Mar 23, 2017

Desktop Power Amp

I've been looking around to see if there exists a desktop (sized) power amp for passive speakers. The only thing I've come across is the the AudioEngine N22. I like the form factor, but it doesn't have a sub-out option. Does anybody know anything else like it?

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Some options that are a tad more in line with my best guess on your budget:
Sub $160:
Sub $250:
Sub $350:

GASP... some class a/b!

No need for a sub out... get a sub with inputs/outputs and run rca's from source to sub and sub to amp or preamp/amp depending on volume control being built in or not. This requires two pre-requisites:
1) The sub must have a built in variable low pass filter
2) Make sure it doesn't do something stupid to the outputs like an automatic 180hz high-pass filter. Double check what the sub does with it's output... some will not output full bandwidth

GUTB gotta be GUTB
For desktop-sized amps, you will be looking for modern, high-quality class D amps that use Pascal or Hypex modules -- needless to say, the AudioEngine is junk. Amps from D-Sonic or Red Dragon to name of few low-cost Pascal and Hypex manufacturers. Another alternative are Tri-Path (ie, class T) amps you can find from China (eBay,,, etc) but I do NOT make any claims about their sound quality. Class A = forget about it and that price range and size. Class A/B = very untrustworthy at this size.

If you can find the desk area, the best bang for your buck would probably be a Chinese DHT (Direct-Heated Triode). I'll have to insist on a DHT like 2A3 or 300 (845/211 are probably too big and heavy for desktop use). The reason for this is because a DHT SET (Single-Ended Triode) are easy to implement and will provide the best available sound quality anywhere near that price point.

So, to sum up:

DHT SET (2A3, 300, 845, 211, etc) = BEST
Modern class D (Hypex, Pascal) = GOOD
Tri-Path class T = MAYBE GOOD ENOUGH?

Class A = Not good at this price range and size!
Class A/B = Can't be trusted at this size!
Mass consumer grade class D = TRASH
Non-DHT / pentode tube amps = INFERIOR TO DHT, the little baby ones are a joke - AVOID.
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