My son wants a simple setup to go from one of the little $99 Apple Airport Express devices to a good sounding power amp to play music on a pair of bookshelf speakers he owns. I offered him one of our small power amps but he declined because it’s a full piece of kit with chassis, power cord, connecting cables etc. – despite the fact it is small in high end terms.
What he wants is something tiny and unobtrusive and low cost – yet sounds good. What’s fascinating to me is there really isn’t anything out there. You go from a few weird boxes with bass and treble controls and chassis for $30 that you just know will sound dreadful, to a small half chassis product from one of the high end companies – in which case you’re investing four or five times more than the Apple device itself – or you have to got to a powered speaker instead. What he wants is to power his good sounding bookshelf speakers easily and without compromise. Sounds high end to me.
I wonder if the consensus amongst the consumer electronic companies is that people using $99 boxes don’t care about how it sounds? I am absolutely certain they are wrong if that’s the case.