2.0 or 2.1 super-budget system for mixed music/AV. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 28 Old 11-21-2019, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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2.0 or 2.1 super-budget system for mixed music/AV.

I'm planning out a future system and I would like to hear from someone who has done anything similar.

Basically, I am thinking of a class D amp with some cheap bookshelf speakers and a cheap powered sub. I'll be mainly using this for movies paired up with my Vizio PQX and secondarily for streaming music, and occasionally a turntable. I'm not expecting the world or audiophile grade fidelity.

I have been into vintage components in the past and I had a variety of vintage receivers, integrated amps, turntables, and speakers. I got rid of everything I ever had except a Marantz 2235 and a pair of Epicure 100W speakers that I restored the walnut veneer of and refoamed/recapped.

Eventually, when I buy a bigger house, I would like to make the EPIs the main speakers in my setup. I don't think I'll ever want a 5.1 or more surround setup. I enjoy a good stereo set with good imaging.

Back to my temporary 2.1 rig...

I was thinking something like the Dayton DTA-Pro DAC/50wpc digital amp paired with their AMT ribbon-tweeter bookshelf speakers. For a powered sub to go with it I have not a clue what would work.

If there are other, better options in the price range I'm thinking ($500 or less all-in) let me know.







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post #2 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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These DCM's have proved to be very good especially for the low pricing.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pack-6-5-...oAAOSwh0ldcRTR

A bit higher in price but very good.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-DCM-by-MT....c100005.m1851

Discussion on these low priced DCM speakers
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post58669910

For sub it really pays to get a good one. The RSL Speekwoofer is very nice at 399.
https://rslspeakers.com/speedwoofer10s/

Also refurbished Infinity subs are good too.
https://www.harmanaudio.com/infinity/SUBR12BK-Z.html
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post #3 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 08:37 AM
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I think the tricky part will be tuning since those T-amps generally don't have a crossover.
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post #4 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cocrh View Post
These DCM's have proved to be very good especially for the low pricing.



https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pack-6-5-...oAAOSwh0ldcRTR



A bit higher in price but very good.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-DCM-by-MT....c100005.m1851



Discussion on these low priced DCM speakers

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post58669910



For sub it really pays to get a good one. The RSL Speekwoofer is very nice at 399.

https://rslspeakers.com/speedwoofer10s/



Also refurbished Infinity subs are good too.

https://www.harmanaudio.com/infinity/SUBR12BK-Z.html
Thanks for the recommendations. I'll see if anyone has compared those $70 DCMs to the Dayton's ($40). I have my EPIs I can hook up but the wife won't let me leave them in the living room They destroy any cheap speakers I've ever heard.

Spending 300-400 on a sub is not in the cards until I get a new house. I'd probably be looking used then anyhow.


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I think the tricky part will be tuning since those T-amps generally don't have a crossover.
I was looking and Parts Express has one with no DAC but an adjustable crossover on the sub output.

https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...ment--300-3831

So the amp, Dayton bookshelves, and an 8" Dayton powered sub would be $215 shipped. I can throw in a Fiio D3 DAC for $15 which I already know sounds good as I have set up family members with them to connect their TVs to their old component stereo sets.

Does anyone think that little junk setup could be beat by a sound bar or really ANYTHING else for $230?



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post #5 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 10:10 AM
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You know, with these sales right now you can get a nice 5 or even 7 channel amp (Picked up a spare Pioneer 934 for $299) and a couple good Klipsch (Just launched a web site sale, also on Amazon I think) or other bookshelf for a total of around $500. Eventually move these bookshelf to surround positions when you build out and worry about a sub later with the bigger system. That way you minimize waste of money. Just shop for these sales.
As far as sound bars, look at the little 1.5” speakers and ask yourself if they could do what you want.

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post #6 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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You know, with these sales right now you can get a nice 5 or even 7 channel amp (Picked up a spare Pioneer 934 for $299) and a couple good Klipsch (Just launched a web site sale, also on Amazon I think) or other bookshelf for a total of around $500. Eventually move these bookshelf to surround positions when you build out and worry about a sub later with the bigger system. That way you minimize waste of money. Just shop for these sales.

As far as sound bars, look at the little 1.5” speakers and ask yourself if they could do what you want.
Maybe I have an irrational bias against A/V receivers, I don't know. I just don't like having a large receiver and for 2.1 only I'm not sure I would benefit at all from any A/V receiver that I can afford.

I'm NEVER planning on a 5.1+ setup. I don't like fidgeting with surrounds. Just a 2.1 in the future incorporating my EPIs with a good amp/amps and a good sub when I have a larger living room.



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post #7 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 11:10 AM
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How about something like the JBL 308P MKII

Active monitors like these have tremendous value, no need for a separate amp, no need for a sub with these, you could get by with a chromecast audio or something like that for streaming music, or a budget desktop DAC/Preamp.

Paired with a Schiit Modi DAC ($99) and a Schiit Sys ($49) for master volume and source switching and you're pretty much within budget. That would be a great little system!
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post #8 of 28 Old 11-22-2019, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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How about something like the JBL 308P MKII

Active monitors like these have tremendous value, no need for a separate amp, no need for a sub with these, you could get by with a chromecast audio or something like that for streaming music, or a budget desktop DAC/Preamp.

Paired with a Schiit Modi DAC ($99) and a Schiit Sys ($49) for master volume and source switching and you're pretty much within budget. That would be a great little system!
That is an interesting way to go, for sure. I have heard what some mid-tier powered monitors can do and they certainly have plenty of power. Maybe too much?

The one problem with those right now is their size. I would have to put them up high and aim them down. I could build some heavy stands that aim them down. With smaller, 6-1/2" bookshelf speakers they can sit at ear level next to my TV. It's a small room the couch is 11 feet from where the speakers will sit.

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post #9 of 28 Old 11-23-2019, 11:37 AM
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Another good budget speaker is the Boston Acoustic A25 or A26. Buy one get one 1/2 price so very affordable. Should work very well for music and A/V.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html

Could even go with the Boston Sub
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-black/1.html

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post #10 of 28 Old 11-23-2019, 12:08 PM
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Found one more option with a nice small amp and Focal 706's

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-cable/1.html
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post #11 of 28 Old 11-23-2019, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Found one more option with a nice small amp and Focal 706's



https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-cable/1.html
Thanks for the recommendations. Wish I could try stuff out. You know what they say: Cheap, Easy, Good... You can only pick 2.

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post #12 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 11:34 AM
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Aw man. I clicked on this because I mistook 'super-budget' for big budget

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post #13 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 11:40 AM
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dcm books ,, basic avr ,, and a sub (you can get an 8" yamaha pretty cheap), they are ok ...

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r Dennis Murphy modded emotiva b1's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... infinity alpha 20 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. ascend cbm 170 se... kef q100 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #14 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Aw man. I clicked on this because I mistook 'super-budget' for big budget
Maybe someday when the kids are out of the house, lol.

Then it'll be boutique class a mono-blocks and giant floor-standers, for sure (pending female approval).

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post #15 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Paired with a Schiit Modi DAC ($99) and a Schiit Sys ($49) for master volume and source switching and you're pretty much within budget. That would be a great little system!
I wish they made a SYS with a remote. It would erode some of the beautiful simplicity but it would be very convenient.

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post #16 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 12:08 PM
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Maybe someday when the kids are out of the house, lol.

Then it'll be boutique class a mono-blocks and giant floor-standers, for sure (pending female approval).

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I wish all of these things for you

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post #17 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 12:51 PM
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Found one more option with a nice small amp and Focal 706's

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-cable/1.html
Nifty little system for sure, but from the specs: "Bluetooth aptXUSB 24-bit / 96kHzDAC 24-bit / 192kHz Revolutionary diet Compact dimensions IR remote control" I have to wonder what you feed it? Or, does it cook for you? That could be major WAF (probably not as good as if it did the dishes, though).
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post #18 of 28 Old 11-26-2019, 03:04 PM
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Nifty little system for sure, but from the specs: "Bluetooth aptXUSB 24-bit / 96kHzDAC 24-bit / 192kHz Revolutionary diet Compact dimensions IR remote control" I have to wonder what you feed it? Or, does it cook for you? That could be major WAF (probably not as good as if it did the dishes, though).
Morgan
LOL. Good one. I saw that and thought what in the world is that there for!

I'd think it eats a big sizzling platter of electrons! I'd avoid giving it beer tho
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post #19 of 28 Old 11-30-2019, 11:36 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations. I'll see if anyone has compared those $70 DCMs to the Dayton's ($40). I have my EPIs I can hook up but the wife won't let me leave them in the living room They destroy any cheap speakers I've ever heard.
In my workout room I've had:

Dayton B652's
Dayton MK402's
Hsu HB1 MKII
DIYSG HTM-8
DCM TP160

The DCM's are drastically better than either of the Dayton's. Without subs, the DCM's sound better than the *very* capable HTM-8's, which don't have enough extension to be used without subs.

I would want to A/B the Hsu and DCM's to say for sure but from what I can remember(recently sold the Hsu), I think they sound at least as good if not better than the Hsu without subs.

Pair them with a decent little sub and they would of course be much better, as would literally any speaker.

JBL has their 550P 10" sealed sub on sale for $189 from $599. This would put you at $280 for speakers and sub...I'd put the rest towards a cheap AVR or stereo receiver with bass management.
For $169:
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

I didn't really spend any time looking, betting you can save a little on amp/avr, but I would be sure to get one with subwoofer output and bass management.

The above combo would be $449.

The DCM speakers really do sound quite good. How much better than the Daytons? I wouldn't *give* the Daytons to friends or family. I would not hesitate to gift the DCM's. Or sell them to a friend/acquaintance.
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post #20 of 28 Old 11-30-2019, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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In my workout room I've had:



Dayton B652's

Dayton MK402's

Hsu HB1 MKII

DIYSG HTM-8

DCM TP160



The DCM's are drastically better than either of the Dayton's. Without subs, the DCM's sound better than the *very* capable HTM-8's, which don't have enough extension to be used without subs.



I would want to A/B the Hsu and DCM's to say for sure but from what I can remember(recently sold the Hsu), I think they sound at least as good if not better than the Hsu without subs.



Pair them with a decent little sub and they would of course be much better, as would literally any speaker.



JBL has their 550P 10" sealed sub on sale for $189 from $599. This would put you at $280 for speakers and sub...I'd put the rest towards a cheap AVR or stereo receiver with bass management.

For $169:

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html



I didn't really spend any time looking, betting you can save a little on amp/avr, but I would be sure to get one with subwoofer output and bass management.



The above combo would be $449.



The DCM speakers really do sound quite good. How much better than the Daytons? I wouldn't *give* the Daytons to friends or family. I would not hesitate to gift the DCM's. Or sell them to a friend/acquaintance.
That's awesome. Exactly the kind of input I was looking for.

I REALLY don't want the bulk of an AVR, however. Hopefully I can find an integrated amp that will work.


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post #21 of 28 Old 11-30-2019, 02:26 PM
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Maybe I have an irrational bias against A/V receivers, I don't know. I just don't like having a large receiver and for 2.1 only I'm not sure I would benefit at all from any A/V receiver that I can afford.

I'm NEVER planning on a 5.1+ setup. I don't like fidgeting with surrounds. Just a 2.1 in the future incorporating my EPIs with a good amp/amps and a good sub when I have a larger living room.



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If I were you, I would go for a used 3 of the top tier models from Yamaha, Denon/Marantz, or Sony. The advantage of going his route is that your not paying any depreciation costs, reliabilty is good, good power, good bass management and flexibility. In 2 channel, AVRs will compete with separates in sound quality.
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post #22 of 28 Old 12-01-2019, 01:47 PM
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I was thinking something like the Dayton DTA-Pro DAC/50wpc digital amp...
The problem with these small amps is that they don't have input selectors, so they are a bit clumsy to deal with if you have multiple sources. Also, do you need the DAC?

If you really want a tiny inexpensive amp, the Lepai LP-2020TI is a great sounding amp and compact and has separate bass and treble controls. Only 1 input also though (and no DAC obviously). They used to be insanely cheap, but the price has gone up a bit. You need to upgrade the power supply to get max power out of the Lepei.

If you can tolerate larger, and since you seem to have an affinity for vintage, I would get something like a Pioneer SX series receiver -- or a Harman Kardon 330a or 330b -- can be had inexpensively and performance is great.

Whatever amp you choose, I don't think it is necessary to put too much priority on bass management/sub output/preamp outputs -- you can drive the sub with high-level speaker wires off of any 2.0 amp and use the sub controls to tune it (I actually prefer driving sub by high-level for 2-channel use).

Agree with the DCM's for speakers. Seems to be a no-brainer (and they will eventually run out)


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post #23 of 28 Old 12-01-2019, 04:13 PM
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If I were going bargain basement I would purchase from Amazon a new with warranty (including a remote control) Yamaha R-S202 ($130) or a Sony STR-DH190 ($89) stereo receiver.

Neither has bass management but both have a secondary pair of speaker outputs that makes it easy to connect to any subwoofer that has speaker-level inputs.

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Audio-...5240691&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-STRDH190...NJ6VS4PAZ0CJ65

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #24 of 28 Old 12-01-2019, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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The problem with these small amps is that they don't have input selectors, so they are a bit clumsy to deal with if you have multiple sources. Also, do you need the DAC?

If you really want a tiny inexpensive amp, the Lepai LP-2020TI is a great sounding amp and compact and has separate bass and treble controls. Only 1 input also though (and no DAC obviously). They used to be insanely cheap, but the price has gone up a bit. You need to upgrade the power supply to get max power out of the Lepei.

If you can tolerate larger, and since you seem to have an affinity for vintage, I would get something like a Pioneer SX series receiver -- or a Harman Kardon 330a or 330b -- can be had inexpensively and performance is great.

Whatever amp you choose, I don't think it is necessary to put too much priority on bass management/sub output/preamp outputs -- you can drive the sub with high-level speaker wires off of any 2.0 amp and use the sub controls to tune it (I actually prefer driving sub by high-level for 2-channel use).

Agree with the DCM's for speakers. Seems to be a no-brainer (and they will eventually run out)


I have the Marantz 2235 I could use but I don't really have a place for it near my television. Also, it's pretty much as bulky as an AVR. Pre-kids I had a listening room and a bunch of vintage gear I rotated in and out of service. I had a really nice headphone setup, as well.

Maybe I'll pick up the Lepai and the above mentioned speakers.

My TV has an analog out that can be fixed power or variable. Using that as a pre would probably be really crap-tastic, right? I mean, using it to control the volume and using a stereo amp with it.



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post #25 of 28 Old 12-01-2019, 08:26 PM
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Maybe I'll pick up the Lepai and the above mentioned speakers.

My TV has an analog out that can be fixed power or variable. Using that as a pre would probably be really crap-tastic, right? I mean, using it to control the volume and using a stereo amp with it.
That should work great, including using the TV as a preamp. You could make it totally stealth and hide the Lepai behind the TV since you are using volume control from the TV.

The power supply included with the LP2020-TI is 12v/3a, so it can deliver at most 36 watts in total -- probably about 15 watts per channel actual. That is good enough for medium loud volumes. I would try that first and see if it is enough.

If you want to crank it up more, then get an upgraded power supply that puts out about 60 watts. The Lepai can handle power supplies from 12 to 24 volts, then figure out the amperage you need for 60 watts (Power (Total Watts) = Volts x Amps). Parts Express carries the amp and power supplies (the amp look to be on sale at Parts Express as I write this).
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post #26 of 28 Old 12-01-2019, 08:33 PM
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Maybe I'll pick up the ... above mentioned speakers.
More info on the speakers starting on post 355 of this thread -> https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...-choice-4.html

It started out as a "Budget Speaker Talk" thread, but became a "DCM Talk" thread about halfway through.
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post #27 of 28 Old 12-04-2019, 05:53 PM
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I have the Lepai 2020 amp. I mean, for $20 or whatever, you can't say anything bad about it. I will say though that if you are driving full range speakers, it doesn't have enough power. Audiosciencereview tested it at 8w/channel before clipping. I mean, it performed reasonably well within that range for noise, distortoin etc. Maybe a bigger power supply would help, no idea. But when I switched to my old, barely working(HDMI board) Yamaha RXV-375(cheapest entry level model), my Hsu's sounded MUCH better.....drastic increase in bass...the Lepai just didn't have enough power. I haven't tried it with the DCM's yet but I expect it may be even worse as I feel like the DCM's have more bass/lower extension which would strain the Lepai even more. Might work ok at very modest volumes if crossed to subs.

I'm currently looking for a 2.1 solution to replace the Yamaha as it sometimes works sometimes doesn't. But it needs to be cheap and decent since its just my seldom used workout room, and my main setup has been telling me it would like to have a new amp to drive my LCR. I'm a nice guy so I'm going to try my best to help.
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post #28 of 28 Old 12-04-2019, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
I have the Lepai 2020 amp. I mean, for $20 or whatever, you can't say anything bad about it. I will say though that if you are driving full range speakers, it doesn't have enough power. Audiosciencereview tested it at 8w/channel before clipping. I mean, it performed reasonably well within that range for noise, distortoin etc. Maybe a bigger power supply would help, no idea.
A bigger power supply absolutely helps a lot. I don't know why they do this, but the power supply it comes with is only 3amps @ 12 volts, so the maximum theoretical it could produce in total is 36 watts. The max volume level is definitely limited with the stock power supply, but that amp will go much louder with a larger power supply -- something like a 12v 5amp will have 60 watts available.

It's a baffling mystery why they ship it with such a limited power supply and have done so for years. If you read the details on the Parts Express page, it talks about voltage ranges that will work. I think they generally recommend 60 watts, but I don't know what the maximum you can safely go to.
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