Monday, October 31, 2016

The LM-1 vs. Stock

Unfortunately it seems my designs are so popular that in the US the LM-1 and its sibling the LM-1C have caused Madisound and Parts-Express to run out of stock. Fear not, Parts-Express expects more in February of 2017.

If you absolutely cannot wait, the Peerless 830860 will substitute. Same motor with a polypropelyne cone. Probably won't be as transparent, but I've not heard or measured it. Specs say it's going to be very close.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lepai 2020A Micro Amplifier

I purchased a Lepai 2020A 20 watt micro amplifier to power the LM-1 speakers I recently put on my desktop.I used the micro plug for the PC sound and the RCA inputs are being fed from my Logitech Squeezebox Touch.

The Lepai 2020A is part of a family of amps that visually look identically but are based on different chipsets or have higher power ratings.  The "A" variant is based on a Yamaha chipset. Yamaha has been making professional amplifiers for decades, including very high efficiency models for studio and touring use.  The 2020A uses a 12V/3A supply.

Based on a variety of reading material, I doubt the 2020A does 20 watts/channel. It's probably closer to 7 when you limit power rating to 1% THD. Still, sounds very good.

For the price, it's really kind of ridiculously good.

The next model up, the 2020Ti takes up to a 24V/3A supply and gets closer to 14w/channel at 1%. Sort of.

The sound is smooth, very quiet, and not fatiguing at all. It has plenty of power for watching Hulu while in bed or playing games, as well as listening to Jazz FM 91 via the Internet.

The tone controls are subtle! They may not do it for you if you are looking for big changes, but if you like to gently adjust bass and treble they'll be great for you.

Some users report even better performance with beefier power supplies which I did not try. In my case small and hidden is key! Plus I never really felt the amp was too small. One thing though, the LM-1 speakers are VERY easy to drive. Your success with speakers that have lower impedance may not be as good.

The Lepai 2020A does not have any input switching. Both the RCA and mini jack inputs are live at all times. Sadly they are mixed through a resistor, not buffered. and then mixed together. This means that if two devices are operating, you'll get half the volume of either. Turn one off and the volume doubles.

If you don't intend to head bang, but are looking instead for a solid mini-amp to put under your desk, or in a boat or RV, I highly recommend the Lepai 2020A. 

The amp runs ice cold at all times. The one negative thing is this desire for Asian manufacturers to put blue LED's on every damn thing. In this case it's around the volume control. It's big, bright and blue, so you can forget about sleeping with it on nearby.