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?


KEF Corelli speakers knocked me out of the park when I wandered into a high end joint and listened to them after auditioning mediocre speakers at a Pacific Stereo. Was it at Northridge Audio? Anyway, it re-lit the high-end spark I got from my father when I was a kid. The spark hasn't faded since.

Ocean Digital WR 10 Digital Tuner.

I bought it to dip my toe into the world of Internet Radio.

It was becoming impossible to get even a clean mono signal from WQXR in NYC ( yes it's a shitty 710 watt classical station) But there was a time when my Magnum Dynalab could receive it in Stereo BUT with all the new hi-rise construction in lower Manhattan those days were long gone....

I was told by one of the former repair techs from Stereo Exchange to just get  an internet based unit.

I didn't want to spend a lot so I went for the WR 10 based on reviews.


WOW it's a great little unit.

Mind you I'm just using it to  stream classical music ( Easy Classic French in this case) for background BUT WOW!

I replaced the wall wart with a $50 dollar IFI power supply,added a Monarchy DIP and have it running into my Kora Tube DAC - and it sounds AMAZING ...

The unit was under $150 bucks, the power supply another 50 and a used Monarchy DIP   $200 bucks. Another maybe 150 bucks for digital cables, which you would need in any case and you have a little world beater.

It sounds ridiculously good!

 Pair it with a a set of self powered speakers and it would be a fabulous, desk top, 2nd bedroom, work room sound system.  

Well, in 1975 I bought a friend's 100 album rock vinyl collection for $10.  Paired with a Shure V15-III.  Great sound for a pittance.

 More recently I picked up a Qudelix 5k USB headphone amp/dac/dsp.  Shockingly good for $100.

The NuForce STA-200 was a nice inexpensive amp that audio advisor sold for around $500.00.

KLH stereo clock radio purchased in ‘82. Walnut cabinets( main unit had one speaker & then a separate speaker) & sounded really good. Obviously not extended at either end but very smooth & listenable. It was $200 which was a lot for a clock radio then but had it for over 30 years until I gave it to a friend to enjoy.