Chinese Made Tube Equipment

Discussion in 'Compatible Equipment' started by Lewis Smith, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Johnny2Bad

    Johnny2Bad New Member

    Chinese (in particular) or Asian designed and/or manufactured goods, like everything else, runs the gamut from outright bargain to dubious, even dangerous, electric product.
    There are issues and risks involved.

    Who supports the product if something goes wrong? Even well supported products with Asian resellers will involve your paying for shipping to the originating nation; part of the reason tube amps were abandoned by most mainstream manufacturers by the 1970's was the cost of shipping heavy iron across oceans and railroads. A fully supported, in-warranty repair or replacement incurs possibly a -figure shipping bill borne by you (standard practice as well; even with established brands and in-country support, you pay for shipping to the repair facility).

    Safety: Some vacuum-state schematics or copies of traditional designs copy the AC line schematic as well as the rest of the electronic design. Some of these practices do not meet current safety regulations in North America, Europe, Australia, etc. This can be fixed with mods, but even powering up a tube amp with the bottom cover off is dangerous; it's critical anyone who contemplates this kind of work be well versed in safety practices and has the associated equipment to check the device's compliance.

    Parts Quality: There is the possibility that the unit uses counterfeit parts. A "WIMA" capacitor is not a benefit if it's a knock-off. Interestingly, less of a problem with tube gear since transistors and ICs are commonly counterfeited while it's not practical to counterfeit a tube itself, just the silkscreens to inflate the price, which at least isn't a safety hazard.

    If you are careful and realize that there may be further costs to you if there are performance issues, and that those costs may amount to a significant % of the potential savings you expect, things can go quite well. Be aware that it's not exactly fair to blame some mainstream manufacturers for higher retail prices; they have costs they cannot avoid.

    For example, the importer is responsible for safety certifications ... if you are the importer, that means you are responsible for assessing the electrical safety, not the manufacturer in China. But if you buy an established brand that happens to manufacture in China, they are responsible. It may cost $10,000 to obtain electrical safety certification (CSA, UL/ULC, etc) per model, they have to recover that cost somewhere and yes, there is a benefit to you, the consumer, from safety certification. Just one example.

    In the end, it's much better to have choice and to make your own decision, provided it's a decision that stems from an "eyes wide open" perspective.
    Morrow Audio likes this.
  2. Ed Morris

    Ed Morris Member

    I own a Doge 8 preamp and a Doge 6 CD player.i also own a ToneWin integrated.
    The Doge gear is of the finest quality; all boutique components including Clarity and Hagerman caps.
    The preamp in particular performs well beyond its price point. It is a variation on the German designed Luma amp.
    Of course putting NOS tubes in it makes a big difference.
  3. Ernie Adams

    Ernie Adams Well-Known Member

    They say the Doge 8 with quality tubes is amazing.
    Ed Morris likes this.
  4. Ed Morris

    Ed Morris Member

    I would say it would run with some of the best. The line stage is amazing. Tons of gain and quiet. The moving magnet phono section is also quiet and a good performer. When the right tubes are installed it can run with some of the best.
    Not the moving coil though, so I use a Ypsilon SUT as a step up.
    I would have to make a major upgrade to a phono stage like a Aesthetix IO, which is the best I have ever heard.

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