The ol "best" question.
Should be interesting to read what is "best"
What does "best" even mean?
Should be interesting to read what is "best"
What does "best" even mean?
Not sure it matters much. As long as robust manufacturing is involved, the end result really comes down to the engineer or engineering team.
In my system I have a power amp from Italy (Aloia), preamp from Scotland (Linn), phono preamp from the UK (Whest), conditioners from Japan (Acoustic Revive), transformer from USA (ExactPower), Sub from Canada (REL), speakers from USA (Wilson), DAC from USA (Audio Alchemy), transport from USA (Woo Audio), turntable from my basement (USA), power cables & interconnects from the Netherlands (Siltech), Japan (Acoustic Revive), USA (Jena Labs, JPS Labs, Cardas). It’s like the United Nations of stereo equipment, except they get along well with each other.
What country is free from corona?......we all all humans. Are countries even real? Have you ever stood on a border? It is just a piece of earth. We don't own any of this. In our oneness there is just us.....just Love.
Excellence and craftsmanship and beauty is where you find it....it can be from anywhere. It is all inside us all.....we are all beautiful....spread the joy and love everywhere.....needed these days especially.....but ALL WAYS needed.
random products and sources.
reel to reel tape decks---Swiss---Studer, Ampex--USA
turntables----Rockport--USA, Garrard---UK, Thorens----Germany, Micro Seiki----Japan......everywhere.
Electronics----darTZeel, CH Precision, Soulution--Swiss, Lamm---USA, Kondo---Japan, Ypsilon---Greece----everywhere
speakers-----Wilson, Magico---USA, Quad-----UK, Focal-----France, MBL-----Germany-----everywhere.
digital-----MSB---USA, dCS----UK, Lampi---Poland, Totaldac----France........everywhere.
in my own system the dominant source countries are Switzerland (Studer, darTZeel, Table Stable active anti-resonance), USA (Evolution Acoustics, Wave Kinetics tt, Saskia tt, Durand tonearm, King-Cello, Tripoint grounding), Japan (CS Port, Etsuro Gold cartridge, Miyajima Labs cartridge), Germany (Clearaudio cartridge).
passionate, music loving smart people are everywhere.
if we were to look at the per capita output of fine audio gear and the culture to support it.......Switzerland likely would score the highest. they are obviously really craftsman with their culture of the watch industry, have a high tech culture, lots of academic support, and their government really supports small businesses of the type to build audio gear. there are also lots of technical and metallurgy infrastructure that small electronics companies require to output product.
Well our stuff is the best, so the USA :)
Seriously though no-one seems to know what 'best' is when it comes to audio as there are too many variables. I really do think our stuff is the best, but that comes with a caveat- our amps are best on speakers on which they are comfortable. Other amps can drive a wider range of speakers, especially those of lower impedance and to some people that is far more important and I will argue that on such speakers those amps will work better than ours.
Now I also like balanced operation because its the best. But there is a standard to balanced operation and many high end manufacturers don't observe the standard. So there is a lot of variability to balanced operation; some manufacturers will tell you single-ended sounds better, and I really do think they think they aren't lying about that.
The bottom line here could be boiled down to 'there is no best' but that leaves out a lot of detail; the story is far richer than that!
Well, let's see...
Best wire- Synergistic Research, made in California.
Best amps- Raven Audio, made in Texas.
Best speakers- Tekton, made in Utah.
Best cartridges- Soundsmith, made in New York.
Best acoustic tweaks- Synergistic Research, CA.
Best electric tweaks- Krissy, made in NH.
Top contenders for turntables, tone arms- Graham, VPI.
Best digital- Ha! Fooled ya! No such thing!
The USA has been the best for quite some time now. A situation only bound to become ever more obvious over time as the weakness of reliance on global supply chains worsens.
Funny question deserves a funny answer. England, followed by Great Britain, and then London. Germany was really good but got bombed out of existence in the marketplace some time ago.
On a serious note, it's not the country but the gifted individuals in the company that overcome hurdles, cash flow issues, red tape, parts shortages and moody geniuses to give birth to their creations in spite of it all.
Maybe a better question could be who makes the best components ?
Anyone can put together an amp once you have the components.
UK: Exicon audio transistors
Caps: Nichicon ? Is it still Japan ?
very lo noise preamp transistors: who knows... maybe still Japan
The famous Toshiba 2SC series but now discontinued power transistors: Japan
Someone on this thread mentioned Accuphase. I had a serious stack of that product and totally regret that I sold it to my nephew about 25 years ago. I replaced it with Adcom. Good stuff, but not like my Accuphase. Anyway, there is a lot of great product from so many countries. It's all about being satisfied with your gear. I now have Balanced Audio Technology (USA); outstanding build quality and sound quality. Manley Chinook phono stage; built in Southern California. What imaging that unit produces. VPI turntable; also built in USA. Lyra phono cartridge; designed in USA and built in Japan; the best sounding cartridge I have ever owned. Upper end Audioquest for signal cables, AC cables, and AC line conditioner; USA product, also designed and built right here in Southern California. I guess I have a lot of USA product after all. That's a good thing, but not necessary. Again, great product comes from many parts of the world. Everyone, enjoy your gear. After all, that's why we love it so dearly.
Is this akin to a total medal count at the Olympics? While there may be an overall medal winner, if one's interest is particularized (like being interested in gymnastics, but not swimming), the answer might be quite different. In music systems, I like high efficiency speakers that sound good at low volume and amplification that matches such speakers (low-powered tube gear). In any event, I won't try to pick one winner. My own gear comes from a fairly wide span of countries:
Turntable/tonearm/motor controller: Basis Audio (USA)
Cartridge: Transfiguration and Lyra (Japan)
Phonostage: Viva (Italy)
Music Server/ripper: Naim (UK)
Linestage: custom-built in Italy using vintage USA parts
Amplifier: custom-built in Italy using vintage USA parts
Speakers: Strumenti Acustici Precisione (Italy), with Western Electric compression midrange driver and horn (USA)
Cabling: XLO (USA), Basis (USA) Audio Note (UK)
Power conditioners: Isotek (UK)
Interesting experiment, hiendmmoe.
Astonishing how some people take pride in the accomplishments of others, isn't it? But a few thoughtful responses too, like Atmasphere's.
Interesting that only CAKYOL has posted about the things that go into commercial products: transistors (Japan: Toshiba, Sanken; USA: Analog Devices, That), resistors (France: Vishay), caps (USSR: military vacuum caps; USA: Jennings; Denmark: Duelund), inductors and transformers (Canada: Plitron). IMO
Cakyol, I would say small signal would have to be US: MAT aerospace stuff from AD, and elegant matched quads on a single wafer from That.
If it’s the most companies/products it is the USA. And it would win for the most excellent companies. If it is the most consistently great products, it would have to be Switzerland. Japan and Germany would probably tie for second. However Germany would probably be the winner of the consistently great quality electronics and speakers.
As for those who are bad-mouthing China, my experience is otherwise. I have some very good, highly cost-effective stuff which came from joint ventures, like Epcos/TDK caps, Quad ESL speakers (my first failures are coming at the 14 year mark).
I am told that the highest precision manufacturing is done in Germany and China. Of course, lots of toy pandas from China too, if that's your taste.
Much of what caused to post this thread is the amount equipment I’ve seen from other countries besides the U.S. The sheer amount is astonishing and build quality is always beyond belief; visually at least. I must admit, I’ve not heard most of this equipment and only have seen it from the outside, but if that’s any indication of the quality inside and sonically they get my vote.