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?


Once upon a long while ago, I bought a pair of Speaker Lab 2 way raw kits for my first 'outside the box' diy cabinets.

Based on a top half of the curved back of the capital R with same proportion face width of the box designed for those drivers, just taller to keep the cubic volume the same.   Out of oak strips for the curve....Clear oil finish...

Sounded better than they deserved to.

Have pics, but the speakers ended up with a my landlady when she bought an AR table at my suggestion and I bought the 901's....to her later dismay...

"Jerry....do you realize I can hear your stereo over mine....indoors...?"

oh.... *L*

Onkyo 4055 Tuner

Radio Shack Minimus 7 speakers


Still use the speakers for my surround sound.  The tuner is for sale on AudioMart.


Rega Planar 2 - $19.00 - Goodwill in Los Gatos
AR XA - $39.00 - Yard Sell in Exeter
Bryston 3B SST - $1000 - Radio station going out of biz - Cape Cod
Klipsch 600M - $200 - Seller's GF beat with chain - eBag
Thiel .5 - $60 - Some guy on CL - Boston
Lenovo PC Server - $75 - Druggie in 7-11 parking lot - Boston


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Yes, I liked my AR-Xa turntable in 975 for $95, but that’s nearly $700 today for an all manual TT. Same math with large Advents, where $250 a pair is about $1,800. So for modern gear, I think my $299 Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC was great. After auditioning much more expensive DACs, I finally bought and kept a PS Audio Directstream for, what, 15x more, and that was on sale. If you like Magnepans, and I do, then they are bargains.