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Why are Little Dot amps so inexpensive ? - Page 2

post #16 of 170
Mark up?
post #17 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
And one very important fact is that most of the Chinese companies are willing to operate at a smaller profit margin than the get rich quick mentality that prevails in the west.
Yeah it has nothing to do with the fact the China actively de-values their currency
post #18 of 170
They are a good value. I used a Little Dot 2+ as my first starter tube amp without breaking the bank.
post #19 of 170
My memory of the price of the MKV must be off then. I could swear I saw it priced much lower than it is now.
post #20 of 170
And guys, don't forget that little dot is receiving lots of support and consumer purchase from china there themselves
China population is also huge
Take a look at their main china website audio forum, tons of positive feedback and positive end users for little dot, that is if you can read chinese

Yang lao shi haha << A teacher with "Yang" as surname in english.

But yeah, this quote is quite true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
And one very important fact is that most of the Chinese companies are willing to operate at a smaller profit margin than the get rich quick mentality that prevails in the west.
post #21 of 170
Im torn between a LD MKIV and a Woo 3+. I wanted to get the Woo but this thread is confusing me.
post #22 of 170
Some makers don't have electrical safety approved or RoHS compliant products.
That would increase the cost considerably and new models could not be released every few months.
Saying that I find the LD MK IV SE a very nice product. David's service is first class.
post #23 of 170
Does it really matter why they priced as they are? I mean if they sound good and have good customer service then lets be happy and enjoy the unit. Seems simple to me.
post #24 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
I bet most of it is related to the fact that they are built in China.
The fact that they sell directly to the end user helps keeping the cost down as well. Eliminating a distributor/dealer in between and shipping costs. The choice of materials probably play a role as well.
+1
post #25 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
And one very important fact is that most of the Chinese companies are willing to operate at a smaller profit margin than the get rich quick mentality that prevails in the west.
Not necessarily.

Cosmetics are not the big expense. What's expensive are transformers.

If you want to poke your head into transformer design, you might learn why good ones cost more. For one, the metallurgy of the layers the transformer is built from gets complicated and more expensive the better you want to build it. There are a number of other factors (not worth getting into here) that also increase expense.

If you take the cheapest transformers (also the ones most likely to fail and provide inconsistent power) then you can easily save $40 or $50 a unit. If you want to take that risk, fine.

If you want a cheap amp, you build it with a transformer that has windings for both the B+ and filament on it. Be sure to get one from some factory that makes transformer cores out of pretty much any scrap metal they can find that marginally works. Then you pay some child labor to wind it as quickly as possible, probably getting a few cents for each one produced. So you can be sure the nine year old really did a careful job making sure it's perfectly wound just to quickly move on to the next one for a few cents and possibly avoid punishment.

If you buy a transformer made this way, you'll spend $10 or $15.

Here is a pricelist of some decent Hammond transformers, which are made to strict standards by adults. You'll see that prices start around $60 and go up to $160. If you bought in large quantities, you might be able to get prices down to $50-$55 for the least expensive ones.

Next, you put diodes into the power supply. Four diodes can be had for $1 or $2. That's the cheap, nasty way of rectifying AC. Diodes don't always clean up the AC that well and they also throw off a lot of noise. Noise that works its way into the rest of the circuit.

The next cheap way to build an amp is to put it on a PCB. PCBs are best used for solid state. Why? Because solid state is low voltage and tends not to get as hot as tubes. If you put tubes on a PCB, you're liable to get scorching, lifted traces, and you also flex the PCB every time you insert or remove tubes. That leads - eventually - to lifted traces and cracked solder joints. And if there is damage to the PCB, there's always a fair chance you'll either have to rebuild the entire thing or it might cost less to just trash it.

The advantage of a PCB is that you can crank them out en masse for a few dollars each. Then you can have your child labor stuff them for pennies per piece and as quickly as possible.

It's better to build tubes on a point-to-point chassis. But that takes additional chassis fabrication and significantly more labor.

If you want to build a good tube amp, let's take a look at one over at Headwize that I'm working on, the Brute Force.

The Brute Force uses two power transformers and a choke. That's a good setup - a choke does a much better job of filtering and smoothing DC than does some cheap design that omits it. The cost of iron for these three parts is about $170. If you were buying parts in the hundreds, then you might get it down to $150.

Reasonable quality caps and resistors will cost about another $100. Figure $25 for a decent Alps pot and $20 for the RCA jacks. IEC, fuse, wire, and the rest are probably $25 for decent quality. Throw in another $20 for the terminal strips and points to build point-to-point. Eight tube sockets (at $5 each) will be $40.

A halfway decent case from Par-Metal will run about $100, shipped.

So, we're up to $500.

You still need to buy the tubes, which can be had around $60-$75 if you look carefully.

Let's just call it $600, since there are screws and lots of incidental bits you also have to buy.

Can you tell me where the "get rich quick" part is in the list so far? I'm not seeing it.

OK. Assuming you've already spent maybe $3,000 on tooling (various drills, hand tools, workbench, test equipment, etc.) you'll probably need to drop 5-10 hours into the case to get it ready to hold an amp. Let's assume five hours, on the very conservative side.

How much would you have to pay someone to do this who isn't a complete idiot and won't fudge up a $100 case? Assuming the worker screws up the case, you'll be out $100 and have to buy another $100 case.

Maybe $15 an hour? So five hours will be $75. No, actually, considering the payroll tax, it's going to cost you roughly $150. Just for the case.

So now we're up to $750.

Maybe another five hours to solder and test the thing. That's another $150 of labor.

Now we're up to $900.

Alright, how much do you want to make? Is $100 of profit OK? Assuming the state and fed tax you on that, your profit goes to around $60.

How did you pay for the shop and tools? Do you have to pay rent? What are you setting aside to expand and grow the business? Are you going to invest in R&D to make better products?

If you want to do things the right way, it costs money. If you want to have child labor put the cheapest parts available into a marginal product, then you get what you pay for.

It's not about greed, it's not about ripping people off.

It's the difference between cutting every possible corner and doing things the right way.

Also, you should look at the long-term TCO on an amp.

If you pay $500 for the whiz-bang "balanced" latest with the el discounto transformer made poorly by a little girl (working under threat of a beating if she works too slow) that eventually cooks off and scorches some traces, winding up a total loss, how well off are you? Sure, I dropped $1,900 on the Zana. But I can sell it for probably $1,700 or $1,800 any time I want. In that event, I'd about break even or go a couple hundred negative. You'd realize a loss of $500.

Also, I feel much better buying a transformer from Jack at Electra-Print who is an adult voluntarily running a business than someone working under conditions that I have moral issues with. By the way, if you want to price out more amp parts, click on the Electra-Print link and price out the various amps offered. You'll see how easy it is get into four figures if you don't want something that's crap.
post #26 of 170
I don't know what to say, Uncle Erik, except

希望你有愉快的一天
post #27 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Not necessarily.

Cosmetics are not the big expense. What's expensive are transformers.

If you want to poke your head into transformer design, you might learn why good ones cost more. For one, the metallurgy of the layers the transformer is built from gets complicated and more expensive the better you want to build it. There are a number of other factors (not worth getting into here) that also increase expense.

If you take the cheapest transformers (also the ones most likely to fail and provide inconsistent power) then you can easily save $40 or $50 a unit. If you want to take that risk, fine.

If you want a cheap amp, you build it with a transformer that has windings for both the B+ and filament on it. Be sure to get one from some factory that makes transformer cores out of pretty much any scrap metal they can find that marginally works. Then you pay some child labor to wind it as quickly as possible, probably getting a few cents for each one produced. So you can be sure the nine year old really did a careful job making sure it's perfectly wound just to quickly move on to the next one for a few cents and possibly avoid punishment.

If you buy a transformer made this way, you'll spend $10 or $15.

Here is a pricelist of some decent Hammond transformers, which are made to strict standards by adults. You'll see that prices start around $60 and go up to $160. If you bought in large quantities, you might be able to get prices down to $50-$55 for the least expensive ones.

Next, you put diodes into the power supply. Four diodes can be had for $1 or $2. That's the cheap, nasty way of rectifying AC. Diodes don't always clean up the AC that well and they also throw off a lot of noise. Noise that works its way into the rest of the circuit.

The next cheap way to build an amp is to put it on a PCB. PCBs are best used for solid state. Why? Because solid state is low voltage and tends not to get as hot as tubes. If you put tubes on a PCB, you're liable to get scorching, lifted traces, and you also flex the PCB every time you insert or remove tubes. That leads - eventually - to lifted traces and cracked solder joints. And if there is damage to the PCB, there's always a fair chance you'll either have to rebuild the entire thing or it might cost less to just trash it.

The advantage of a PCB is that you can crank them out en masse for a few dollars each. Then you can have your child labor stuff them for pennies per piece and as quickly as possible.

It's better to build tubes on a point-to-point chassis. But that takes additional chassis fabrication and significantly more labor.

If you want to build a good tube amp, let's take a look at one over at Headwize that I'm working on, the Brute Force.

The Brute Force uses two power transformers and a choke. That's a good setup - a choke does a much better job of filtering and smoothing DC than does some cheap design that omits it. The cost of iron for these three parts is about $170. If you were buying parts in the hundreds, then you might get it down to $150.

Reasonable quality caps and resistors will cost about another $100. Figure $25 for a decent Alps pot and $20 for the RCA jacks. IEC, fuse, wire, and the rest are probably $25 for decent quality. Throw in another $20 for the terminal strips and points to build point-to-point. Eight tube sockets (at $5 each) will be $40.

A halfway decent case from Par-Metal will run about $100, shipped.

So, we're up to $500.

You still need to buy the tubes, which can be had around $60-$75 if you look carefully.

Let's just call it $600, since there are screws and lots of incidental bits you also have to buy.

Can you tell me where the "get rich quick" part is in the list so far? I'm not seeing it.

OK. Assuming you've already spent maybe $3,000 on tooling (various drills, hand tools, workbench, test equipment, etc.) you'll probably need to drop 5-10 hours into the case to get it ready to hold an amp. Let's assume five hours, on the very conservative side.

How much would you have to pay someone to do this who isn't a complete idiot and won't fudge up a $100 case? Assuming the worker screws up the case, you'll be out $100 and have to buy another $100 case.

Maybe $15 an hour? So five hours will be $75. No, actually, considering the payroll tax, it's going to cost you roughly $150. Just for the case.

So now we're up to $750.

Maybe another five hours to solder and test the thing. That's another $150 of labor.

Now we're up to $900.

Alright, how much do you want to make? Is $100 of profit OK? Assuming the state and fed tax you on that, your profit goes to around $60.

How did you pay for the shop and tools? Do you have to pay rent? What are you setting aside to expand and grow the business? Are you going to invest in R&D to make better products?

If you want to do things the right way, it costs money. If you want to have child labor put the cheapest parts available into a marginal product, then you get what you pay for.

It's not about greed, it's not about ripping people off.

It's the difference between cutting every possible corner and doing things the right way.

Also, you should look at the long-term TCO on an amp.

If you pay $500 for the whiz-bang "balanced" latest with the el discounto transformer made poorly by a little girl (working under threat of a beating if she works too slow) that eventually cooks off and scorches some traces, winding up a total loss, how well off are you? Sure, I dropped $1,900 on the Zana. But I can sell it for probably $1,700 or $1,800 any time I want. In that event, I'd about break even or go a couple hundred negative. You'd realize a loss of $500.

Also, I feel much better buying a transformer from Jack at Electra-Print who is an adult voluntarily running a business than someone working under conditions that I have moral issues with. By the way, if you want to price out more amp parts, click on the Electra-Print link and price out the various amps offered. You'll see how easy it is get into four figures if you don't want something that's crap.
You sure love the term "child-labour". Got any proof?
post #28 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Not necessarily.

Cosmetics are not the big expense. What's expensive are transformers.

If you want to poke your head into transformer design, you might learn why good ones cost more. For one, the metallurgy of the layers the transformer is built from gets complicated and more expensive the better you want to build it. There are a number of other factors (not worth getting into here) that also increase expense.

If you take the cheapest transformers (also the ones most likely to fail and provide inconsistent power) then you can easily save $40 or $50 a unit. If you want to take that risk, fine.

If you want a cheap amp, you build it with a transformer that has windings for both the B+ and filament on it. Be sure to get one from some factory that makes transformer cores out of pretty much any scrap metal they can find that marginally works. Then you pay some child labor to wind it as quickly as possible, probably getting a few cents for each one produced. So you can be sure the nine year old really did a careful job making sure it's perfectly wound just to quickly move on to the next one for a few cents and possibly avoid punishment.

If you buy a transformer made this way, you'll spend $10 or $15.

Here is a pricelist of some decent Hammond transformers, which are made to strict standards by adults. You'll see that prices start around $60 and go up to $160. If you bought in large quantities, you might be able to get prices down to $50-$55 for the least expensive ones.

Next, you put diodes into the power supply. Four diodes can be had for $1 or $2. That's the cheap, nasty way of rectifying AC. Diodes don't always clean up the AC that well and they also throw off a lot of noise. Noise that works its way into the rest of the circuit.

The next cheap way to build an amp is to put it on a PCB. PCBs are best used for solid state. Why? Because solid state is low voltage and tends not to get as hot as tubes. If you put tubes on a PCB, you're liable to get scorching, lifted traces, and you also flex the PCB every time you insert or remove tubes. That leads - eventually - to lifted traces and cracked solder joints. And if there is damage to the PCB, there's always a fair chance you'll either have to rebuild the entire thing or it might cost less to just trash it.

The advantage of a PCB is that you can crank them out en masse for a few dollars each. Then you can have your child labor stuff them for pennies per piece and as quickly as possible.

It's better to build tubes on a point-to-point chassis. But that takes additional chassis fabrication and significantly more labor.

If you want to build a good tube amp, let's take a look at one over at Headwize that I'm working on, the Brute Force.

The Brute Force uses two power transformers and a choke. That's a good setup - a choke does a much better job of filtering and smoothing DC than does some cheap design that omits it. The cost of iron for these three parts is about $170. If you were buying parts in the hundreds, then you might get it down to $150.

Reasonable quality caps and resistors will cost about another $100. Figure $25 for a decent Alps pot and $20 for the RCA jacks. IEC, fuse, wire, and the rest are probably $25 for decent quality. Throw in another $20 for the terminal strips and points to build point-to-point. Eight tube sockets (at $5 each) will be $40.

A halfway decent case from Par-Metal will run about $100, shipped.

So, we're up to $500.

You still need to buy the tubes, which can be had around $60-$75 if you look carefully.

Let's just call it $600, since there are screws and lots of incidental bits you also have to buy.

Can you tell me where the "get rich quick" part is in the list so far? I'm not seeing it.

OK. Assuming you've already spent maybe $3,000 on tooling (various drills, hand tools, workbench, test equipment, etc.) you'll probably need to drop 5-10 hours into the case to get it ready to hold an amp. Let's assume five hours, on the very conservative side.

How much would you have to pay someone to do this who isn't a complete idiot and won't fudge up a $100 case? Assuming the worker screws up the case, you'll be out $100 and have to buy another $100 case.

Maybe $15 an hour? So five hours will be $75. No, actually, considering the payroll tax, it's going to cost you roughly $150. Just for the case.

So now we're up to $750.

Maybe another five hours to solder and test the thing. That's another $150 of labor.

Now we're up to $900.

Alright, how much do you want to make? Is $100 of profit OK? Assuming the state and fed tax you on that, your profit goes to around $60.

How did you pay for the shop and tools? Do you have to pay rent? What are you setting aside to expand and grow the business? Are you going to invest in R&D to make better products?

If you want to do things the right way, it costs money. If you want to have child labor put the cheapest parts available into a marginal product, then you get what you pay for.

It's not about greed, it's not about ripping people off.

It's the difference between cutting every possible corner and doing things the right way.

Also, you should look at the long-term TCO on an amp.

If you pay $500 for the whiz-bang "balanced" latest with the el discounto transformer made poorly by a little girl (working under threat of a beating if she works too slow) that eventually cooks off and scorches some traces, winding up a total loss, how well off are you? Sure, I dropped $1,900 on the Zana. But I can sell it for probably $1,700 or $1,800 any time I want. In that event, I'd about break even or go a couple hundred negative. You'd realize a loss of $500.

Also, I feel much better buying a transformer from Jack at Electra-Print who is an adult voluntarily running a business than someone working under conditions that I have moral issues with. By the way, if you want to price out more amp parts, click on the Electra-Print link and price out the various amps offered. You'll see how easy it is get into four figures if you don't want something that's crap.


You are more than welcome to your opinions,kindly point me to an article that shows LD using child labour.
And after that tirade I guess that you have no goods in your house that are made in Asia.
post #29 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
I don't know what to say, Uncle Erik, except

希望你有愉快的一天
Hope you have a nice day as well.
post #30 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
You are more than welcome to your opinions,kindly point me to an article that shows LD using child labour.
And after that tirade I guess that you have no goods in your house that are made in Asia.
I don't know where LD sources ts labor and I don't know where their subcontractors and suppliers source from, either. And you are making assumptions and also dodging the point.

I do have products made in Asia. I avoid things made where labor conditions are poor. I won't get into the politics and the rest because that isn't allowed here. Mostly, I buy a lot of used, vintage and antique products made in the US. Things made before planned obsolescence became a business model.

But don't confuse politcs and labor practices with construction and design. And don't confuse things with race or ethnicity. It doesn't matter where something is made or who made it as long as there is accountability and known standards applied. If you don't have that, then the product is questionable. If you want to throw other things into the mix, then you're avoiding the important points of safety, consistency and reliability.

My point is that you can lower the price of anything but cutting corners and using questionable materials. How much do you know about the laminations in your transformer? Do you know their metallurgy? Do you know - and can you trust - the insulation on the winding? How do you know it won't go up in smoke after a few thousand hours?

Like food, I don't buy the unknown or mysterious, even if it is really cheap. If something is a lot cheaper than what you know something costs - especially when you build them yourself - that raises a lot of questions. For example, the price of copper is pretty consistent worldwide. If the price of something using copper is mysteriously below the rest of the world's output, you can infer that something isn't right. Be it labor, construction, materials used, or much else, there's an important difference between it and the rest.

I'll use iron from the US, Canada, EU, and Japan because they're known quantites and well-reviewed. Mystery iron - from who knows where and made under unknown conditions - will not be purchased by me. I'll spend more for something I know was made by skilled workers using known parts.
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