For the last few months I have been deliberating about buying a new(or second hand) Pre/Power Amp set up. Having been involved with Hi Fi for a great number of years now; and having owned items like-B&W 802 Speakers, Marantz MA 5 Power Amps, Pioneer PD 590 record deck and a Trio LO 7D record deck etc, I was finding it quite difficult to decide in which direction to go.
Some years ago I was involved in buying and selling vintage valve amplifiers, with the likes of Leak TL 20s, TL 1Os, TL 12s, Radford STA 15, Stearn Monoblocks and of course Quad 11s passing through my hands, all for profit of course. And I remember well the beautifull warm lucid sounds they produced, in particular the Radford which even with it's 15watts drove my B&W 802s with ease.
So where was I to go from here? Whilst trolling through the Amplifier lists on Ebay I came accross a new valve amplifier (the name of which I will not mention and a price that looked more like a telephone number) this set me thinking, so I put into the "Advanced Search" valve amplifiers and up came about 40 or so including many from China. I decided from here to do some in depth research on the Chinese Amps, including looking at as much feedback from existing buyers as possible; I also emailed two people in the UK who had bought Valve Amplifiers from China, to seek their opinions, both kindly replied with favorable answers.
From this I decided to "Go for it" as my wife always says when buying something, and short listed 3 Amplifiers and finally came down on a Yaoin MC-100B Dual Mono-Triode 30 watts switchable Ultra Linear 60 watts per chanel, (claimed) using 4 KT88 - 4 6SN7- 2 12AX7 Valves, which from the photo's looked great but quite big and very heavy at 29kgs!!
Buying from Hong Kong seemed a bit daunting but the supplier "ecbuy365" had good feedback and used DHL for shipping, which was reassuring, so I duly put in my bid for £9.99+ £287 shipping cost (this is where they make their money for the goods) and won the auction on Thursday 10th January 2008 at 10pm and paid with PayPal. I received an email the following morning to tell me the goods had been despatched via DHL complete with tracking number. All invoices and Customs paperwork was provided by the seller.
We tracked the shipment all the way from Hong Kong to Heathrow and up to Leeds and the package was delivered to my door on Monday 14th January at 10.30 am. Now that is what I call service. The Amplifier was very well packed in a polystyrene shell inside a substantial cardboard box.
To end a very long story, the Amplifier is absolutely fantastic and looks good to, yes it is very heavy so needs a substantial support.
I would not hesitate to buy again from China, this is a Quality Product at a very acceptable price, although it comes with a 2 Year Warranty, returning it to Hong Kong is a non starter because of the shipping costs both ways (buyers responsibility) but for what I paid and what the Amp is worth I consider it well worth it.
I hope this is of help to other prospective buyers.