Really Inexpensive Systems That Sounded Great?

I think there is a big difference between "cheap" and inexpensive. I have blown money on "cheap" cables and immediately regretted it when my ears started bleeding from the brightness in my digital components. I also don’t mean "bargains" like the time I scored $2000 speakers for $200 on Craigslist, that is basically luck.

I am talking about inexpensive (less than $1500) for a system that sounded really great to you.

I fell into a whole house audio system from DTS Play-Fi because I wanted to try and compare different brands. I picked up Play-Fi amps, preamps and active speakers made by Polk, Paradigm, Klipsch, Onkyo and DefTech all for less than $1000 a pop. For what it is, whole house audio/casual listening it sounds great.

What inexpensive great sounding systems have you tried?



How about Triangle Borea BR02 speakers for $250 and sometimes under. Surprisingly room fulling, enjoyable sound.

Also believe it or not the Aiyima A07 amplifier, under $100. It features the Texas Instruments 3255 amp chip, that sounds as good or better than pricier amps I have owned. If you’re looking for more features and something to look,  at this one is not for you. If you tucked this away in a secondary system to just provide clean power it is a great bang for the buck.  

lastly I’ll recommend the Sabaj A10H it is a preamp / headphone amp with a remote control. Relay stepped volume control. It doesn’t feel cheap at all and sounds and works very well.




Those types of Texas Instrument chip amps are great for powering surround speakers in a HT, small and powerful.

I'm all for high performance budget gear as anyone but I can't honestly say that any of them sounded great.

Some were surprisingly good.

I remember a 1980s Rega Planar 3 / AR 18 bookshelf system playing Dylan's Blood on the Tracks with far more detail than any system I'd heard before, but in hindsight it was still a relatively small scaled sound in both image size and bandwidth.

I don't think that any inexpensive system can sound great, if they did, that would be the end of the so called 'high end', there and then.

Unless of course, there already is a brilliant budget full range loudspeaker out there that I not yet heard?

Did someone mention Polk?

I mentioned Polk, I use the Polk S6 Omni speaker for sound in the bedroom, the patio (its enclosed so it won’t get wet), and in the home gym. Just a single speaker and amazing. No amps needed because they are active, no dac needed because it has a dac inside, and the source is the playfi streaming app on my phone. These are all parts of the house where I don’t have a "sweet spot" to sit and listen but just want good music.


I can’t tell you of anything current, but in the beginning of my hifi journey, I did a bit of buying/selling used or buying kits. Those Halfler kits were really good for the times and as tech improved, you could pretty easily mod them.