One sentence would sum-up Doge well, this is : « Quality first, quality always ».
We are proud to be one of the most reliable Hifi manufacturer from China
We made this section on purpose a bit longer as you usually see on other websites, because we are based in China, far from you home country, so we considered it was very important to know in detail who we are.
Doge was founded by two experienced persons in the Hifi industry :
> a very qualified engineer, Mr. LIU (ex-Jolida’s chief engineer)
> a very experienced manager in tube industry, Mr. SUN (general manager of SHUGUANG vacuum tubes division from 1986 to 1995)
In 2006 Mr. Sun retired and since that time DOGE is managed by Mr. LIU who acts at the same time as factory manager and chief engineer. Although it has been created « only » in 2003, Doge team has more than 20 years of experience in High-End audio design. Indeed, Doge Hifi history start in reality from 1994 as it has some close connections with the US Maryland corporation JOLIDA Inc.
The « Jolida years »
In 1994, Jolida Inc who had long time business with Shuguang tubes factory for distributing their military vacuum tubes in U.S., was willing to develop new markets. At that time, the Doge’s founders Mr Liu and Sun, were both Shuguang employees and were in regular in contact with Jolida Inc, their customer. The former was engineer in the transformer division, while the later was general manager of Shuguang tube division (Shuguang was, is and still a big state owned company with many divisions). Jolida asked Mr Sun & Mr Liu if they would agree to design and manufacture a range of amplifiers for them, and in the same time, they found a Chinese investor to create a Joint Venture to open a dedicated factory. This was done in 1995 in Shanghai under the name of Shenda-Jolida Ltd. Mr Liu and Mr Sun were hired by the sino-american venture, and became respectively Jolida chief engineer, and Shenda-Jolida factory manager.
Regarding their sound performance the first designs of Mr LIU in tube amplifiers were very well-received. The integrated JD302 won an award in the 1996 Edition of Las Vegas CES (Consumer Electronic Show).
From 1996 to 2002, there were some « golden years » during which Mr LIU designed a lot of hot sales products of Jolida among which the Jolida’s JD202, JD302, JD502, JD801, the CD player JD100A, the hybrid amp JD1501, the power blocks Music Envoy, the phono preamp JD9A,… Most of Jolida Inc. products on the market, although a few cosmetic changes, are still Mr LIU own designs.
The Jolida separation and Doge incorporation
In 2002 Mr SUN and Mr LIU were both working in Shanghai Shenda-Jolida factory, 2000 km far from their Changsha home city, both having their wives and children still living there. For this reason, they decided to quit Shenda-Jolida factory and to go back in Changsha city to create their own company. They did it in a very gentle way, with informing Jolida much in advance. Then, after having trained their successors, in 2003 they went back in Changsha city and incorporated Doge Ltd.
Doge was a much a smaller factory than Shenda-Jolida. It was not an ambitious project on the purpose of making great deal of money. On the contrary Doge wanted to focus on quality with a limited range of product, because low quality was often reproached to Chinese Hifi productions, including Jolida. They wanted to do higher range products and higher quality standards than Jolida. The choice to keep a limited range of products, on the contrary of many Chinese brands, allowed Doge to have better quality control and to make Doge one of the most reliable brand among China brands. In addition, the fact that our manager has worked for Shuguang for many years, allows Doge factory to get the first grade of Shuguang tubes. Indeed, most of the current Shuguang staff are still Mr Liu ex-colleagues and keep very good relations.
We must say that facts proved that Mr Sun and Liu were really the « soul » of Jolida, as since they left, Jolida stopped to innovate without any new products from 2003 to 2010, except small cosmetics changes.
The Doge innovation period
When he became his own boss, Mr Liu didn’t want just to make the same diagrams he designed for Jolida with a different chassis. Without Jolida pressure about low production cost (Jolida core marketing strategy was and is still very low prices, but Jolida had never been profitable in all its history) he really wanted to go further in research and innovation, even if this would have a influence on the products price, because high quality products can’t be cheap. Having a small factory with limited fix fees, helped a lot of avoid productivity pressure. In 2005 a much improved version of the JD100A was released under the name Doge 6, which is an incredible CD player with 6 tubes for analog stage, with a balanced differential stage (first tube CD in the world to do this). The Doge 6 is still considered as one of the best CDP on the market and got only great reviews on Audiogon.
In 2011, after having focus a lot about quality and having reached the western standard of quality, we decided to give Doge a new start and still keeping quality in mind, we wanted to focus more on innovation, with the development of a new range of product more orientated for western market and the creation of major innovations like the Doge PAB in 2011, our patented « Precision Auto Bias » that is a real computer managed bias. In 2013 we released an improved version of PAB including a Dual Class A feature. This new function is capable to manage in the same time Class A and Class AB on the same amplifier, changing voltage and anode current depending the selected class. The Doge Prima Donna was the first amplifier to offer this new feature and more recently our flagship Doge 9 PAB.
Meanwhile was introduced Doge new FLS a Feedback Loop Selector to enhance the matching between the amp and the speakers.
Doge is still a family size company. We have a factory of 750m2 (80,000 sq ft) in Changsha and a team of 12 staff including the management. Our production is divided equally between Doge brand and ODM production with western brands who trust our high standards of quality.
We consider ourselves has an handcraft factory, we put our first priority to the quality, not to the speed. Because the labor is cheaper in China than in Western countries, we don’t use this difference of cost to make higher profit margin but to let our workers do their job quietly, without productivity pressure and assure that our production have the best QC among the Hifi Chinese factories. In other factory, generally the productivity is the biggest issue before quality because run mainly by businessmen which main purpose is money rather than Hifi passion.
To conclude with an anecdote, our general manager Mr LIU doesn’t change of car every year on contrary of most of Hifi factory managers. He likes his old Volkswagen because it still works fine due to German quality standards. So its pride is not the size of his car, but the fact that our Doge amplifiers last even longer than his Volkswagen and that our customers almost never call us about after sales issues. Quality always… to make « A step to perfection ».