the low end theory

It’s old news in the tiny audiophile community, but you can now assemble a reasonable stereo system, one that gets you close enough to accurate sound and has some other virtues as well, for not a lot of money.

For some people, part of the fun is ‘how low can you go’ and still get a toehold in that world.

After a couple of years of experimenting, here’s what I came up with: used PSB B25 speakers, an Oppo blu-ray player (the cheap one, and if I didn’t need blu-ray I could get by very easily with a used Oppo dvd player for even less) and a tripath amplifier – the one I’m using now cost $40.

A few points:

– When the experts say put the majority of your money in speakers, they’re right. The PSBs were the big, satisfying change that got me to the point where I feel ‘finished.’ I know there are much better speakers, but these give me a generous taste of what home audio should sound like, and that’s enough.

– I don’t know from expensive, but among the lower end amplifiers and receivers I have heard, tripath amps are the gem. Again, not news – they first got popular back in 2005 and 2006 – but they’re still being made, still worth hearing.

– Oppo’s products are just hard to beat, especially at the price.


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