Moving to HongKong in a few months...what to do with all the 110V gear?
Jun 7, 2010 at 3:34 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

chesebert

18 Years An Extra-Hardcore Head-Fi'er
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Well, an opportunity came up for me to work in Hong Kong, so I am moving my whole family over there in a few months.  I have never been to Hong Kong nor do I speak the local language. 
 
What should I do with all my 110v audio stuff? Everything in my profile is 110v.  Is there any place in HK where I can get a step-down transformer?  Or, is it better to get my amps adjusted to 220v while I am still state-side?  if I do that I guess I wouldn't be able to use my stuff until I get to HK.
 
How easy is it to buy audio stuff while in HK?  What about ordering from the US?
 
How expensive are similar audio equipments selling in HK as compared to those sold in the U.S.?  I am thinking along the lines of Ayre, Mac, EMM, dCS, Devore, Shindo, Lamm, etc. (yes the pay in HK is decent, so I am reaching for the good stuff - assuming I get the green light from wife :)
 
Any headphone stores in HK?
 
What else should I be aware of when I move? e.g. how to pack electronics for container shipping, etc
 
 
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 10:39 AM Post #2 of 17
It is not difficult to get transformers in Hong Kong. You probably want to go to Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po for misc electronic stuff and DIY computer components.
 
There are various headphone stores around Mong Kok and Wanchai - not sure they are cheaper though as alot of them sell at suggested retail prices ... Mingo's IEMs are cheaper here of course. The plus is you get the audition most the cans and IEMs.
 
Can't say how easy or difficult it is to get high end stuff as I'm mostly cheapskate and very unemployed, though I will say there is a sizeable market in high end audio equipment.
 
Hope you like it in Hong Kong ... I went to college in Ann Arbor and much prefer the weather there though.
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM Post #3 of 17
I hate transformers, they usually are noisy (well the cheap one that I did buy).  Actually though, the only thing I use my transformer for is the charge for my Nintendo DS.  My headphone amps, electric razor, cell phone charger and laptop charge all accept 110-220V 50-60 Hz.  Yay universal transformers.  You can pick up some new standard extension cables in Sham Shui Po but getting the plug transformer is a bit harder to find.  I could use another but I haven't seen them at the flea markets (plenty of Brit to American but not the reverse).
 
So check your gear to see if there are any that can be changed by flipping a switch.  Drop me a line when you pull into port.  I know a few headphone shops but I have to admit I found some of the higher end ones to be very difficult to work with since I do not speak Cantonese.  In the end I usually just grab a local and they treat them better.  The prices here differ.  Some of the prices are the same as the US others are more expensive.  On the whole, with electronics it will cost you more than the US.  Fortunately utilities, phone and internet are cheaper.  Food can be cheaper too but it is easy to spend as much or more than you would in the US at a restaurant.
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 11:23 AM Post #4 of 17
My PO Box is in my signature. 
wink_face.gif

 
Jun 7, 2010 at 11:46 AM Post #5 of 17
As much as I like free things too (send me stuff plox), I'd definitely suggest contacting the original manufacturer.  Any wallwart should be easily replaceable, though.
 
Step-down transformers really aren't the way to go with ANY electronics.  Even the most resistant to electrical noise have problems with them.
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 12:31 PM Post #6 of 17
Lots of electronics these days, you can get power cables and wallwarts that are designed for different power supplies in different regions. And if you can't, like other's suggested, Asia is awash in transformers and you shouldn't have much difficulty picking up a couple of good quality ones.
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 12:53 PM Post #7 of 17
Oh forgot about ordering.  It's just peachy because the best part of all is that Hong Kong is a free port.  No duty fees except for stuff like alcohol.  I ordered a full stack of gear from Headroom and got them maybe in five days, no probs with customs.  Only downside is the added cost of shipping though I have found that ordering from Britain is a bit cheaper overall due to their cheaper shipping costs to Hong Kong.  The cost of shipping out of Hong Kong is about the same as shipping from the US though.
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 1:25 PM Post #8 of 17
Sounds great! I will probably get my amp configured for 220V before I move and will rely on transformer for my digital gears. I suppose I can always pick up a PS Audio product to clean up any weird power issues.
 
IIRC, a step-up/down transformer can provide adequate current and complete isolation from the AC. If I get a good quality one, wouldn't that be better than plugging straight into the wall?
 
I guess I will need some hand-holding when I wash on shore. I recognized 0 street/district name just mentioned above :)
 
Jun 7, 2010 at 7:11 PM Post #9 of 17
Headphone stores in HK:
 
http://www.mingo-hmw.com/home/ good selection but gear is severely overpriced
http://www.headphone.com.hk/
 
You can check www.price.com.hk for prices
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 2:50 AM Post #10 of 17


Quote:
Oh forgot about ordering.  It's just peachy because the best part of all is that Hong Kong is a free port.  No duty fees except for stuff like alcohol.  I ordered a full stack of gear from Headroom and got them maybe in five days, no probs with customs.  Only downside is the added cost of shipping though I have found that ordering from Britain is a bit cheaper overall due to their cheaper shipping costs to Hong Kong.  The cost of shipping out of Hong Kong is about the same as shipping from the US though.

 
That's very sweet.  I guess I wouldn't really need to "stock-up" after all. 
 
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 3:18 AM Post #11 of 17
I hope you're getting a nice expat package
smile.gif

 
Yep, HK's a free port and there's no sales tax in the first place, so there's no need to charge duty at customs...
 
Shopping around here is usually done retail. I don't think it's really a racial thing, you can get cold service if you're Chinese but have a poor command of Cantonese, it's a matter of relationships and communication, convincing shopkeepers to be a bit nicer to you through rapport and chuminess (or imtimidation). You can get most things, but specialist and high-end equipment might need a special order.
 
Food is incredibly cheap if you localize your tastes, otherwise it's more or less on par with when I lived in NYC.
 
The other problem is space, it's really at a premium and at any rate expats don't really live a settled lifestyle, always off to Thailand this week and Shanghai the next...
 
I also like dma-audio.com ... Feel free to PM me or contact me in real life, I'm just some law student but if you need some local friends, advice on what international school for your kids etc...
wink.gif

 
Jun 8, 2010 at 5:37 AM Post #12 of 17
It's probably a lot easier to buy stuff in Hong Kong than in the states if you know the right place to go. Many of the American brands are more expensive in Hong Kong than in the US (for obvious reasons). However, Japanese and some European brands (not to mention Chinese brands) will be significantly cheaper in Hong Kong compared to the US.
 
Using 110V in Hong Kong would require a transformer.  You can consider the CSE TS500 which is a balanced power isolation transformer which can also step down the voltage to 110V. I think it costs around $600USD locally in Hong Kong. 
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 8:05 AM Post #13 of 17


Quote:
I hope you're getting a nice expat package
smile.gif

 
Yep, HK's a free port and there's no sales tax in the first place, so there's no need to charge duty at customs...
 
Shopping around here is usually done retail. I don't think it's really a racial thing, you can get cold service if you're Chinese but have a poor command of Cantonese, it's a matter of relationships and communication, convincing shopkeepers to be a bit nicer to you through rapport and chuminess (or imtimidation). You can get most things, but specialist and high-end equipment might need a special order.
 
Food is incredibly cheap if you localize your tastes, otherwise it's more or less on par with when I lived in NYC.
 
The other problem is space, it's really at a premium and at any rate expats don't really live a settled lifestyle, always off to Thailand this week and Shanghai the next...
 
I also like dma-audio.com ... Feel free to PM me or contact me in real life, I'm just some law student but if you need some local friends, advice on what international school for your kids etc...
wink.gif


Can you do the "audio-store" thing in English? I know nothing in Chinese related to audio/electronics. Do you get more "respect" speaking English?
 
How much does a reasonable meal of dim sum cost?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 8:36 AM Post #14 of 17

You can do the audio-store thing in English and, yes, you might get more respect (since they would assume you have money to spend). English standards in Hong Kong are not too bad for the most part so you shouldn't have a problem with finding someone who understands you. 
 
Dim Sum would cost less than USD$10 per head at a decent place. 
 
Quote:
Can you do the "audio-store" thing in English? I know nothing in Chinese related to audio/electronics. Do you get more "respect" speaking English?
 
How much does a reasonable meal of dim sum cost?
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
Jun 8, 2010 at 9:19 AM Post #15 of 17


Honestly, I have had nothing but a lot of cold shoulders at some of the headphone places.  I think it probably depends on which salesperson you get.  There was one saleswoman at Kingsound that was very accomodating but Mingo-HMW has been pretty bad to me.  Though Mingo did at least respond to my e-mail inquiry (Kingsound and dma did not).  As for more respect, I don't know, but do expect to get high balled on prices sometimes.  This is more common at the tourist trap bazaars (Ladies' Market, Jade Market, Stanley Market).  Just be willing to drive a hard bargain or walk away if needed.
 
As for Dim Sum, you should expect around $40-$60 HKD a head at a pretty good place.  Lin Heung Kui and Lin Heung are pretty good, both the food and the experience.  Course you can pay a lot more (*cough*Maxim*cough*)...  That's the rule with most things in Hong Kong though.  You can spend very little money all the way up to a crap ton of money on many things (clothes, food, hair cut, etc.) .
 
Quote:
You can do the audio-store thing in English and, yes, you might get more respect (since they would assume you have money to spend). English standards in Hong Kong are not too bad for the most part so you shouldn't have a problem with finding someone who understands you. 
 
Dim Sum would cost less than USD$10 per head at a decent place. 
 

 



 

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