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These Hong Kong amps have me bummed
These Hong Kong amps have me bummed
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Old 22nd June 2009, 07:39 AM   #91
ccschua is offline ccschua  Malaysia
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Join Date: May 2008
I have grabbed the mc-100b to see if its really a genuine produt. I wanted to go for 5881 (which is less than USD 225/set) but rather take a precaution stand and see first.

My current unit is a Audiospace 6V6GT and it costs more than this MC-100B.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 03:01 PM   #92
Willleung is offline Willleung  Hong Kong
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Originally posted by bcherry

My apologies. We are migrating the Ella to the Ergo-Ella chassis and I took down the Levels 1 - 3 as the amp is sold out but forgot to remove the assembling option. The $275USD is the cost for doing the assembling of a custom-configured Ella. It doesn't include any parts. The work is done by a very meticulous craftsman with 40+ years experience here in Hong Kong.

I go to factories in China several times a month and get to talk to the factory owners. After the Chinese New Year this year about 20 million workers didn't come back in Canton alone. Thousands of factories turned out the lights or just closed down. So it is a very unstable period in manufacturing now and there is a bit of a shake out going on. The fast buck operators always come and go, but it's sad to see some legitimate established factories gasping for life. We're losing some. Last August manufacturing material prices peaked and many factories bought huge stocks at the peak as a hedge against even more increases (just like the airlines bought fuel futures at the peak and continue to pay peak prices long after the crash). When prices fell, customers demanded pricing based on new costs but manufacturers were drawing from inventory purchased at the peak. On the other hand there is still a lot of inventory floating around that was bought when prices were low. It all makes for an unpredictable market.

I've asked some of the factory owners about the cheap Chinese amps that appear on Ebay. how do they do it? They explain it this way: if a factory can't get a distributor for its products ) or the order is cancelled) it will sell them out on Ebay. Some are overruns from inventory when promised orders didn't materialize. Some are new production to finish material inventory bought low. I guess that's why they sometimes resemble products once sold under a brand name.

Looking at the example in the OP: if I order a production run of 50 sets (typical) of these, and pay for the tooling for the casework, the cost is going to be almost what that amp sells for on Ebay.

But there are some unseen variables: the transformers are about 50% of the cost and the price difference between junk core and imported Japanese or Korean core is about 4x. Of course even good cores can underachieve when scatter wound but not likely anyone using junk cores will take the time and hire the skill needed to produce perfect lay windings. Junk cores still give sound, not screechy, horrible sound, but uninvolving and flat from what I've heard.

Then there are the parts used. The China market is flooded with fakes and repackaged parts. The difference between real Rubycon or Nichicon etc and the ones with just the labels is about 5 to 1 in bulk. Fake and real both make sound. Film Caps make with local films are junk and sound tizzy.

The answer is not in the shipping charged. The amp in the pictures should be a minimum of 20kg if the power transformer is correctly sized. Our Ella (included 2 chokes) was 27kg. Shipping by air to US or Europe is about 10-11USD/kg.

Also I've noticed Ebay is flooded with listings where the product is claimed to be in Hong Kong but in fact is not - it's in China. So that's one reason why many don't allow local pickup, because it's not local. I'd be very wary of any product that isn't where it's claimed to be. There is a whole different set of dynamics for products sold from China and products sold from Hong Kong. The sellers know it and that's why they try to disguise the products whereabouts.

So I guess it just depends what you are shopping for.

Interesting thread.
thanks a lot for the enlightenment, Brian.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 04:58 PM   #93
thoriated is offline thoriated  United States
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If Chinese audio manufacturers want to make me really happy, they should start building small signal tubes equivalent in quality to the best of the NOS classics (eg triple mica, silver clips, copper rods, maybe large black plates, etc).
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Old 23rd June 2009, 06:23 PM   #94
thoriated is offline thoriated  United States
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Location: flyover country
I am sure that you are correct. One of the assumptions of DIY is that you are going to save money. In most instances this is not the case. From memory, the capacitors alone for my last amp cost more than some of the Chinese amplifiers mentioned above!
Cost is the primary reason I never tried to DIY a serious transistor amplifier, at least after my teenage years. Also, just due to sheer laziness, if I could meet my objectives by buying a commercial tube product and modifying that, I would do so, and have done so on occasion. For me, a good part of the DIY fun is implementing my own ideas in a way that is unique and unavailable on the market at any price, as long as the ideas work decently well.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 11:15 PM   #95
SigloOne is offline SigloOne  United States
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I like the look of some of the Chinese amps, but I want to build my own. I just wish there was a place in the US to get decent looking chassis without having to break the bank or ship from Hong Kong. Everything else i have no problem finding, but trying to get an attractive chassis is tough.
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Old 24th June 2009, 12:51 AM   #96
TubeMack is offline TubeMack  United States
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Location: Florida
And this was what started my post. I want more case work choices here in the US. I want my stuff to look as good as the Sino stuff! I gues this is where having your own factory comes in handy. I'd love to find something with a finely brushed front panel, and walnut sides like the 70's japan stuff! I think I have have come up with something using a hammond chassis, Front Panel Express, and Ebay walnut lumber!
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Old 24th June 2009, 01:25 AM   #97
Rockmore is offline Rockmore  United States
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Red, White, and Blue USA
Use STABILIZED WOOD Mack- makes anything look
3 times as good as stock walnut, and I'm a old school
heavy grain wood lover... You should see (and do some
research) on some of the finished stabilized wood used
in a myriad of smaller projects for anything. It's just
unbelievable and durable. You also can get as exotic as you want.
Seems the stuff is just made for amp chassis'.

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Old 24th June 2009, 04:22 AM   #98
agent.5 is offline agent.5  United States
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Dude, can you stop spamming your wood?

Here is a link to one of many recipes that better your craps.

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Old 8th July 2009, 12:09 AM   #99
arnoldc is offline arnoldc  Philippines
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Hi, I'd like to request SY or our fellow Canadian friends here to confirm that this amp is being assembled in Edmonton...

Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 17th October 2009, 04:22 PM   #100
88man is offline 88man  United States
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston
I've always wanted a 6SN7 based preamp and a good PP 6SN7/KT88 integrated amp for some time now. I was eying an Aikido Stereo Octal Pre kit until I came across this one from cattylink.com. Is anyone familiar how the Ming-Da MC-7R MkII sounds?...

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