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What is the BEST amp below $200? and $150

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#1
Hi guys... I would like to ask your opinion (based on experience) of the best dedicated amplifier below $200 and $150 range?

Thinking of getting Monitor Audio bronze 2 and cant afford a $400ish amp yet. So just to get me going, any recommendations at this price point?
 

bunkbail

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#7
If you want a modern amp, TPA3118D2-based Allo Volt+D is probably good enough for the money.
 

sejarzo

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#8
It's unclear as to what you really need. What is your source? If it's a DAC with volume control, you can get by with just a power amp, but if there's no volume control, you need an integrated amp.
 

maxxevv

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#9
Nothing against the speakers but if you have a DAC capable of outputing over 2V out of RCA, then you can consider some powered speakers like the Kali LP-6 or LP-8.

The LP-6 costs less than the Bronze 2 and the LP-8 are on par in price for the pair off Sweetwater.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=kali

You get the amplifier with the speakers. Not to mention, they are generally well regarded speakers too.
 

jae

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#10
SMSL SA300 is probably a good option if you cannot get 2nd hand products, but it is 40 wpc and Class D, but I hear the Infineon tech is good. Furthermore you get a good in-built DAC and it supports bluetooth, woofer out, volume control, remote control, and it has a small form factor.
 
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Willem

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#11
I would save a bit more and get a Yamaha AS301, selling in the Netherlands for 269 euros right now (including VAT). It has digital inputs but also a MM input. 2x60 watt should do it in many small to medium sized rooms with speakers that are not grossly inefficient.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #12
It's unclear as to what you really need. What is your source? If it's a DAC with volume control, you can get by with just a power amp, but if there's no volume control, you need an integrated amp.
Hi.. source would be my PC.


I prefer separate dac and amp.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #13
I would save a bit more and get a Yamaha AS301, selling in the Netherlands for 269 euros right now (including VAT). It has digital inputs but also a MM input. 2x60 watt should do it in many small to medium sized rooms with speakers that are not grossly inefficient.

For some reason.. those Yamaha receiver is not available here in Malaysia. Cheapest yamaha I can get online is $350+. Out of the budget as of now coz I still need DAC.

Besides, I will be using a PC. Would that be ok with Yamaha?
 

raif71

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#14
For some reason.. those Yamaha receiver is not available here in Malaysia. Cheapest yamaha I can get online is $350+. Out of the budget as of now coz I still need DAC.

Besides, I will be using a PC. Would that be ok with Yamaha?
Have you checked in Style Laser Audio? I just saw it selling in Shopee or you can just go to the store locally.
 
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Thread Starter #15
Have you checked in Style Laser Audio? I just saw it selling in Shopee or you can just go to the store locally.
Hi.. yeah. As mentioned, I have only limited budget as of now.


Mini amp is ideal for my desk. I will be using the speaker for PC. Large receiver is not so good for my setup.
 

Xulonn

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#18
My Topping DX7s DAC is great and reliable, but I had two Topping PA3's die within a year - and from here warranty and returns are a pain - it is inconvenient and expensive to ship stuff back to the U.S. from Panama.

I am now using an Aiyima A04 TPA3251 as my battery and portable and backup stereo ChiFi mini-amp. $50 at Amazon.

Aiyima A04 Mini Amp.jpg
 

taisho

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#19
SMSL SA300 - just no, one guy joked that it's a good headphone amplifier with its power. Actually I'm a low-level listener in a 14m^2 room so I don't mind low power, but 58dB SINAD? Come on.
https://quantasylum.com/blogs/news/first-look-infineon-merus-ma12070

Feel free to check specs of Yamaha receivers but it takes a lot of desk space.

Never ever check Youtube reviews of audio gear without measurements. These guys live from creating hype. The latest fad on ASR is linking rave Youtube reviews in Amir's measurement threads of headless panther award winners.

PA3 is TDA7498E, so 62.5dB SINAD @1W according to the datasheet, not too good. Quite a lot of power but a very high fail rate according to reviews. TDA7498E amps don't have a good reputation in longevity.

1. What @Xulonn recommends, would be one of the good bets. Aiyima has a few TPA 325x amps. The TPA3255 without Bluetooth has a bad pop sound, even confirmed by the manufacturer. You also don't want to buy the newer TPA3255 with Bluetooth because it usually means more noise. TPA3251 has slightly better results in datasheets than 3255 - apart from power that still should be more than enough. Very cheap, $40 when on sale + about $20 for AC/DC Adapter (32V 5A), no reported pop sound. Datasheets say it shouldn't go lower than 72dB SINAD but I'm skeptical with this cheap implementation.

2. What @bunkbail recommends, Allo VOLT+ D (DOUBLE). Supposed to measure almost the same as Volt+, so 70dB SINAD (manufacturer data). High-quality components, better than average frequency response linearity. Expected longevity. Still, quite far from an average headphone amp performance in terms of sound transparency.

3. My personal gamble, I'm very hyped about Allo's TPA3255. Release planned for September this year, info from 2 different sources. Some suckers believe it's going to be China-cheap because it's TPA-based. It won't be. In Poland, the Allo VOLT+ D (DOUBLE) is already at $135. The engineer's target is so big and competition-crushing that I don't know... Maybe I should hope it doesn't measure THIS good and I can get it for $200-250. I don't believe it's going to appear in September too. There could be some good Black Friday deal ;)
 
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Eetu

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#20
I would just save a little more and move up to a higher price bracket. You are going to lose money if/when you're not happy with a cheap amp and decide to upgrade.

Or try to source some used gear (I know you mentioned that is difficult where you live). I paid 100€ for my used NAD C 320bee (95db SINAD).
 
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