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Audio-gd's products in general: Quality Issue


WXY

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Hello all! I am new to computer audio, just finally got the courage to rip all my CDs and SACDs. Got a 2012 mac mini and bought a new BADA DAC Series 2. I didn't want to spend the money on the Alpha USB and decided to give the Audio-gd DI-2014 a try first, despite not seeing many comments on it.

 

Link to product:

ºÍ§Ó*µ响

 

The ordering was quick and the unit arrived in about a week via DHL. I was excited to open the package to finally use my BADA DAC, only to be disappointed. The build quality was poor, both the USB and Toslink inputs are misaligned, the rear face plate has blemishes and they were clearly blemished before the assembly. You can see the black paint/anodized over the blemishes. Maybe I am nitpicking, but I honestly haven't seen any consumer/computer electronics with such poor build, not even a $10 USB accessories would look like this. Please see pictures.

 

The unit seems to work fine and I have no reference to compare its sound, but generally good, still breaking it in with the BADA DAC. Any DI-2014 owner please feel free to comment on their experience in terms of sound quality.

 

I was wondering if any Audio-gd's owners have or had similar experience. The company stated that they would replace the unit if there is any defects. I wrote them right after I discovered the blemishes, and 3 times subsequently in last the few days, but they did not respond once. Perhaps they don't take criticism constructively. I am still waiting for them to respond before taking any action, and I don't want to make a big deal out of it if the unit sounds good. But I couldn't help but wondering how I could buy and keep a product from a company which obviously has no QC standard, and worse, doesn't respond to problems. I can't imagine them taking responsibility when warranty is required in the future.

 

I was going to order their Master 7 DAC at the same time so that I can compare it with the BADA, how fortunate I didn't!

 

Any comment is appreciated! Thanks!

 

Will

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Hello all! I am new to computer audio, just finally got the courage to rip all my CDs and SACDs. Got a 2012 mac mini and bought a new BADA DAC Series 2. I didn't want to spend the money on the Alpha USB and decided to give the Audio-gd DI-2014 a try first, despite not seeing many comments on it.

 

Link to product:

ºÍ§Ó*µ响

 

The ordering was quick and the unit arrived in about a week via DHL. I was excited to open the package to finally use my BADA DAC, only to be disappointed. The build quality was poor, both the USB and Toslink inputs are misaligned, the rear face plate has blemishes and they were clearly blemished before the assembly. You can see the black paint/anodized over the blemishes. Maybe I am nitpicking, but I honestly haven't seen any consumer/computer electronics with such poor build, not even a $10 USB accessories would look like this. Please see pictures.

 

The unit seems to work fine and I have no reference to compare its sound, but generally good, still breaking it in with the BADA DAC. Any DI-2014 owner please feel free to comment on their experience in terms of sound quality.

 

I was wondering if any Audio-gd's owners have or had similar experience. The company stated that they would replace the unit if there is any defects. I wrote them right after I discovered the blemishes, and 3 times subsequently in last the few days, but they did not respond once. Perhaps they don't take criticism constructively. I am still waiting for them to respond before taking any action, and I don't want to make a big deal out of it if the unit sounds good. But I couldn't help but wondering how I could buy and keep a product from a company which obviously has no QC standard, and worse, doesn't respond to problems. I can't imagine them taking responsibility when warranty is required in the future.

 

I was going to order their Master 7 DAC at the same time so that I can compare it with the BADA, how fortunate I didn't!

 

Any comment is appreciated! Thanks!

 

Will

 

Looks shoddy to me .

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Hey Now,

 

Audio-gd stuff is a bit industrial looking, not as refined as some other audio bling. I had a Ref 5 DAC, Roc HPA and a DI for 5 years or so. Good stuff, sounds terrific.

 

I have had many direct e-mail communications with Kingwa over the years. He has been very helpful with detailed instructions for changing out an on/off switch, reducing gain on the Ref 5 and Roc. He has always been polite and quick with his responses to me. Not to many audio company executives willing to correspond with customers now-a-days.

 

I would still have an Audio-gd DAC if they had a non-Sabre DSD DAC. I regret selling the Ref 5. Count me as a satisfied customer for many years.

 

--

Finest kind,

Chris

- -

Finest kind,

Chris

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Hey Now,

 

Audio-gd stuff is a bit industrial looking, not as refined as some other audio bling. I had a Ref 5 DAC, Roc HPA and a DI for 5 years or so. Good stuff, sounds terrific.

 

I have had many direct e-mail communications with Kingwa over the years. He has been very helpful with detailed instructions for changing out an on/off switch, reducing gain on the Ref 5 and Roc. He has always been polite and quick with his responses to me. Not to many audio company executives willing to correspond with customers now-a-days.

 

I would still have an Audio-gd DAC if they had a non-Sabre DSD DAC. I regret selling the Ref 5. Count me as a satisfied customer for many years.

 

--

Finest kind,

Chris

 

 

Thanks for your reply. That's certainly my impression from reading comments of this forum and Head-fi, I usually don't venture into buying stuff oversea like this. I had very good communication with Audio-gd in general, and Kingwa did answer 2 of my questions, all before the purchase was made.

 

As to your reference of 'Industrial' looking, and not as 'refined' as other audio 'bling', could you please elaborate what you mean by them? I don't find their design 'industrial' at all, they look just fine and like real audio products. They are certainly not the best in terms of Industrial design, but I don't mind, and I certainly wouldn't have bought it if I disliked the look. I also did not have any audio 'bling' in mind when I was making the comparison, thought I was very specific about it and I wasn't trying to be sarcastic. I was in fact comparing to my $10 plastic USB hub in front of me, all its inputs and outputs line up and are flushed to the surface. Is this the high standard I should not have expected? There are no blemishes or dent on the housing, no de-coloration, pretty sure it's made in PRC like everything else.

 

Once again, I am not complaining about the SQ, but the QC of a finished product, and the lack of customer service when problem arises. You obviously never had any problem with your units, which is a relief to hear.

 

Please accept my apology if my OP offended your ownership and loyalty to Audio-gd's products, and please don't take it personally. You obviously had a great experience with Audio-gd, and I wish you could continue to purchase more items from them.

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The place to find out about user experiences with Audio g-d products is at the Stereo Net Australia Forum

 

The brand is very popular in Oz and lots of users and ex users at that forum.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Are you getting automated replies at all to your emails? If not, they never received them. I had to change the email address I used to send them emails before I started getting automated replies (after which I started getting real ones).

 

I actually bought ccklone's Ref 5 + Roc stack after owning a NOS-1704 + C-2 Class A stack of theirs. I enjoyed them so much that I bought a Master-11. The workmanship is impeccable.

 

I also owned a DI-2014 (paired with the NOS-1704) and it looked excellent all around. No scratches, dents, or anything of that nature.

 

It looks like you somehow got a used one or a lemon. Even if it sounds good, they'll almost certainly replace it for you. I've had great experiences with their customer service.

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Are you getting automated replies at all to your emails? If not, they never received them. I had to change the email address I used to send them emails before I started getting automated replies (after which I started getting real ones).

 

I actually bought ccklone's Ref 5 + Roc stack after owning a NOS-1704 + C-2 Class A stack of theirs. I enjoyed them so much that I bought a Master-11. The workmanship is impeccable.

 

I also owned a DI-2014 (paired with the NOS-1704) and it looked excellent all around. No scratches, dents, or anything of that nature.

 

It looks like you somehow got a used one or a lemon. Even if it sounds good, they'll almost certainly replace it for you. I've had great experiences with their customer service.

 

Thanks for the reply and I am happy to hear that your DI works and looks great. I did get the automatic replies for all my 3 inquiries regarding the cosmetic issue. I don't see how they were receiving and replying my emails fine until I have a problem with the order, but I will check and email them again just in case. You are right though, this is an easy fix and I don't understand why any manufacturer would avoid the issue.

 

Judging from the blemishes, it's clear that the rear face plate was already in that condition before assembly. It's not caused by wear and tear from usage. I guess they are too busy with their production line and overlook their QC process.

 

Thanks for your input!

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On another forum there was a guy that connected a Theta DAC to an Audio-Gd Master 9 and it smoked the Theta. Something about the Audio-GD shorting the inputs. So the cosmetic issues aside, the Audio-GD design doesn't play happy with all manufacturers components.

 

Thanks for the input. This is alarming and I feel sorry for this guy. I read Audio-gd's warranty statement before the purchase, it sounds fair for an oversea company with no distributor in the US. I reckoned it would be a risk to take, and hence I postponed the Master 7 purchase, figured the little DI is a small risk to take for a potential big return, as compare other decent USB converter with a decent PS. Oh well...

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Well, a week later and a post on CA, I got Audio-gd attention, and here is their response:

 

**************************************************

Dear Sir,

Shipping back and ask the Paypal return the money.

Please declare value less than USD50 and declare "PC soundcard" ”, don't mark "audio-gd" on the shipping bill,that can let us receive the pack soon.

Contact Address:

2nd industrial park Fulu , Leliu ,Shunde Distric,

City: Foshan

Province: Guangdong

Country: China

Postal code: 528322

TEL:

0086 757 25636128

0086 13727340188

Name : Zhong Qiu Xian

**************************************************

 

There is no explanation, no apologies, no 'we will repair or replace your unit', just send it back and ask Paypal for refund, meaning I have to file a dispute to get my money back! They don't even want to bother refund my money voluntarily. I don't know if this is just plain rude, or there is some kind of 'lost in translation' going on. I am perplexed, what did I ever do to these guys? I bought a brand new product unseen and unheard all the way from the US, they sent me a blemished unit, ignored me for a week, and pretty much tell me to GFY.

 

The unit is going back for sure! Judging from the craftsmanship and the subsequent lack of response. I have to assume they have very low QC process, thus cannot explain the blemishes on my unit. I have no confidence in using this DI with my new BADA DAC, I don't want to be like that guy with a broken Theta DAC.

 

And now I need to go through the Paypal dispute hassle just to get my money back. 20 years in this hobby and I have never even heard of anything like this! This is worse than buying used on Agon from some bad sellers!

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Thanks for your reply. That's certainly my impression from reading comments of this forum and Head-fi, I usually don't venture into buying stuff oversea like this. I had very good communication with Audio-gd in general, and Kingwa did answer 2 of my questions, all before the purchase was made.

 

As to your reference of 'Industrial' looking, and not as 'refined' as other audio 'bling', could you please elaborate what you mean by them? I don't find their design 'industrial' at all, they look just fine and like real audio products. They are certainly not the best in terms of Industrial design, but I don't mind, and I certainly wouldn't have bought it if I disliked the look. I also did not have any audio 'bling' in mind when I was making the comparison, thought I was very specific about it and I wasn't trying to be sarcastic. I was in fact comparing to my $10 plastic USB hub in front of me, all its inputs and outputs line up and are flushed to the surface. Is this the high standard I should not have expected? There are no blemishes or dent on the housing, no de-coloration, pretty sure it's made in PRC like everything else.

 

Once again, I am not complaining about the SQ, but the QC of a finished product, and the lack of customer service when problem arises. You obviously never had any problem with your units, which is a relief to hear.

 

Please accept my apology if my OP offended your ownership and loyalty to Audio-gd's products, and please don't take it personally. You obviously had a great experience with Audio-gd, and I wish you could continue to purchase more items from them.

 

Hey Now,

 

No offense taken, no apology necessary. I just gave my perspective is all. I did have an issue with the DI I bought. Kingwa answered my e-mails quickly and we got it resolved. It was a bad 12v DC cord from the 12v PS to DI.

 

The industrial design of the Audio-gd gear in my opinion is a bit too industrial. The use of socket head nuts and the aluminum plating with corner braces. I haven't bought any Audio-gd in quite a few years, their newer stuff is probably better. They use very good components and they work and sound very good. I am quite happy with the Audio-gd gear I have and had, I do not care for audio bling and want good quality/sounding gear. More and more of my gear now is DIY.

 

After Luckbad's extolling the virtues of the Master 11, I am tempted to try the upper echelon of Audio-gd's PCM1704 DACs.

 

--

Finest kind,

Chris

- -

Finest kind,

Chris

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Well, a week later and a post on CA, I got Audio-gd attention, and here is their response:

 

**************************************************

Dear Sir,

Shipping back and ask the Paypal return the money.

Please declare value less than USD50 and declare "PC soundcard" ”, don't mark "audio-gd" on the shipping bill,that can let us receive the pack soon.

Contact Address:

2nd industrial park Fulu , Leliu ,Shunde Distric,

City: Foshan

Province: Guangdong

Country: China

Postal code: 528322

TEL:

0086 757 25636128

0086 13727340188

Name : Zhong Qiu Xian

**************************************************

 

There is no explanation, no apologies, no 'we will repair or replace your unit', just send it back and ask Paypal for refund, meaning I have to file a dispute to get my money back! They don't even want to bother refund my money voluntarily. I don't know if this is just plain rude, or there is some kind of 'lost in translation' going on. I am perplexed, what did I ever do to these guys? I bought a brand new product unseen and unheard all the way from the US, they sent me a blemished unit, ignored me for a week, and pretty much tell me to GFY.

 

The unit is going back for sure! Judging from the craftsmanship and the subsequent lack of response. I have to assume they have very low QC process, thus cannot explain the blemishes on my unit. I have no confidence in using this DI with my new BADA DAC, I don't want to be like that guy with a broken Theta DAC.

 

And now I need to go through the Paypal dispute hassle just to get my money back. 20 years in this hobby and I have never even heard of anything like this! This is worse than buying used on Agon from some bad sellers!

 

I think you may be assuming the worst here.

 

"ask the Paypal return the money" could mean that THEY will ask PayPal to refund your money. Why not send them a message confirming that you will sending the unit back and asking when you can expect to receive your refund from PayPal.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Another potential problem that I see for you by following their instructions. If you only declare the value at $50 or less that's all that you can insure it for. So if it gets lost and they never receive it you would only get the insured amount back. I also don't understand why they instructed you not to put the company name on the package - very strange. After seeing that this is how they handle customer issues due to their own poor quality I would never even consider doing business with them. Good luck to you and I hope that you get a full refund through PayPal. I would strongly suggest forwarding their response to PayPal support for their input before sending it back!

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Another potential problem that I see for you by following their instructions. If you only declare the value at $50 or less that's all that you can insure it for. So if it gets lost and they never receive it you would only get the insured amount back. I also don't understand why they instructed you not to put the company name on the package - very strange. After seeing that this is how they handle customer issues due to their own poor quality I would never even consider doing business with them. Good luck to you and I hope that you get a full refund through PayPal. I would strongly suggest forwarding their response to PayPal support for their input before sending it back!

 

Yeah the insurance scenario is very troubling .

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I think you may be assuming the worst here.

 

"ask the Paypal return the money" could mean that THEY will ask PayPal to refund your money. Why not send them a message confirming that you will sending the unit back and asking when you can expect to receive your refund from PayPal.

 

Thanks for your reply and you are probably right. I could be assuming the worst here, or this could simply be a case of lost in translation. I did reply to ask for a confirmation of their intention, and of course I have not heard from them. But really, it's not liked I have not tried to communicate with them, they have been ignoring me. 3 emails and a week later, would it be fair to say that I have been patient enough? I probably won't even get this ridiculous response had I not decided to get advice here on this forum.

 

Seriously, if you were a discerning manufacturer and you missed all the emails from a brand new customer, would you at least care to resolve the problem? Or at the very least, try to figure out why the heck the unit was in such condition. They express no concern whatsoever, they don't even bother to deny it! I don't know how else (nice) I could interpret this message. It would have been much easier to say 'shipping back and we return money' rather than 'ask the Paypal return the money', no?

 

They didn't even offer to pay for return shipping, when it's clearly stated in their warranty statement that they will cover return shipping when the unit is defective.

 

"Caveat Emptor!" is all I can say.

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Yeah the insurance scenario is very troubling .

 

Exactly! Thanks Audo.bill for pointing it out! I can understand the declared value as a buyer, but I am just returning defective product to the owner. So Audio-gd get taxed on every returned item that needs service or repair? Doesn't make any sense. And yes, based on how they handle this incident, no way I am going to ship it back as instructed unless they refund my money first, or at least guarantee responsibility on Paypal.

 

I didn't wait and just filed Paypal dispute. Audio-gd has a 15 days return policy and I am not going to beat myself up for trying to be nice and hope for their good intention. For the record, I don't think they are trying to scam me, and I believe they are running a legitimate business. It's obviously a long road ahead with their QC and CS department.

 

I learned my lesson, a small price to pay for the hassle and probably return shipping cost, at least I didn't blow up my DAC.

 

Thank you guys for your inputs! Will post the final resolution to conclude the post.

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I believe there was a two week holiday at the factory a few weeks back.

Also, nothing seems to happen when the boss is traveling.

 

Thanks for trying to help! The Chinese National holidays was on Oct 1st for a week, that's a month ago. There were plenty of communications during and before the order, and the item shipped out very quickly. So I don't think 'nothing seems to happen when the boss is traveling' is at all possible. If that's the case, then something is seriously wrong with the operation. If they were on National holidays, the entire company would have been closed, not just the boss.

 

I've emailed them twice after receiving that ambiguous and ridiculous email, just wanted to get confirmation regarding return shipping and insurance, no answer of course. I want to give them the benefit of doubt, but it doesn't make sense when they were so communicative before the order. I bet they will reply your email if you are ordering an item.

 

I am stuck right now because as audio.bill put it, I can't ship back uninsured, and if I declare at purchase price, Audio-gd might be taxed and who knows how they will react, or filing false claim with Paypal. I have 0 confidence with these people right now. I can't believe this is happening! Did I buy this new direct from the manufacturer? This was a simple matter, any decent communication would have resolved it. I just don't get it.

 

I stand to lose at least $60 via Postal Priority uninsured in return shipping fee. Shipping rate is WAY higher here in the US than in China. Audio-gd charged me $34.50 for DHL, but DHL.com rate from the US to China is over $100.

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Don't take one user's experience as the norm. Audio-GD has been great for me in many instances. There is a language barrier, but they always take care of me.

 

I feel bad for WXY for his plight.

 

Audio-GD is generally a great company and makes incredible products at better prices than anything equivalent almost anywhere.

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Glad I never bought from this company as I was considering purchasing one of their dacs.

 

I instead bought a Yggy which is an amazing dac.

 

You know, I was thinking the same thing after reading the CA's review on the Yggy. It's the same price range as the Audio-gd's Master 7, though I have not done enough research in terms of each technology and etc.. But I am glad I didn't buy the Master 7. Or perhaps if I did, I would get VIP treatment? I'd love to get the Yggy to compare with the BADA, if they are remotely close, I could buy the Yggy and won't need an USB interface.

 

Luckbad:

Thanks for your concern. I do understand you had a great exp with Audio-gd, which makes my exp all the more frustrating. If I'd never mentioned where or who I bought the DI from, you would think I bought this used on Agon or something. Like I said, I think there is something lost in translation, but there needs to be some communications to translate. I truly wish no one else would get this kind of treatment from Audio-gd.

 

I am going to give them another week to respond. I am thinking I should just keep the unit and forget this whole thing. It's $300 after losing the return shipping, but I will get the peace of mind of not worrying about shipping uninsured. I doubt that it would blow up my BADA DAC since most users seem to have good exp. On the other hand, knowing that I will not get any warranty or product support doesn't sit well. Perhaps Luckbad can be the mediator when support is needed? Just kidding. :)

 

Thanks again!

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You know, I was thinking the same thing after reading the CA's review on the Yggy. It's the same price range as the Audio-gd's Master 7, though I have not done enough research in terms of each technology and etc.. But I am glad I didn't buy the Master 7. Or perhaps if I did, I would get VIP treatment? I'd love to get the Yggy to compare with the BADA, if they are remotely close, I could buy the Yggy and won't need an USB interface.

 

Luckbad:

Thanks for your concern. I do understand you had a great exp with Audio-gd, which makes my exp all the more frustrating. If I'd never mentioned where or who I bought the DI from, you would think I bought this used on Agon or something. Like I said, I think there is something lost in translation, but there needs to be some communications to translate. I truly wish no one else would get this kind of treatment from Audio-gd.

 

I am going to give them another week to respond. I am thinking I should just keep the unit and forget this whole thing. It's $300 after losing the return shipping, but I will get the peace of mind of not worrying about shipping uninsured. I doubt that it would blow up my BADA DAC since most users seem to have good exp. On the other hand, knowing that I will not get any warranty or product support doesn't sit well. Perhaps Luckbad can be the mediator when support is needed? Just kidding. :)

 

Thanks again!

Looking at the pictures I would not keep this dac. I have never seen anything from Schiit Audio that looked like this. Or from Auralic ,another Chinese company.

I would be concerned about performance down the road.

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Don't take one user's experience as the norm. Audio-GD has been great for me in many instances. There is a language barrier, but they always take care of me.

 

I feel bad for WXY for his plight.

 

Audio-GD is generally a great company and makes incredible products at better prices than anything equivalent almost anywhere.

Well what do you think of the photos?

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