A late Christmas present

January 14, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

Just nearing the end of my day yesterday afternoon and our president, Jim Laib walks into my office and says, "we got a problem boss".

Oh boy, just what you want at the end of a long day. Trouble.

Only, there was no trouble. Jim was pulling my leg. I show up in the warehouse to be faced with…wait for it…

Click here to see what we received.

The long wait is finally over.

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68 comments on “A late Christmas present”

  1. Aawww man...you got me all excited Paul because I thought that you were
    going to announce that my Gabriel Mervine CD was finally on it's way.
    I'm gonna have to wait until the FR30's have had some stellar reviews for
    me to get truly excited about them 😉

    For me the long wait is not finally over...shucks 🙁

    1. If you buy a pair I'm sure Paul will airfreight a couple of SACDs with a 50% discount. I'm not sure all those boxes would get through my front door. My experience of PS Audio packaging is that it is very good, but something that big in cardboard really needs to be in a timber crate. All these issues get sorted in time.

      A good game brewing up and well done on the Djokovic front. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

      1. Bloody 'La Nina'...good to see Blighty getting it together on the field,
        but they still have to bat...ooh, the covers are coming off as I type.
        Djokovic 'Round 2' in the courts.
        You should see the cardboard boxes that the DeVore O/93's come in;
        ultra heavy gauge...they nearly weigh as much as the loudspeakers 😮

      1. Hi William,
        I clicked onto the link that you provided last week, the classical pianist, she is very good however the music itself didn't really appeal to me.
        There is some classical music that I like but there is a lot that just doesn't do it for me.
        Thanks anyway for providing the link, it was very thoughtful of you.
        Last year I found a pregnant Eastern European Clarinet/Oboe player who was just amazing...simply stunning at her craft, on YouTube.
        Obviously I can't remember her name but she was just amazing to watch & to listen to.

    1. They are manufactured at the same plant in China that makes models for a number of very high end brands including Sonus Faber. They are one of the top two or three in the world. An excellent vendor that's been building for the past 30 years. Their list of products and brands would probably surprise you. It did me. 🙂

      1. I remember a while back you had discontinued a lot of your lower priced items when you made the decision to bring all manufacturing back to the states. Of course, at the time you had no speakers. Are all electronics still domestically produced?

        1. Yes, everything with the exception of Sprout is made here. The quality of cabinetry and finish this facility achieves is mind bogglingly good. They are true masters at their craft. I am not supposed to list the cabinets for the high-end European brands they also make because many of those brands hide the fact their cabinets and drivers are made there which is kind of bizarre to me since I am proud of it, but whatever.

          Different strokes as they say.

      2. really!! cant say I'm surprised more shocked really! as for Sonus Faber Paul I think i'm right in saying it's their lower end much cheaper models that are made in that place with their more up-market models with similar price tags to the FR 30's still manufactured in Italy ......oh deary deary me.

        well that's made my mind up.....gutted!

        Baldy Bloke.

        1. Um....well....ok. Like I wrote above I am really not supposed to list the brands in Europe they manufacture for so I should probably just be quiet. Let's just say they make no cheap speakers for anyone. That's done at other plans but not this one. This factory is expensive and specializes only in the very high-end.

          When we start building our Sprout speaker, for example, there will be no way we could use them.

          1. struth Paul and I hope Christine Lee doesn't infiltrate PS Audio like she has the British Parliament ala MI5........Spendor, Benesch, PMC and many others (not including Bowes and Wilkins who have caved in!!!) are still hanging on in Blighty.....or are they???

            lets hope they don't just copy and bring out the RFflirty in gloss red!

            still luv ya


      3. I looked at Sonus Faber (thinking my wife might like them). Only the Lumina range, which sell for $1,000 to $2,000, are fabricated in China. For 30+ years the Sonus Faber cabinets have been made by a neighbouring specialist woodworking business called Luciano Santi, which Sonus Faber recently bought. As a potential customer, I was well aware that a lot of what you are paying for is a seriously well made piece of furniture, with carefully chosen veneers and an exceptional degree of craftsmanship. All the speakers are assembled in Sonus Faber's factory.

        There is a strong tradition in high quality furniture in that part of Italy. We have furniture from a company an hour from Sonus Faber and are going to order another piece from them tomorrow.

        Many of the YouTube comments ask about where these are being made. There are all sorts of reasons, whether quality control or wanting to support local jobs. I'm perfectly happy to buy Chinese made. Recently rebuilding my house, a main consideration was supply chains. Our last kitchen, made 25 years ago, was from Italy. Our new one was made 10 miles away in London, but my cabinetmaker pulls his hair out these days because it can be impossible to get basic materials like processed boards and steel.

        Some of our lighting, being made in China, was expected end of September 2021 and I still don't have a date. Our kitchen lights, hand-blown glass made 30 miles away, was made and delivered inside a month. Manufacturing anything these days must be a complete nightmare.

        1. Steven.......our kitchen of 15 years was made in Northern Italy and as good now as when it was installed.....the Kitchen Store in Dezenzano del Garda; fabulous quality and they also fitted it for us in Berkshire UK......real craftsmanship is priceless.......having recently trialed a pair of Sonus Faber Amati Tradition's for 2 weeks I can testify to the quality and manufacture especially of the cabinets which could only happen by Luciano Santi.......as for the sound.... just a little thin in my large listening room but very nice.

          the world has a supply problem just now.......I hope your lights turn up soon.


          1. In big places like the USA some people may not realise that from Northern Italy you can drive to just about anywhere in Europe or the UK in a day or less. I've driven from Florence, which is further south, had lunch in Lucca, and got back to London in time for breakfast. People here go over to Maranello just south of Verona to collect their new cars. So buying from Italy is almost local and really depends on production times more than logistics. Once you have to deal with sea or air freight, then the problems can start.

            As for stimpy2's comment, Stradivarius was making most of his instruments in Cremona, only a few miles from where you got your kitchen.

        1. I know, Joe.
          There's a lot of so-called 'Christian values' ignorance out there masquerading as knowledgeable commentary.
          We will find out that we were wrong when it's too late; but I don't have children nor grandchildren to worry about their futures in this current unstable political environment.

          1. There is this new thing called communist corporate capitalism. Until one day you wake up and realize your company is controlled by China with no way out except to join the communist party as they take over the world economically and militarily and you are a communist now. Wall Street is not patriotic to the USA anymore. They have not been for a long time now, ever since they realized how they can profit from cheap labor and lower regulations. It's really a joke to say China don't need to abide by the same greenhouse gas regulations because they are a developing nation. So transferring pollution from one part of the world to another is lowering emissions? No increasing profits is what it's doing. If countries like China, Russia, India are not going along for the ride all we are doing is losing economically to them and global emissions remain the same.

  2. When you construct a component of this superior quality in such a far away country, do you have a manufacturer’s rep that oversees the entire process so that you eventually don’t wind up in deep S__t?

    I think everyone knows China is capable of making anything from absolute garbage to really really high-quality products.

    They will never be able to make a Stradivarius, Guarneri or Amati……… or will they??

    This is a craftsman that everyone should admire.


  3. Congrats to you all at PS Audio, this has to be over the moon exciting for you after all the work put into this project.
    All the usual gripes from the usual people. Can you just give it a break and be happy for Paul and company?

    1. Michael......I fear for my grandchildren when China take over the planet....I for one really do not want to help fund this, its not about the quality and for-sure the better they make their stuff (and they now make great stuff) the more the rest of the world funds their ultimate goal!......and I rarely post on here and please forgive the politics creeping in, so NOT in my case the usual people....thanks.

      God save the Queen

      1. Royal Ascot Mike
        I can imagine the colonist from British Empire of old use to cringe about the British ruling the world the same way you feel about the Chinese!
        I expect a British gentleman to NOT be pandering to Xenophobia

    2. Michael,
      You posted at 9:02am & I didn't start 'griping' until after 3pm.
      Do you have some sort of crystal ball?
      And as 'Royal Ascot Mike' said, that he doesn't usually
      comment much here on PP, so how is he a "usual people"??

  4. Regarding "made in China" audio product quality. My recently received Jay's Audio CD Transport is a real thing of aesthetic beauty and very high build quality (casework is all machined aluminum with black anodized finish). I would go so far as to say it is the most attractive component I own in terms of fit and finish. Nothing cheap looking about this piece.

    I realize this isn't the same as a complex wood/composite speaker cabinet, but the days of "all Chinese stuff being of suspect quality" are over IMHO.

    1. Many are concerned about what the Chinese government is doing by behaving badly on an international level.
      Their concerns are not about the quality of their products, as far as I can see the quality is very good.
      There is a much bigger picture, that most Westerners refuse to see, regarding pouring money into China & thereby giving the CCP so much economic power.

      I was considering a 'Jay's Audio' CD spinner too, but decided to support the Japanese by buying something just as well made from Japan instead.

  5. Paul, I am sure you are so excited to get the first shipment of the FR30 speakers and I hope they are all that you expect them to be.

    Most of my stereo gear is "Made in USA". Not because I started with that as a goal, but because really good stereo gear is made here in the USA and certainly PS Audio is one of those companies who make really good stereo gear here in the USA.

    Also, I am aware that not everything that goes into the "Made in USA" gear is not sourced from the USA. I have no idea where the vacuum tubes in some of my amplifiers come from, but I am sure it is not the USA. I know for a fact that the mid-range drivers in my speakers is partially built in Japan. And, I have no idea where the magic FET's that make my beast of a power amp sound so good are made.

    The point is we live in a world with a global economy and, in my opinion, that is never going to change. I understand that China is a global threat to the free world. It is an economic juggernaut that the free world has to come to grips with and not let it destroy the free world. I think that we are all aware that there is very little that the Trump administration and the present administration agree on, however, one thing that the do agree on is that the USA must take a much strong stance when it comes to China both in economics and human rights. I see this as a good thing.

    1. The problem is primarily domestic - the USA buys too much cheap stuff, and China is only happy to supply it. In 20 years the trade deficit increased from under $100B to over $400B. If Americans didn't buy it from China, they'd buy it somewhere else.

      But you are correct, whereas the UK is more tempted to embrace Chinese inward investment and the EU is sitting on the fence.

      As to the treat to the free world, to outsiders it seems to be more a case of the USA looking inwards. Countries like the UK and the USA used to export democracy, but you can't export something you don't make.

      1. Steven, The problem with people buying from China is that most people in any free country ( USA, UK, EU, Australia, etc. ) buy on price, they don't care where it was made. The fact that the US has the largest consuming population is not a bad thing, with respect to the world's economy it is a very good thing. The problem is the USA has to figure out how to redirect that consumption to having it bought from the free world instead of China. That is a not a trivial think to accomplish.

        1. Tony,
          I purposely bought my SACD player from Japan, my integrated amplifier from Taiwan & my floorstanding loudspeakers from the USA because I refuse to fund the CCP in such a mindless & apathetic way as a lot of
          other sheep...sorry, people.

    2. Thanks, Tony and well said. I look at us as one big world filled with wonderful people like you and me. I don't want to judge a country because I don't agree with her political views. Hell, if that were the case I would have left the States long ago. 🙂

      It's the people I love and Chinese people are some of my all time favorites for their generous spirit.

      Let's be realistic about this. Not one piece of electronics in anyone's system is "made in the USA". None. About all one can rightfully say is assembled here. But, the components are made overseas. Most of the steel and aluminum is made not here in the US. And screws and nuts? And on and on.

      I would challenge anyone to come up with a purely made in USA anything other than handcrafted items and food. We are a globally sourced world. From rubber bands to tires to the materials our industries use to make things (copper for example) mostly come from outside the US.

      It's a good thing. Wouldn't it be amazing if we all were feeling like the friends and families we are?

      1. In theory I agree with you Paul ("wouldn't it be nice");
        however I fear that the reality is quite different.
        The next 10 years will be interesting in terms of global
        power shifting & we will only have ourselves to blame
        for not having had the balls to start manufacturing at
        home again.

        Life has taught me that there is always a price to be
        paid for convenience.

        My wife can tell you how proficient the Chinese are at
        smiling to your face & then stabbing you in the back
        ...don't be taken in by their 'agenda kindness' &
        'personal gain spirit of generosity'.

        1. Martin, again, you're focused on governments not people. And yes, I would love to see some manufacturing (especially silicone wafers and fab) return home. But in the meantime, the governments are all out for power. Look what Putin's up to. Of course the Chinese want world domination - so too did Pink and the Brain. 🙂

          But at the end of the day, the PEOPLE of China are just like you and me. Good people wanting to make our families happy. In all my years of travel I have never met anyone that doesn't want what's bets for their loved ones.

          And I am sorry your wife has had bad experiences. There's plenty of folks in every country at the ready to stab you. So what.

          1. I left it late in the day to express my distrust of the CCP...again, because I wanted to see where this Paul's Posts was going to go regarding the whole 'Made in China' thing.
            I've expressed my concerns here today & now I'll stfu.
            I'm happy for you that your warehouse is filling with new product...good for you! 😀

      2. Yes, it would be nice to be in control of our own destiny, however, I'm not sure we really want all that. Electronic manufacturing generates lots of toxic waste. Maybe it's best to leave a lot of that off-shore. Afghanistan has the largest deposits of lithium on the planet. That's why the Chinese have become their best friend, and making lithium batteries is way up there on the list of toxic manufacturing. Toxicity won't stop the Chinese when there's money to be made.

        1. Hi Jack,
          So all this crap about electric cars & saving the planet is...well...crap isn't it.
          All that we are doing is changing our carbon footprint to a toxic footprint...Grreat!!

            1. Thanks Tony, but I have been aware of the real world since 1973, just before I turned 13yo & I came to realise what a world oil crisis was & what unsustainable consumerism meant.

  6. Best Unboxing Day EVER!!
    I dated a gal many eras back, she was 'made in China'. Very well built, high quality design, exemplary ethics and smart enough to know to promptly put this Westerner back up on the market and find a far more decent human - like she was.
    Point is, I can not wait for the time where our cross pollination is SO vast that we are just one blended, idea sharing race of inhabitants all sharing a non-bordered planet and its brilliantly conserved resources enjoying a peaceful happy life.

    "Wake UP Dorothy...."

    I know, more likely we'll self destruct ourselves completely drowning or starving in our stupidity IF we don't literally kill each other off intentionally. After all we are the species that regularly pit two rabid humans in a cage together and let them administer as much bodily damage to each other as possible without actually terminating their life - AND call it entertainment....?! Oy-vey.
    C'mon, let's face it, we ARE the planet that, when aliens fly past us, they roll their windows up and lock their doors.

    OK Mr Pizzypants, how bout some GOOD news....?

    Well, umm let's see.....OK - l I'm at the age that nearly EVERYTHING I buy has a lifetime warranty!!! And a bottle of shampoo lasts me about three years! Yay!
    Happy FRIDAY!!!
    I think it's gonna be a Dr. Feelgood listening day - the funnest band to ever wiggle a woofer!
    "I was lookin' back, to see if she was lookin' back, to see if I was lookin' back at her"

    1. It will be interesting to see what effect the images of the universe from the James Webb telescope have on our collective view of the planet. A recent fundraising email suggested that, for starters, we should rename it planet Ocean.

        1. Actually, there are some promising technologies to harvest the plastic floating islands in the oceans, but the micro plastics in the water and our drinking supplies (yes, bottled water, too) are definitely a problem.

            1. Yes, young minds--they have a lot more incentive and a lot more to lose than the old dogs. Unfortunately, a lot of politics is governed by the old dogs who want to go back to the future, but it is never going to be the way it was in the past (as much as I may treasure the experiences and wisdom garnered in the old days.) Except maybe for LPs. LOL 😎

    2. Hey Jeff,
      My wife is 'Made in Hong Kong', 1967.
      She calls herself 'a banana'...yellow on the outside, white on the inside.
      She still has her British passport & she hates the CCP for what they
      have done to her homeland...just sayin'.

      "Wake up Dorothy..." is right!
      Too many Dorothy's in this world of sheep.
      Ironically my wife was born in the 'Year of the Goat'
      ...a close relative of the Sheep 😉

      1. You were expecting me to jab a zinger about your wife not being able to find a far more decent human here - weren't you...?
        In the immortal words of Bush:
        Not gonna do it!

  7. Congratulations Paul. Like any new father (although it’s been longer than 9 months), you must be over the moon and now the pain and pleasure for the rest of you life begins.
    Manufacturing’s my background so I wish you all the product consistency in the world. No one sees the heartache, pain, trials and failures when you have successfully overcome the odds and present the product. And what a product.
    A moment to be proud.

  8. If buying components from China makes a product more affordable for the buying public, that is a good thing. Far more money will flow into the importing domestic economy through sales than goes to China. Yes, China benefits. But so does the importing domestic economy. Even the importing domestic governments benefit through income and sales taxes. I'm talking about products developed, marketed and sold through importing domestic developers and dealers, not products developed solely in China and sold directly from China. That's a different story.

  9. Paul and Others,
    Having worked in the Chinese auto industry for more than a decade I wish to offer the following remarks. I agree with Paul that the Chinese people are wonderful, however sourcing products from China has a very tangible downside to the U.S. workforce. The 80% of the U.S. population without a college degree has seen their standard of living stagnate over the last 30 years as higher paying manufacturing jobs, moved to China, Mexico and Vietnam, have been replaced by lower paying jobs in the service sector (Amazon, Walmart, Fedex). Our countries political polarization is at least in part driven by this economic reality. It is also important to remember that Chinese companies directly benefit from an economic system that is tilted in their favor when it comes to the environment, worker safety, intellectual property and currency value. The playing field is not level by any stretch of the imagination.

    So, at the end of the day, we vote with our wallets. I could easily purchase a Chinese made DAC from Holo Audio or Denefrips at 2/3rds the price of a Direct Stream. But I won’t, for the simple truth that we have a moral obligation to support U.S. manufacturing.

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