To hook up some old KLH speakers to my computer, I needed a small amp. First up was the ultra-cheap Pyle PFA100, an allegedly 30-watt amp that's just $25. Though it had controls for treble, bass and tone, and jacks for headphones and a mic, it was so bad that none of it mattered. The Pyle was was noisy, distorted at louder volumes, and picked up radio interference. Even accepting the possibility that I got a lemon, it's clearly junk when you see it in the flesh. Replacing the power brick (as some suggest) did not make a difference.
I next considered trying the Lepai 2020, a similarly-tiny product at an even-tinier price. Though it's got a reputation as surprisingly good for the $20 you'll pay for it, I was dissuaded by the fact that it really does seem identical to the Pyle: the same controls and jacks, all in the same places, as if the only difference was the casing. While it only claims 20W output, suggesting at least some different innards, I decided not to be a sucker twice and opted for the Topping TP10.
Though three times the price, at $65, it's a simpler gadget with no mic or headphone jacks, and no bass or treble to fiddle with: signal in, signal out. It also claims only 15W of output, half that of the Pyle. It's nicer on the eyes, though, with a brushed-metal faceplate and superior knobfeel. Most importantly, it sounded much better than the Pyle, with no audible interference and clean audio at higher volumes. 15W seemed enough to drive the KLH Model 19s on my desk.
I don't doubt the happiness of those who report success with modern "fleamarket" amps, but with good alternatives only a little more expensive, why bother risking it? Both models were tested using the same cables and equipment.
Logitech’s MX Keys [Amazon] is what it finally took to lure me away from mechanical keyboards. It’s a slim yet solidly-constructed full-size model that’s similar to and superior to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It’s flat, minimalist, heavy, solid and low-profile, with large backlit keys typeset in something similar to Futura Light. The keys are square with […]
Microsoft is to shut shop on the high streets and malls of America, permanently closing its 116 retail stores. Only 10 were overseas; flagship stores in New York City, London, Sydney, and Redmond will be remain as showrooms that do not sell the products. There will be no layoffs, Microsoft reports. Alarm bells rang when […]
Traintrackr is a powered circuit board showing a map of the London Underground, lighting up in real time to show train positions on 333 stations on all 12 main lines. It connects to the tube’s API for live location data every second. The board is 400mm x 300mm and sells for £249. (There’s also the […]
Meditation seems simple. Just sit on the floor, clear your mind, and zen out. But have you tried sitting cross-legged on the floor without moving for even 10 minutes? It starts getting mighty uncomfortable after a while. And if you’ve got a few years on you, the knees and thighs are going to be barking […]
Unless you’re doing a lot better than most of us these days, having a personal masseuse on call isn’t really financially doable. And of course, how many masseurs are still doing house calls or accepting visitors during all this time of medical uncertainty? With skilled human hands mostly out of play right now, it falls […]
It’s almost shocking to say…but there’s actually an incredible amount of manhood wrapped up in how well you cook a steak. Of course, no one would argue your grilling abilities are THAT important. Or that how well you sear a prime slab of beef should have any bearing on your social standing or feeling of […]