Review: Lepai LP-2020A+ Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Budget esoterica review magazine
February 2014 issue

The mechanic's special

Today i will be reviewing the infamous Lepai LP-2020A+ digital amplifier. I am sure you are all privy to this particular amplifier , so i am going to cut to the chase and tell you why this amp is an audiophile must-have. The set-up procedures are very important for this amp, so play close attention.

First of all, the Lepai is like an audiophile swiss jewel and it must be treated as such. If you don't believe me, try to open up the case. Inside you will find a circuit board that is very well built. Go ahead and spray some caig deoxit gold into the knob controls and the rca jacks on the back. This will improve the sound.

The Lepai amp needs to sit on a vibration free platform in order to perform at its best. The budget esoterica team has developed a platform that we have nicknamed "the Jefferson memorial T-amp stand". The stand consists of the following items:

12 inch by 12 inch by 3/8 inch baltic birch panel
four penn-elcom footers
one marble bianco carrara slab of like size

Place the baltic birch panel on the floor and place the penn-elcom footers at each corner and then top with the marble bianco carrara slab. This is what we have dubbed "the Jefferson memorial t-amp stand". It is also very important to use the Lepai with a good quality power supply. The pro power 12 volt, 5 amp power supply works very well. I think they are available at mcm electronics. You are also going to need a high end power cord to connect it. In this case we chose the cullen power cord. Don't forget to give the lepai amp a proper break in period. Allow the amp at least 4-6 six weeks to properly break in and if you power it off, you are going to have to leave it on again for a minimum of three weeks before it starts to sound good again.

One of the most enjoyable traits of the Lepai amp is its ability to replicate a good quality tube amp. I am going to go ahead and make you a list of the tube amp characteristics
that i heard while listening to my reference cd's.

1. The technicolor of a tube amp
2. slight valve sound with horns
3. slight glassy sound
4. juicy sound
5. very good sense of body
6. slightly twangy guitar sound

Reference music:
1. Lee Morgan , the gigolo
2. Ana Caram , Bossa Nova
3. The very best of Badfinger
4. acoustic mood sony/bmg


good clarity
very good microdynamics
big sound
lively open sound
pure sound
airy sound
horns have good bite
snappy dynamic shift
superior vocal accuracy
a touch of sweetness
a touch of richness
portrays a slight sense of "room acoustics"
punchy bass
slight golden honey tinge
slight shading
superior separation
superior density
slight shaping of instruments


very slight muddiness
mid range could be smoother/clearer

The Lepai amp replicates a tube amp character to such a high degree that you can even hear the tube-like distortions of a
bonerfied tube amp. This was totally not expected for a $20 t-amp. I like to think of the Lepai amp as the poor man's qinpu tube amp. This t-amp belongs in every audiophile's tool box. Recommended for cheapskate audiophile , tube-like thrills.

Associated gear
Denon DVD-1920
Pro power 12 volt 5 amp power supply
Cullen power cord
White lightning moonshine cable
virtue audio nirvana ic
madisound vifa studio speakers
atacama stands

Similar products
Dayton DTA-100A
marble slab - $ 8.50 from amazon
baltic birch panel - $ 1.99 from woodcraft
penn-elcom f1690 footers - 53 cents each at parts express
I recently purchased one of these as my main amp needed servicing...and as a portable amp due to its small size...first impressions...very positive...a bit on the mellow, relaxed side...nice transparency and very good depth...a bit bass shy at times and not the largest of soundstages...but I'm nitpicking...incredible value