To be fair, I own the ARK and I love the sound it makes with the ART pipes. Yes, if I could do it over, I would get the MD exhaust, but I don't think the fact that the Ark is made in Korea is a valid argument over which one is better. The build quality on my Ark is superb. The welds are great, everything is top notch. I've never owned a MD exhaust or seen one in person, but there's nothing wrong with the Arks build quality that I've seen.
Even if Ark is another knock off of Japan parts... who cares? It's a choice for us to have. My Ark sounded awesome with the stock cats, and sounds even better with the ART pipes. Again, I'm sure the MD awesome too, but when I bought my Ark, I got it on sale for 1k brand new, for a top of the line exhaust, I wasn't going to turn that down. The dyno numbers of these two exhausts are pretty similar too if I recall correctly, I don't think you'd notice much of a performance gain out of either, but again, i could be wrong. Most of exhaust stuff is for looks and noise. I'm sure tons of R&D went into Ark also.
I'm not a Ark fanboy, and like I said, if I had to do it all over, I'd go with MD from the get go, but I'm really pleased with my Ark setup.
With that being said, there are some cons to the Ark that I've noticed.
I came from a Invidia Gemini exhaust, it lined up perfectly first try, and I had no fitment issues. The Ark took about 3 tries of loosening everything, and taking things off to get the fitment perfect.
I had issues with those stupid freaking extensions. Since this is a 350z exhaust also, you get the silly 6" extensions, which I HATE. That was my biggest turn off from the Ark exhaust. If I'm paying top dollar for my exhaust, I want it to be made for MY car, and to not need silly extensions, and I realize the reasoning behind Ark doing this.. but it's still freaking stupid. Ark recommends you put the extensions BEFORE the Y pipe, so right after the cats. Forget it. You'll have issues with the X pipe hitting the V brace that goes across the middle of the car. We flattened the **** out of mine, and bent it to try to make clearance. No dice. So we just moved the extensions AFTER the Y pipe. Bingo, perfect, no issues. I called Ark about 4 times to make sure that I was hearing right and that they wanted me to put the extensions before the Y pipe, and they did. So again, that's wrong.
Also, I have MD sway bars, On my passenger side muffler where it connects to the straight pipe that goes over the sway bar, I had issues of it touching that. If i moved it, I had issues with it touching some gasket on the pumpkin (see picture)
It actually took us a while to figure out WHY it was doing this. And it took adjusting the exhaust just right to get it to clear both the pumpkin and the sway bar just right.
I'm not sure if that's an issue with other exhausts, but it wasn't with my Invidia.
Besides those two issues, the only other issue I have with it is the rasp. With stock cats, there's no rasp. With Berk HFC. There's rasp out the *** (this is known to happen with berks though). and with Art pipes, there's verrrrryyyy minimal rasp. But I've heard with the MD that there's absolutely no rasp with the ART pipes since they were designed to go with each other.
That's my opinion, take it or leave it, and to repeat.. I really don't think the above two comments are fair judgements of the Ark..
*lets out breath*