on December 27, 2013
I have been using the Lepai amp for almost 2 years. There are good and bad things that I noticed. Below is my summary of the Lepai mini amp:
1) This amp is really inexpensive. If you cannot spend more than 20 bucks then you may want to take a close look at this amp.
2) The sound quality albeit at low volume is pretty decent. This amp uses the TA2020 chip set which does offer quite low distortion at low volume.
3) The amp has tone controls so you can fiddle with the sound to some degree.
1) You'll be hard pressed to drive a pair of low-sensitivity or 8-Ohm speakers to decent volume with this amp. With an 8 Ohm speaker, you get clean sound to around 5 Watts only. If you crank the amp up to 10 Watts you'll already hit 10% distortion. With 4 Ohm speakers you can get up to 10 Watts per speaker. In fact, the wattage rating of this amp (2 x 20 Watts rms) is truly false. The power supply that comes with this amp gives 2 Amps at 12 Volts. At a power efficiency of 90% you'll get 2 x 10 Watts rms at the most. However, if you have some fairly small speakers then you may be fine. Otherwise, spend a little more and buy another amp.
2) This amp DOES NOT connect to many newer TVs which often no longer have analog RCA outs. Instead you'll either need to get an SPDIF-to-RCA converter or an amplifier such as the Amphony 250 or similar model that has an optical input which is compatible with TVs. My TV luckily does have RCA outs but be sure to check if your TV does.
3) The enclosure of this amp is fairly bulky and not exactly high quality. I opened up the enclosure and found that most of the interior is empty. What a waste of space! Also, there are some gaps and areas where Lepai could have spent a little more attention to detail in terms of quality. The knobs are fairly basic too and tend to come loose.
4) The rear speaker connector easily snaps out of its socket and doesn't accept thicker speaker wire easily. So you'll have to stick to fairly thin speaker wire.
To summarize, if you really cannot afford more than $20 on an amp then the Lepai is a decent choice. But don't expect the amp to drive larger speakers.
on April 19, 2013
After reading some of the other reviews I checked the ac adapter right away. It had a label marked Lepai AC ADAPTER OUTPUT: 12V 2A. I could see that there was another label underneath, so I peeled the silver Lepai label off and the black label underneath was marked TennRich AC ADAPTER OUTPUT: 12V 1.5A. I checked the amps on the adapter and it was 1.5A. That is why the amplifier is underpowered. I posted a picture of the adapter. Right now the picture is at the end of the list of pictures. It's just bad business to falsely relabel a product! I will try and contact the company and see if they will ship me a real 2A adapter.
This is a clean sounding amplifier with only the controls one really needs. So its great for my parents who don't have the frame of mind to fiddle with too many controls. However, be aware of power supply issues.
1) I bought two of these at different times from Amazon. Both did not ship with power supply - even though they claimed to include them. Amazon has not corrected the product description even after I told them about it.
2) The shipped power supplies were to be a 2 amp one and a 6 amp one in the second case.
3) If you run this amplifier from a 2 amp power supply - here is some news for you. The theoretical max watts your system can deliver would be 12X2 = 24 watts - However, since the amp is running around 80% efficiency - you can get approx 24X0.8 = 18 watts max from this amplifier (best case scenario) or around 9 watts per channel. The problem comes as you drive the amplifier harder. The power supply voltages will start dipping, and as it does so, the amplifier will distort. So your clean sounding amplifier, won't sound so clean after all once you drive it past 7 - 8 watts.
4) To really use this amplifier with low distortion at high volumes, you should use a switching powersupply that delivers 12 to 13.5 volts at 4 amperes. 6 amps is a bit of an overkill, but recommended if you will be using 4 ohm speakers.
5) You cannot use this amplifer with an un-regulated transformer type powersupply rated at 12 volt. Their no-load voltage can be anywhere from 15 - 20 volt and can even be dangerous if connected to this amp - since the supply capacitor is rated at 16 volt.
6) Don't forget the log relationship between perceived loudness and watts - a 100 watt amplifier is only double the loudness of a 10 watt amplifier. So this amplifer does fine to fill up a room with sound using reasonably high efficiency speakers (I am using Bose 301's). Just don't expect to pump your subwoofer with it!
7) There are two LED's inside. Not sure why only one of them lights up (in both the amplifiers I purchased).
8) Its tone control implementation can do with a bit of improvement.
on January 19, 2013
This is a fine little amp for the price, but there are still quality control issues that need to be resolved; thus, buyers should be aware that getting a lemon now and then is a distinct possibility.
I have read some reviews stating that this unit was shipped without a power supply, and I've read of other QC problems. My unit is mislabeled on the back (or is wired backwards), so that the LEFT speaker channel is really the RIGHT, and vice versa. In addition, as you can see in one of my pictures, the power supply is mislabeled. Actually, the company misspelled its own name -- Asian Power DECICES Inc. instead of Asian Power DEVICES -- not a deal breaker, but a heads-up to buyers to be wary. I wonder what the Chinese expression for CAVEAT EMPTOR would be.
I bought this amp for its kitsch value, but I have to say that it is probably the best amp ever produced in this price range (small flaws aside). It pumps decent sound at reasonable volume, and the unit seldom even gets warm to the touch... certainly never hot.
Some have complained that this unit is so light that it slides around the tabletop or desktop when one tries to adjust the volume or tone... I'm not sure how that's a manufacturing issue, or how this can be considered a negative. Should the manufacturer add a steel plate to the bottom of this unit just to make it heavier so that it doesn't slide around? I merely attached four Velcro dots to the bottom and stuck it to my desk (see my pictures). Voila! Problem solved. Or, you can use the four slots in the amp's ample frame to screw it down if you're using this amp in a shop setting.
I'm running two 8-ohm two-way bookshelf speakers from this amp and I find that I get all the volume I need, with truly clean mids and highs. If you try to pump too much bass from this puppy, however, you will get distortion... better to add a powered sub if deep bass is your goal.
Overall, this little amp rocks and is an excellent value for money. If it hadn't been for the mislabeling issues, I would have given this unit five stars.
on January 8, 2014
This amplifier is shipped with a 12 Volt power supply. If you are somewhat knowledgeable then you can do the math and figure out that given the 12 Volt supply voltage this amp can deliver without an excessive amount of audio distortion:
- 2 x 18 Watts with 4 Ohm speakers, and
- 2 x 9 Watts with 8 Ohm speakers.
If you further look at the current rating of the power supply then you can figure out that in fact the maximum wattage is 2 x 10 Watts regardless of the speaker.
Some other reviewers have suggested swapping the power supply with another one that has higher current to boost the power rating. However, since the supply voltage is fixed it wouldn't help at all if you are driving 8 Ohm speakers. You are still limited to a maximum of 9 Watts. To get more wattage, you'll need to look at another amp. Below I have listed some of the more popular mini amps on Amazon. I have ordered the list according to their cost. You can see the power supply voltage of each amp and the maximum wattage when driving 8 Ohm speakers:
- Lepai LP-2020 ($17): 12 Volts - 2 * 9 Watts @ 8 Ohms
- Amphony 200 ($69): 36 Volts - 2 * 20 Watts or 1 * 80 Watts @ 8 Ohms
- Topping TP20-MK2 ($70): 14 Volts - 2 * 12 Watts @ 8 Ohms
- Dayton Audio DTA-100a ($96): 24 Volts - 2 * 30 Watts @ 8 Ohms
I hope my review will help in your amplifier selection.
on August 30, 2013
I can't help but be amazed at how small this amp is, how loud it can get, and how little it cost!. Bought this to mount in my car, because the stock head unit doesn't have an audio input, and it's functioning beautifully. It runs on 12v DC, so I was able to wire it directly to the car's ignition switched radio line. Set up a couple of 4PDT toggle switches to select between the stock head unit and this amp driving the speakers. Made a small hole in my dash and mounted the amp in there (the black case is held on by 3 philips screws and 4 torx screws, the size of which I no longer remember). The metal faceplate looks really nice in-dash. Got a cheap RCA cable, hooked it up to the amp, and passed it out through a small hole in the dash. Now I can be using my stock head unit, then hook up my cell phone and toggle a pair of switches to enjoy my own tunes.
Overall, with the front and rear speakers in serial totaling 8 ohms of impedance per channel, the sound quality is pretty good and it can get as loud as I want it to be. However, if I were to do it all over again, I think I'd get 2 of these amps instead of 1 and wire up one amp for the back speakers and the other for the front, thus giving each variable volume control.
on August 11, 2012
UPDATED REVIEW 2/8/13:
Both of the original Lepai amps that I bought are working perfectly. I decided to buy another for the living room, but instead of buying it from Parts Express, my original seller, I decided to buy directly from Amazon. BIG MISTAKE ! It arrived a day late (ONTRAC shipping SUCKS !) it came in a different amp box that didn't even match the item and to make things worst it did not come with a power supply. Then when I plugged it in with another power supply, it didn't even work !! I returned it instead and now waiting to get my money back.
Ok let me just start out by saying that this little amp is powerful for its size weight and cost, but one suggestion...get a better power supply. This thing is LOUD!! Nothing wall shaking or anything of that sort, but for a patio or pool, it's more than enough.
Forget about the power supply / adapter it comes with, it's garbage! After turning it up too loud, the power supply can't take it, the blue light on the amp dims and the amp cuts off if turned up too loud. Now this isn't the amps fault, its the lack of power the supply pumps out. I bought a 12v 5amp power adapter for $9.99 that was meant for a computer monitor and it sounds so much louder and pumps out more watts. Now remember this amp does distort if turned up too loud, but that's expected with something that only cost twenty $20 dollars.
Problem solved, after the new power supply, no more cutting out, no more blue dimming light, everything is working perfectly!
on April 3, 2012
This thing rocks! I have several 110W Per Channel 5.1 receivers from Pioneer and Sony that don't come close to this thing. I hooked it up to several sets of speakers I have and they all sound incredible. I am buying a second one to power some speakers on my deck. For this price and performance you can buy several of them and just throw it out if it dies without feeling the pain. Watch some of the videos on YouTube on this thing.
on June 22, 2013
Two months ago I bought the same item and was extremely satisfied. The amplifier was more powerful than I thought so I went ahead and bought three more expecting the same results but not one of them came close to the first I bought!!! Very disappointed
on November 23, 2011
This little amp is just amazing. If you're even remotely interested in audio, amps, etc, then this is a no-brainer: look at the price, realize that it's only $20, and just buy it.
For me, this replaced a $300 Sony receiver which had served me well for about 4 years, until its right channel suddenly died one day. (Actually, it's not quite dead, but it's permanently stuck at ~5% of the full volume coming out of the left channel.) And this little amp is somehow both louder and clearer than that 100-watt Sony receiver ever was (playing through the same speakers, a pair of Infinity RS3s, which have been going strong for about 10 years).
I'm a music lover with hundreds of CDs, but I wouldn't say I'm an audiophile; however, I have a friend who is, and he's been happily using one of these class-T amps for years.
The only real cons I see with this amp are:
1. Lack of remote control. I plan to eventually get a preamp with remote, so that will take care of it.
2. The obnoxious bright blue LED ring around the volume knob. Unlike many obnoxious LEDs on modern electronics, this one can't be fixed with a small square of electrical tape covering over it. I had to open the amp and desolder the two LEDs from the circuit board to remove them. And it was kind of a pain because they're positioned sort of halfway underneath the volume knob. So that took half an hour or so, but the amp's appearance is much improved by it. Note that the plastic ring around the volume knob is clear, not blue; it's the LEDs that are blue.
Regarding the included or not-included power supply: my amp was sold by Parts Express and fulfilled by Amazon, and it did NOT include a power supply. But I have plenty of 12v supplies lying around, so this wasn't a problem for me; indeed I'd rather not pay for another supply that I don't need. And it seems insane to me that people are complaining about having to spend an extra $10 for a power supply; Amazon sells several of them. (And for anyone who doesn't know: you just need to get one with a matching voltage [12v] and *at least* a matching amperage [so 2A or more].)
Finally, regarding the different variations of this amp: the one I ordered was "Lepai Tripath TA2020" (product ID/ASIN: B0049P6OTI). But the box it came in says "LP-2020" and lists the power requirement as "9-13.2V 4A". But then, the amp itself says "LP-2020A+" and "12V 2A". So apparently they aren't real careful with matching the variations to the boxes and the webpage, etc. (And my "LP-2020A+" *does* have the tone/direct button.)