• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Chinese tube amps

Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
5
Likes
9
#1
anyone have any experience with chinese tube amps? wish i hadnt gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
 

DKT88

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
112
Location
South Korea
#2
anyone have any experience with chinese tube amps? wish i hadnt gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
I had dyna kit Mk IIIs that I should have kept too. I bought a Cayin MA-80 integrated amplifier 4 years ago and its well built sounds good although I don't have any other tube amps here to compare it to. I think it cost about $1000 at the time. Stereophile reviewed and measured a similar Cayin amp a while back.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
78
Likes
26
Location
California
#3
anyone have any experience with Chinese tube amps? wish I hadn't gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
Not 100% sure on what your trying to figure out, your question is very generalized?
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
8
Likes
12
#5
I'm looking at this from a Recording Engineer/Mixer/Producers point of view. For the past 4 decades all of the recording consoles, digital/analog recorders, and processors I have used, many of these consoles with price tags well over one million US, the one thing they all have in common is... NONE of them have any freaking tubes. Every one of these consoles/recorders have literally thousands of IC's and transistors. Some of the gear analog and much digital. If you think that a single tube or multiple tubes, is a good thing that will improve the sound of audio that has already been processed by millions of transistors, I whole heartedly disagree. A tube circuit may color the audio, and you may like that coloration, but it sure as hell won't undo or improve upon what has already been done in the studio.
 
Last edited:

BillG

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
816
Likes
738
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
#6
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
33
Likes
11
#7
You should look into DIY tube amps, if you can hold a soldering iron you're good to go !

I am just starting and bought two 6J1 tubes kit that can be found for ~10 euros, can be good before going for other projects.
After that, pmilett.com, WHAMMY, Starving Students all are things I heard good things about.

BUT I never built any of those. Many did, though.
 
Last edited:

Peter Leyenaar

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
53
Likes
35
Location
Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
#8
anyone have any experience with chinese tube amps? wish i hadnt gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
Hi, I have some experience with tube amps, used to built them with my dad and brother when I was
in High School, with parts from the surplus store, inexpensive and great fun.

Once I started working and had some extra cash, I acquired some really good tube amps; Sonic Frontiers,
Canary 300b mono blocks and a bunch more.

To answer you question concerning Chinese made tube amps; they are excellent , way cheaper and easely
compete with North American built amps.

At the moment I have a Yaqin MC-50L , it sounds excellent, everything you ever wanted in a tube amp.
I have listened to Cayin , they are also very nice, I have no hesitation recommending these two Chinese makes
and save a bundle.

I can't comment on other Chinese makes, as I have no experience with them, I am sure though there
are some really nice ones out there.

Here is a website for Chinese amps

https://www.hifi-amplifiers.com
 
Last edited:

watchnerd

Major Contributor
Beer Hero
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
5,338
Likes
2,192
Location
Seattle Area, USA
#9
anyone have any experience with chinese tube amps? wish i hadnt gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
I had a Yaqin tube phono stage.

Build quality wasn't half bad. Stock tubes it came with were garbage. But it was really a hybrid SS/tube amp and they weren't really transparent about that. A fair number of the lower end ones are hybrids, not pure tubes.
 

watchnerd

Major Contributor
Beer Hero
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
5,338
Likes
2,192
Location
Seattle Area, USA
#10
I'm looking at this from a Recording Engineer/Mixer/Producers point of view. For the past 4 decades all of the recording consoles, digital/analog recorders, and processors I have used, many of these consoles with price tags well over one million US, the one thing they all have in common is... NONE of them have any freaking tubes. Every one of these consoles/recorders have literally thousands of IC's and transistors. Some of the gear analog and much digital. If you think that a single tube or multiple tubes, is a good thing that will improve the sound of audio that has already been processed by millions of transistors, I whole heartedly disagree. A tube circuit may color the audio, and you may like that coloration, but it sure as hell won't undo or improve upon what has already been done in the studio.
This has been true for decades (almost half a century, probably), and yet McIntosh sells millions of dollars worth of tube amps every year.

Most audiophiles I know have no real interest in how the sausage is made in pro audio and would be shocked at the cheap balanced cables, microphone gain stages, etc.

I'm now convinced that despite claims of wanting 'reference quality', most audiophiles want no such thing...they want 'pleasant'.
 

Peter Leyenaar

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
53
Likes
35
Location
Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
#11
Well, I am not an "audiophile" However I prefer "pleasant" over harsh , cold and unmelodic,
Having been a musician all my life, I think I have some experience with sound of instruments.
Recording Engineers/Mixer/Producers, process music to their taste, some of them are really
good, some are not.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
8
Likes
12
#12
Well, I am not an "audiophile" However I prefer "pleasant" over harsh , cold and unmelodic,
Having been a musician all my life, I think I have some experience with sound of instruments.
Recording Engineers/Mixer/Producers, process music to their taste, some of them are really
good, some are not.
I agree. Beauty is in the "ear" of the beholder.
 

daftcombo

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,146
Likes
870
#13
Well, I am not an "audiophile" However I prefer "pleasant" over harsh , cold and unmelodic,
Having been a musician all my life, I think I have some experience with sound of instruments.
Recording Engineers/Mixer/Producers, process music to their taste, some of them are really
good, some are not.
Let's quote Amir as a reply:
As I have experienced time and time again in controlled testing, there is nothing euphonic or positive with such tube amplifiers. No soundstage is changed. No instrument is isolated more (it is actually worse with WA7). Detail is actually lost. The sound definitely is not warmer either. People read these attributes into such devices because they think they are there.
(source: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-wa7-wa7tp-dac-and-headphone-amp-review.7028/ )
 

Peter Leyenaar

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
53
Likes
35
Location
Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
#14
And what is your own opinion ?

There are very many SS gear owners that are very happy with their equipment , as there are very many tube gear owners
that are happy with their equipment.
The O.P. solicited opinions about the quality of Chinese built tube amps, I felt I had sufficient insight to render an opinion.
If you have information to the contrary , please post that here, that would be of value to the O.P.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
29
Likes
26
Location
Black Hills of South Dakota
#15
craftsmansky,

I wondered what you had decided for your MMGs after I opined that a high current delivery SS amp would be your best bet in your other thread.

If you search you'll find most don't recommend tube amps for the MMGs and their 4Ω load to achieve decent unstrained listening levels. An example here: https://www.stereophile.com/content/mmgs-and-jolida-jd303

To be redundant, I'm driving my modified MGIIIa's with a pair of Odyssey Stratos Monoblocks which provide 120 amps current delivery and 180w/ch @ 8Ω.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
75
Likes
58
#16
I'm looking at this from a Recording Engineer/Mixer/Producers point of view. For the past 4 decades all of the recording consoles, digital/analog recorders, and processors I have used, many of these consoles with price tags well over one million US, the one thing they all have in common is... NONE of them have any freaking tubes. Every one of these consoles/recorders have literally thousands of IC's and transistors. Some of the gear analog and much digital. If you think that a single tube or multiple tubes, is a good thing that will improve the sound of audio that has already been processed by millions of transistors, I whole heartedly disagree. A tube circuit may color the audio, and you may like that coloration, but it sure as hell won't undo or improve upon what has already been done in the studio.

Depends on the design of the tube circuit. a few points. Bell Labs did research in the 1960's when they went to put transistors into their phone equipment, the research showed that the ear had an easy tome 'ignoring' 2nd and third harmonic distortion, the ear/brain was far more sensitive to high order odd harmonics and to crossover distortion in class B amps.

Now if one designs a Pentode amp with a fair amount of feedback the profile of the distortion can look a lot like a transistor amp. In that case it will indeed 'sound' like a transistor amp.

SS Amps have come a LONG way since the 60's. So a lot of the differences have disappeared. However as you point a LOT of music was processed through horrendous mixing boards, many of which used the hideous 741 Op Amp whick had tons of higher order odd harmonic distortion. Enter certain Tube designs especially Single ended DHT amps which produced a lot of distortion by mordern standards, BUT the distortion was almost exclusively 2nd harmonic distortion. I would suggest that the distortion of the amps 'masked' the nasty sounds of recordings p[roduced by the pro equipment.

The fact that humans are so good atr fooling themselves complicates the issue.

Cables esp balanced cables were never an issue.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,572
Likes
25,312
Location
Seattle Area
#17
Bell Labs did research in the 1960's when they went to put transistors into their phone equipment, the research showed that the ear had an easy tome 'ignoring' 2nd and third harmonic distortion, the ear/brain was far more sensitive to high order odd harmonics and to crossover distortion in class B amps.
None of us listen to, or own class B amplifiers. As such, that research which I have also read, is of no value to us.

In general, tube amplifiers have too little harmonic distortion to color the sound in the way people think. Many see the glow in the tubes and equate to warm sound. Harmonic distortion increases high frequency content, not reduce it. A 5 Khz tone will have a 10 kHz second harmonic. Clearly that 10 Khz tone if it is audible, will tilt the balance toward harshness/more highs than less. And this is what my listening tests show.

Sitting here, there is not one controlled test that I know of that shows tubes to have a sound that is preferred. The research world has moved on from the tube days so there is no one looking at this area.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,572
Likes
25,312
Location
Seattle Area
#18
anyone have any experience with chinese tube amps? wish i hadnt gotten rid of my pas 3/st 70 all those years ago, but probably will never be able to get back in the tube game.
Are you asking about tube headphone amplifiers or power amplifiers?
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
8
Likes
12
#19
However as you point a LOT of music was processed through horrendous mixing boards, many of which used the hideous 741 Op Amp whick had tons of higher order odd harmonic distortion. Enter certain Tube designs especially Single ended DHT amps which produced a lot of distortion by mordern standards, BUT the distortion was almost exclusively 2nd harmonic distortion. I would suggest that the distortion of the amps 'masked' the nasty sounds of recordings p[roduced by the pro equipment.
I did not mean to imply nor would I consider any of the studio mixing boards I've used to be "horrendous". In fact most of the consoles I've worked on I feel are miraculous tools; with total recall, multiple busses, crazy routing, built-in parametric EQ, compressors, limiters, fancy mic preamps, complex metering...on and on and on.
 
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
25
Likes
8
Location
Chicago Burbs
#20
I picked up a Muzishare X7 from amazon as a roll of the dice. Very impressed with its build quality and stock tubes actually sound pleasant. I do have different tubes I was going to swap but for now I am putting some hours on the stock tubes. Some Chi-fi is not bad but its a hunt to find the diamond in the rough.
 
Top Bottom