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Why expensive integrated amplifiers better than Topping...?

D

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And that is precisely why traditional, expensive manufacturers, should be ashamed that far cheaper products measure far better than them.
No it isn't ... once a distortion spec (for example) gets below the level of audibility, any decrease will not make a difference. The shame here is the SINAD chasing that's going on... If I can't hear -80db of distortion you can be absolutely certain I'm not going to hear -120. At that point it makes more sense to engineer for quality, serviceability and usable lifetime than for "better sound".
 

Talisman

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And that is precisely why traditional, expensive manufacturers, should be ashamed that far cheaper products measure far better than them.
Please come on ....
are we comparing integrated amplifiers that have a large case, a dac, a multitude of inputs, an internal power supply, a motorized volume knob, a remote control, two sets of speaker outputs, a preamp output?
in what should a 500 euro marantz 6007 be ashamed compared to an 800 la90? In numbers and values that are totally inaudible, achieved by sacrificing all the features you need in a serious amplifier?

When we see these performances in amplifiers with full functionality, with established reliability, with a valid and quality construction, with a power closer to at least 100w 8ohm then we can speak of real progress. At the moment I only see engineering exercises aimed at achieving performances that are not needed, just for the pleasure of doing it, sacrificing many things that are really useful in everyday use.
 

Saponetto

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Old story, just as the ones about the sex of angels.

Profitable firms cannot longer lay on their fame, success and customer fidelity, 'cos nothing vanishes as fast as a brand reputation, if the fidelized customer perceives such of lack of quality/heritage/trust/allure.
Add a dramatic lowering of the purchase capability at mid-low tiers (2008-on) and the dish is served.

Of course this argument doesn't impact with the actual added value of some brands (Topping among these) that are constantly raising up the quality boundaries of the consumer level Hi-Fi.
For sure, it explains why some costly brands should pay more attention to not shrink the benefit of their allure among their customers.
 

pjug

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All companies are profit driven and of course what the market can bear. If there really was a “significant “ chip shortage why are millions of consumer electronics being built? Or are they creating a shortage facade to create an illusion to create inflation? Look at the housing market, increase sales , increase revenues decreased supply just like cars and toilet paper..remember?

It is because consumers are basically stupid. Create a crisis, you create panic and create revenue…truthful facts have little or nothing to do with it. If you control the narrative aka mainstream audio media you may manipulate the market.

As I cut my teeth at my local audio shop years ago and I was soon brainwashed into thinking hifi magazines were the experts. I held that opinion till recently when I discovered I was being taken to the cleaners by most audio shops. I put aside my ego and started researching and just listening to the music.. I soon realized that the same crap out there 40 years ago were making dealers rich as they are today. “Jitter this and cable that” they said. Just buy what you can afford, sounds good and is well designed with reasonable specs. Enough said.
The shortages and component inflation are real. Stuff being made is doesn't prove otherwise. In my work I've had to use substitutes I didn't want to use because of shortages. And my kit costs have gone up quite a bit over the last couple years.
 

Vacceo

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Please come on ....
are we comparing integrated amplifiers that have a large case, a dac, a multitude of inputs, an internal power supply, a motorized volume knob, a remote control, two sets of speaker outputs, a preamp output?
in what should a 500 euro marantz 6007 be ashamed compared to an 800 la90? In numbers and values that are totally inaudible, achieved by sacrificing all the features you need in a serious amplifier?

When we see these performances in amplifiers with full functionality, with established reliability, with a valid and quality construction, with a power closer to at least 100w 8ohm then we can speak of real progress. At the moment I only see engineering exercises aimed at achieving performances that are not needed, just for the pleasure of doing it, sacrificing many things that are really useful in everyday use.
Any Hypex or Purifi amp builder (Buckeye, Boxem, Apollon, Audiophonics...) gets you double that power in 8 ohms.

For preamps, we can point something similar for Schiit.

Yes, Marantz should be ashamed their amps do not get close
 
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Powerbench

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The shortages and component inflation are real. Stuff being made is doesn't prove otherwise. In my work I've had to use substitutes I didn't want to use because of shortages. And my kit costs have gone up quite a bit over the last couple years.
I am not saying there is NOT a shortage it is the perception created to raise prices. The consumer is not the one who should bear the failure of production by price gouging.
 

pjug

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I am not saying there is NOT a shortage it is the perception created to raise prices. The consumer is not the one who should bear the failure of production by price gouging.
Maybe you can find some examples of opportunistic price increases but I don't get the impression that audio prices are going up much differently than everything else.
 

pjug

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Audio parts ... yes. Audiophile parts ... Nope.

For example...
The data sheet mentions audio applications... but it is not made for "audiophiles".

There are companies dealing with audiophiles who are selling audio parts at ludicrous prices ... but there's nothing "audiophile" specific about them. I've seen opa1611 marketed to audiophiles for as much as $35.00 each ... I can get them from Mouser for $7.88
That's just almost funny. Don't the customers shop around at all?
 

muslhead

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I am not saying there is NOT a shortage it is the perception created to raise prices. The consumer is not the one who should bear the failure of production by price gouging.
The only way to stop that in a capiitlistic economy is have goverment controls.
I dont like rising prices either (justified or not) but that is what happens over time. Inflation is not caused due to the mfg, they have no control. Direct you anger at your local central banker
If not the consumer who should bear the cost then? The mfg? and have the go out of business or reduce quality to keep the price the same?
You have a choice, dont buy it and move on to something else.
Reverse rolls and become a business owner with these same issues and please, come back here with the same comments. I am condfident we will never hear from you again or have a HUGE mea culpa
 
D

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That's just almost funny. Don't the customers shop around at all?
Yeah they do ... looking for "Audiophile" quality parts.

There are 3 general grades of electronic components ... Military, which are tested and certified, Commercial which after the military gets it's pickings are tested for tolerances and Consumer grade which is the rest of the pile and used in the stuff we buy.

There are some components built specifically for audio applications, mostly dedicated chips like USB DACs and things, but none of it is specifically made for audiophile applications.
 
D

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The only way to stop that in a capiitlistic economy is have goverment controls.

We could just stop buying the overpriced stuff...
That would pretty much take care of the problem as these shysters go bankrupt.
 

Vacceo

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We could just stop buying the overpriced stuff...
That would pretty much take care of the problem as these shysters go bankrupt.
In that, you´re completely right. In this little part of the market that we enjoy, there is a relatively large number of manufactureres that do not exist anymore because us, the customers, spent our money elsewhere.
 

billyjoebob

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It is necessary to critically evaluate what a particular brand or product proposes, stop.
I own a breeze mini dual tpa3116, paid a ridiculous 38 euros (without power supply) that works continuously connected to Alexa and two bookshelf speakers for over two years, never a problem. Surely it will not have stellar measurements, but in all honesty I think I would have a lot of difficulty in recognizing it blind from a pa5.
I have a JBL bluetooth speaker that I bet you would have a difficult time testing blind against this.
 

Talisman

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I have a JBL bluetooth speaker that I bet you would have a difficult time testing blind against this.
Maybe it's true, and think how much more stupid I would be to look for even better performances by spending a lot of money to tell about it at the bar with friends.
 

Talisman

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Any Hypex or Purifi amp builder (Buckeye, Boxem, Apollon, Audiophonics...) gets you double that power in 8 ohms.

For preamps, we can point something similar for Schiit.

Yes, Marantz should be ashamed their amps do not get close
In summary:
You're comparing a power amp to a similarly priced integrated amp based on 8ohm power, but then drool over a box with a knob and 36watt because it has graphical performance that you can't hear and costs $ 300 more.
Did I get it right?
 

raest

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Chinese labour is cheaper, as was Malaysian, Vietnamese and Korean. That's why many of the top Japanese brands moved their operations to those countries one after another. Don't pretend otherwise.

I remember when Yamaha moved their low-end, mid-end audio manufacture from Japan to Malaysia in 1991. The stuff looked the same, but it was unreliable. Whole pallets of gear had to be returned. Then they ironed out the problems and moved more and more manufacture to Malaysia. Sony did the same. They all did.

Cheapest labour does not make for the best gear. I've never had any complaints about Japanese or US manufactured HiFi gear, but plenty of issues with low labour cost countries of origin. When that changes, I'll be the first to admit it.

don't forget that Japan about 5 decades (and even less) ago was what China was a decade ago. it's not important where something is made and how much that raw labor costs, what's important is who does the QC and to what degree.

open up a Toyota operated car factory with Toyota management and QC in China, and it will have a higher build quality than most if not all non-Toyota operated car factories in the USA. or take Apple. most of it is produce in China, but to very high quality standards, higher than most EU or US companies. or take a look at the mechanical watch industry. the amount of high end luxury Swiss manufacturers setting up shop in China for a lot of their components is massive.

the flipside, which is what gives a bad rap to Chinese manufacturing, is when the whole process is "fully Chinese" with the unwholesome amount of "aliexpress special" brands diluting the market with literally non-existing QC and manufacturing practices and standards where "reliability" et al. aren't even on the list

Any Hypex or Purifi amp builder (Buckeye, Boxem, Apollon, Audiophonics...) gets you double that power in 8 ohms.

and those Hypex and Purifi amps have maybe 10% of the features (they're poweramps, not integrateds) at double or more the cost, with a fraction of the warranty and international after-sales service.

the equation is nowhere near as simple as you're trying to present it
 

captainbeefheart

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Maybe you can find some examples of opportunistic price increases but I don't get the impression that audio prices are going up much differently than everything else.



Here we have someone exploiting his chassis artwork knowing many people purchase amps with their eyes only. His original specs only said "less than 1% THD". I had my hands on one and measured 1% THD at a little under 1 watt, for 5% THD it was around 5 watts. I called him out on it in another forum group and so he changed the specs on his webpage because I didn't want people to think it was putting out full 7 watts of power with less than 1% THD. The problem with these amps is with zero feedback the distortion output is highly dependent upon the linearity of each tube in the circuit, largely the driver tube needs to be high gain and so it's linearity can greatly impact distortion figures. I can take 10 of those preamp tubes (E180F wired as a triode) and measure distortion at the same output, say 140v peak to peak, distortion figures will be all over the place. Same for the 300b but they vary less due to such low gain but you will still have different distortion figures for different specimens. I believe his specs, say 5% THD at full power is when you choose the most linear specimens you can find. It's bad engineering to have a circuit so heavily dependent on component linearity, this is where feedback helps. Unless the tubes are carefully selected you will get numbers closer to what I measured, which is 1% THD under 1 watt and you may get 5 watts at 5% THD.

These amps are nothing more than copies of what we were doing on diyaudio over 20 years ago which was instead of having two stages of gain before the 300b we wanted to reduce phase shift and get away with one voltage amp stage. We were using high transconductance pentodes triode strapped because they turned out to be very linear, low plate resistance and high enough gain. What's the point of reducing phase shift if you aren't going to use feedback? If he wanted better numbers without feedback he should have just stuck with the two stages and linearized each stage with a little local feedback, think of the JC Morrison circuit with cascading 6SN7 gain stages driving the 300b. I'm not afraid of feedback and with a triode output you don't need much to improve the circuit, but dropping the number of stages keeps phase shift low for stability purposes. Anyway these are bad designs in my opinion in a nice looking steam punk style chassis. These things almost always end up around $8,000 after the "upgrades" are done, the one I tested was close to $10,000!!!

Don't get me wrong, tubes can do well if designed correctly but just copying designs without any understanding always produces bad results. The only reason these sell is because of what they look like. Before clipping the amp put out 7 watts at 8% THD, with little effort you can easily get 8 watts from a single 300b with <1% THD at full output But that's with some feedback, people that tend to build these amps are scared of feedback and i just don't know why. I'm not scared of a little distortion, I'm personally listening to less than 1 watt so at those power levels my SE tube amps are better than -60db distortion which I feel is not very audible when you consider it's all second harmonic. With his amps distortion is -40db at light listening levels, around 1 watt which I feel is too much. My SE tube amps are rated 12 watt at 1% THD which for me is very loud, the speaker distortion is much higher than 1% and it sounds very clean to me still, I run Class A2 mode so I have headroom up past 20 watts. People still rant and rave how amazing these distortion makers are, to me the amp was too colorful and didn't do complex music very well at all. Simple music it sounded okay and the distortion adds to the richness but when cranked up it was just too distorted, complex music lost it's clarity. I presume most of these people use these amps at around 1 watt with light jazz and vocals which is why they like them so much.

To answer the question there are lots of these boutique tube amp builders out there that know very little about circuits but they can make very nice looking amplifiers and that's what sells them. There is a huge markup, I mean $10,000 for these amps? really? At least put some more effort into the circuit to get some acceptable performance.
 

Vacceo

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don't forget that Japan about 5 decades (and even less) ago was what China was a decade ago. it's not important where something is made and how much that raw labor costs, what's important is who does the QC and to what degree.

open up a Toyota operated car factory with Toyota management and QC in China, and it will have a higher build quality than most if not all non-Toyota operated car factories in the USA. or take Apple. most of it is produce in China, but to very high quality standards, higher than most EU or US companies. or take a look at the mechanical watch industry. the amount of high end luxury Swiss manufacturers setting up shop in China for a lot of their components is massive.

the flipside, which is what gives a bad rap to Chinese manufacturing, is when the whole process is "fully Chinese" with the unwholesome amount of "aliexpress special" brands diluting the market with literally non-existing QC and manufacturing practices and standards where "reliability" et al. aren't even on the list



and those Hypex and Purifi amps have maybe 10% of the features (they're poweramps, not integrateds) at double or more the cost, with a fraction of the warranty and international after-sales service.

the equation is nowhere near as simple as you're trying to present it
Perhaps in a civilized part of the world, after sale service is a factor, in my area, it is nowhere to be found.

That means expensive shipping no matter what.
 

dualazmak

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Accuphase amplifiers are rather expensive.

I wrote here;
Accuphase provides repair and maintenance services for any of their past and present products sold in the past 50 years. Just one phone call to Accuphase, and they collect the amps (by the specially contracted transfer company having huge Accuphase boxes) at your home and they send it back to you afterwards; usually within one week quick and perfect service (in Japan) in reasonable cost after the warranty period. Of course the service is completely free within the warranty period.

I did it three times on my E-460; Accuphase's own decision to replace one capacitor (after the warranty period but of course free; a kind of gentle/generous preventive recall?), one repair for my mistake (short-circuit at SP terminals while operation) and one full overhaul maintenance.

They have several large storage rooms keeping huge amount of amp parts, including rather old capacitors, resistors, inductors and so on, used in their old products. In case if they cannot find the same parts, sometimes they even handmade it (by themselves or by contract-out) for perfect repair and maintenance, still in reasonable cost for us.

Their comparably high price list includes the cost covering such repair/maintenance policy, operation, human resources and services, I believe.


And I also wrote here;
Accuphase is intentionally restricting their export sales less than 30 % of their total business revenue in order to keep existing as an pure Japanese independent sustainable company;
http://www.accuphase.com/company_profile/a2_management_policies_2.pdf
 

JWAmerica

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Please don't make it a question of provenance. It has nothing to do with China or the USA or Europe, given that many products with European brands are, for example, produced in China.
It is necessary to critically evaluate what a particular brand or product proposes, stop.
I own a breeze mini dual tpa3116, paid a ridiculous 38 euros (without power supply) that works continuously connected to Alexa and two bookshelf speakers for over two years, never a problem. Surely it will not have stellar measurements, but in all honesty I think I would have a lot of difficulty in recognizing it blind from a pa5. Obviously a single analog input, a single power button and a volume knob, but I repeat 38 euros !!! When going up with the digits I expect a lot more from an amp, I expect a certain amount of power, I expect extra functionality, I expect a remote, I expect ease of use, I expect high build levels, I expect maybe a integrated dac, I expect a sub output, I expect a trigger in / out, I expect a pre-out .....
Performances have not really been a problem for a long time now, and there are tons of well-played products for little money, and I don't understand the drift of continuing to push inaudible values from 50db ago by sacrificing all the really useful features I mentioned above.
Provenance matters. The Japanese have an excellent track record. The Chinese do not and this has not changed even in the current year. The brands that sent their manufacturing to China (to cut costs) are now losing their reputation as quality brands and they are suffering the consequences. Ideology matters. The Chinese propensity to shave hairs and cut corners ultimately shows itself down the line.
 
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