What are/were the best sounding cheap components you have ever had?

It is easy to like the best of the best, so to say.  However it is always satifying and memorable when an inexpensive product turns out to be very good to great. 

Some that come to mind from personal experience"

Large Advents (original)

Early Nakamichi SR receivers

Original Monster interconnects and speaker wire

Pioneer Pl-12 turntable

Shure M-95

Early Stax and Audio Technica headphones

MoFi "special" pressings

Magnum Dynalab Etude.  Yes some were better, but a real value

The Absolute Sound mag in the beginning 

Early Conrad-Johnson and Audio Research tube electronics

Early Classe integrated amps.

The original Sony Trinitrons

And there are others....but part of this hobby is enjoying the journey.

Have you had cost effective items that were successful for your enjoyment?


Both the Coda 01p, $450 used, and the Threshold T3, $750 used. Exceptional Class A components and exceptional preamplifiers that can bring you 35 years of Audio joy. Tough to top. 

My KLH Model 5's, at $2000/pair when I got them, are the least expensive component in my system and the least expensive speakers I've bought in decades, but they sound great! 

Considering the company here, I would say the Tekton Lore Reference Be speakers ($1870) qualify. They contend for best speaker bargain I’ve encountered and fair well against most $5-6K/pair speakers available from the B&M dealers. What is really remarkable is the quality of their midrange and tone despite using a modest Eminence mid-woofer.

All of the vintage CD players equipped with the Philips TDA1541A DAC that I’ve owned: 3 Magnavox models (all gifted to appreciative non-audiophool friends) and the Philips CD40 I have now. Honorable Mention goes to the Sumiko Blue Point Special and the original NHT Super Zero speakers.