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?


Boston Acoustics T-830 series II speakers circa 1993. Still sound great!

Stax SR4/SRD40, although it seemed like a fortune to a kid just starting his career in 1975.

I bought Pioneer SP-FS52 speakers designed by Andrew Jones at the recommendation of my brother-in-law for some cheap speakers in a secondary system.  I knew they were superb for their price pair with an old Hafler DH-200.  However, I recently brought them into my main listening room for some fun and Wow!  Admittedly, I am driving them with a Cary Audio SLI-100 which is probably unusual for such budget oriented speakers.  Nevertheless, these speakers have no obvious weaknesses and punch so far above their price point that it is hard to believe.  Hats off to Andrew Jones.  He is a master and the crossovers are dialed in.

Townshend Rock II turntable

Second hand Thorens TD150 - add some chassis damping, a solid base board, new springs Armageddon PSU and a decent arm and you aren‘t far off a an early Linn

Robertson 4010A power amp - a Krell on the cheap if you get a good one

Marantz CD5000 - outperforms many high priced CD players, especially if you perform surgery and take the output straight from the DAC

Easily the Sound Artist 200sa integrated amplifier I bought on Amazon for $399. Bought it just to use as a disposable test amp. Totally blew me and my friends away. Compared to my Pass First Watt F5 v2 it holds its own. Great remite, super heavy with huge toroidal transformer. A unicorn........second place would be a Topping MX3 integrated amp....