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My Very Low Budget Nearfield Desktop Rig (Lepai amp and Dayton Audio speakers) - Page 8

post #106 of 154

As an audio junkie, I am having an urge for the better looking Topping TP20 or TP 22 amp but as some Amazon reviewers claimed the Topping amps are better build, better look but " boring".

 

Any Topping/ Lepai owners care to throw in your two cents. Your bias/unbias opinion(s) will be fully appreciated. I am doing away with big heavy black boxes from hi-end companies due to my age and my new living arrangement.

 

Lepai 2020+ plus good source+ good speakers = my cup of tea for PC listening.

 

I am still struggling with the A2 AE. At low volume, without heavy bass music, the A2 is not bad but at $199.00 a pop, I think it's way over price. 

post #107 of 154
I've listened to the Audioengine A2 a few times and I always thought the same, they're decent if you really need something as compact as possible, but otherwise they're overpriced. A t-amp plus any number of passive speakers will crush them, and even if you're vehemently against passives for whatever reason (size tends to be the most common drawback), there are powered speakers out there as good as the A2 for half the price.

The Samson MediaOne line is a pretty good value at $100-140 IMO (tho I haven't heard the largest 5a), the discontinued StudioDock were also pretty good (they were the same thing + a DAC/IPod dock for a minimal bump in price, and I've never tested the DAC even tho I still have a pair in my room). Much cheaper, fuller sounding, and they won't realistically take up a lot more desk space.

Passives + a t-amp are still the better bang for the buck tho, but a good pair of active speakers is handy to have for patio use etc. Less wires and whatnot.
Edited by Impulse - 3/26/13 at 7:57pm
post #108 of 154
I always wondered how good a value the Audioengine amps are. Seems like the Emotiva mini-X a-100 would be the better piece of hardware.

Update: I don't know why I was thinking you guys were talking about the N22. LOL
Edited by cel4145 - 3/26/13 at 7:48pm
post #109 of 154
A lot bigger, the N22 is way more compact (even ignoring the fact that it's made to stand vertically), and more versatile. I wish they allowed you to mute the speaker output on the N22 without muting the pre-amp out tho, would be handy for connecting a decent headphone amp. I wanna try out the N22 at some point, I'm sure it'd be an interesting comparison against cheaper t-amps.
Edited by Impulse - 3/26/13 at 7:51pm
post #110 of 154
Ingredients for a liquid, 3 D image sound at dirt cheap price : 2 Lepai 2020+ Polk Audio RTi4 +MOG internet music server + Itouch 4g. Ye, they call the Lepai garbage from China but not to this golden ears. Just for kick,I have several spares Lepai 2020+ in my closet so I played around with the " Parasound 1 1/2 stereo" idea. I run the left channel to one Lepai 2020+ and the right channel to another Lepai 2020+ .Hey, I have balance control but more than that, between 9 and 10 o'clock on the volume pot, nothing but beautiful music from John Scofield "BUMP" tracks. Try it you may very much like it. It may not sound as good as the Bryston 4 BSST and the Audio Research LS17 but it does not cost you 6K to 7K either. 10% distortion ??? I like distortion as much I like distortion in tubes. Cheer.
post #111 of 154
Never owned any Emo stuff in my life but the Emo folks go pro with the Airmotiv series. Again, these are near filed listening pro power monitor. Pricing of the 5 series is affordable at $499.00 a pair ( 50 WPC). I have been dreaming about the Adam Audio Ax5 but 1k price tag is tough to swallow. Adam Audio comes out with the new F series and their pricing is more friendly than the X series. $499.00 for the pair of Adam F5 ( 25 WPC). For near field listening, I do not really need more than 10 clean watts so I wonder if anyone heard the Emo Airmotiv 5 ?
post #112 of 154
Never mind, I find out the link to Tekzone web-site. Not definitely sure but it seems the Emotiva Airmotiv series are rebadged from the Tekzone's monitors ( China).
post #113 of 154

I wanna try the HSU HB-1 MK2 or the Arx A1b from The Audio Insider... Both of them look like pretty good values. Pretty happy w/my Infinity Primus for now tho (P163/P153), I thought they were a nice step up from Pioneer's low end line or something like the Polk Monitor 30, for not much more. Being front ported makes them ideal for using 'em alongside the desk in a small-ish room too.

post #114 of 154
Watch for the Def Tech SM 350 on New Egg. I've got a pair for under $200.00 while they were on sale. 8ohm, 91 db with an 8" passive radiator. It' a steal. Two Lepai 2020+ would be more than enough juice to drive these gems.

If your room acoustic is not treated, these SM 350 may sound bright, then you will need to place the speaker with the passive radiator facing outward, not inwatd to each othet. Boy, I tell you these SM 350s are great with 10/ 15 watt class D amp in my 12×14 bedroom. Near field listenning is perfect

I am waiting for Vanns to drop the price of the Energy RC 10. They have them in stock for $299.00 a pair. These RC 10 are great but you will need to tutn them up. You may need more juice than the Lepai 5 watt to bring the best out of these RC 10. I tried them with the Rotel 49 watt intergrated and they are nothing but amazing.
post #115 of 154
I know ACDOAN will want to hear about this wink.gif

My office at home tends to warm up a little too much in the summer, especially if I run my HK 3390 receiver. Since I gave away my Lepai 2020+ to someone in need last fall, I decided to get the Indeed TA2021 off Ebay directly from Indeed. Here it is next to my G400 mouse for size perspective




75$ shipped. Much better build quality than the Lepai and looks nicer, too. A brick of a power supply. And if you look at the pictures on their Ebay page, better internal components.

I wish I still had the Lepai 2020+ to compare. So far this Indeed sounds great and produces plenty of volume for nearfield listening with my Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs, clean sound up to volumes louder than I should listen to. Slightly colder than the HK, and I think the HK has a little better bass resolution. But overall, a great little amp biggrin.gif
post #116 of 154

Whoa IMO this thread had gone O/T a wee bit as my feeling is that the TS specifically mentioned the prices and his set up to remind that peeps do not have to settle for pc speakers even at tight budgets so thks TS for sharing beerchug.gif On a personal note my Lepai TA2020, Polk M3 and Fiio E7 is coming to 2 years of heavy 24/7 use and hands down it's the best $$ i splashed on an audio set up ever L3000.gif


Edited by trog - 5/29/13 at 11:36am
post #117 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by trog View Post

Whoa IMO this thread had gone O/T a wee bit as my feeling is that the TS specifically mentioned the prices and his set up to remind that peeps do not have to settle for pc speakers even at tight budgets so thks TS for sharing beerchug.gif

I don't know how this is off topic, other than it's no longer just about the OP's specific setup. This is the only thread that's really been discussing t-amps. Even higher model t-amps than the Lepai 2020+ provide a cost effective way to get into a passive speaker/amp setup that is better than many powered multimedia setups. For instance, I would use this Indeed TA2021S with a $100 set of speakers before I would buy the Audioengine A2s. smily_headphones1.gif
post #118 of 154
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I know ACDOAN will want to hear about this wink.gif
75$ shipped. Much better build quality than the Lepai and looks nicer, too. A brick of a power supply. And if you look at the pictures on their Ebay page, better internal components.

I wish I still had the Lepai 2020+ to compare. So far this Indeed sounds great and produces plenty of volume for nearfield listening with my Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs, clean sound up to volumes louder than I should listen to. Slightly colder than the HK, and I think the HK has a little better bass resolution. But overall, a great little amp biggrin.gif

 

Looks great, cel4145! biggrin.gif

 

I too wish you still had your Lepai to compare. There is no doubt the Indeed looks better and apparently uses better components. However, it is more than triple the current price of the Lepai and uses a different Tripath chip and doesn't have tone controls. Without a direct comparison, we really don't know if it sounds three times better than the Lepai, or even better at all. My guess is that it probably sounds just a little better and the better looks and components may be worth it for some buyers. But, there is also the "dual Lepai" method used by ACDOAN which I haven't tried and is still cheaper than the Indeed.

 

I have found one use for the Lepai's backward tone controls. I think the Lepai definitely sounds better in "direct" mode without the tone controls activated. Since I have a sub attached, I have my sub configured to sound best when the Lepai's tone controls are not active. However, there are times when the sub provides more bass than I actually need. Sometimes I am just listening to a baseball game or some other audio on my computer and I don't really need or want the bass to be kickin'. Since my sub is on all the time, I use the Lepai's "Tone / Direct" button as an instant "bass cut" feature. I leave the bass control dialed down a bit on the Lepai. When I want to tame the sub, I just depress the button on the Lepai to activate it's tone controls. This gives me a lazy-man's way to get an instant bass cut when I'm not really concerned with top audio quality. After the baseball game, when I switch back to music, I just hit the button on the Lepai to deactivate the tone controls, and the sub goes back to music-listening strength. It's a lazy and easy way of having two modes: full strength sub for music listening or bass cut mode for other computer audio at the push of one button.

 

Since it would cost me $75 to try the Indeed but you already have one, I think you just need to cough up $20 and get another Lepai (or $40 and get two) so you can do the comparison for us! biggrin.gif

post #119 of 154
Can't spend the money on another Lepai. I just ordered a 2nd Indeed TA2021 for another setup in the house biggrin.gif

I did a lot of googling before I bought the Indeed. There's lots of discussion of how a better PSU (like the one with the Indeed) helps the Lepai. Read discussions of people modifying the Lepais to improve the sound, one of which described the Indeed t-amps as doing everything mostly right in terms of design compared to the Lepai (seemed to be some agreement on that). Then there was this review where someone compared the Lepai 2020 and the Indeed TA2020, finding the Indeed to be a little better in sound. This review described the TA2021 that I ordered as comparable in SQ to the Toppings, which are generally considered to sound great. Then I found some tests that show that a TA2021 generally has about 3db more headroom than the TA2020. Meanwhile, the tone control is not a loss because it reduces SQ (the Lepai modders love to complain about that); better to EQ with the source device. When I tried the tone control, definitely degraded the sound a little.

So when you think about it, if you buy two Lepai TA2020s, that's only an extra 3db more output than one, which makes it the same as the TA2021. If someone was also going to do the PSU upgrade, that makes dual Lepais cost over $60. Not that much more to go with the better build quality of the Indeed, better aesthetics, and get a little better SQ smily_headphones1.gif
post #120 of 154
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the links, cel4145. Good stuff! smile.gif

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