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Old 1st October 2010, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default do you own a chinese tube integrate? does it.... smell?

sorry, its a blunt and random question but totally literal. here is my story, bought a chinese el34 integrate several months ago, the thing smelled sharply of 'paint shop' odor, so i had it in a separate room with long signal wires running from behind a closed door. the sound was still exquisite enough to turn me into a tube dedicate, ultimately. but the amp wouldn't keep stinking up that awful toxic smell, so i finally got it partially refunded. it's for this generous service that i refuse to mention the manufacturer's name. now i'm looking for another tube integrate, and would like to know which brand models smell and which doesn't. the kind of smell i'm talking about is usually of the transformer varnish that should have dissipated during assembly but still doesn't after months of continuous use. it smells of paint. and the other smell is.. well, paint on the chassis. again, it should have been dried off before purchase but it doesn't, since it's of poor quality.

why such a fuss over a minor odor, some might say (especially the sellers). but my amp was releasing heavy fumes. it soaked into the fall wear clothes that i had in storage in that room in a duffel bag. when i opened it up yesterday to move them to the dresser, i reeled from the sharp smell. every single one of my clothes were bleached in that paint smell which didn't air out after half a day. i spent rest of that day laundering all my clothes and my girlfriend's. i should bow never to purchase a chinese amp again, but their value is just too great to ignore. diy is a much more hassle for me and not that economic since i'm living in china which means paying half of my project budget on shipping from overseas.

so please let me know, does your chinese amp smell during operation? did it ever from the initial unwrapping? thanks. cheers.
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Old 1st October 2010, 03:57 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Check out the stuff from Twins Audio here on diyaudio. A lot of electronic components are made there in China so it is not the case that you would necessarily have to import anything if you wanted to build your own.. I've used Twins Audio transformers in one of my projects and they are excellent, further based on correspondence and looking at their designs & pix of finished amps I think you would find one of their amplifiers an excellent performer.

I used to have a line of products that I oem'd in Shenzen, they smelled for a couple of weeks to a month when new, and then no longer did. It was as you say just paint and varnish, more correctly the volatile components in the paint or varnish. This unit may have had a particularly odoriferous paint formulation. Placing a new unit in a confined space may not have helped.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:03 PM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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Chances are that one of two things happened: the potting material parts A and B were not thoroughly mixed or one of the parts was actually left out. This DOES happen, especially if a feed tube is clogged.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:37 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SY View Post
Chances are that one of two things happened: the potting material parts A and B were not thoroughly mixed or one of the parts was actually left out. This DOES happen, especially if a feed tube is clogged.
And then it would stink forever, and possibly the potted transformer eventually migrates to the bottom of the can, and the still gloppy potting compound is all the while seeking to escape..
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:37 PM   #5
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thanks, the diy route is looking sunnier with that info.

i had the window open in that room at all times except on rainy days. the transformers were varnished, actually, not potted. i even had it out in the sun with the transformer cover off for two days- 90 degrees baking hot. that changed the characteristic of the smell, somewhat, but it did not lessen the intensity and i feared that was enough experimenting, so back to the room they went until i was granted the refund.

right now i'm looking at opera consonance m100 series and shengya v60 (a.k.a. vincent v60) Opera seems decent quality but overpriced as compared to other chinese brands. vincent v60 looks appealing but the internals look like it was made by radioshack.
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Old 1st October 2010, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PreSapian View Post
bought a chinese el34 integrate
Difficult to tell which this amp was. I wonder if it was a Audioromy?
What make does it say on the badge?
That would be a useful clue as to the make..
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Old 1st October 2010, 06:55 PM   #7
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I have 2 Chinese made integrated tube amps. The new one smells strongly of paint. I suppose the paint is fresh.

I've bought brand new transformers - US made - that smelled strongly of varnish for a couple of weeks. Nothing like that new transformer smell!
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Old 1st October 2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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Can we generalize all Chinese amps?
Are they not made by different companies - I'm confused.

It's like saying UK Hi-Fi stuff is good and then remembering Amstrad..
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Old 1st October 2010, 07:06 PM   #9
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panomaniac View Post
Nothing like that new transformer smell!
It's the smell of victory!

FWIW, I've bought ten transformers from James with zero problems (whether smell or otherwise), so I wouldn't generalize either. They aren't expensive, but they're not cheap, either. Cheap Chinese amps, on the other hand...
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:35 PM   #10
taj is offline taj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SY View Post
It's the smell of victory!

FWIW, I've bought ten transformers from James with zero problems (whether smell or otherwise), so I wouldn't generalize either. They aren't expensive, but they're not cheap, either. Cheap Chinese amps, on the other hand...
James is in Taipei, no? Do they manufacture in China?

..Todd
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