Mini-Hifi Montage

There are many little amps that claim to be “Class-T” (a kitschy, propriety name for Tripath’s Class-D amp chips and accompanying feedback control circuitry) or “better”, come in the same extruded aluminum enclosure, have conspicuously similar brand names and model numbers, and seem to be purposely difficult to tell apart. Googling around, you can find years and years of narrow comparisons and speculation. I got tired of reading through conflicting information and run-around, so I bought a bunch of them to tear apart and do a fair comparison.

Amplifiers Reviewed

Amp TL;DR Teardown & Testing
Lepy LP-2051 Driven by the Tripath TK2051 as opposed to the more common TA2020-020, this is the most powerful of the bunch. If you’re looking for clean power and don’t mind the 19V power supply, it’ll be hard to find a better value for your ~$40. youtube
Lepai LP-2020TI This is the one Parts-Express claims is the true successor to the Lepai LP-2020A+. Powered by the TI TPA3118. The power handling is good, but magical presence the Tripath brings just isn’t there with the TI heart. youtube
Kinter K2020A+ In my opinion, this is the true successor to the Lepai LP-2020A+. It sounds slightly better than even the original. Powered by the Tripath TA2020-020. At ~$40, it’s a bit steep, but probably still worth the cost if you’re looking for a 12V Tripath. youtube
Lepy LP-2024A+ Considering the model number, I expected this one would have a Tripath TA2024, but it turns to have a TAA2008. Objective performance just barely beats the Lepai LP-2020A+, but it doesn’t really matter since neither one is on the market anymore. youtube
Lepai LP-2020A+ The mini-amp that started the craze. Great sound at a great price, but you simply can’t find them anymore. Powered by the legendary Tripath TA2020-020. youtube
Lepy LP-2020A Powered by the Yamaha YDA138, this one falls short on magic. With some component replacement it’s potentially possible for this to be an quality amp, but as-shipped, steer clear. youtube
Lvpin LP-2020A+ So far as I can tell, this is an exact copy of the Lepai LP-2020A+. It sounds identical to my ears. Powered by the legendary Tripath TA2020-020. At ~$10, you can’t really go wrong. Buy two and wear them like shoes.  
Pyle PFA200 Pretty similar to the Lepy LP-2020A above. Unknown amp chips with obscured labeling. Doesn’t feel like “Class-T” as the marketing wank claims.  
Lepy LP-V3S Supposedly based around the Toshiba TA8254, I’m expecting this to be pretty similar to the Lepy LP-2020A. Ordered in May 2018 – Full review coming soon.  

1% THD @ 40Hz, JBL LX-22 Speakers

Amplifier Input Voltage Input Current Input Power Volume Output Voltage
Lepy LP-2051 19V 2.00A 38.00W 85.8dB 13.40V
Lepy LP-2051 18V 1.84A 33.12W 84.0dB 12.65V
Lepy LP-2051 17V 1.75A 29.75W 82.0dB 11.89V
Lepai LP-2020TI 14V 1.37A 19.18W 75.7dB 9.44V
Lepy LP-2020A 14V 1.4A 19.6W 75dB 9.33V
Lepai LP-2020TI 13V 1.26A 16.38W 73.4dB 8.75V
Lepai LP-2020TI 12V 1.19A 14.28W 73.0dB 8.27V
Kinter K2020A+ 12V 1.3A 15.6W 73.0dB 8.4V
Lepy LP-2020A 13V 1.3A 16.9W 73dB 8.70V
Lepai LP-2020A+ 14V 1.30A 18.20W 72.0dB 7.95V
Lepy LP-2024A+ 14V 1.30A 18.20W 71.0dB 8.07V
Lepy LP-2020A 12V 1.2A 14.4W 71dB 7.96V
Lepai LP-2020A+ 13V 1.22A 15.86W 70.4dB 7.37V
Lepy LP-2024A+ 13V 1.22A 15.86W 70.3dB 7.51V
Lepy LP-2024A+ 12V 1.15A 13.80W 70.0dB 6.92V
Lepai LP-2020A+ 12V 1.12A 13.44W 69.8dB 6.67V

Old Raw Data, Pioneer HPM-150 Speakers

Amplifier Channel Frequency Waypoint Sound Pressure (Volume) Vrms
Lepy LP-2020A Left 1kHz 50% Volume 64dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 1kHz Audible Distortion 82dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 1kHz 1% THD 84dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 1kHz 100% Volume 89dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 40Hz 50% Volume 64dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 40Hz Audible Distortion 85dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 40Hz 1% THD 87dB  
Lepy LP-2020A Left 40Hz 100% Volume 88dB  
Lepy LP-V3S Left 1kHz 50% Volume 69dB 1.4V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 1kHz Audible Distortion 84dB 6.5V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 1kHz 1% THD 86dB 8.7V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 1kHz 100% Volume 90dB 10.8V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 40Hz 50% Volume 71dB 1.1V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 40Hz Audible Distortion 88dB 8.4V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 40Hz 1% THD 88dB 8.4V
Lepy LP-V3S Left 40Hz 100% Volume 90dB 10.3V

Individual Breakdown

Amplifier ChipTripath TA2020-020
Availability~$10 on Amazon
Face TextLvpin Stereo Class-T Digital Audio Amplifier
Board TextLVPIN LP-2020A+ 20150801
Right ChannelBottom White Jack
Left ChannelTop Red Jack
Input Power LabelDC12V2A
Included Power SupplyDC12V3A
CommentsWhile the board itself is green instead of red, the layout looks to be identical to the [Lepai LP-2020A+](/2020/06/30/lepai_lp-2020a+_teardown_&_testing/). However, the components are definitely different. For example, the Lvpin uses a single GSA-SS-212DM dual relay package while the [Lepai LP-2020A+](/2020/06/30/lepai_lp-2020a+_teardown_&_testing/) and the [Kinter K2020A+](/2020/07/04/kinter_k2020a+_teardown_&_testing/) both use a pair of HK4100F single relays.

Doing a listening test, this amp sounds identical to the [Lepai LP-2020A+](/2020/06/30/lepai_lp-2020a+_teardown_&_testing/). Power handling feels exactly the same as well.

While not quite as pleasing to the ear as the [Kinter K2020A+](/2020/07/04/kinter_k2020a+_teardown_&_testing/), it does 100% live up to the quality of its namesake and for $10 with prime delivery, you really can't go wrong.

Amplifier ChipSTMicroelectronics TDA7377
Availability~$30 on Amazon
Board TextLepy MADE IN BUKANG P-V3D-2.0 160328 PCB 206C399-2
Right ChannelTop White Jack
Left ChannelBottom Red Jack
Input Power Label[None]
Included Power SupplyRL-1205AP 12V/5A
CommentsComing Soon!

Amplifier ChipNot sure yet. Looks like a pair of SOIC32-packaged mono amps, but the tops of the chips have been textured to remove identifying marks and I haven't been able to sort them out so far. The marketing copy claims this is a "Class-T" amplifier, but I've not seen a Tripath chip that looks like the surface-mount 32-pin packages on this board. If these were actual Tripath chips, why would they obsure the markings?
Availability~$25 on Amazon
Face TextPyle PFA200
Board TextPFA200 2015-05-10
Right ChannelBottom Red Jack
Left ChannelTop White Jack
Input Power LabelDC12V2.5A
Included Power SupplyHANKER-1202 12.5V/2.5A
Comments This one isn't part of the Lepai, Lepy, Lvpin trifecta of branding awesomeness, but since it's in the same box and claims to be "Class-T", I figured it was worth a look. Under the covers, this one isn't similar to any of the others. It has two main chips, both of which are textured on top to obscure the labeling. They're definitely not Tripath TA2020 chips and there's no heat-sink to be found.

You will see a 5-wire jumper connecting the 1/8" line-level input on the front to the RCA inputs on the back. In the spot on the back where all the others have their 1/8" line-level input, this guy has a 1/4" microphone-level input, a nice feature if it's something you need.

Overall power on this one is not impressive. It's not as weak as the Lepy LP-2020A, but it's not as strong as the [Lepai LP-2020A+](/2020/06/30/lepai_lp-2020a+_teardown_&_testing/). Balancing two speakers with the 2020A+ at 25%, the PFA200 is at 50%. Considering the PFA200 claims to be 3x more powerful at 60W than the 2020A+ at 20W, this is pretty sad. Also keep in mind that this "60W" amp comes with a power supply that delivers only 12.5V @2.5A or 31.25W. It's possible that this amp could be great with a 5A brick, but then again the 2020A+ is rumored to be outstanding with a 5A brick as well -- rumors being what they are.

As for sound quality, it's again in the middle. The clarity seems very close to the 2020A+, but it's got a little more bass and unfortunately that bass is a little muddy. If I pre-set the volumes and listened to them with a few seconds pause in between, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Listening side-by-side though, I appreciate the clarity of the 2020A+.

Build quality of this one seems pretty low compared to the rest. The tone button is so badly out of alignment that it barely goes in its hole. The board is slightly too narrow to fit in the support channels in the case, so the face and tail screws are the only things keeping the board from falling onto the aluminum case bottom and shorting everything out. The front and back faces feel flimsier than on the Lepai/Lvpin/Lepy versions. Overally, it just feels like the enclosure is lower quality / cheaper.