what are your top "audio bargins" in your system history?

It is great to have all the money you need to have the best and endless upgrading.  But what about the components you've had that were inexpensive that turned out to be favorites of yours?


$125 Crown PS-200 from a little church in Virginia and the $280 full service from AE Techron on same.


$199 right off the shelf value for Audifi WiFi streamer and free 4Stream controller app.

I have a friend who was visiting another out-of-town friend and noticed he was propping up his garage door to get more ventilation with a shiny metal object.  Upon closer inspection, it was discovered it was a McIntosh amplifier chassis.  When the owner declared that "he only used it to prop up the garage door" my friend made him a proposition.  He then went to the local Home Depot, bought a couple of blocks for $4 and swapped him out.  I'm sure they chassis needed a little TLC after that, but this guy restores vintage gear and probably had a big smile on his face through the entire process.  I know this sounds "a little out there", but this is a stand up guy who wouldn't have made this up.

Von Schweikert original Vortex Screens (bought in 1991)

Blue Circle BC21 preamp (bought in 2000)

McCormack DNA-1 Amp (bought in 1991)


Portal Panache Integrated...I had a few, but after surgery needed a unit with remote...I think they were all made in 2003, would love find one and had it refurbished/upgraded by Jon S...oddly, I was just thinking about that this morning...

First "Audiophile" interconnects taught to me by Stan Warren (the S of PS Audio in the early 80's) at their facility. Three gauges of magnet wire(motor or coil winding wire) in something like 2/2/3 strands, wish I could remember exactly, braided and silver soldered into the cheapest Radio Shack RCA connectors, the ones with little metal wings and no outside insulation. Cost back then, about $1 for 3 ft pair.

We listened to his set on their shop system and compared to the best other cables they had on hand, they were better:) Also go to listen to the original cigar box preamp as well:)


Later 90's I learned about using Star Quad raw cable and decent but low cost RCA connectors to make dang fine cables for around $10 a pair or less. I have used it for balanced cables as well.

I have no plans to spend more on cables, have plenty of raw cable to make all I will ever need.