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After the hype of Chinese HiFi brands, what is the jury?

Your sentiments on Chinese HiFi brands?


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I worked for a US company before that manufactured dental care products like toothbrushes and replacement heads for electric toothbrushes in Germany.

They had factories all over the world (china, India etc).

So basically 80% of the stuff that we sold as "made in Germany" was actually imported from China. Mixed together with stuff that we actually made in Germany and put nicely into country specific packaging material that would receive the goods. (Finland, Japan , France, Germany, UK etc.

The stuff that we mostly imported from China was exported back to China as made in Germany as well.

A high percentage of the stuff imported from China turned out to be not up to the required quality and while still useable (just not pretty enough) was recycled and or destroyed.
Because it was not in the interest of the US company that the stuff gets donated to third world countries. Even though this was a option that the factory in Germany did before the US company took over.



I imagine this is not much different with audio gear manufactured in the EU.
 
You have companies like Benchmark which get UL listing for products like the AHB2.

Key is that amps and voltage can be dangerous and there are reports of injuries from things like 12V car batteries and things under 50V (though 50V is a threshold from OSHA).

Bad actors will always do bad things. In the pharma world, “Bottle of Lies” is a great read about one company that was caught basically fabricating everything…
UL is the reason that we see products with internal PSUs NOT sold in USA and EU but only straight through online shops elsewhere.
Needless to say I wouldn't touch them with a stick.
 
I worked for a US company before that manufactured dental care products like toothbrushes and replacement heads for electric toothbrushes in Germany.

They had factories all over the world (china, India etc).

So basically 80% of the stuff that we sold as "made in Germany" was actually imported from China. Mixed together with stuff that we actually made in Germany and put nicely into country specific packaging material that would receive the goods. (Finland, Japan , France, Germany, UK etc.

The stuff that we mostly imported from China was exported back to China as made in Germany as well.

A high percentage of the stuff imported from China turned out to be not up to the required quality and while still useable (just not pretty enough) was recycled and or destroyed.
Because it was not in the interest of the US company that the stuff gets donated to third world countries. Even though this was a option that the factory in Germany did before the US company took over.



I imagine this is not much different with audio gear manufactured in the EU.
Oh boy the stories I could tell about quality issues from China and India.. Probably they would be "political" so I will not.
 
Oh boy the stories I could tell about quality issues from China and India.. Probably they would be "political" so I will not.

I don't think it matters, anymore. I bought a simple garden hose. The outside of the package proclaimed in big letters, "Made in USA by Americans". OK. I'm as patriotic as the next guy. And how can you screw up a water hose?

Took it home, uncoiled it, turned on the flow. Immediately started to balloon out, and one of the sides split. Returned it for a European tire branded hose, supposed to also be made in the USA, which cost more, but appears to be decent quality.

I think a lot of it just turns on 'you get what you pay for'. Most stuff is probably made by robots, anyhow. Automated processes take away a lot of the unit to unit variability. Anything requiring a lot of 'hands on' labor is going to cost more if it's sourced in the USA, as opposed to Asia.
 
I don't think it matters, anymore. I bought a simple garden hose. The outside of the package proclaimed in big letters, "Made in USA by Americans". OK. I'm as patriotic as the next guy. And how can you screw up a water hose?

Took it home, uncoiled it, turned on the flow. Immediately started to balloon out, and one of the sides split. Returned it for a European tire branded hose, supposed to also be made in the USA, which cost more, but appears to be decent quality.

I think a lot of it just turns on 'you get what you pay for'. Most stuff is probably made by robots, anyhow. Automated processes take away a lot of the unit to unit variability. Anything requiring a lot of 'hands on' labor is going to cost more if it's sourced in the USA, as opposed to Asia.
My experience is that work ethics are vastly different and the same IR to respect of laws/norms/standards with the countries in question when doing business of construction etc..
But maybe I've just been unlucky. I hope so.
 
My experience is that work ethics are vastly different and the same IR to respect of laws/norms/standards with the countries in question when doing business of construction etc..
But maybe I've just been unlucky. I hope so.

My experience is that work ethics and commitment to excellence have markedly declined in the US, over the years-- from my initial entry into the work force, to my retirement. But maybe I've just been unlucky. ;)
 
My experience is that work ethics and commitment to excellence have markedly declined in the US, over the years-- from my initial entry into the work force, to my retirement. But maybe I've just been unlucky. ;)
I didn't mean the US. I don't have experience with the US professionally.
 
I worked for a US company before that manufactured dental care products like toothbrushes and replacement heads for electric toothbrushes in Germany.
...
So basically 80% of the stuff that we sold as "made in Germany" was actually imported from China. Mixed together with stuff that we actually made in Germany and put nicely into country specific packaging material that would receive the goods. (Finland, Japan , France, Germany, UK etc.
...
A high percentage of the stuff imported from China turned out to be not up to the required quality and while still useable (just not pretty enough) was recycled and or destroyed.
...
I imagine this is not much different with audio gear manufactured in the EU.

Along with Swiss watches, and just about everything today. We do have a globally intertwined economy but your story does capture key advantages of "assembled in Germany from globally sourced components." One, you get a level of quality control and two, you support some level of labor force for assembly. Clearly, there is waste if the imported stuff frequently fails to meet to spec but as it's not all-or-none. Second, from a geopolitical standpoint, supply chain resilience is valuable and it would be good if countries had the capacity to make their own products. Take a look at Craftman's inability to make a racheting socket wrench in the present-day.



Oh boy the stories I could tell about quality issues from China and India.. Probably they would be "political" so I will not.

In my mind, a political statement would be talking about "quality issues from China and India" whereas a non-political statement would be talking about "quality issues from a supplier I worked with from China and a supplier I worked with from India"

Note the way NPR talks about this story. They don't talk politics, they talk specifics.
 
There have been severe problems with sheetrock and flooring made in China. Homes built with the defective sheetrock were torn down in some cases. Within China there was a scandal with adulterated milk. Buyer beware. In the end it varies by company. A lot of stuff is made in China by Japanese and Western companies. It's usually good. Topping makes reliable high performance audio devices. Most iPhones are assembled in China. YMMV.
 
They truly revolutionized the IEM market. So much incredible performance, frequency responses that are close to perfection for little money.
 
So basically 80% of the stuff that we sold as "made in Germany" was actually imported from China. Mixed together with stuff that we actually made in Germany and put nicely into country specific packaging material that would receive the goods. (Finland, Japan , France, Germany, UK etc.
I am surprised that Germany is so much more lenient compared to USA. Below is from US FTC (Federal Trade Commission):

made_in_usa.png
 
Companies can claim lots of things:) the reality is often different.

I'm currently working in another company that imports one part of a product from Italy...( Poland as well) another one from china. We assemble the whole thing and burn "made in Germany" into the wood part with a laser.
Gets sold worldwide to different retailers.

Most customers will probably assume the wood used is actually sourced from Germany.
But lots of it actually came from Russia and was imported over the Ukraine. (Obviously that was before Putin invaded the Ukraine)
 
A lot of stuff is made in China by Japanese and Western companies. It's usually good. Topping makes reliable high performance audio devices.

I think QC certainly depends upon management technique. I think that is the case anywhere. Not simply point of origin.

In guitar land, a Qingdao sourced Epiphone SG will run you about $500.00. A USA Gibson SG will run about $1700.00 (street price, more or less). Now they are not the same guitars, but from a strictly QC manufacturing standpoint, there will be as much unit to unit consistency between an Epiphone as your Gibson.

More importantly, and taking off on your comment, because Epiphone is a USA owned company, they offer the Gibson lifetime 'defect' warranty, which they actually honor (from personal experience).

Now, from a pure spec to spec standpoint, a Topping will be as good as, or even 'better' than, say, a Benchmark. Will the two have the same 'build quality'? Don't know. The price spread between the two will also be about the same as between an Epiphone or a Gibson. But what you won't get, because Topping is a foreign brand with no local presence, is the same level of warranty (or post warranty) help, should you need it.

For me, service has nothing to do with where the brand is made, but who stands behind the product, and how much of a hassle it will be to obtain after the sale satisfaction. For me it's a pretty simple equation. On the other hand, if the product is cheap enough, you can always throw it away, and buy another one.
 
I'll give a reverse example. GE appliances are made in the US, but the outfit has been owned by a Chinese company Haier 2016. They are highly regarded in the appliance industry. From personal experience I can tell you their service is excellent and is considered to be greatly improved since the change in ownership.
 
For me, there's just a big difference between a $100 item and a $1000 item. I worry a lot more about reparability on the $1000 item.

I'm still occasionally using SMSL class D amps that are approaching 10+ years without problems.

If a manufacturer has consistent defects and the products crap out very quickly, that's bad, and I would not buy from them. Wherever in the world they are based.

E-waste is a huge thing of course, but I've had far less trouble over the years from audio equipment than TVs, refrigerators, microwave ovens, etc.
 
As long as after sales service size matters too.
Both on warranty and out of it.
SMSL and KEF are both chinese,the former can ask you to ship an item for repair and some will do it if it's something from the upper range but imagine if GP Acoustics International Ltd (KEF's owner) didn't keep the facilities already existed in UK and you had to ship a speaker there.
That would be a nightmare for owners.
 
SMSL and KEF are both chinese,the former can ask you to ship an item for repair and some will do it if it's something from the upper range but imagine if GP Acoustics International Ltd (KEF's owner) didn't keep the facilities already existed in UK and you had to ship a speaker there.

Definitely the case. A few years ago we bought a Panasonic branded steam iron. For some reason I trusted the Panasonic name. Maybe because my SL-1200 is years old, and still working as new. Anyhow, iron went south after a few months. You never want to have to try and talk to an operation like Panasonic. I mean, who do you even call?

However, via email I received instructions to ship the appliance to their 'service center'. Then they claimed a replacement could be sourced.

UPS cost of shipping to wherever was almost the price of a brand new unit! Customer was expected to foot that bill, making their warranty essentially worthless-- you could find a comparable replacement on sale somewhere, for about the cost of shipping.

To their credit, I bought a defective item from dbx, and Harman call center sent me a return UPS label. It took me a week and half a dozen emails to get the label, but it finally arrived. So I was just out the trip to the UPS store. These things are an important consideration when buying higher priced items, IMO.
 
Do we not have a huge internet conspiracy for falsely labeled UL products because there isn’t a convenient initialism for it? I guess we’ll have to wait until Uruguay becomes a major exporter of electronics and we worry about their political and economic might.

Wait, the UL component mark is actually a Cyrillic plot!
 
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