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Hong Kong High-End 2016: everyman tube amplifiers from Cayin

  • Zuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. Ltd. – that’s quite the mouthful. In hifi stores and on audio show floors this Chinese manufacturer give us a more digestible brand name to chew on: Cayin.

    Recent press attention has focussed on the company’s foray into the portable audio market; Cayin’s slowly expanding range of DAPs and handheld headphone amplifiers could be found on display at the Hong Kong High-End show in all their pocketable glory.


    However, it’s on full-size home stereo pieces that Cayin cut its teeth. The show signage tells us they’ve been in operation since 1993 but mainman Gary Kong fills in the details: a 140-strong company makes affordable (tube) amplifiers, primarily for the Chinese market. It exports some (but not all) models.

    Case in point: the rear panel of the forthcoming 280A solid stater reads: “Sale only for Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao”. This monster – 55wpc Class A, 120wpc Class A/B, balanced, built-in DAC – goes into production in three months and, bizarrely, can also be deployed as a USB-S/PDIF converter. Price is TBA.


    Elsewhere, it’s Chinese and Russian EHT tubes all the way. The MK2 A88T (14,800HKD/~US$2000) is the latest iteration of a model owned by yours truly back in 2010. Use KT88 or EL34 in ultra-linear mode for maximum go juice. Switch ’em to triode mode for lower distortion and greater bandwidth (but also lower output power).

    Next door, eight KT88 tubes are loaded into the A100T MK2 for 80wpc in ultra-linear or 45wpc in triode. Price? 18,000HKD – that’s a not unreasonable US$2400.

    Need a little more romance? The A-300B MK2 is yours for 15,050HKD (~US$2000) whilst the A-845, a slimmed down take on the company’s US$5000 flagship amplifier, straps a 300B to an 845 for (what is expected to come in at) US$3000.

    Further information:  Zuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. Ltd


    DAR 750 x 290

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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