Let me say on the onset that i am no audiophile nor expert in sound reproduction, but i am somewhat a perfectionist, and a perfectionist won’t make do with a normal off-the-shelf audio system.
More than a decade ago, i invested in a pair of Monitor Audio speakers plus a Wharfedale subwoofer. I’m happy to report that both are still working flawlessly. Now, back then, Taobao did not yet exist, so there was not much options in buying a cheap amplifier. Today, Taobao has you covered. Cheap amplifier? You bet. An amplifier is called a 功放机 in Chinese by the way.
It was when looking for a cheap audiophile quality media (audio-only) player that i stumbled upon the PJ Miaolai range of products. Eventually, i decided i would just continue using the home theatre PC i set up also a decade ago (i did have to change the motherboard though – electronics don’t last long especially if you don’t use it often). However, i did end up buying the K7 amplifier to replace my existing Sonic Impact T-Amp.
As specified on the product page, it uses the 140W TDA7498 chip, which is much more powerful than the 15W TA2024 chip of the T-Amp. Higher power improves the dynamic range and would theoretically improve the sound quality. Anyway, i would say the K7 sounded as good, if not better, than the original Sonic Impact T-Amp. Also, as claimed on the product page, it provides shielding from distortion such as during turning on/off (which were audible with the Sonic Impact), and there was almost zero hissing when no music was playing. I think for 149 Yuan (S$30) it is an excellent amplifier!
You have an option to acquire your own power supply (just about any laptop adaptor will do), but i was lazy and opted to pay S$10 more for added assurance of compatibility, and i got a Lenovo branded laptop adaptor.