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How do you tell?


Active Member
When you see a product like the one below, how do you tell whether it can produce nice results for critical listening or just suitable to run a Radio Shack coaxial in some guys garage?

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdet ... er=300-812

I clicked the video link, they didn't play it so I couldn't judge the sound thru my iMac's speakers :) but there are 55 customer reviews (I haven't looked at them yet), that should give you an idea.
I'd definitely replace the included IEC cord with a $700 power cord, I'm sure it'd sing then... :p
It doesn't answer the OP but I've been looking to buy an inexpensive stereo amp for some outdoor speakers using my iPod or iPad as the source. It wont be used for critical listening but It should be fine for the intended purpose.
I like these stats.

* less than 0.01% THD)
*Signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 100 dB
*Class A/B design topology
*Auto-on sensitivity:

Those four things make this a desirable amp in my opinion. Is it a tube driven Carey? No. But it's a $129 and should be fine for most anything.
For me, I can only truly know after using one for awhile. In general, though, I find that one gets what they pay for. You can get performance, features, reliability, or low prices, but not all four at once. If any one goes significantly higher than the others, then something must give. In this case, the features are few, the price is low, but the performance may be good and the reliability is a crap shoot.
A significant deciding factor would be the source you intent to amplify, plus the other equipment involved. Personally, if it's used in a non critical situation, I would look for dependability and price. On the other hand, if it's going to be used in a critical listening setting, then I would focus my attention on noise floor, features, and stability at lower Ohms.