Note: This post was originally published on iamianwright.com it’s been moved here for archival purposes.
I bought some Mordaunt Short Avanti 902i’s to use as rears for a surround sound set several years ago but have only ever had one living room large enough to accommodate the whole setup. As we now have a large swedish shelving system in our home office I was hoping to finally be able to use these bookshelf speakers that have been nestled in their box for the last four years.
Ideally I wanted to be able to stream to them from iTunes and iOS devices. As they are passive speakers I knew I would require an amp and I was hopeful that by now network streaming might be a fairly standard feature. Sadly this is not the case, at least not in the section my budget would stretch too.
Above right is the Denon stack a DNP720AE Network Music Player atop a PMA520AE Stereo Amp. When I first saw the Denon streamer I misunderstood it to be a self contained amp with network connections. Unfortunately for nearly £200 this device only generates an unamplified signal so it still requires the amp below before it can power speakers. Interestingly Denon do make a single device solution in the form of an AV receiver – an amp that deals with video as well as audio – that includes wireless streaming for around the £260 mark.
Sadly everything I looked at was still way beyond my budget and it became apparent that there is no such thing as a cheap Hi-Fi amplifier. Even on eBay old amps go for upwards of £100. After much searching I came across a mini amplifier on Amazon for the princely sum of £26.99! It’s called a Lepai TA2020+ and it has surprisingly good reviews. I called in an old Airport Express that I had loaned out to a friend and I am now eagerly awaiting delivery of this tiny amp. I will let you know how this budget option turns out.