Top positive review
370 people found this helpful
Inexpensive entry-level amplifier
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.