I don't understand the appeal of a $4500 amp made in China when you can buy a number of really nice American made integrated amps for that kind of money. Ayre ,Conrad Johnson, VTL, Rogue , McIntosh , Rogers......... some very fine choices.
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While researching Nubsound and Douk Tube amps I noted they produce some very expensive Tube amps costing thousands. It did get me to wondering, based upon the reviews of the cheap Tube amps, if it is that much of an improvement in audio quality. Some, like Germtune appear to be rebranded Nubsound amps.
People need to keep the politics out of this. I like most of you will try to buy American when possible. But there are times when buying a product made abroad makes more sense and is far more cost effective.
Buying a new Chinese made product that comes with a warranty and money back guarantee makes more sense than buying something without either especially if you don't have the money to eat the cost of a used piece of gear that croaks and needs hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair.
I think you are lumping all Chinese-made products together in one basket. Like many countries, China produces some low-priced products, but they are also capable of producing excellent high-end stuff, which necessarily dictates a higher price. Of course, all business people try to get as high a price as the market will bear, so there’s that. As far as whether you should, from a patriotic standpoint, purchase foreign products, that’s a personal choice. There are some foreign products shipped directly from China, so the US doesn’t really benefit, but there are others foreign companies such as Toyota and BMW that have American factories and dealerships employing thousands of people here. Rationalize things as you will.
@recluse "Are all these products in fact the same? with the hope that someone will pay more for a variety of reasons?"
No, they are not all the same. That said, many instances DO exist where the same product gets sold under different names, and different pricing. And the span of that range of pricing can really surprise. It's not difficult to find the same product offered for $X and for $5X. Rule Number One in business is buy low, sell high. Don't think the Chinese sellers did this first, consider how many high-end audio loudspeaker companies claim to use a special version of a driver made only for them or everyday cable marketed for audiophiles at unbelievable (100 - 1000X) markup.
Personally, I think it makes sense to look into Chinese gear on the low-end. They offer a wide array products with a fair amount of what more expensive ones provide. However, once you get to the mid to upper ranges, service after the sale, intermediate / long term product reliability, and overall track record of a company become some of the more important factors. With a few exceptions, you just don't get that from the Chinese products
Quality control, attention to detail, proper design, better parts, better transformers (big one there), and better customer service and warranty work are all reasons why the higher priced units are worth it. Quality transformers aren't cheap and greatly influence the sound. They are critical IMO to make a great tube amplifier.
It all leads to better security and most importantly, better sound. I normally don't even recommend tube products unless we start talking around the $3,000 mark as I feel that is where all the above start to line up.
My Jolida 502P was compared (by me, I schlepped) to much more expensive things here and there and I concluded its main issue was regardless of its sonic excellence, it was too inexpensive for audio snobs. It just was. My hand made Dennis Had Inspire "Fire Bottle" HO (it’s a HO) cost me 1200 bucks nearly new, and the latest batch of triodes he’s been making on his cute little workbench (!) are about 1500 new (you should have efficient speakers as these things are 10 to 12 watts per side, so there’s that). I think these Had amps are world class, but I know they're not as they don't cost as much as a Shindo. My amazingly good sounding Schiit Freya (USA Made) sells for about 700 clams (actual clams, weirdly). Are these non recommendable? Should I be ashamed? Too late…I’m sad now, and shuffling off to look at my little pile of substandard gear…*sniff*…
++ What chayro said. Also. I have a Line Magnetic Audio amp. Very well made and sounds fantastic. It is easy to think all products from China are of poor quality, not all are. But I think resale value could be poor since there exist some many preconceived ideas about Chinese audio quality being substandard.
Not a tube amplifier, but a good example of a current Chinese SOTA product. Please review this link and tell us if your build and parts quality requirements are not met. Note the transformers:
3 year fully transferable warranty.
The general issue with the lower end Chinese audio gear is not necessarily their sound quality. The main problem is the inconsistency in the build quality. Its hit or miss. If you get a "good" unit, it could last a long time and continue to sound good. If someone is handy with electronics and a soldering gun, one could get a low-mid priced point-to-point wired Chinese piece and simply upgrade the tubes and some of the passive components and end up with an excellent sounding audio gear at a fraction of the price of a name brand piece.
The Denafrips equimpment looks interesting. Do you have one of these units?
I've never been opposed to Chinese gear, and this stuff is impressive.
Their lineup appears to have a decent build quality. A nice complinment for my amazing,Chinese made amp.
When I make a move to the dark side(streaming/file playing) I may put this company on the list for a dac, to plug into the yet unknown streamer.
Meanwhile, just gonna continue listening my fabulous record spinning machine.
I did indeed purchase a Terminator and am thoroughly impressed with it. So effortless and yet with resolution and fidelity that exceeds anything I have previously experienced. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Re: streaming, I was at the same place one year ago that you appear to be now. I cannot imagine living without it at this point, although I retained my CDP as a transport feeding the Terminator via AES/EBU for enjoying my collection of silver discs on occasion.
Hey Dave. I’ve heard the Denafrips and it’s an excellent unit. It is also not a budget minded product - hence the higher quality, higher price I talked about in my post.
My first foray into nicer tube amps was the Shuguang s845mk and s200mk. Great units but when compared to something like the MastersounD Compact 845, it simply doesn’t compare on a handful of facets. Still, I have them in the closet and struggle with the idea of them leaving my possession. At the time it was as the best move I had made in this hobby so there is a bit of sentimental value to it.