little bedroom/desk amp?


2010-02-13 3:41 am
Looking for a nice little amp for driving RC mini speakers. This is for a desktop system, iTunes off MAC, in our bedroom. Levels will be modest ... jazz, easy listening, some rock. I'm thinking anything > 10w/ch will be fine. I've used a receiver before but now want a compact little amp that will sit on the desktop and not take up much room. Good sound quality is more important then output power. The T-amps coming out now look very attractive. The Pop-pulse T-amp in particular caught my eye.

Any good suggestions? ... any to stay away from?

An integrated DAC would be a nice feature (if the DAC is good).

Forgot to mention ... am looking for a finished, packaged, amp ... not a kit!

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Try a search on E-Bay. Small, off-the-shelf TA2020 t-amps are available there for as little as $15. They're not particularly powerful, but you can get > 10w per channel from them (barely).

However, if you decide you need more power, a TK2050 t-amp is probably the best way to go. Parts Express sells one for $100: Dayton DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amplifier 50 WPC |
I've had both the LM3886 based amps and a variety of tripath amps from sonic impact, Sonic Impact Super T (sort of an underrated product), the Hlly t2022 based amp, the Sure 2 channel board, the Helder 2020 and 2050. The tripaths all sound better than the LM3886 to my ear. The main advantage of the 3886 is that it has more power than the 2024 or 2020 based tripaths. My take with the Gain Clone is that there's tremendous clarity and surprising oomph (for want of a better word). The Tripaths (other than the 2022) sound more open and a bit warmer.

For a desktop, the Helder 2020 Mark 3 would be my recommendation if you're willing to do a limited amount of wiring. I've had it sound very good with a wide variety of speakers. Also 12 volts single-ended makes it a very flexible amp. You can do batteries, the outlet in your car, use any number of discarded transformers.

for pre-built, there are some very similar Chinese 2020 amps that are very good. Usually, they're well put together. I'd probably stay away form the Lepai though unless you want to modify the thing. The Dayton 2050 would present a similar issue.