The two Sashas of Obad Imports (l-r): Sascha Kuettel hefts the JohnBlue JB3 loudspeaker ($370/pair), while Sasha Obad struggles with the KingRex T20 amplifier ($259) and PSU power supply ($189). These units are just a little bit heavier than Michael Fremer's reference amplifiers.
I'm just kidding, ha ha. Obviously, these cute little components are extremely light (both on the wallet and on the forearms) and room-friendly.
The 20W KingRex uses a Tripath T2020-20 chip in its endeavor for tube amp sound. The company's literature demands, playfully: "Eat your valve out!" The T20U ($309) adds a USB input and DAC. The nicely finished JB3 loudspeaker, meanwhile, uses a 3" paper-cone driver and is rated for 87dB efficiency.
Mated to an extremely inexpensive Sony CD player, the combination of KingRex T20U, PSU, Pre-Amp ($290), and JohnBlue JB3 loudspeakers managed to impart some body to Katie Melua's breathy vocals. Tight images were set within a surprisingly deep soundstage. At these prices, you are bound to sacrifices, but no matter: The team at Obad Imports is working to provide true hi-fi quality for those who may be intimidated by the high-end's high prices. And that is an endeavor I support.