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Need dirt cheap but good amp

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Im wondering if theres any hidden gems out there, maybe units from China, that offer good performance for under $50?  


What amps offer budget price but surprisingly good sound quality? 

post #2 of 17

The Cheapest amps i know are Fiio, and bravo audio stuff (tubes)

post #3 of 17


post #4 of 17

A lot of people really like FiiO amps. 


You could also look into T-amps on eBay.  They are dirt cheap and a lot of people like T-amps.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah I've heard great things about the sonic T amp but isn't that a speaker amp?

post #6 of 17

There are some T-amps with headphone outs.


Edit: there are many makes and models of T-amps, not just the Sonic T.  eBay has dozens on them for dirt cheap.  Can't vouche for any of them, but they do satisfy your requirement of being dirt cheap.

Originally Posted by EYEdROP View Post

Yeah I've heard great things about the sonic T amp but isn't that a speaker amp?


Edited by hodgjy - 3/12/12 at 7:02pm
post #7 of 17

Here's one:




I can't say anything about it other than it's cheap.  It does use the Tripath 2024 chip, which is a good one.  I have no idea if the Tripath drives the headphones or if a separate opamp does that. 

post #8 of 17
post #9 of 17

Nvm, $50 is a tough budget even if you want to DIY a cMoy:



Edited by grokit - 3/12/12 at 8:10pm
post #10 of 17

For about $60-$70, in my estimation, you could find a vintage 70's receiver like a Kenwood. It may have a great headphone output.

post #11 of 17

What headphone do you plan to use, by the way ? The best choice may depend on that.


The FiiO E11 is not bad (other than the annoying limitation that it cannot be used while the batteries are charged), but it is slightly above your budget ($65). Depending on your headphones, a good CMOY may suit your needs. If you can build a DIY amplifier, you could give the O2 a try; without the enclosure/front panel and batteries, it may be cheap enough (see here).


Edited by stv014 - 3/13/12 at 9:32am
post #12 of 17

Good performance driving what?


FiiO E5 and E6 are tiny, way under budget, and sound pretty good but can't drive a lot of stuff out there.

Some type of CMoy may be okay, but for the single-supply variants, they are often quite current limited.  Some dual-supply CMoy running lowish gain with the right op amp can do pretty well.

You can DIY an O2 without the batteries and without the enclosure (but with the AC/AC adapter for desktop plugged-in operation) for about $50, and that should handily beat most cheap stuff, with enough power to run most current headphones short of HE-6.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Powering the 25 ohm beyerdynamic DT48 and IEMs. 

post #14 of 17

You will need something with low output impedance and low noise then. A DIY O2 would be excellent if you can build it. Of the FiiOs, the E11 would be best overall (except for some channel imbalance), but if the price of that is a problem, then the ~$30 E6 may be OK, too.


Edited by stv014 - 3/14/12 at 8:06am
post #15 of 17

Just the assembled circuitboard for the O2 is $99, that's what I was going to recommend but as I said $50 is a tough budget. $150 would get you the whole amp though.

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