I would avoid broad brushing all Chinese audio products. There does exist a hierarchy of quality components/manufacturers as with virtually every other country. I'd recommend doing some research and gain more information on these class A solid state amplifiers. I'm unfamiliar with them but do know that there are very good quality tube amplifiers available from China just as there's poorer quality examples as well.
+2, excellent posts, gentlemen.
So much of North American and European high-end audio actually gets built in China, which the western companies normally keep that under their hat. And that’s not the budget or value brands I’m talking about.
Interestingly, my Chinese friends have told me China has actually become too expensive for manufacturing (not just audio, anything and everything), and they’ve already begun the shift to other locales en masse. Get ready to for production in places you would have never thought
Your list of countries is on target. At this point there are quite a few countries that can offer much cheaper labor than China these days. These countries will experience an increase in their standard of living just as China has over the past 20 to 25 years. Manufacturing jobs will do that for you. 30 years ago who would have thought china would have multiple numbers of millionaires and a middle-class population of its current size. Hello capitalism.
I own a Cayin 265Ai 40 watt class A integrated amp that I bought here a little over a year ago, and the build and sound quality are really impressive. Beautiful inside and out. Sounds different from my 300b for sure, timbres aren't as lifelike (surprise...) but beats it in the PRAT department. Amazing value.
The point is not that China can't produce quality gear, it's that China has complete disregard for trademarks, patents and making cheap knock offs, to say nothing about the environment or even human rights.
Yes you can buy reputable brand names made in China. But you can also buy junk with an expensive brand name on it, ditto with the parts inside.
I'd be cautious with stuff sold on Ebay, many Audioquest and PS Audio knock offs,etc, have been sold there and people ripped off.
Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Africa, and depending on how the politics go, Cambodia and Myanmar / Burma.Bando, of Japan..the transformer maker...has been using Indonesia for manufacturing it's main line (ie, bulk of transformers made, in numbers) of transformers, for quite some time now. Open up any Japanese (company) amp from the 70's through the 2010's and you might find a 'Bando' transformer in it.
@freediver - I own a number of the amps you mention. They sound very nice. In fact, I have a cheap 25 watt pure Class A Chinese amp that just spent significant time in my main system and I was truly impressed with its performance when matched with much higher priced gear. As people have said, I’m sure parts quality could be better and the designs may not be original (not necessary illegal - a US patent is good for only 20 years and that’s assuming it was patented to begin with). Try one out, you might be surprised.
I find the charge of stealing a circuit design interesting.
For example, when it comes to tube amplifiers, but a handful of designs exist, with almost all developed between the 1930s and 1950s. Beyond the SET designs from Western Electric and that ilk, with an exception or three, push-pull tube amplifiers use the Dynaco (taken from the guitar industry), Mullard (99% of modern offerings), or Williamson circuit, the latter two offered to inspire creating products in the audio market. Same goes for power supplies.
When a company claims their circuit is proprietary, or its developed some exciting "innovations", it simply means they’ve added / removed / tried a different value part to what’s long existed, and felt it worked or sounded better. Look at the schematic (which no one provides anymore), and it will employ one of the aforementioned classic designs.
I’ll use a recipe as an analogy. A restaurant or home cook may have a recipe for chicken marsala or whatever you care to imagine. Their particular interpretation varies in the inclusion / ratio of ingredients and implementation. Does any rational person challenge or denigrate them for it?
The entire DIY community is based on the premise that there are some great designs that can be used to build great sounding audio gear. The best example is Nelson Pass and how he shares his excellent designs with the world so everyone can enjoy them if they are willing and able to build the gear. So basically the selection of the components and the attention to details in what separates a good product from a piece of garbage.
This amp is a popular one that the DIY guys like to mod. Its an old design that Nelson Pass speaks well of.