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?


My first  "high end" electronics. A Hafler DH 101 preamp mated to an Audionics CC2 amp. Nice balanced sound.

NAD 7225PE 25W receiver I used from 1991 to 2015...beautiful sounding and the most reliable component I've ever owned. It remained powered on for years (no kidding) with not one hiccup.

My first was cheap... pioneer amp 25 watts with Kenwood speakers when Kenwood was made in Japan. They were my first set and I thought everything sounded as good and when I tried to change as they got older, boy was I wrong. This was so long ago that if you bought something older than this, you have to be dead.

schiit modi 3. since buying it i've had multiple $500-1000 dacs through here and none offered enough improvement to justify the additional spend for me. going to try the denafrips one all the reviewers rave about before writing off that whole price bracket as a waste of money for me...don't know when i'll get to it though, because i am playing the cartridge upgrade game at the moment (ultimately i care more about vinyl than digital playback, and funds are limited.) but yeah the modi is a killer little piece of equipment in my experience