Hey - Go to Amazon and search "Tube Amplifier"

I am just amazed… I guess I just didn’t expect it…

What do you think of this?

Bruce in Philly

Amazon has long carried a good number of inexpensive Chinese amps. Is this to what you refer?

They also show listings from Audio Advisor and other online and B&M dealers.

As far as that sort of thing goes, the Yaqin are well thought of…

You can buy KEF Reference 1s on Amazon. They’re selling for $8K, list price. Get them way faster than through a local authorized dealer. Hard to listen to them on Amazon though…

In the UK several online hifi stores sell through Amazon too, some of them selling relatively hi end equipment - although most of the stuff they put up on Amazon tends to be low to mid priced - you can occasionally find them selling the more exotic stuff too.

The issue I am referring to is the ton of cheap Chinese amps.

While I respect that great engineering requires a few bucks, I am shocked at how cheap these things are. Anyone try them? Any review or commentary sites?

I guess I am astounded at the diversity of options a buyer has today. Back in the day, I always listened to stuff before I purchased… that required a few trips to the “big city”… Youngstown Ohio for me… to visit a few different shops. (I always stopped into the Macintosh shop… they wore white lab coats… could never afford that stuff but … wow.) Now this stuff on Amazon is just cheap! I guess this is really fantastic… I think…

Bruce in Philly

There are a number of Yaqin believers on Computer Audiophile…


You will find most of the cheap Chi-Fi guys on AudioKharma. They seem to be particularly fascinated with the Nob Sound stuff.

You get what you pay for. Cheap stuff generally works. But quality of parts and labor are a factor in what you pay for.

I agree… but… I would love to try out one of them just for fun… then move it into another small system… a gamble but…

See, back in the days of VTL, the original started by David Manley, his designs were all copies (or “updated”) designs of old AT&T/WECO amps going way back. Bell Labs had the money and the best minds in the world to develop those designs and they were great!

Said another way, you don’t have to invent a great design… they have been out there for 100 years now and the copyright/patents whatever have all expired. So why should a cheap tube amp have to be crap? Now according to David Manley, the magic is in the transformer windings… that, he claimed, is an art and all his transformers were hand wound. Those VTL 300 Deluxes I owned even looked like they were from the 1920s… ugly and industrial. But they were fabulous… more transparent than my PrimaLuna integrated I own today. I love my PrimaLuna… for many reasons such as tube swapping and triode switching and no bias tweaking… and on and on. But those VTLs were fabulous.

I don;t see why a company, or just some guy, couldn’t copy one of these old designs… pull a schematic, and just copy it. And make a great sounding cheap tube amp.

Bruce in Philly

Or, do as Behringer does and plagiarize other company’s designs, capitalize on cheap labor and parts in China and Southeast Asia, and offer dreadful sounding clones of good designs.

Sometimes copies are good; other times, bad.

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The designs are one thing but cheap parts is cheap parts. My guess is that component tolerances and transformer quality might not be up to the level that most of us would accept. I could be wrong, though.