So why does anyone in high-end audio give a damn? Is it possible for $30 to really sound impressive at all? Yes, folks, this $30 Napoleon competes with $1500 SETs and other tube amps. Seriously. At least, it gets damn close and, with a number of mods, can play with the big dogs. Check out these reviews of the stock T-Amp from real, bonifided journalists if you don't believe a word I say (which is understandable):
Stereo Time Review
TNT Audio Review
For $30 don't expect 5-way binding posts, silver cabling or anything fancy. The magic is in the Tripath TA 2024 chip (hence the T-amp or class-T rating). If you know anything about audiophiles then you know they have way too much time on their hands and can't leave a product well-enough alone. Check out these sites for reboxing, modifying and otherwise totally Frankensteining your little T-amp:
TNT Guide to Reboxing
DIYForums on SI Mods [THE place for SI mods]
If you aren't down with too much tweaking, kits like the AmpBox and the wildly funky Mauna Kea are for you. Just buy the package and, after a couple hours with a steady hand, you'll have a glorious new amp.
AmpBox Kit [pictured above]
Mauna Kea Kit [pictured below]
If you aren't down with the soldering iron, Red Wine audio provides a whole slew of options and upgrades to fit your digital amp fix. Prices start at $499 for a Red Wine Clari-T integrated and go up to a tricked out Lotus at $1200. Yeah, big money (relative to $30) but big sound. Check out our post on the Red Wine Lotus (pictured below) and go to Red Wine Home for all the details and a list of their gushing reviews.
For 30 bucks you'd be crazy NOT to dip your little piggies into T-amp waters. Of course, if your only speakers are power-hungry ogres then forget it. But if you've been living on 50, even 100, watts, then you may be surprised what these little guys can do. Viva la...cheap-ass amps!