China built tube amps

Well I had an interesting conversation today. I contacted a large dealer and let him know I would like to buy a certain integrated tube amplifier that is made in China. I was told he wouldn't sell me one. He said they are all junk.  Prima Luna, Line Magnetic, Cayin, etc, etc, he said forget it. If you want a tube amplifier buy an American or European built unit that can be serviced.

So, I am new to valve amplifiers and I want to try one to understand what they're all about and sort of get my feet wet with tube rolling etc. I don't want to spend a lot of money at first which is why I was looking at Chinese built integrateds. So my question is, without getting into any particular brand other than what I have already mentioned, what is your experience with Chinese built tube amps? As a whole are they reliable? Am I wasting my money if I buy one according to this dealer? I have to admit I was rather taken aback by how adamant he was. Thoughts anyone?


What is the size of your room, and what speakers do you plan to use with the tube amp?

The room is my finished basement. Not huge, about 16' x 20' with 8' insulated ceilings. I currently have a pair of Spendor A6R's that are 88db but I have a buddy who has a pair of Legacy Audio Signature III's that I can easily get my hands on that are 94.5db.

@tablejockey Yes, I understand that. It's just that I never paid a lot of attention until I decided to explore tubes myself.

I think the dealer is misleading you and maybe pushing his own agenda.  Prima Luna, Line Magnetic, and Cayin have all garnered positive comments on both sound and build quality.  I’m actually looking at a Black Ice integrated now.  FWIW, and best of luck. 

Why did you contact a “large Dealer “ asking to purchase a product that presumably given their response is a line they do not carry ? 

Most Odd …

I have owned a Chinese integrated amp for over ten years. It was a good deal for the money. If you want a budget amp, it can be a great choice. Very nice stuff. I have an early Primaluna. Screaming deal for $2K.

If you are looking for state of the art, fantastic sounding audio… well you are not going to get it from there. Not that it couldn’t be, but real high end audio comes from the US, Europe and Japan. Most of the cutting edge is still US. It will likely change, but for the last fifty years cutting edge high end audio has been primarily USA… with some good stuff coming from Europe and Japan.

@tsushima1 Uhm, it's because they advertise it on their website and they show it as being on sale. That's why.

Good sound is good sound regardless of where it's made.  I had a 6.8 watt Nobsound amp that I bought for $235 to use while I was rebuilding my Dynaco 70s with the VTA mods.  It was surprisingly good.  Not as good as my VTA modded Dynas, but I was still impressed with the value.   Changing tubes can vary the sound, and is part of the fun.  Listen to as many as you can, and buy what you love.  You only need to please yourself.  

I'd also highly recommend looking into the VTA amps from  I think they represent extraordinary performance at an affordable price.  

The above mentioned Black Ice ( formerly Jolida) is excellent. I have their F35. Great bang for the buck ( 3 K I believe when ordered with KT 150’s)

I also have two Chinese integrated amps....The MUZISHARE X 7, and the Willsenton R8. I prefer the Willsenton over the MUZISHARE. With tube rolling I might also prefer the Willsenton over the Black Ice, however haven’t done any  side by side yet.

The Willsenton has only been here for less than a week, so can’t speak to long term reliability yet. The MUZISHARE has been here for a year. No problems so far. As far as build quality all three amps are very, very good. Both Chinese amps are available on Amazon for approximately 1500.00 delivered. An outstanding value in my opinion.


The new ARC I-50 made in MN for $5k is getting some action. 
line Magnetic has US based service but I do not know about 

the others. For my money if I bought a tube anything it would

have to have US based service.


So you are saying this dealer caries the particular line of ‘built in China’ amplifier in their portfolio but wouldn’t sell one to you ! Odd …

Addendum , I have just read your response to a similar query on the mirror thread which sheds more light on the matter.





A friend of mine has hear the Audio Research I-50. He says it sound fantastic, much like the ARC VSI 75… only cheaper. I love the sound of the VSI 75, if I needed an integrated in this price range, I would be buying one. $5K.


Yup, an amazing sounding piece of kit for the price … Less sure about the styling however that is secondary to the fidelity for and all in one for $5K 

Tunes4HIFI can get you there for less, but upgrading the components can make Roy's gear really sing. Stay with 6SN7'S, Toroidy transformers for amp outputs, a KT88 design, meaning that the circuit can't just accept KT88's but is powerful enough to fully drive them, and uses Miflex copper foil caps as coupling capacitors. Don Sachs would be better, but he is in semi-retirement and may take longer to make them than you may like. Roy knows Don's upgrades, and would be faster.