Help me look cool and sound good in a small space without killing myself or my wallet
April 1, 2012 4:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a small, cheap amplifier to sit between a Sony D250 portable CD player and a pair of Energy e:XL 15 or 16 speakers. Toying with the idea of a DIY gainclone but not sure I have the smarts to put a kit together without killing myself, or even to know whether that sort of amp is suitable for my needs.

Picked up the D250 with its original power supply and case for a couple of dollars at a fete - it's more than 20 years old but works fine, I like how it sounds, and I like how it looks. The speakers are from my old home theater setup - haven't decided which to use, happy for any advice.

I'm looking for an amp with a similar footprint to the player to make a reasonably discrete bookshelf setup. Ideally, it'd have a simple, silver case, an on switch, and a volume knob, and that's about it - something to match the aesthetics of the player. I'd be listening in a smallish room - about 3m x 5m - and I don't need it to be particularly loud. I'm not interested in any bass-boosting, doof-doof, overprocessing doodads. The CD player sounds bright and clear, and I just want to pass that through to the speakers.

I like the idea of a gainclone kit because it'd mean I could put it in a simple metal box. I have to admit my inner hipster is a little tickled at the idea of having under a hundred bucks in parts and getting the same performance as amps costing tens of times as much.

I'm confident I can place components on a board and solder. I'm much less confident about the whole power supply thing - particularly about what's needed to make a US kit (for example, something from work in Australia. I also don't know if this sort of amp is even any good for this kind of source and those speakers. Maybe I need one of those headphone amps instead?

So, I'd appreciate any tips for an off-the-shelf solution, what sorts of specs I should be looking for in terms of watts per channel or whatever it is, guidance about whether a gainclone kit is accessible for a noob, and advice about whether I should even be looking in that direction.

Speaker specs are on p22 of this PDF manual.

CD player specs here.
posted by obiwanwasabi to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (If it helps, the server suggested I look at a different question about tripath amps, and the units linked in the best answer look very purty indeed - would they suit?)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:26 AM on April 1, 2012

I haven't used it personally, but this amp gets great reviews and from what I have read about it it would serve your needs well.
posted by davey_darling at 5:24 AM on April 1, 2012

Based on that previous question, I bought a Topping amp for use with a streaming device and a pair of bookshelf speakers. I'm not an audiophile, but it does at least as good a job as the Denon amp it replaced. I'd buy another without any reservations.
posted by bonehead at 5:34 AM on April 1, 2012

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