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Cheap, Not Cheerful Chinese Hi-Fi Experience


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Shallow pockets drive an audiophile to try to get a good deal online and often that leads to China and to Aliexpress, while I had good/ok-so-so/bad deals from there, I had nothing to really share until now where recent bad experiences with 2 sellers there caused me much heartache and made me doublt as to the actual sincerity and good-will of my fellow human brethren.
First was seller named 'Shop5702020 Store' and person talked to was 'July', the second being a shop that at least had a name that didn't suggest 'fly by night', the almighty 'Amplifier and transformer- Store

Now, I prefaced my interaction with them with the idea that it is really hard to make a good decision on amplifiers esp tubed ones bought sound unheard/sight unseen, and if they would please pardon me if I take a long time to decide, and ask them a lot of questions. I begged for their understanding, and initially it seemed that they were not only friendly, helpful and courteous, but genuinely understood their work, their products, their customers.

It all goes south when 'July' of fly by night shop good for this year only 2020, decided that even if offered additional money they will not fix a known flaw in their amp one I already placed an order for. A well known capacitor value flaw (documented in online audio forums)) that would prove - in fact HAS proven to take out the rectifier time and time again. And that I was making trouble for them, even after they were so so so good to me, how dare I?
I had little choice but to cancel the order, but the seller continued to berate me in Aliexpress chat

The trouble with Tom of 'Amplifier and transformer- Store' was the fake friendship he offered, beyond the bounds of customer-seller interaction, talking about his family, life in China, claiming to work 7 days a week for a hard nosed boss when it later dawned on me he was the boss, recommending me a brand over others for reason of sound quality, then turn around and tell me not to ask him to suggest as he knew nothing about hifi(!?!?) - would not inform me when the amp I wanted to buy was on sale, I found that out myself, and still bought from him....

only to have him lie to me again, about amp not in stock and made me cancel the order, only to have him refuse my request because I stated the reason for the request to Aliexpress as 'item not in stock'.

After several days of tying up my money, I finally relented and changed it to 'other reasons' as surely he was lying about amp no stock, then I get all the blame for his lying, how accommodating he was to me, I was the bad customer, demanding this and that and have no right to be angry with him, how aggrieved he was with me.

This level of **** is way and above the usual level of crap that online business people did to me in the past, and worth a good read I thought, if nothing else, for your entertainment and possibly if you wanted to get a cheap tube amp, to avoid sellers that initially seemed 'too good to be true' especially for the curt, rude Chinese.

Btw, I am also Chinese. Ah, my people. What a joke.

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I have my fair share of buying from Aliexpress. False marketing is rampant, products can look great in pictures or 'real life' photos but half the time ends up in disappointment. Also skeptical for co

If u buy Chi-fi online, buy only stuff with money u can afford to lose

Was invited to a wechat group, by SOUNDAWARE. One has to be invited by the moderator, who is one of the staff from this company. Another avenue is to surf erji.net. Although is primarily for headphone

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never chat or make friends with aliexpress or similar sites people... get what you need to and period. there is no true sincerity to begin with. when **** happens, everything just go south.

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I have my fair share of buying from Aliexpress. False marketing is rampant, products can look great in pictures or 'real life' photos but half the time ends up in disappointment. Also skeptical for counterfeit items. I usually only patronize stores with high sales volume and positive rating, greatly increase chances of a success buy. In fairness, can't deny I grabbed many deals of great value.

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To play with chifi, one must communicate with the right people. Most of those we communicate with are resellers who do not posses extensive knowledge of the products they are selling, hence when they are met with difficult questions, they have to decide which will give them the better return of their time. Hard truth.

Once you are able to get into Chinese forums or chat groups of manufacturers (with many local enthusiasts), you will get more valuable insights and knowledge. 

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15 hours ago, xllms said:

To play with chifi, one must communicate with the right people. Most of those we communicate with are resellers who do not posses extensive knowledge of the products they are selling, hence when they are met with difficult questions, they have to decide which will give them the better return of their time. Hard truth.

Once you are able to get into Chinese forums or chat groups of manufacturers (with many local enthusiasts), you will get more valuable insights and knowledge. 

 

 

care to share where to read up on chi fi? the forums/ chat groups . 

 

would be keen to know more and learn more. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, zephyr11 said:

 

 

care to share where to read up on chi fi? the forums/ chat groups . 

 

would be keen to know more and learn more. 

 

 

Was invited to a wechat group, by SOUNDAWARE. One has to be invited by the moderator, who is one of the staff from this company. Another avenue is to surf erji.net. Although is primarily for headphones and earphones, there are sections which they talk about issues pertinent to HiFi components as well. 

 

Hope this helps.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking at my current setup

OPPO 203, Chifi

MiniDSP, Chifi

Dynaudio, now Chifi also

 

Many accessories bought from Taobao (most sellers on Alixpress from Taobao)

 

Chifi is no longer cheap. Some stuffs are great and expensive, especially the digital items like DAC, etc.

 

Given the size of Taobao/Alixpress, there are bound to be good and bad sellers. I have overall very good experience with Taobao, higher than that of the local carousel actually.

 

OP seems to be looking for "Too good to be true" deal online, which we call SCAM isn't it...

Edited by yakman
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19 hours ago, yakman said:

Looking at my current setup

OPPO 203, Chifi

MiniDSP, Chifi

Dynaudio, now Chifi also

 

Many accessories bought from Taobao (most sellers on Alixpress from Taobao)

 

Chifi is no longer cheap. Some stuffs are great and expensive, especially the digital items like DAC, etc.

 

Given the size of Taobao/Alixpress, there are bound to be good and bad sellers. I have overall very good experience with Taobao, higher than that of the local carousel actually.

 

OP seems to be looking for "Too good to be true" deal online, which we call SCAM isn't it...

 

True that.

I've bought used lemon several times from local carousell before. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Most of my hifi purchases nowadays are all ChiFi, eg. DAC, all kinds of cables and they are all punching way above their price points in my opinion.

 

Chinese market is like a wild wild west, one has to pay some school fees to learn some lessons before knowing how to pick up good deals. 

 

There are many good stuffs in ChiFi now as the production standards have improved tremendously. In fact, I am very tempted to have a full ChiFi system (maybe minus the speakers). I think I can build a very good set based on current available components in the market. 

 

Just look around and you can see what are well reviewed and well represented by local and international resellers. This will give one some clues to dig deeper. 

 

happy CNY!

 

Edited by xllms
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^^^^^^^^^^^

almost exactly what i'm trying to do, i too truly think that chifi is superb value for money. though you would have to do your fair share of research before putting down the money, but bottom line for me, i still have the "ready to lose" mindset of sorts. looking for a nice tube pre to complete the setup (of sorts). 

 

 

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