Lepai LP-2020A+ review: Lepai LP-2020A+

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0

Average User Rating

4 stars 17 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Lepai LP-2020A+ is an ultracheap mini amplifier that offers 20 watts per channel, two inputs, and bass and treble controls.

The Bad There's no remote control, and the blue illuminated ring surrounding the volume control is glaringly bright in a dark room. The amp is so light (if not fastened down) that it slides around when the controls are used.

The Bottom Line As long as you're realistic about the capabilities and limited features set of the Lepai LP-2020A+, you can't go wrong with this little $25 amp.

Don't Miss

There's cheap, and then there's dirt cheap -- and we'd throw the Lepai LP-2020A+ into that latter category. That's due in part to its no-name brand provenance; indeed, we've never heard of the (presumably Chinese) manufacturer before, and the name seems to draw a blank on Google. Available online at sites such as Amazon and Parts Express for less than $25, this mini amplifier is something of a throwback to the days of component stereos and shelf-top audio systems. The product is literally just an amplifier: you provide the line-level audio source (a smartphone, a CD player, a cable box, a PC, whatever) and the speakers, and the Lepai handles amplification duties.

The result is nothing you wouldn't get from an integrated boombox or shelf-top stereo, nor anything that's outstanding enough to tempt serious audiophiles or anyone with top-quality speakers. But the LP-2020A+ has a certain old-school charm, and lets you pick your own speakers. If you accept its limitations, this little amplifier's sound may actually exceed the expectations of most buyers.

Design and features
With its low, low price I expected that the LP-2020A+ stereo amplifier would be tiny, and it is -- just 1.5 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep. Since the amp weighs less than 1 pound, it's likely to slide around on your shelf whenever you touch it, but the cutouts in the metal flanges on the sides of the chassis can be used to secure the LP-2020A+ to a wood shelf. It's an effective, if low-tech, solution to the amp's tendency to move around when you adjust the controls.


The Lepai LP-2020A+ is predictably no-frills, but we were happy to see the tone (bass and treble) controls.

For this kind of money you might expect the amp would be a little plastic box, but no, the LP-2020A+ has an all-metal chassis and faceplate. The smoothly turning volume control doesn't feel cheap, but the very bright backlit blue LED ring surrounding the volume knob might be downright annoying in dimly lit rooms. The front panel also has bass and treble tone control knobs, and a Tone/Direct button that turns the tone controls on and off.

The Lepai has two sets of stereo inputs on the rear panel: one 3.5mm minijack and one set of RCA (red/white) jacks. Note that the LP-2020A+ doesn't have an input selector. The RCA and 3.5mm inputs are both on all the time, so if, for example, you had your TV and iPod hooked up and turned on at the same time you would hear both of them over the speakers connected to the amp. That's no big deal -- just turn on only the source you want to listen to. Alternatively, if you're using a PC as one of the inputs, you may well appreciate the always-on inputs, since you'll be able to hear the computer's alert sounds mixed in with the second audio source.


The Lepai's rear panel has 2 inputs, plus the requisite speaker wire clips.

The rear panel also has two sets of spring clips for connecting speaker wire. To be clear, there's no line-out or headphone jack, so you'll need to connect a standard set of speakers. Powered speakers (such as PC speakers) won't work, and they'd make the Lepai amp redundant, anyway.

Don't Miss

 

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Where to Buy

Lepai LP-2020A+

Part Number: CNETLP-2020A+
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

  • Type Amplifier