive fake goods.

That said, I’ve never worried that AQ cables coming from an authorized seller might not be legit…only thinking in terms of “used” cables selling on Audiogon, U.S. Audiomart, etc…

A few years ago, I bought some 2m Audioquest Red River XLR cables used off of eBay. They looked and felt legit. My intention was to cut the cables in half and get Audioquest Red River Labelled XLR’s (with the correct mating ends). While I’m perfectly capable of soldering Neutrik XLR’s (which I also did), the cost was not that much having the AQ Factory do it for me.

They were authentic cables and AQ will do any custom job you like with their stuff (at a price of course). They won’t sell you bulk cable and have the factory terminate it though.

I even bought Mackenzie Cable by the foot of off eBay and XLR terminated it myself.

Absolutely no difference in sound quality between my terminations and AQ’s. But the AQ’s look “cooler” :joy:.