Steve Guttenberg, a full time professional high-end audio reviewer, Audiophiliac blog writer on CNET.com for over 11 years gets smitten by Kinter’s flyweight K2020A+ amp that costs and weighs next to nothing. That says a lot for Kinter's sound performance.
"The imagining and soundstage this little unit projects simply amazing! I'm a hi-fi enthusiast with over $10K invested in equipment and bought this thing to see what all the hype was about. I was not expecting much from a $30 amp (less than the tax some audiophiles pay on their cables...) I paired this with an inexpensive (but excellent value) Elac B6 loudspeakers. These are not terribly efficient (87dB) so again, my expectations were tempered...
Holy WOW! The tonal accuracy, resolution, soundstage and like-life rendering of vocals was a complete shock! This little amp is perfect for orchestral, choral, and acoustic jazz recordings. The trick is to use it at mainly low to medium volume levels, without engaging the tone controls. There is something magical that happens at these lower levels that present a three-dimensional soundstage and realistic vocals. Like the Lepai LP2020A+ (which I also own) there is tube-like quality to the sound, and I would go further to say that the Kinter is clearer in the vocal midrange frequencies. Both amps are great. The only drawback of Kinter I could determine was a touch less presence in the bass region, but only noticeable on specific recordings. This is splitting hairs, and for me, the tonal accuracy improvement over the Lepai was a no-brainer (plus, the fact that they are not being made anymore.)
So this Kinter may not rock the house with earth-shattering bass or mate well with your magneplanar speakers, but pair it with an audiophile-quality set of speakers to really appreciate what this amp can do. It's not a great amp for $30. It's a great amp, PERIOD!
UPDATE: forgot to mention in the original post, the red/white RCA connectors in the back of the amp are mislabeled. Red is at the top, not the bottom (just like the Lepai LP2020A+). No biggie, but your left and right channels will be reversed otherwise. (And, no it's not a one-off situation: I own two of these amps and both exhibit the same behavior.) April 2018"
Known for producing sound as warm and vibrant as tube amplifiers, Tripath amplifiers have earned a solid reputation for sound quality from budget-minded audiophiles. The Kinter K2020A+ amplifier uses only original Tripath TA2020-020 amplifier IC’s – not like the fake or “wannabe” IC’s found in other similar looking amps. The K2020A+ is a rarity and the real deal. Original Tripath IC’s are rare and difficult to come by - and that’s why the K2020A+ is a “Limited Edition” amplifier.
So, what makes the K2020A+ amplifier so special? First ,the technology inside. Tripath TA2020-020 chips are named as one of the “25 microchips that shook the world” by the IEEE - recognition that turns the head of any serious techie! Second, the proof is in the pudding, but in this case the pudding is the sound you hear (Note: no overselling, we acknowledge not all ears hear alike).
The K2020A+ amplifier offers the audio fidelity of a Class-AB design combined with the power efficiency of Class-D amplifiers.
The K2020A+’s clean 20 watt output makes it perfect for almost any auto or home audio application or DIY project. Small enough to fit in your hand yet big enough to power your home speakers. To ensure long life and stable operation we include a 12 Volt 5 Amp power supply that provides plenty of “horsepower” to the amp. You might ask, what’s with the extruded aluminum case? To keep the cost down we didn’t put her in a pretty little dress, her beauty is inside - plus the case acts as a heat sink to keep the amp running cool. Features gold plated RCA inputs, or use the 3.5mm jack for plugging in sources such as iPods, smart phones, or MP3 players. Convenient spring terminals (16 gauge wire recommended) make speaker connections quick and easy!
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