The imports that I am familiar with (Consonance, Cayin) are in another universe compared to the CJ you mentioned. The CJ is thick, veiled, muffled, 2 dimensional, unresolving, etc..... compared to the better Chinese stuff. If you like that CJ sound, then stick with CJ.
Chinese stuff is cheap because there is no R&D. They simply steal designs from companies who spend thousands or millions of dollars to come up with real designs. If you don't mind funding thieves, then by all means buy the chinese garbage... and yes I've heard it lots of times!
I disagree, and haven't heard the Consanance stuff but the Cayin with China toobs sound hard shrill and bright, so if that's the opposite of CJ sound then so be it, but call it like it is, it ain't all that refined.
I find good SS stuff to sound better, I did have a hand made pre-amp unit from HK through, a BEZ Q3B unit that had a crude scale for volume (big jumps) it was a hand wired resistor ladder that was only 3 inputs and stunning, simple and super low cost, to get that sound in CJ would set you back about 5K used, You can find them on e-bay for about 300, no remote, 3 inputs and very limited gain but depth, clarity, and smoothness are something to behold. It just killed the BAT in my system, but alas, I have a need for REMOTE, (couch potato).
The BEZ required care and feeding when it came to the toobs and the same may be true for the Cryin and Circumstance, (sorry couldn't resist), (if you don't own them you can't toob roll them) but for the money. I think it's pretty clear that the Chino infulence is coming, just be certain that when you purchase from China you too are willing to work for 50 cents an hour!!!! They are.
Less see at 50 cents an hour in 600 hours or one quarter year, if I save it all and assumed no taxes I could just afford a BEZ in 3 months.
Check out the Primaluna gear imported by Upscale Audio. It's very nice stuff. IMHO, it's a bit more dynamic and resolving than CJ stuff, but I haven't heard the newest CJ products.
China is an emerging economic power that still doesn't have its act together! Where will these companies be next year [warranty & repair issues]? Who is overseeing Q.C.? As Nrcy said, there is also rampant theft of intellectual property, as well as "bootlegging" of recorded media, and trademarked products...to which the Chinese Government turns a blind eye.
Until the Chinese come up to Q.C. standards of the rest of the industrialized world, and clean up their piracy issues, you, the buyer, "takes your chances"..caveat emptor!
Agree with others here support the chinese at your own peril........or make that job. Nothing sounds like cj and if thats what you seek than save for a little longer. Your ears and in the long run your pocket book will thank you and maybe even your significant other if you have one. I have owned and supported cj for a while now and simply would not consider anything else.
Guys thanks for your feedback. I agree that with any new company U.S. or overseas you run the risk of support in the future. We all have seen some old names go down for the count the last few years. I know that Cayin and Prima Luna were copying designs but hoped that someone could give some comparsion to the older CJ premiere series. A used 11A and 14 will run 3k together. I loved the way that combination handled the female voice. If I could fine something new or nearly new for much less that had a similiar signature I would like to give it a try. Or a MV55 and PL14 might be a consideration. Any other thoughts are appreciated.
I'm with you. I just don't like the way amps made by adults sound. The highs are so much more extended, with a filagree lightness, when children make them. Is it their small hands, their lack of concentration, the fourteen hour days? Who knows, but I know what sounds good, and child labor is the way to go. For a really great experience, I prefer putting my oriental rug in front of my Chinese rig, while wearing my Brazilian loafers; there is a synergy with child-made products that can't be beat.
With child slave labor making all of the junk products coming out of China, what do all the adults do there?
Nrchy, Fatparrot, Czbbcl,
Is ALL Chinese stuff copies of other designs? Or just tube gear? Is there a comprehensive list somewhere that matches up Chinese models with the models of the copied gear?
I'm willing to do my part to protect intellectual property, but avoiding ALL Chinese gear just because some of it is copied seems a little extreme, and penalizes the Chinese manufacturers who are trying to do the right thing.
Take, for example, my Onix XCD-88 CD player; it's the only Chinese piece I own. Is it a copy? I'd love to know that.
Man, what a load of crap! I could run one of those new hybrid cars across country on the amount of natural gas ( or perhaps it's merely a political stew) supplied in the above replies.
Thanks for the laugh, but you gents need a reality check! While the Chinese are busy working around the clock and refining their products (some of which I've found to offer great bang-for-the-buck) we're here sitting on our hands and griping. It's no wonder they're catching up so fast...
Please a little less polictics and a little more feedback please!!
Tommy, I purchased a CJ amp used here on Agon for less than a third of the new retail price and am very excited about it. One of my most expense components was made in China and I've nothing but problems with it. Did I purchase either product based upon where it was manufactured? No of course not. The folks at CJ in Virginia did respond to some of my tech questions, letting me know they still had parts in house incase I wanted to perform such and such upgrade to the amp (which I was already way happy with) but should that factor into your buying decision?
Base on many experiences I think that saying something is made in china will give one a better value for the money is just not an accurate generalization.
A lot of the Chinese equipment has been cheapened by the importers and distributors as much as the manufacturers themselves. In most instances, the sonics of this gear are more than fine.
The issue is with having adequate support; which falls directly on the folks importing the gear from China. They are the ones responsible for interfacing with both customers and dealers here in the USA.
In my mind, these people have often been more interested in generating short term profits than growing the brands into companies that can sit on the same shelves as ARC, CJ, etc. One facet of this is that are often unable or unwilling to put forth the requisite work and expense to support and repair product in the field. If you happen to have any of this gear, look out when it falls out of warranty. You may have to seek out a third party, one who doesn't have any experience with the product/brand necessarily, as recourse.
Compounding this, in many cases, because of their very short track record in this industry, these Chinese manufacturers have no concept of product support and/or maintenance. Parts used in the equipment of a previous generation may no longer be available once they have moved on to the next. I'm not talking the everyday resistor or cap, but circuit boards, chips, knobs, transports, and the like.
The trends are beginning to point to these brands having a lifespan of 3 - 5 years in this market. At which point, the chickens come home to roost. The service issues creep into the picture, and the customer is unable to find sufficient recourse. At that point, the frontmen in this country can move on to the next brand no one has ever heard of, grab a quick review or two from the audiophile press, blame the former company for all of the issues, wipe his hands clean, and more or less come out smelling like a rose.
Until and unless these Chinese manufacturers find people to represent them here with a better (and, more traditional) business model over their more favored price undercutting of the legacy brands, the reputation of equipment coming from China is headed for a downturn, in my opinion. So, of course, the final blame ends up falling on the anufacturers for putting their fortunes in the hands of these individuals in the first place.
The chinese gear I have heard reminded me of celebrity look-alikes. Just a lesser quality version of something else. Some of those designs didn't deserve to be ripped off! Who wants to see a Paris Hilton impersonator??? I'm sure I don't have as much experience as a lot of people here, but none of it sounded good to my ear. Some of it was okay, but I'd opt for the US, Italian, or German original.
I'm not a fan of Cary gear, but I'd rather have the Cary than the knockoff. I was walking around CES last year and went to a room that if it were not for the color of the amps, I would have sworn they were Cary. They looked exactly like the original!
Chinese tubes are not as good as the better stuff available, the builders skimp on internals while making nice cabinets. That's probably a good idea, for all the people who buy with their eyes rather than their ears.
Fools can write this off as political rhetoric. When I want to make political statements about China (as I have in the past) I will. This is not one of those times, this has to do with the quality of products coming out of China. When companies from the west go to China to have products built, they retain control of the quality. When the Chinese turn around and rip those same products off, they make them as cheaply as possible hoping to fool the people too cheap to buy the originals. So who's the real fool???
How do you "rip off" a tube audio amplifier circuit? Every possible way to use a KT88 was public knowledge decades ago. And triodes before that.
Ok we have political discussion about trade issues. Can I get anyone refocused on my question???
Sorry Tommy. The simple answer is "no". Mention any Chinese product and, inevitably, here or at Audioasylum, the protectionists come out in full force to save America. All of China is presented as a black hole of horrible labor conditions and all Chinese products are portrayed as being ripoffs and of poor quality. It's so extreme it's almost cartoon like.
So you better get used to it if you mention China and audio equipment in the same paragraph.
Thank you Eldartford for the voice of reason...
Thank you Viridian for the uncomfortable yet sardonic laughter...
Thank you Bkonig for the just plain old laughter...
And thank you in advance China, for continuing to grant us audio toys and dollar stores in exchange for our rights and freedoms after you take over the earth, just before we all die of your industrial pollution...
It's only a matter of time before the Chinese get it right in the same manner the Japanese mastered electronics and automobiles.
It may not be within 4 or 5 years but long term it's quite likely IMO.
Up until 1970 almost every automobile, radio, audio component, television, etc. was made in the USA although Great Britain did make some components and countries such as Sweden and France built automobiles.
Of course I could be wrong.
Eldartford the way to rip off a tube design is not just to follow the same basic circuit design which has existed for years, but to follow the exact same layout and cabinet design to the point where even the knobs and switches are in the same place. What's so hard to understand about that???
Tommy, accusing people of political discussion does not change the fact that they have answered your question but you didn't like the answer. Pay attention!
The only way the Chinese "catch up" is if people in the US continue to buy their stolen-designed inferior manufactured gear!
Having said that, someday they will make original equipment that will be as high quality as that made in the US and EU.
At this point no one has stated that x amp sounds similiar to a CJ. Whereas several ads actually mention that it is designed to sound like the Mac 275 Marantz 8B etc. All I was looking for and the reason I posted at all was to see if anyone else had some experience that I didn't. If no one does then I can play and hopefully help someone else down the road that ask.
Nrchy...Knobs and switch locations have little to do with audio quality. If pretty knobs and switches are your reason to buy, you deserve what you get.
Eldartford (you never change) my comments clearly and obviously did not say what you have wilfully misinterpretted them to say. When a piece of gear is from top to bottom an exact copy of someone elses design, it is pretty clear to those with a mind that it was a stolen design. You probably wouldn't understand that though...
Nrchy...YOU never change. Doesn't take much to set you off! Gotcha :-)
Certain manufacturers DO own patents [Atma-sphere for one!]
The example of post war Japan cannot be compared to China, which is still a communist country. Dissidents or undesirables get treated rather harshly [go try to evangelize in China...you'll quickly be deported or imprisoned...or WORSE]!
So Mr. Wong is the floor production manager for Beijing Blaster Tube Amps. The daily production quota is 100 amps. You bet your ass that at least 100 amps per day will be produced, because there are probably dozens of people waiting in line for his job. Will all 100 amps pass QC or are several just slapped together to meet the quota? Mr. Liu, the purchasing agent, is informed by his friend or relative that he can obtain a batch of resistors, capacitors, tubes etc. that were rejected by another manufacturer's QC or outright bootlegs for 10% of the normal price. Beijing Blaster is billed for the full price, and Mr. Liu and his partner split their 90% profit. Don't forget as I previously stated, that China is the biggest bootlegging/pirating country in the world, all of which is sanctioned by the Chinese Government.
The corporate structure is very important...direct in-house oversight by USA or EU personnel is essential. Unfortunately, there are legitimate and VERY dedicated Chinese manufacturers who turn out quality equipment at a very reasonable price, but how will you know who they are? Until the Chinese government decides that their reputation for quality as well as honoring intellectual property and patents is more important that selling "stolen" property for a quick and easy profit, you'll just be buying a "pig in a poke".
Think that I'm just blowing smoke? Watch what happens to the international news media during the 2008 Olympics!!!!
This is very interesting. Can anybody actually name specific pieces of Chinese gear that are "exact copies" of specific pieces of US or European gear? If so, how is this alleged fact known? And how is any of it any different from the perception that there's really not much fundamentally new under the sun in terms of basic tube circuit design over, say, the past 50+ years? And that many 'classic' pieces of 'high end' tube gear since the dawn of the 'high end' have regurgitated basic circuit designs of even more 'classic' provenence? Since when did anybody in this industry have to come up with something 'new' in order to manufacture tube gear, or any gear for that matter? What, other than primarily the labor market there, is so unique about China that they deserve to be singled out in this regard? Making counterfeits of brand name products or committing intellectual property theft of copyrighted works is one thing (and bad labor, trade, and environmental practices another), but using common 'textbook' technology to make a product that's been made hundreds of times before by hundreds of different firms worldwide doesn't seem like something to get too excited about the propriety of. Should all US companies that ever made pocket transistor radios be villified for 'ripping off' Sony? Should Marshall amplifiers be villified for 'ripping off' Fender? And anyway, I was under the impression that a lot of the Chinese gear is designed elsewhere and only manufactured there. I could easily be wrong about any or all of this, since I have no particular knowledge of the whole arena (and have heard zero of the products alluded to in this thread, other than Conrad-Johnson), but if so, please someone spell out for me exactly why and how, because I've seen enough accusations without examples or evidence here.
So Mr. Wong is the floor production manager for Beijing Blaster Tube Amps. The daily production quota is 100 amps. You bet your ass that at least 100 amps per day will be produced
Even if Mr. Wong and his wife were working together as floor production managers, failing to produce 100 amps would get both of them canned.
Proving that old adage, two Wongs don't make a right.
Albertporter, I guess that I'm Dean Martin to your Jerry Lewis ;-)
why would anyone be concerned that an amplifier assembled in China sounds like a CJ ? is it possible that there are amps assembled in the US which also sound like a CJ ?
most tube amps of a given wattage sound similar and most of them sound like solid state. who needs them ? who cares ? sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me ?
why not answer a more important question, such as why do so many of current production amps and preamps sound so bad ?
Fatparrot, was that supposed to be a reply to my specific questions? Cause it's not. We all know how bad the Chinese government is. But I don't think mass production plant managers anywhere else are any more free to flout their quotas and keep their jobs, for whatever that's worth. And how is it "unfortunate" that, as you say, "there are legitimate and VERY dedicated Chinese manufacturers who turn out quality equipment at a very reasonable price"? Personally, I have a tough time putting the blame for exploitive overseas manufacturing and exporting practices on the domestic firms and consumers who take advantage of the cheaper prices -- as long as our goverment policies permit and even encourage this behavior, market forces will dictate that consumers and manufacturers follow this path. The whole process probably *could* be managed so that pros outweigh cons long-term all the way around, but I very much doubt that this is the situation today -- I assume the benefits flowing from the arrangement are imbalanced and shorter-term, and don't necessarily outweigh the cons. So it's up to individual consumers if they want to boycott products they think could hurt the interests of labor (in both countries), or the environment, etc.
Quality control in the global economy is vital to success, and ISO certification is the way to assure it. When I was working for General Dynamics we went through several stages of ISO certification, and at the time we thought it was a bit of a joke because the requirements were all things that we had been doing for years, but with a mountain of new documention and procedures. However, I now realize that these formal process controls really do have a role in assuring the quality of products made by small companies around the world.
Mr Wong, and his company, would not last long in today's world, although we westerners like to think that what he does is typical in China. First, one must realize that quality control is no longer about inspecting the final product. It is about making the design of the product and its manufacturing process so well controlled that no final inspection of the product is necessary. (Actually, a few items of final products are inspected, but only to keep a check on the manufacturing process. If a fault is found you fix the process, not the particular item of product).
Modern quality control was developed in the East, Japan, where engineers like Tagushi took concepts put forward by an American, Demming, and used them to dominate the market for electronics and autos.
Sorry to digress, but is there a short list of worthwhile chinese components to check out if my best friend has just moved to Shanghai?
Zaikesman I saw a number (not sure how many of them exactly) while walking through CES last year, 2005, not 2006. I doubt that there were any less this year. I didn't write down names or model numbers as I had no intention of ever looking at them again, much less buying them.
Eldartford, poor attempt at trying to CYA, I understood exactly what you were asking, but you must not have!
Jungson would be a name he should add to his list.
Quality control is a separate -- and less important from a global and moral standpoint -- issue than such things as labor, trade, and environmental practices, and violations of intellectual property rights. As Eldartford suggests, ultimately the market will enforce QC, at least in the area of entertainment electronics, regardless of governmental rules. That's not necessarily true for the more weighty issues.
On my questions above about who exactly is ripping off what, I'm still waiting. By my count, at least 4 guys have charged that here, all without a single specific example, or telling how they 'know' this, other than Tommy saying that Cayin and Prima Luna are guilty of this without saying whom they copied, and Nrchy mentioning the outward appearance of some stuff -- no brands mentioned -- he's seen at trade shows. So maybe the styling is deliberately derivative on some of this stuff -- nothing we haven't seen before in electronics, or cars, or shavers, or pots and pans... I seriously doubt that any audiophiles anywhere are confused about what is Cary gear and what is Chinese (the cable counterfeiters, of course, are another topic). But as for the charges that circuits are being rampantly copied in violation of any suppposed intellectual property rights, apparently the crowd has suddenly gone hazy, so I must assume no one's really got any hard evidence for this.
Which I realize isn't surprising, and doesn't prove that it isn't happening, but neither does simply asserting that it's happening prove that it is. And neither does it refute what Eldartford said about the vast majority of tube circuit design. (Interesting, isn't it -- but not at all surprising, given the audiphilic worldview -- that no one seems to be up in arms about solid-state design in this regard?)
if you buy an amplifier and then are clever enough to recreate the sound of the amplifier, using different parts, why is that a problem? presumably Chinese manufacturers are using different tubes and other parts than what would be found in a CJ amp, assuming they have created an amp that sounds like a CJ . isn't it possible they are trying to design a tube amp at a lower price ? much of the details about designing an amp are in the public domain, so why the fuss ?
Be patient and find a deal on an MV series amp and PV-5 or 11 preamp, they pop up every now and then, your first rig will hold you over.
FWIW, I'm concerned about our own government, border patrol and Alkieda.
I bought a cheap chinese tube amplifier to toy around with.I believe I paid around $600including shipping from hongkong.so far,I only use the amp about once/month for the past year and spent almost $250 fixing it already.
Maybe it will be "recalled" :<)
In the final analysis - just buy U.S. designed and made in america products. I had one component that came through here manufactured in China, sounded like crap and gave up the ghost 3 months later. Literally threw it away in the garbage. That was my first and last experience with any audio component from China. Either support your home market or accept the demise. I quite frankly have stopped buying any product that is manufactured in the asian basin. But to each his own.
First off, my entire system is American, not because of some jingoistic ideal but because I honestly believe that the US builds the best audio equipment. Never planned it out, just turned out that way. That being said however, there is excellent equipment being made all over the world including in the Asian basin. For instance, there are many Japanese pieces I would be happy to own. And I am confident the Chinese will eventually build extremely cost effective high end gear. There certainly are many Chinese-Americans successfully involved in our domestic high end right now. Of course, whether to purchase a Chinese made componant or not is a personal decision.
Buy what you like, can afford, and enjoy.
Who really cares what anyone thinks? At the end of the day its still gonna be a very solitary hobby, sure the couple times someone actually comes over to listen every year might take pause of gear from China but who really cares? Buying things from China is like enjoying steak, I love how it tastes, I hate what happened to the cow but I shake it off and ask for the A-1.
Back to the thread at hand. I have not heard anyhting tube or solid state that is produced in China, that even remotely comes close to Conrad Johnson gear. While I have not heard every piece from China, what I have heard should cause no alarm to Conrad Johnson at this point in time. Although this could change at a moments notice, should the Chinese decide to attack the Conrad Johnson gear and make clones of it. Remember the words of PT Barnum(Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence or taste of the American public.)
Although some attribute that quote to PT Barnum, it was actually first spoken by Henry Louis Mencken. He was an essayist, newspaper editor, and author.
Thought you'd be interested.
Thanks for the update Audiofeil, my reference was P.T. Barnum. Have to update the file.
Who supports most Chinese equipment today, tomorrow, or 35 years from now like Conrad Johnson or Audio Research ? In addition, there is a reason why Asia remains a large portion of the CJ and ARC's market. Sound (priority one) and rock solid support (a very close second).
Politics does matter including the reality of the political stability of the country, the financial stability of companies in the rush to the bottom environment of Chinese manufacturing, dramatic pollution exceeding any other place on the planet that is forcing companies to leave one part of the country, effectively irreversibly polluted, and move on to another place to start the process again. That fast paced industrial build up needed to support billions of people and a government seeking #1 status is rapidly producing long term negative consequences that Business Week, Wall Street Journal and others regularly comment on. Your wallet is probably the strongest political statement you make on a daily basis and how you want the world to look in the future. ISO 9000 quality standards and others supporting sustainable development can make China a great place for manufacturing and sustainability of the products you buy and the country in which they are made. But unfortunately, at least, the current environment in China is too often not looking past today or even yesterday.
Isn't GATT the reason we are operating at such an enormous trade deficit? Our laws used to make this kind of competition impossible but we did this to ourselves. Little political gestures like Ferrari's stand against Asian products are symbolically important but all of the high end audio sold in the next century wouldn't approach what Wal Mart brings in this week.