Top quality cheap mini T-Amp amplifiers for your pc speakers
So, you have a couple of speakers, a pc and a nice sound card and you need a great compact amplifier. In this point you have to ask yourself - why spend 200$-500$ on a mediocre to good clumsy and heavy receiver/amplifier when you can pay 50$ and get a superb compact stereo amplifier with enough power for your speakers?
Usually, you'll see big heavy receiver box which include an amplifier but also a lot of things you don't need (like a DVD/inputs and ouputs, radio tuner and so on) - but all you need to drive your speakers is just an amplifier. That's the point when you ask yourself if you need "1000W" amplifier for 100$, amplifier 100W amplifier for 500$ or 15W amplifiers for 40$ (and so on).
So, it just so happens that more pricey doesn't mean better. Also, you probably don't want those big and clumsy boxes on your pc table or in your small room, am I right? If you answered 'damn strait', you should know that in recent years some high quality mini amplifiers poped up which also provide great audio quality and also very comfortable dimensions. They usually called T-Amp Amplifier and that's what I'll talk about.
I'm going to talk mainly about the T-Amp class amplifiers which are small and high efficiency, plus they provide you with very high sound quality which professionals compare to expensive systems aimed for the high end consumers (see review links below).
Most of these amplifiers can provide an output of 10-20W. Larger versions can go even up to 50W. I, myself, used 10W and 20W T-Amp amplifiers with my Polk RTi A1 speakers with no problem whatsoever. True - you won't be able to blow your house only with that, but you'll sure be able to fill your room with music.
How come a 15W amplifier can drive speakers marked as "50W" minimum?
Quite simple - when a manufacturer marks his speakers as 50W minimum it because he takes into account that there are many amplifiers on the market, most of them of low quality / efficiency and he want to guarantee there will be no unhappy customers. The same goes for the volume of the speakers - the manufacturer just don't want unhappy customers who try to blow the neighborhood with his speakers.
So, a 15-20W high quality amplifier CAN drive 50W speakers, but you'll have to make sure these are good speakers of a known brand and not 10$ "1000W" speakers..
"...The TA-10.2 is a perfectly realistic achievement which provides you with an accurate sound reproduction at a silly affordable price. The Trends is not a dream however pleasant. It’s simply a killer bargain. Take it or leave it. I could add that a lot of expensive systems will under-perform the Trends if the setup has not been correctly done. Every audiophile with sufficient background knows well that the progression of one’s hifi is unfortunately not always an ongoing improvement..."
Trends Audio TA-10.2 T-Amp
Absolutely great stereo T-Amp (read TA-10.2 review on 6moons), the successor of the TA-10.1 (read Trends Audio TA-10.1 review and here). This amplifier, which I also had once. Besides arguably best sound quality from whose I published here, it gives also a rich warm distinct bass sound. If this is your taste, you should really check this one out.
6moons review compares this little one to amplifiers which costs thousands of dollars more. The secret, as before, is making a high efficiency low-wattage small amplifier. No fancy gimmicks, no 150W output. Just plain quality for small spaces.
I cannot recommend the TA-10.2 due to its high price. But if you do like the looks and the fact that's it's probably the greatest of them with a unique warm sound - you should consider and maybe just try.
There are some version, for your choice. For a simple 2.0 system, I would go for this one:
It listed as a 239$ (maybe you can find it for less). You also have a version without a volume dial which costs 199$ on amazon. It sounds high, but if you're all into sound quality, then you can be sure you're actually buying a far more expensive amplifier,
"...Music sounds so clear and benevolent, even Nick Cave sounds like a take-home-to-mom guy. Resolution is so sharp and pointed that you can’t stop from leaning in to catch more detail..."
Dayton Audio DTA-1
Dayton, which given us the great Sonic Impact and Sonic Impact 2 has recently released a new T-Amp amplifier named DTA-1 (goes for Dayton T-Amp 1, I guess) - a stereo T-Amp based on the Tripath chip also (DTA-1 review).
Awesome sound quality and ~50$ price tag makes it my recommendation and next choice (although I hope my HLLY won't die). Read the reviews on this series of amps.
A great bonus is the fact that this T-Amp (as the Sonic II before him) can also run on AA Batteries for some time, meaning you can take it with you on a field trip and amp a nice couple of speakers around the fire (in case someone doing such things).
Based on the Tripath chips, HLLY amplifiers are high quality little products and also nice looking. I personally own one for over a year now and they drive my Polk RTiA1 and with no effort. and I'm not kidding.
There is a 10W, 20W version and also a 90W version for those of you who pretty sure they need a hardass volume level or just have really hard to drive speakers.
You can find them on eBay, I think.
T-Amp amplifiers review
- 6moons audio reviews: Trends TA-10.2 & PW-10
- Re(al)view: Dayton DTA-1 T-Amp | Apartment Therapy Unplggd
A review of the latest Dayton T-Amp, the DTA-1.
- Sonic Impact Tripath Amplifier (T Amp) Review
This amplifier does not exist anymore, but they have a newer and better version. Just read the review to get the impression
- The HLLY TAMP-20 : TA2020 tryout
Before starting the writing of this review, I have to explain how I got to listen to an amplifier as small as seducing. I won a few years ago a contest organised by...
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