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Thread: Speakers made in China, are they good?

  1. #1
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    Speakers made in China, are they good?

    Hello, these weeks I've been searching on many store for a pair of speakers at reasonable price. I've found that many famous names now were made in China, such as B&W, Monitor Audio, Klipsch... I know that this is a solution to lower the price for limit budget audio lovers. I read some reviews about some of the made in China ones, eg B&W 684, and some said they sound good, some said not. Do you guys have some experience?

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Hi,

    the famous brands are just like most other famous brands, and they try to cut expenses. This is why manufacturing is often outsourced. However, like the B&W's for example, they only do this on their "lower" priced ranges, like the 300 and 600 series, the others are still built in England.

    then again, the B&W's are built in the same factory in china as the Rotel amplifiers. This factory is built and controlled by the B&W group, so they meet certain quality requirements. You could say, that "it's built in china, so it must be of lesser quality", and on many things, this is a true statement, but in this case, it's not. Build quality might have been slightly better when the speakers were produced in England, but the difference will be invisible/inaudible. As said these factories are under strict supervision, and the product is still designed completely in England, unlike the cheap plastic "home theatre in a box" sets, that are outsourced to "a" company, somewhere in china, with no supervision at all. (big difference). You'll also see that most (audio) brands also only do this with their lower/mid level ranges, higher ranges are usually not outsourced, and built in the country of origin.

    As far as I go: my speakers (Thiel CS2.3's)were designed and hand built in America, in a way, I care about this. I paid alot of money for these speakers, and I appreciate that they are built in america. Why? they were built by a small-ish (compared to B&W, definitely small), family business. All the people there care about their products, they are skilled craftsmen & women, and they put alot of hard work, care and love in the speakers they build. They weren't a product that was designed by the engineers in their office, and then the design was sent to another factory, in another country, and then put together by (also hard working) workers. Now if Thiel was a chinese brand, however, I'd appreciate the fact that they were built in china too, not in a big factory like the HTiB products of course, but there are lots of chinese brands too, with the same ideology as Thiel, and many others. To design and build a product with love and care.

    as far as the opinions go: you have this with every speaker, bottom priced, or very high priced. Sound and sound quality is still a very subjective topic, some people will like the sound, and the looks of a speaker/component, and others might not. You'll have to decide for your own whether you like them or not . About the B&W's: in my opinion, they are very fine speakers, we have the previous 600 series too here, and I like them too, and the new series is even better. Pretty neutral, with a small hint of that "british" sound still there. Great lows, and very defined highs. Mids are very natural and clean also. the other brands you named: Monitor Audio and Klipsch, I only have experience with MA, and I can only say that they are definitely worth the money, they make great products, with a finish that is rarely seen for their price (to put it in this way too: "thank you, chinese hard working men & women") with a very neutral, fast and transparent sound. I was looking at a pair of Gold signature (GS) 20's or 30's myself a few years back, and I was truly impressed by them.

    I hope this answered your question a bit

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    Hi basite,

    Thanks for a very experienced discussion. 2 weeks ago I bought a pair of Infinity SM155. I've found it having good reviews in this website so I decided to go for a bid. When having them at home, they sounded good in my ears from my Accuphase 206. I am just a bit disappointed when getting to know that they were made in Taiwan. Since then I've been searching for another pair, used, and made in Europe. I was offered a pair of B&W DM320 at 330 eur and a Kef C85 at 260 eur. And with both of them I couldn't find any review. From your discussion, I started wondering is it better to buy another pair or keep the one I have.

    Some words to continue our talk. Thanks.
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  4. #4
    RGA
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    From a quality standpoint it tough to say. I lived in China for a year and while many companies are fine there were a number of issues. Corporate greed is everywhere so it's not just China but one milk company was putty molamine (Sp?) into the milk This is a cauking agent that is cheap and it has similar properties to milk and got by detection for a long time. It killed many babies. Though at least when the Chinese Government found out they didn't pull a USA company and give them 3 months in a minimum security hotel. The Government took all the money and shot everyone involved - that's what should have happened to Lee Ioccoca but nope.

    As for quality - well a lot of things in Asia are for "show" and not a lot of actual substance. This is not stereotyping it is true for all of the countries I have been in over there and more pronounced in Japan, South Korea and China. Saving Face is what they call it - but to dispense with the euphemism it is really "lying with a smile" in order to prevent an argument.

    Unless the company operating in China is LITERALLY a full time presence. Like they have flown their engineers and floor manager over and they are there full time watching over the plant full time then the ball will be dropped. At Papa Johns for instance they controlled the Pizza joint directly, training Chinese staff and the place was as good tasting as it gets. They ended up going back to the States and left it to the care of an obviously corrupt resident manager and as such the food went down the drain (though who cares the average Chinese probably would not know the difference since there is no competition and most have never left their city. But the food was atrocious, portions dropped in size, and there was way less cheese (and it didn't taste quite right). McDonalds and they have more clout had off tasting ice cream cones (they don't clean using soap). Anything to cut a corner.

    Even the school I worked at which was a partnership with a Canadian school district set up a library a week before inspectors went out. The library never had a single English book in it - but the room looked nice and there was a sign. Passed inspection. A week later the library was closed.

    B&W may have more clout and may have more control - and most of their direct competition is also being made there now so it doesn't much matter.

    The fact is we live in a more disposable age. Something breaks we chuck it and get a new one. Which may also explain why there is roughly a 60% divorce rate and it is quite likely that of the 40% of marriages that don't end up in divorce that half of those have people sticking it out for the kids. And hey it costs more to fix things than it is to replace them.

    Grant Fidelity is a company that puts out uber built Chinese gear - they do it I suspect in part to try and turn the negative tide against the stereotypes of Chinese shoddy build. Generally you would have to pay at least double or triple the price for a US built product to match Shengya or Grant Fidelity on build.

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    The world famous Fostex drivers originally made in Japan are now made in China.

    I wouldn't be surprised if most high end drivers now come from China.

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkdung
    Hello, these weeks I've been searching on many store for a pair of speakers at reasonable price. I've found that many famous names now were made in China, such as B&W, Monitor Audio, Klipsch... I know that this is a solution to lower the price for limit budget audio lovers. I read some reviews about some of the made in China ones, eg B&W 684, and some said they sound good, some said not. Do you guys have some experience?
    Why would we suppose that quality speakers, amps, or whatever couldn't be made in China?

    In fact for mid-tech items such as audio equipment, Chinese firms can -- if they choose to -- make equipment as good as or better than any thing made any where. If there are still Chinese goods of shoddy quality, it is because of greed: I mean all-round greed -- Chinese makers and vendors wanting to maximize profits and foreign distributors and consumers wanting something-for-nothing.

    If you're talking speakers, B&W and the one-time Canadian firm, PSB, are examples where the quality of product from China is far higher than comparable price ranges when the similar product was made in Britain or Canada. This is an instance where quality is enforced by a foreign company of some prestige that wants to maintain that prestige (while still maximizing shareholder ROI).

    However it is certainly the strategy of the Chinese goverment and industrial leadership to follow the course of Japan. That is, to move up-market and produce world-beating designs and quality and be recognized for doing so.

  7. #7
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    Paradigm makes everything inhouse (including the tweeter and woofers) in Canada and they are around the same price as PSB (don't quote me), so I don't know where PSB's rational is.

    I love my Paradigm's and most of their speakers get good reviews across the board.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enochrome
    Paradigm makes everything inhouse (including the tweeter and woofers) in Canada and they are around the same price as PSB (don't quote me), so I don't know where PSB's rational is.

    I love my Paradigm's and most of their speakers get good reviews across the board.
    Yeah I have to agree with you on the Paradigms...I've had a pair of Paradigms monitor 7v2 and had them doing front channel duty connected to my hometheater reciever, a Marantz for 8 years. They sounded ok, but I decided to take an old amp I had, a ADCOM 5400 and use it to drive the front channels on the Marantz, and then took my Rotel CDP and got rid of the cheap Sony CDP and now the Paradigms shine for two channel music. I hear a bottom end that I had not heard in 8 years. The tweeters are a tad hot but the Paradigms really do sound good.
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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enochrome
    Paradigm makes everything inhouse (including the tweeter and woofers) in Canada and they are around the same price as PSB (don't quote me), so I don't know where PSB's rational is.

    I love my Paradigm's and most of their speakers get good reviews across the board.
    Well I think PSB's rational lies mainly in the greed category. I read an article in Stereophile a couple of years ago wherein Paul Barton, (owner of PSB), was positively gleeful and gloating about how wonderful it was to do business in China. On the other hand I doubt that PSB ever had anything like the large manufacturing facility that Paradigm has.

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    The US still claims the world's largest speaker manufacturer in Eminence of Kentucky. They make drivers for Zu, Tekton, and Hawthorne to mention a few. Their bread and butter however comes from guitar speakers.

    The plant is located in Eminence, Ky. population 3,000.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I know myself while I do have gear made in different countries and really it does not bother me there is a certain feeling of owning a piece of audio equipment made in America and for me it is not really the fact that it is built better or worse or that it sounds better or worse I just think a lot of people since that closeness to the gear because it was built by people that live possibly in the same area or have the same types of lives or who knows a friends cousins uncle might work there and when we find that out it kind of hits home that America built this machine. There is nothing wrong with components built in other countries and China has picked up the game in a lot of respects as far as quality and sound but I know that most people just feel better knowing something is built where you live.

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    Like many other industries today it's frequently less than clear cut where a product was "made." Quite a few companies that build speakers in America have the cabinets built overseas and then do final assembly here. Many amplifier manufacturers have modular pieces imported and then do final assembly here, or at least have many components involved that aren't available domestically at all.

    The goodness or badness of a product can't be determined solely based on its official country of origin or even its actual manufacturing locale. There are both quality products and shoddy products built both here and elsewhere.
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    Well said woofersus. I totally agree with you.

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    The Chinese have been successful more or less for- um- 5000 years?

    They are following a tried and true strategy.

    You can learn about it by reading:
    "The Innovators Solution" by Claton Christensen & Michael Raynor

    See also "The Innovator's Dilemma", same authors.

    I delt with the Chinese when they acquired the (for sale in China) local manufacturing rights to the older-design machines they bought from "The Company". I quickly learned that their heavy-machining skills left a lot to be desired, but they learned fast. This deal bootstrapped them up the heavy-machining food chain a good way. They accomplished a capability growth in maybe 5 years that otherwise would have taken at least 50 years.

    So, yea, many American companies source from China at a low cost and sell in the American market at high prices. This works if the company has a rigorous FPQ process (First Piece Qualification). Some day this gig will die. But the early adopters have done well.

    The Bolsheviks used to describe a Capitalist as someone who sells you a rope so that you can hang him. Sounds true to me.

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    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist
    The US still claims the world's largest speaker manufacturer in Eminence of Kentucky. They make drivers for Zu, Tekton, and Hawthorne to mention a few. Their bread and butter however comes from guitar speakers.

    The plant is located in Eminence, Ky. population 3,000.
    Yep. If a guitar speaker is not a Weber or a Celestion, it's probably an Eminence. Actually they even make some speakers for Weber.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular swan24's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Tang Band rear loaded horn speakers, and a single ended integrated tube amplifier from China, and I'm very pleased with the sound and overall build quality... Simply put, I could not have even touched stuff like this made anywhere else on a Vet's pension... Even the Chinese tubes weren't bad, although I did replace them with JJ Tesla EL 34 tubes for the output, 6N2 P EV Russian tubes for front end, and added tube dampers... (m.)

  17. #17
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    Well when i crafted my system i tried to make it made in the USA. My amp, preamp, cd transport/dac are made in the USA but i ended up buying speakers made in England.). It just came down to taste and i really liked the speakers. Since then I have a samsung STB and panasonic plasma tv and they may be made in china i have no freakin idea but for the most part i avoid all chinese electronics when comes to my audio rig.
    Last edited by TheHills44060; 02-06-2011 at 07:12 AM.

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    los parlantes made in england y made in usa, emplean materiales de alta resistencia y de alta densidad, estos parlantes bien cuidados son eternos y perjudican las ventas. Los chinos logran resultados similares con materiales de menor densidad y menor resistensia, pero no son eternos y son mas fragiles y son mucho mas baratos. Es falso afirmar que suenan iguales o son iguales.

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    los amplificadores y parlantes meridian de us$100.000 son una estafa pues nosotros los adultos escuchamos entre 100 y 10.000 hz y nuestro limite de placer se logra con un marantz 2265B + b&w201i+ un flac de sacd 24/96 chezky, pentatone, hungaroton,speaker corner, telarc y NUNCA GASTAR MAS DE US$ 1000.

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    I just got the Emotiva made in China T2's. Great stuff. Everything is made in China these days anyway. No hesitation with going for a China made brand. Save the money for other kit.

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    Actually China has been make great improvement in technologies, as well as India. Products will not let you down if the price matches.

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    Yes speaker made in China are good. I remember when it was my marriage days and my Speaker was just damaged and before this i want to Buy Pakistani Bridal Lehnga Online from a designer but beacaue of Speaker's loss i have to buy a Pakistani Bridal Wedding Dress online from Buy Wholesale Pakistani Bridal dresses collection 2018 at Online Store here and buy my speakers from E-Bay and that work really good

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