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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Posts: 271
Location: Homestead, PA, US
If you have been buying equipment for many years and upgrade & experiment often, you probably discovered some under the radar or even more well known equipment that totally exceeded all expectations, sound quality wise. What are some of the things you have discovered and what in particular amazed you about it ? You know, the Rodney Dangerfield of equipment that does not get enough respect.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:09 am
Posts: 35
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON, CA
45 years an audiophile and 2 products remain on my A list.

AUDIO HORIZONS pre amp.Absolutely stunning performance,one of the most transparent pieces I have had the pleasure of owning.Bested many high dollar pre amps.

COINCIDENT DYNAMO 34SE MKII Integrated amp.Jaw drop with the right speakers.Many favorable reviews on line.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 129
Location: nmb, FL, US
dalquist dq-10's still have 30yrs later perfect
lore reference 799.00 bucks by tekton..astounding performance..if u close your eyes..u think $5000.00


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:59 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Brownsburg, IN, US
Hafler amp for me. The P230 which is a pro version of the DH220, but with 6 MOSFETs per channel versus 4 MOSFETs per channel. After upgrading power supply parts as well as the caps on the driver boards and resetting DC offset and bias, these amps are wonderfully smooth sounding. I'm not saying they are the last word in definition or detail, but if you want an easy to listen to amp that won't wear you out, this is a winner.
I've compared them, yes I've redone quite a few, to $3K and up amps, and for long term listening, I prefer them.
I've also used the Musical Concepts boards, but honestly prefer the Hafler boards with upgraded parts. The MC mods will give you more definition, but for me, there's a little less magic.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm
Posts: 649
Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
Tandberg 3012A integrated amp. The best amp that I've owned that can be had for under $500.00, although the price on the pre-owned market has risen steadily since I sold mine 5 years ago. A MOSFET design that's heavily biased into Class A and is capable of driving difficult speaker loads. A real gem.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:33 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Pass XA25 is an amazing amp. At $4.5k it may be an astronomical price for some but it's well worth it's price for the reference level sound quality that it provides.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 129
Location: nmb, FL, US
what makes it so amazing? have you ever compared it to his first watt series? because his sit-2 or j2 or m2 for the money ,were the best sounding solid state amps ive ever heard..they were warm ,yet not gooey..incredible resolution,detail,dynamic and just so fluid and easy to handle anything...ive never heard the pass labs ,that is why i ask....


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Posts: 42
Location: RICHMOND, VA, US
Cambridge Audio Azur amplifiers, particularly considering their modest price.

A whole slew of chip amps, considering their even more modest prices.

The FXAUDIO FX502SPRO TPA3250 is probably my favorite currently.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 83
Location: Everett, WA, US
Shiit Audio Mani. A pretty amazing phono preamp for its price point - I had to spend about 8x the Mani's original price to better its performance.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
Spica TC-50i's matched to an Audire Model 2 amp. Cost me about $600 used. Magic combo.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:35 am 
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 4:58 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
Fifteen years ago, I got an Akai M8 reel-to-reel recorder at a yard sale ($35) - I thought I wanted to play with tapes. I commented on how heavy it was as I picked it up, and the seller said, "Yep, tubes, you know." It has a pair of tube mono integrated amps, each with one EL84 in SEP mode, for about 5 watts output. And a phono input! Connected my turntable, and B&W DM2 speakers, and I was in heaven! Never did play a tape, though.

A couple of years later, I saw a photo online of a Wollensak reel-to-reel, with a 7591 output tube per channel, in single-ended mode,too, for 10 watts output. Got one on eBay cheap, about $50 with shipping. No phono input, so I used a Dynaco PAS3 for a phono stage. Not quite as nice sounding as the M8, but double the power was nice so it got plenty of play time as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:57 pm
Posts: 271
Location: Homestead, PA, US
For the real budget minded or someone looking to put together a second or third system.

dbx 3x2 speakers & sub...great midrange clarity, but a very white sounding tweeter which needs substituted. Also ideally needs internal cabinet bracing, straws in port, and the awning type overhang above the tweeter holds back image height at the sides. A jigsaw could come in handy. Has almost no bass without the sub, I use a different sub than the one that came with it. These are usually cheap, made in 1980/90s I believe. Likes tube amps. With the above work & replacements done you can have $1200 sound for about $150.

AKG K340 headphones. These are closed back, so not that open and they do have a suppression somewhere in the midrange, which often works to their advantage on lots of recordings, but amazingly clean, clear,fast and musical with real bass resolution and an electrostatic type tweeter which self energizes and does not need an external adapter box. It took me 20 years of upgrades to get my speaker sound anywhere near these. These sell for around $100 used sometimes. There are supposed to be various versions of these with somewhat different balances. This is the only piece of audio equipment that I sold out of necessity, and liked and missed enough, to buy again years later.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 4
Location: North Haven, CT, US
Kyocera 710 Semi Automatic Turntable. Easily outperformed the early versions of the Linn LP12 (have had several) with the Itok tonearm, and the exact same Fulton cartridge. Go figure! And yes, I do know how to set up a turntable. I picked mine up on a lark, based upon the Stereo Review article comparing those two, and another well regarded turntable. Specs alone do not tell the tale as I have repeatedly learned. .


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:07 am
Posts: 22
Location: Repentigny, QC, CA
Behringer UCA 222 and 202 interface units.
These two pieces do as stated - A/D and D/A
headphone analogue out
Rca analogue out, and
optical Toslink digital out.
Like a 'Swiss army knife' of audio for 30$; quite amazing. Even if 16/44 resolution is the limit. Add a [Audioquest] Jitterbug and you have a decent laptop>DAC>hi-fi key component.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:49 am
Posts: 14
Location: Hudson, NH, US
50+ years in audio as consumer, repairer, and designer.

Original AR-XA turntable with Shure M91ed cartridge

Almost any Dyna or Dynaco products

Acoustat Model One (with subwoofer) speakers

Superphon Revelation Dual Mono preamp

Harbeth Compact 7 es 2 (not 3) speakers

KLH Model 6, Model 17, and Model 18 speakers and tuner

Canare speaker wire, Mogami Neglex interconnect wire

MiniDSP products, digital eq freeware

Shure ESP 950 headphones

Jelco tonearms


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