Here is a link to an Audiophile Boom box made by a very reputable outfit!
Levinsun's Audiophile Boom Box!
Levinsun's Audiophile Boom Box!
I have a couple of units that might work for you.
First, I have a Sharp SD-EX111 which is a CD player, tuner, pre-amp and 40 watt/channel digital amp all in a fairly compact box. It has a digital input, so you could connect another digital component to it. The Sharp is a pretty good sounding unit and there is a multi-thousand post thread about it on Audiocircle.
I also have a Red Wine Reali-T which is a nos-DAC, digital amp with volume control and selector switch, all in one tiny box. It sounds friggin' unbelievable for such a modest looking and inexpensive box. It also functions as a DAC w/ volume control, so you could use it with your powered speakers. The internal DAC in mine is a Scott Nixon DacKit. Unfortunately Vinnie is not building them anymore. Also, they only have 8 watts/channel, so speaker choice would be crucial.
Another option could be a Quad 99 CD-P which is a CD player with variable volume control. It has multiple digital inputs, so you could connect another digital component. This player sounds pretty good, plus it has a 24bit/192khz upsampling DAC. The Quad is pretty compact, so if you had powered monitors, it could be a great setup.
Lastly, a Birdland Odeon Lite DAC is very small and has a pretty good variable volume control. Use a digital source of your choice and a pair of powered speakers and you're set.
Lots of good options.
I'm using a Sonic Impact digital amp ($29) + a set of Infinity bookshelf speakers and it sounds pretty darn good. There is no digital out on MP3 players, so you have to use their DACs to get the sound from the player to the amp, but it sounds pretty good nonetheless...
For extreme portability, I use my MP3 player and a set of Shure E2C earbuds - sounds *great*.
You're right about the Sharp. My mistake. I once used an external CD player connected to mine, but I must have been using the aux. analog inputs. The digital input is toslink. I'm surprised by the power rating, but I did verify that you are correct. 20W/ch @ 4ohm. Sounds much more powerful, however that's coming from someone whos other amps are 3.5 w/channel and 8w/channel!
I've read the spec's you mentioned, but forget the model #.
There were 2-3, maybe more, models housed in what seems to be the same case as the SD-EX111.
I purchased extras, spares for my parents and our unit, but the ones in use have been completely reliable for the past 20 months.
Tried the inexpensive ($39) SI and found it to sound odd/funky, with both battery and wall wart power.
Each to their own.
there are a number of "personal" stereo which use the flat panel technology for the treble and part of the mids and a woofer for the lower mids and bass. brookstone has one for about $300 . i own it aand it's good enough for general listening.
what does something have to be an "audiophile" anything ?
the connotation of "audiophile" is not often positive.
i'll bet that if you go to best buy, circuit city, etc., you can find some decent personal stereos which are suitable for most applications.