Are there many reputable Chinese makers of amplifier?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by thomaskong, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    It appears that Line Magnetic had built reputation as reliable makers of high end amplifier.

    Are there any other reputable Chinese makers of amplifier?

    I found names like Mingda, Yaqin and Bewitch on web sites.

    The inputs from who is residing in Hong Kong will be appreciated.
     
    trd likes this.
  2. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Terrytown, La.
    Last time I checked Sophia Electric was making some good sounding tube amps...
     
  3. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    There are dozens now. Read the 2008 Absolute Sound article here. It’s a very instructive look inside the Chinese audio design and manufacturing industry, and of course the OEM business too. It has only gotten better since.

    There are 1.4 billion people in mainland China. Unsurprisngly in a population of that enormous size, among them are a lot of audiophiles, just like Canadian audiophiles, American audiophiles, British, French, Swedish, German, Italian audiophiles, and audiophiles everywhere else. There has been since the early ‘90s a huge interest by Chinese audiophiles in American and European components (amplifiers, speakers, turntables, cartridges, CD players, DACs, etc., etc.), but the rise of really good Chinese audio engineering experts and really good designers has given rise to a domestic Chinese audiophile component business.

    The fact that half the world’s audiophile brands source their components and manufacturing (including assembly and finishing) from Chinese factories basically blurs the line between “makers” (builders, factories, supply chain) and designers (the brand-based people who run or work for domestic brands in the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, etc., etc.

    I think that the short answer to your question is that a huge number of North American and European brands are manufactured in Chinese factories, but the domestic Chinese audiophile market appeared in 1995 and has been growing significantly since 2005 by my personal best estimate. It corresponds to the appearance and growth of the domestic Chinese middle class, and the trickle down of interests from the wealthiest 5% domestically in China.
     
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  4. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I own and use in two different systems currently a Jungson JA 88C and a Shengya A-216. Both integrateds were purchased 2nd hand in like new condition, the Jungson in 2005 and the Shengya in 2012.

    They've both performed flawlessly in that time period and at the prices I paid for them relative to their price to performance ratio is off the charts. I paid about $450 U.S. for the Shengya for example and it is probably competitive with integrated amps selling new in the $2000+ range, possibly more. Even the Jungson, which I paid considerably less for, was compared favorably by owners to integrateds in that general price range.

    Those kinds of deals are a bit harder to find now as Chinese manufactured equipment has gained more acceptance but, yes, there are clearly Chinese manufacturers putting out very high quality amplifiers.
     
  5. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    Yaqin is reliable. There best amp is the MC-13S. MC-100B is not the best design.
     
  6. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    Shengya use to make Vincent gear which is a German company, according to Vincents design and specifiations, before Vincent decided to do it all in Germany a few years ago.
     
  7. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Yes, I was aware that Shengya did all the manufacturing for Vincent; they are a very large company and manufacture a vast array of products and I believe they OEM for other companies as well.

    Are you sure that Vincent is still not being made in China by Shengya? I don't see any mention of that on the current Vincent website-perhaps I'm missing it-only that "Product development takes place in Germany" which would lead me to believe that manufacturing still takes place in China.
     
  8. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    In no particular order, Opera Consonance, Shanling, Xindak, AudioGD, Soundaware and a number of other domestic Chinese audiophile product makers are all making a range of decent to great products including amps.

    The Xindak XA6950 integrated amp is astonishingly good, but it’s only one of many very good integrated amps and power amps from a variety of Chinese companies.
     
    Rickchick, warp2600 and rodentdog like this.
  9. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Eastern Electric
     
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  10. Sedwards

    Sedwards Forum Resident

    I jumped into the Chinese tube equipment market years ago because I cringed at the prices US manufactures were overcharging and have always had much success. And back then , there were not a lot of US distributors for most of it, so it was buying online direct from the manufacturer in China. I started with MingDa monoblocks which were great for the price. I have them for several years before moving on. I remember getting my first sacd player, which was a Shanling T100. I have Kavent (Vincent) hybrid monoblocks in a 2nd system now, along with a Consonance CD player which are also very nice.

    There is lots of great gear coming out of China. From reading up years ago when Chinese tube equipment started to flood the US market, I heard a lot of criticism about quality control - a lot of people were saying that much of the gear performed well, but it was hit or miss on whether it functioned properly after several months. And then there was the return/repair problem without US distributors. But I guess I was lucky and think that many of the big Chinese companies have greatly improved their QC since branching out into the international marketplace.

    In addition to some of the ones mentioned above I would look at Cayin.
     
  11. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    It's a totally Chinese product. It's easy to mince words for marketing, which is what "product development" is. Design and engineering does not necessarily reside under or within "product development". From the Vincent website:
    "German know-how guarantees a high-quality, excellent and secure series manufacture in far east – high-class parts and above-average processed housings provide the brand’s high “inner values”. Product development takes place in Germany."

    [​IMG]

    You can take that however you like, if it makes you feel better about buying a Chinese product. You can see the paper sticker on the lower left that states it being made in China. On most sites selling the product, it is shown without these stickers for reason of deception by omission. The Vincent site has rear photos but without the stickers, so they seem to think that is acceptable. It is common practice for many Chinese factories to use these paper stickers as they can do all sorts of things that they should not be doing. It's like having multiple identities and presenting one to one group and another to another group. When products are made in their home countries, the country of origin is almost always stenciled into the paint with all of the other info about inputs, outputs, power usage, etc. It is also printed on all packaging and manuals, etc. They would be proud of it and since they can legally do so, they do. Show me any Vincent product that bears a german certification of origin, paint or paper, and you'll have found a very rare example. I highly doubt even prototypes of these products are German.
     
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  12. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    how about Primaluna (Cayin) ?
    Chineese audio can represent an extreme value if you choose wisely. I'm looking at a DarTzeel clone now that by all reports sounds phenomenal.
     
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  13. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Sophia is US-made, albeit by Chinese owners.
     
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  14. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I doubt they decided that. Vincent is still an artificial brand created by Chinese owners in Germany to make them appear German. It may have been a moribund German brand to begin with, but now it's in Chinese hands. And the gear's back panels always say "engineered in Germany", without any clear indication where they're made.

    Vincent won't even publish full specs of their gear. I was once considering a Vincent tube hybrid phono. They don't publish the... gain - just an "MM/MC" switch. I made an inquiry to the retailer - no reply. Same to the "manufacturer" - no reply, either. At which point Vincent has become a permanent absence from my list of gear under consideration.

    For comparison - when I made an inquiry with Parasound, I got a reply in a few hours from... the owner. They build in Taiwan, but at least you get an honest American customer service.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  15. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wait, PrimaLuna is Cayin? Or just assembled in the Cayin factory to the Dutch company's specs?
     
  16. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State

    Thanks a lot for valuable information. I will look into it.
     
  17. Davey

    Davey this is the way, step inside

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I think Zhuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. (typically called Spark Audio) is the company that manufactures both Cayin and Primaluna in Zhuhai, China, and Cayin is their own product line while Primaluna is just outsourcing its manufacturing to Spark Audio. But it's sometimes a tangled web out there if you are trying to determine a product's Chinese content :)
     
  18. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Agree. The designer of my amp is Chinese, and it is assembled in China, but the transformer cores are from Japan.
     
  19. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    Not all the Vincent products but only the ones designed by the engineer Frank Blöhbaum that are manufactured in Germany. Those are the top end amps like the SA-T7, T700 Mono blocks and a few others..

    Vincent: SA-T7
    "Conventional, classic circuit technicians do not exploit the potential of a tube. With the SA-T7 we have developed a preamplifier, which raises the unadulterated amplification of valuable music signals to a level previously thought unthinkable with tubes. Thanks to the newly developed BestPendTode circuit (by Dipl.-Ing. Frank Blöhbaum), the current power distribution noise typical of pentodes is no longer an issue.
    Innovation at a fair price. Developed and produced in Germany.


    Vincent SA-T7/SP-T700: page two - i-fidelity.net

    When introducing the label »Made in Germany« by the end of the 19th century, the British industry wanted to protect itself and the English consumers against the allegedly poor quality of German merchandises. But as history has shown, this stigmatisation was a real barrel burst. For German goods developed into the quality standard which over a very long time was – and still is – a hard nut to crack, not only for the British industry. The devices by Vincent presented here may carry the quality seal »Made in Germany« in its finest manifestation quite rightly and swollen with pride. Solidity both in construction and material selection as well as the quality of workmanship are nothing but excellent.
     
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  20. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    So Uwe Barte is Chinese and not German? Lol!
     
    trd likes this.
  21. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    I have the Vincent SV-237MK which is made in China and couldn't be happier with it. It is a fantastic amp and a great price.
     
    trd likes this.
  22. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    "How does an unbeatable device get even better? Quite simply you listen to the wishes of the customers. So was the SV 237 SV 237MK. The big change, from the USB input, was at the frequent request of our customers a coaxial and an optical input. These inputs increase everyday practicality and offer even more connection options. The already unique circuit developed with Frank Blöhbaum was not changed."

    The SV-287 was designed by Frank Blohbaum and made in Germany..the change came when the USB was taken out in favor of the digital connections on the back.
     
    trd likes this.
  23. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Yeah, the idea that Vincent is some shadow company for the Chinese is a bit hard to believe. Shengya has been in business for a very long time, much longer than Vincent has been around, and builds everything from relatively cheap entry level gear to over the top ultra high end. The higher end Shengya product is black and fairly distinctive looking in terms of its casework.

    The reviews on Shengya gear linked to below are interesting: the first is to Shengya's version (not sure of how close it is to being an exact replica of the Vincent similar looking models) of the T7/T 700 combo from 2010 while the second, also from 2010, is Shengya's all out assault on the high end with a price-and weight in the case of the mono blocks ;)-to match (although as the reviewer states it is still many thousands of $$ less than competitive North American or European manufactured gear).

    Sadly, I don't believe there is any North American distribution for Shengya any more. If my amplifier broke down in the future I'd consider approaching them directly at this point as I've been very happy with the product.

    Shengya PM 150 Tube Hybrid Monoblocks Amplifier Review

    ShengYa CS-6 Tube Preamplifier & PSM-600 Monoblocks Review
     
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  24. Melody amps always seem to get excellent reviews but it's not easy to find an authorised retailer.
     
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  25. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    Location:
    south florida, usa
    IF you can 'copy it'... the Chinese make it.

    Quality... that's another story.

    I'd never buy one... ever.
     
    efraley, KT88, formu_la and 2 others like this.

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