Nixing "Made in China" for North American-made Audio Gear
Q I am looking to buy an amplifier and speakers manufactured someplace other than China. Can you recommend some options? My budget is $2,000 total for both amp and speakers (tower or bookshelf). —Gopal Venkat / via email
A I cut the political content from your question because I don’t feel that this column is the best forum to discuss those issues. That said, I’m happy to help you find gear in your price range that’s made someplace other than China.
There are many companies in both North America and Europe that manufacture amps and speakers in-house: McIntosh, Audio Research, Sonus Faber, Dynaudio, to name just a few. But products from those companies and others like them skew toward the high end of the price spectrum, and you’re looking for budget gear, most of which is manufactured in, um, China.
It took some digging, but I did find a handful of North American-made options in your price range for you to consider. Anthem, sister brand of Canadian speaker-maker Paradigm, has a $1,499 solid-state stereo amp called the PVA 2 that the company manufactures in its Mississauga, Ontario facility. Two American companies, Rogue Audio, which makes a $1,300 hybrid vacuum tube/Class D integrated amp called the Sphinx, and Amplifier Technologies Incorporated, which sells 60-wpc and 120-wpc solid-state amps for $509 and $765, respectively, churn out their stuff right here in the U.S. of A.
As for speakers, some of those are still made in North America, too. Axiom Audio produces a wide range of models that would fit your budget at its facility in Dwight, Ontario. Minnesota-based speaker manufacturer Magnepan sells its entry-level MMG for just $600/pair. Paradigm’s Studio 10 bookshelf, one of the select speaker models that the company makes at its Ontario facility, lists for $549/each. And Utah-based Zu Audio has a few speakers that fall into your price range, including its new $1,499/pair Omen tower.
I’m sure I’ve overlooked a number of budget-oriented amp and speaker companies that manufacture products outside of China, so if anyone out there knows of one, go ahead and note it in the comments section.