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True underdog hi-fi

Discussion in 'audio' started by Liquid, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Liquid

    Liquid pfm Member

    I'm interested to see what shouts you would make for some underdog hi-fi components.

    Regardless of name, perceived provenance or price point, what items have you heard that have put a smile on your face as because they had no business being so musical in the first place?
  2. TimF

    TimF pfm Member

    I may get a real laugh here on this one, but I bought a little Harman/Kardon BDS-2 all-in-one unit about a year ago for a small A/V setup for the living room. Wanting something that is small, easy to site and had all the goodies-FM tuner/Bluray/pre-amplifiers/Digital inputs. I bought this at a certain discount store for less than $300 new-in-box.

    I had to send my Naim Uniti back to Naim for repairs, and while it was gone and things were getting sorted over the course of about a month and a half, this little HK was slotted in as the main source/amplification with my Larsen Model 4 speakers. I was quite amazed at the punch and overall sound quality of this little bugger. The amp section utilizes an HK grown class D amp at 65 wpc, and the bluray player as a CD drive, the thing was downright great sounding when kept within its power/capabilites. In fact, it made me think about why I needed the Uniti back....

    No, it isn't as good as my Uniti, but it was surprising to hear how closely they are when used carefully and not overdriven. It did put a bit of a smile on my face for sure, it had no reason to sound this good. Tim
  3. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Thorens TD150.
    Garrard 401 before people caught on, likewise the Quad 303 and Celestion Ditton speakers.
    Chinese valve amps.
    Aldi internet radio.
    Sansa clip MP3 player.
    Finally, A Teac radio thing that lives in the kitchen and does radio/CD/connection to a DAB radio duties while I'm cooking. It's not hifi but it sounds good, tunes well, looks nice and takes up no space.
  4. daytona600

    daytona600 Registered User

    astell & kern 122grams of audio sweetness , 24/192 & fits in your pocket
  5. Peter Stockwell

    Peter Stockwell Fried Man in Paris

    Temple Audio Bantam Gold. Fantastic little amp.
  6. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Original Wharfedale Diamonds
  7. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Diamonds? I had some Diamond 2s, they weren't very good at all.
  8. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    A serviced Quad 303, Spendor BC1, Quad fm3/4. I still use this stuff on occasion; it's really fine.
  9. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Fat man valve hybrid iPod dock/amp into quad q lites, amazing little desktop system for relatively little money!
  10. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    Denon mini systems - far too good for the money, and each generation seems to be engagingly musical...
  11. Blurboy

    Blurboy pfm Member

    Spendor Preludes. Easy to drive and sound fabulous too. Can be matched with loads of amps and I used mine with a Rotel integrated amp in a CD only system and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  12. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Sonos ZP100 + Usher S520s I installed in some rich peoples huge galleried kitchen. Must have been some freak amazing acoustics, it sounded better than most £2-3K "proper" hifi systems.
  13. Liquid

    Liquid pfm Member

    Agreed. I had a DM-30 about 10 years ago as a dining room system with some Mission M72's. Superb little system.

    Here's my garage system.

    Sansui A505 integrated and T505L tuner
    Sony CDP CE105 5 disc mutiplayer
    Toshiba SSD2 speakers

    It cost buttons to put together and is connected by pound shop interconnects and speaker cable. Yet, it is hugely musical and engaging and is able to deliver music in a way which it has no business doing.
    Everytime I fire it up, it puts a huge smile on my face and the whole lot costs less than one run of speaker cable on my main system - which is actually keenly priced to start with!


  14. datay

    datay pfm Member

    Too true - advised my girlfriend to get a Denon DM-37 (2009), the word that comes to mind when playing the 128kbps 6Music stream is quite often, "musical".
  15. MattSPL

    MattSPL pfm Member

    Mission 731i's and a Nad 310 amp. This combination withstood parties every weekend for several years. The 731i's are still going strong at one friends house, and the Nad amp could well be in use still.
  16. ian r

    ian r 401's Nakman

    Seconded I have 2 of the MD range them acting into Tannoys or their original mission designed ones they are quite frightening and good tuner

    the 4 extra Naim inputs via the Denon extensive sets of pre amp outs to the naim allow much Nakimiching and cross recording in via MD and CD Vinyl and tape

    The Teac ones dont sound so good but are built even more solidly than usual
  17. packtech

    packtech Ex band member twice.. :)

    + 1 on that one.. in fact most if not all Denon stuff I have had in the past was quite musical, as was the Sansui AU 505 amp.. My old Thorens TD 145 with TP 16 arm has no right to sound soo good... after all it only cost me 12 Euro. It isn't anywhere as analytical as my G. 401 but it just sounds sweeeeeet.
  18. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    rega planar 2


    Ion Obelisk One

    Royd A7

    A true underdog HIFI!
  19. Robn

    Robn pfm Member

    Onix OA21 and OA20 - both fabulous amps for less than half the price of a NAIT 2 and not sure whether the NAIT 2 is any better

    Thorens TD150 mkII - properly set up sounds better IMHO than Rega 3s

    Revolver turntables, can be had SH for less than £50 with arm

    Celestion Ditton 44s and 15s
  20. norriemal

    norriemal Hertz and Minds

    Me too on the Denon mini systems. I have a tri amped one! I think the cd/tuner pre/ power combo originally sold for about £1500.


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