20 votes

The wonderful world of Chinese hi-fi - The world of good and cheap headphones from anonymous Chinese companies

23 comments

  1. [2]
    tildez
    Link
    I have had a pair of $350 Campfire Audio Orion IEMs for years. I impulse bought some Tin T2s for like $35 and liked them significantly more than the Orions... I now own the Tin T3 and T4 and quite...

    I have had a pair of $350 Campfire Audio Orion IEMs for years.

    I impulse bought some Tin T2s for like $35 and liked them significantly more than the Orions... I now own the Tin T3 and T4 and quite like them also. There seems to be plenty of duds in the chi-fi world but the good ones really stand out for the price.

    12 votes
    1. Magneto
      Link Parent
      It's also not consistent. There will be a chi-fi brand that produces quality gear to get the good word out, but then they dial back on the quality to save money. Once the brand is tanked, re-label...

      It's also not consistent. There will be a chi-fi brand that produces quality gear to get the good word out, but then they dial back on the quality to save money. Once the brand is tanked, re-label it and start again.

      9 votes
  2. JakeTheDog
    Link
    I still much rather support the people behind the innovative design and engineering that has led to the high-quality gear rather than giving my money to Chinese companies/factories that have...

    I still much rather support the people behind the innovative design and engineering that has led to the high-quality gear rather than giving my money to Chinese companies/factories that have likely stolen the same designs because of the default manufacturing in China and their lack of respect and enforcement for intellectual property rights.

    5 votes
  3. [16]
    Akir
    Link
    I'm a fan of Chi-fi myself, and have bought quite a few IEMs over the years. Honestly it's probably the biggest reason why I am so bitter about Apple leading the war against headphone jacks. There...

    I'm a fan of Chi-fi myself, and have bought quite a few IEMs over the years. Honestly it's probably the biggest reason why I am so bitter about Apple leading the war against headphone jacks. There are just too many hurdles in the way for high quality Bluetooth to be available to these kinds of operations.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      intuxikated
      Link Parent
      Its funny to me how cheap chinese products are a niche market in the west. Here in India those are the main stream products, people are so used to chinese knock offs they only buy branded or...

      Its funny to me how cheap chinese products are a niche market in the west. Here in India those are the main stream products, people are so used to chinese knock offs they only buy branded or expensive counterparts to show off.

      6 votes
      1. [5]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        Those headphones are honestly mostly status symbols here as well. But in economies where there is more money, you need to have more of them. Airpods are everywhere now, for instance, and that has...

        Those headphones are honestly mostly status symbols here as well. But in economies where there is more money, you need to have more of them. Airpods are everywhere now, for instance, and that has to be paired with a phone that probably costs around $1000, and that goes with your name brand clothes that easily cost $60+ per article (unless you have fell into the streetware hole, in which case $300+ is not unusual), and of course that is before accessorizing.

        If you can't tell, I fricking hate people who do this and the markets they support.

        4 votes
        1. babypuncher
          Link Parent
          I used to think more expensive "designer" stuff was all overpriced crap, then one day I bought a pair of designer jeans for ~$100 with a gift card. They cost 4x as much as the cheap jeans I had...

          I used to think more expensive "designer" stuff was all overpriced crap, then one day I bought a pair of designer jeans for ~$100 with a gift card. They cost 4x as much as the cheap jeans I had been buying from Walmart, but they actually fit me correctly and lasted a hell of a lot longer. I don't buy anything but T-shirts at Walmart anymore.

          I'm not saying all of these kinds of products are worth the price premium, but some definitely are. Things don't usually just cost more money just because they have a brand name on them. They still need to do something better than the competition or risk slowly losing their market position.

          6 votes
        2. [3]
          NoblePath
          Link Parent
          They are overpriced status symbols to be sure, but the airpods ability to automagically pair with whatever device you are using is pretty ba.

          They are overpriced status symbols to be sure, but the airpods ability to automagically pair with whatever device you are using is pretty ba.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            Are they overpriced? If you compare it to competitors, the price is basically inline, maybe like a 20-30 premium. They're overpriced if you care particularly about audio quality, and don't mind a...

            Are they overpriced? If you compare it to competitors, the price is basically inline, maybe like a 20-30 premium.

            They're overpriced if you care particularly about audio quality, and don't mind a wire, but let's be honest, most people do not have those priorities. And that's fine! There's nothing wrong with not giving a shit about audio quality.

            2 votes
            1. babypuncher
              Link Parent
              I use some pretty expensive headphones at home (by most peoples standards) and I still carry my AirPods with me everywhere because they are so much more convenient. Audio quality doesn't matter...

              I use some pretty expensive headphones at home (by most peoples standards) and I still carry my AirPods with me everywhere because they are so much more convenient. Audio quality doesn't matter nearly as much as convenience when I'm on a plane or exercising.

              2 votes
    2. [9]
      babypuncher
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      There's nothing preventing anyone from using their existing IEMs with an iPhone. The death of the headphone jack has more to do with the fact that it's more difficult to waterproof in a way that...

      There's nothing preventing anyone from using their existing IEMs with an iPhone. The death of the headphone jack has more to do with the fact that it's more difficult to waterproof in a way that lasts and doesn't involve the user sticking a rubber plug in it when not in use.

      1 vote
      1. [8]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I'm sorry, but that's complete BS. How do you think they waterproof the far more complex charging port? How do you explain that there are already phones that include headphone jacks that are...

        The death of the headphone jack has more to do with the fact that it's virtually impossible to waterproof in a way that lasts and doesn't involve the user sticking a rubber plug in it when not in use.

        I'm sorry, but that's complete BS. How do you think they waterproof the far more complex charging port? How do you explain that there are already phones that include headphone jacks that are waterproof?

        5 votes
        1. 0x4A
          Link Parent
          A USB or Lightning port really isn't that much more complex, they're all just cavities with an arrangement of electrical contacts. In fact, it might be a case for debate that making a...

          A USB or Lightning port really isn't that much more complex, they're all just cavities with an arrangement of electrical contacts. In fact, it might be a case for debate that making a water-resistant data port is simpler because the contacts don't need to move to keep the plug secured. I'm not an expert on the subject, it's just a thought.

          I think it's just a matter of size vs. utility. USB and Lightning ports are both physically smaller than a 3.5mm audio port, and since those data ports can also handle charging, audio, video, and virtually limitless other forms of data, the 3.5mm audio port has become redundant hardware in a form factor where cubic millimeters are at a premium. It's also true that if water-resistance is a goal, eliminating ingress points is important for both cost and effectiveness, therefore fewer ports is naturally an attractive design choice.

          I suppose if the mobile phone market had audiophiles (using that term loosely) in mind as a majority customer we'd still have removable physical storage media and dedicated audio ports as common features.

          2 votes
        2. [6]
          babypuncher
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Look inside a lightning port and look inside a 3.5mm jack. The latter has moving parts. It's an extra point of ingress that can't be significantly re-engineered, and it doesn't do anything a...

          Look inside a lightning port and look inside a 3.5mm jack. The latter has moving parts. It's an extra point of ingress that can't be significantly re-engineered, and it doesn't do anything a modern multi-purpose port can't also do. Is it really a huge deal to just leave an adapter hooked up to your earbuds?

          My first Android phone in 2009 (HTC Magic) didn't have a headphone jack either, and it wasn't a big deal for me then.

          1. [4]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            What are you talking about? I've been daily driving an S9 for two years. It has a headphone jack. There's no rubber insert to be seen. The water proofing work fines (I sometimes wash my phone in...

            What are you talking about? I've been daily driving an S9 for two years. It has a headphone jack. There's no rubber insert to be seen. The water proofing work fines (I sometimes wash my phone in the sink, especially after the coronavirus) two years out.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              babypuncher
              Link Parent
              When the iPhone 7 came out, water proof phones using rubber inserts were still commonplace. Fewer points of ingress is always better for waterproofing.

              When the iPhone 7 came out, water proof phones using rubber inserts were still commonplace. Fewer points of ingress is always better for waterproofing.

              1. [2]
                stu2b50
                Link Parent
                Flagship with headphone jacks were made way after the iPhone 7. Face it, you're just wrong. I'm literally holding in my hands a device with a waterproofed 3.5mm jack. No rubber insert. Same IP...

                Flagship with headphone jacks were made way after the iPhone 7.

                Face it, you're just wrong. I'm literally holding in my hands a device with a waterproofed 3.5mm jack. No rubber insert. Same IP rating as the iPhone 11.

                Its not impossible by a longshot. Is it worth the cost? That's a different questions.

                But the assertion you need a rubber insert for water proofing the 3.5mm jack is laughable.

                3 votes
                1. babypuncher
                  Link Parent
                  I never said it was impossible, I just pointed out that the rubber inserts were common on waterproof phones when the iPhone 7 launched. I also pointed out that it creates an additional point of...

                  I never said it was impossible, I just pointed out that the rubber inserts were common on waterproof phones when the iPhone 7 launched. I also pointed out that it creates an additional point of failure for the water proofing. That adds expense to design and manufacturing to waterproof what is essentially a redundant port. Clearly most iPhone users don't mind adding 2" to the length of their headphone cord with a cheap adapter, or just using bluetooth headphones.

          2. Akir
            Link Parent
            I'm really not going to argue about waterproof headphone jacks, because the truth is, frankly, self-evident. I really don't mean to offend you, but when you brought up the topic I honestly felt...

            I'm really not going to argue about waterproof headphone jacks, because the truth is, frankly, self-evident. I really don't mean to offend you, but when you brought up the topic I honestly felt like I just heard someone say the earth is flat. And at that note, I know that the way I worded my last comment was a bit heavy-handed, so I hope you don't take it personally.

            I'm also not going to argue with you about the utility of having a dedicated headphone jack because I'm sure that by this point you have already heard all the arguements and they have not swayed you. It's fine if you don't care about them, but keep in mind that not everyone shares your values. I'm sure that you will at least understand that it does have utility to some people.

            1 vote
  4. patience_limited
    Link
    I use a set of Linsoul KZ ZSX IEM's with a TUNAI Square Portable Bluetooth clip for working out and housework. Sound quality and fit are all I could ask for when playing music or podcasts from a...

    I use a set of Linsoul KZ ZSX IEM's with a TUNAI Square Portable Bluetooth clip for working out and housework. Sound quality and fit are all I could ask for when playing music or podcasts from a phone that doesn't have a headphone jack. I haven't tried other IEM's for comparison, but Amazon reviewers seem very pleased with these.

    3 votes
  5. timo
    Link
    I can recommend https://www.scarbir.com/ for solid reviews of these IEMs. Bought Tin Audio T2 and QCY T5 because of them, they do not disappoint.

    I can recommend https://www.scarbir.com/ for solid reviews of these IEMs. Bought Tin Audio T2 and QCY T5 because of them, they do not disappoint.

    3 votes
  6. [2]
    intuxikated
    Link
    I wish I could do something like this for living :(

    Mike Klasco, an audio engineering consultant who has been scouting factories throughout Asia for 35 years.

    I wish I could do something like this for living :(

    3 votes
    1. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Back in the late 2000s my friend had a side-gig in China where his job was literally to wear a white coat, carry a clip-board, and walk around Chinese factories pretending to inspect things any...

      Back in the late 2000s my friend had a side-gig in China where his job was literally to wear a white coat, carry a clip-board, and walk around Chinese factories pretending to inspect things any time they had clients coming by. Their thinking was that Western customers would be reassured about their quality assurance standards if it looked like they had a couple of White guys looking things over. Pure QA theatre.

      11 votes