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What is your stance on Chinese brand Hi-fi equipment

What is your stance

  • I had no, and have no interest in buying Chinese Hifi equipment

    Votes: 13 7.9%
  • I am watching, waiting for a good sale

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I am watching, waiting for a better device in the future

    Votes: 7 4.2%
  • I have bought at least one, and will buy more in the future

    Votes: 116 70.3%
  • I have bought at least one, and will never buy again

    Votes: 14 8.5%
  • I am already fully Chinese Hifi equipped

    Votes: 15 9.1%

  • Total voters
    165

delta76

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It's undeniable that Hifi equipment from Topping, SMSL, Sabaj, Aiyama etc. are very popular here in ASR. The interests seem huge, but I wonder what's the consensus, are they actually popular or just we are led to believe?
 
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mcdn

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Wharfedale, Luxman, Quad, Castle, etc are all made in China. What was the question again?
 

Phorize

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I don't have one specifically for China, or any country or people. I personally think that nationality and ethnicity are some of the worst indicators available for anything that matters.
 

restorer-john

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The low cost Chinese HiFi is definitely enabling audiophiles to experiment with relatively cheap and cheerful little boxes that offer a fair bit of bang for the buck. I see it as entry-level stuff to get (mostly) young guys into 2ch audio- and that's not a bad thing. It's not even a step over the DIY (amplifier) kits we used to buy and build in the 1980s.

Nobody in the mainstream market takes this stuff seriously, except perhaps for people who want it to be be more than it is.

I have had a few little Chinese manufactured boxes, mainly bought for a bit of fun but quickly given away or just stuck in a drawer.
 

restorer-john

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I agree and for that reason I feel this thread is a bit off...

It isn't a bit 'off'. Call it for what it is: HiFi components that are low cost, simple in functionality and being produced in massive quantities by a particular country and being sold to the world. It bears discussion and begs opinions.

No different to the Japanese post war and into the 60s and 70s. They got called on their quality and guess what? They got so good, they became the best.

Chinese original manufacture still has that "seat-of-the-pants", "busted-ass" aesthetic, pioneered by the UK HiFi industry and refined over a few generations, poor design and an overall DIY look to it. It's getting better. But it isn't even remotely close to the Japanese in the early 1970s in the physical regard. It's horribly cheap on the inside. They think an anodized CNCd aluminium case equals a lifetime of reliability. It doesn't.

I can pull out an amplifier made in the 1970s that works as well as the day it was made. Each knob is better finished than anything I've seen out of China. They do easy and cheap, really well. They do not do, pride in ownership, reliability and longevity yet. They will get there.
 

Waxx

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A lot that is not branded as chinese is also made in china. To start with the computer or phone you use to reach this site, almost all computers and phones are at least partly made in china, idem with hifi. It's just the reality that China is since decades the biggest manufacturer hub for electronics.

I do own stuff branded from all over the planet, and altough I like to buy local, it's almost impossible to do for more advanced electronics. So if the brand is chinese owned or not, is not something i consider. And i build a lot myself, but even the parts needed are mostly made in china or asia in general.

And they make good stuff like the Topping DAC's and the SMSL amplifiers. You just need to study it to select the good models (and this site helps a lot). But even then, the tube preamp i have, was a cheap chinese model with a very classic design, sold for 100€ (even after transport and tax). But is heavy modified (basicly replaced all the inferior parts with generic but good quality parts). I bought it because it was cheaper to buy than a good enclosure and power transfo from local shops to build it diy. All the rest of it i binned or put in my stock and rebuild it with decent generic parts and like that i have a good tube preamp for about 250€...

But don't think that because you buy an american or EU brand that it's not build in china, it mostly is.
 

mcdn

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Chinese original manufacture still has that "seat-of-the-pants", "busted-ass" aesthetic, pioneered by the UK HiFi industry and refined over a few generations, poor design and an overall DIY look to it. It's getting better. But it isn't even remotely close to the Japanese in the early 1970s in the physical regard. It's horribly cheap on the inside. They think an anodized CNCd aluminium case equals a lifetime of reliability. It doesn't.
You're actively labelling all products manufactured in China as having "poor design" and a "busted-ass aesthetic". Good job dude.
 

telemike

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Sgt. Ear Ache

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Inexpensive products that sound every bit as good as any 1970's wonder box. I'm not worried about knobs lasting 40 years. If it costs one-tenth of the price, I'll buy a new one every few years - since as an audio guy I'll probably be doing that anyway.

As far as this thread...my "stance" on Chinese products is that if they get good reviews (mostly here) and there's good word of mouth regarding performance after a few weeks or a month or two, then I'm happy to consider them for purchase. I've owned lots of Topping and other Chinese-made products and they have all performed very well.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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I can pull out an amplifier made in the 1970s...

Almost none of which are still owned by the person who originally purchased them and most of which sat in storage un-used for 2 or 3 decades and needed some restoring from the Restorer-Johns of the world. There's no real need for an amp to be built to a decades-long lifespan standard. Most of us are happy not to pay for years of life we will never actually use in a product - especially when that less-costly product actually sounds every bit as good as (or even better than) the over-engineered tank.

...not to mention that we're primarily talking about dacs and headphone amps here right? How many of the beautiful 1970s dacs and headphone amps can you pull out? lol
 
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JSmith

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They do not do, pride in ownership, reliability and longevity yet.
I've always wondered what the Accuphase and McIntosh clones are like...
... have you had a chance to inspect the build quality of such clone units at all (genuinely interested)?

But I think what you refer to is the way of the world now in relation to most products unfortunately... it will be difficult to alter this throw away society worldwide and the notion of planned obsolescence in the corporate world.


JSmith
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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The low cost Chinese HiFi is definitely enabling audiophiles to experiment with relatively cheap and cheerful little boxes that offer a fair bit of bang for the buck. I see it as entry-level stuff to get (mostly) young guys into 2ch audio- and that's not a bad thing. It's not even a step over the DIY (amplifier) kits we used to buy and build in the 1980s.

Nobody in the mainstream market takes this stuff seriously, except perhaps for people who want it to be be more than it is.

I have had a few little Chinese manufactured boxes, mainly bought for a bit of fun but quickly given away or just stuck in a drawer.

LOL...."a fair bit of bang for the buck." Some of these "cheerful little boxes" are MEASURABLY superior to almost anything else on the market in terms of audio performance.
 

Owl

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I still use my NAD 3155 amp I bought new in 1985. The jacks are a little loose in back, but the sound is still there.
 

tomchris

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“Chinese” audio products show great promise with regards to price/performance. That is not something you can say about any “non-Chinese” brands. These brands all try to cater to audiophile segment, hence we have high price/mediocre performance and upselling in established brands.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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I still use my NAD 3155 amp I bought new in 1985. The jacks are a little loose in back, but the sound is still there.

I also put together a nice system in 85. NAD amp and cassette deck with Paradigm speakers. Sounded great and it's possibly all still working...somewhere. I sold it in the early 90s.
 

Koeitje

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Can we stop talking about "Chinese" or "Japanse" or "Western" products as a whole. Its perpetuates an image that is clearly wrong. Have any of you seen what kind of absolute garbage has been produced by some massive mainstream brands in the past couple of years. Products with issues that can't even be fixed with firmware updates because they made such a mess of it. Lets focus on the brands themselves and not where they are designed or made.
 

Shadrach

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It's undeniable that Hifi equipment from Topping, SMSL, Sabaj, Aiyama etc. are very popular here in ASR. The interests seem huge, but I wonder what's the consensus, are they actually popular or just we are led to believe?
Looking at your poll results it seems Chinese equipment is well regarded.
I have a JDS Labs Atom 2 (made in the USA I believe) here and a Topping D10s (Made in China). For looks the Topping beats the JDS Labs hands down.
Both have measured as basically faultless and both are still working.
I'm not sure if people who try to make such comparisons are depressed that their country can't compete, or they resent the fact that the Chinese primarily have put quality audio reproduction in the hands of the masses rather than a select few.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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Can we stop talking about "Chinese" or "Japanse" or "Western" products as a whole. Its perpetuates an image that is clearly wrong. Have any of you seen what kind of absolute garbage has been produced by some massive mainstream brands in the past couple of years. Products with issues that can't even be fixed with firmware updates because they made such a mess of it. Lets focus on the brands themselves and not where they are designed or made.

exactly. The idea that there's some massive quality gulf between Chinese stuff and stuff produced elsewhere on the planet is laughable. The reality is that the non-Chinese products are often no better built, and still cost 5 times as much.
 

diablo

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exactly. The idea that there's some massive quality gulf between Chinese stuff and stuff produced elsewhere on the planet is laughable. The reality is that the non-Chinese products are often no better built, and still cost 5 times as much.
I only have one DAC with a Chinese brand - my Topping D10S. But my five bits of MiniDSP kit are designed in Honk Kong, though made in Shenzen I think. I think all my newer speakers are made in China though - despite being European brands. My iPads are made in China.

I've had no problems with them as yet.

I don't like supporting China too much, but hard to avoid getting their stuff.
 
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