After a recent column about stereo receivers, I received a few recommendations from readers suggesting other models selling for under $200. I am passing them along here so you can consider them.
One reader wrote, "I have several pairs of older but fully functional bookshelf speakers, but unfortunately do not have the bookshelf space for a full-sized receiver. I bought a couple of Fosi Audio BT10A 50 watt-per-channel stereo amplifiers with Bluetooth for under $60. They provide ample power for my small ADS and NHT speakers and can be connected directly to line-out or headphone connections from a turntable, TV, etc. The Bluetooth works perfectly for pairing an iPhone or other portable devices."
This is a very solid suggestion. Fosi Audio offers many different amplifier models, most selling for under $100 with strong reviews for each. You can find Fosi Audio products on Amazon and at fosiaudio.com.
Another reader said, "Last year when my old stereo receiver died I got a $329 Yamaha R-N303 Network Receiver. It took several months for it to arrive. My needs are basic, and with a set of Boston Acoustics speakers I've been very happy with the sound. The FM tuner is much better than with the old receiver, and the Bluetooth works great picking up Spotify from my iPad. Power is limited, though. The manual says it doesn't support 4 ohm speakers or using two sets of speakers at once."
The R-N303 (usa.yamaha.com) is another good choice in low-cost receivers, and the network capability is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who does a lot of music streaming. If you do not need the networking features, then the $169 Yamaha R-S202 will do a fine job powering a pair of bookshelf speakers.
Tracking down missing gel
Q: I purchased the RF skin treatment machine you recommended and can't find the original RF gel for sale anywhere. Is it available on its own, and, if not, does it matter what brand I use?
A: I have tried many different RF gels with my own machine. The included gel definitely was the best, but, as you have discovered, you can't buy a tube of it anywhere. I tried a few different gels, but none of them matched the silky smoothness and long life of the original. There were a few boutique brands selling for $50 per jar, but I did not bother with them, thinking them to be horrendously overpriced.
After all my searching, I did come across a quality contender, and it is not very expensive. The Royal brand RF gel is only $17.99 per two-pack on Amazon, and the tubes hold a very generous amount of gel. It allowed the RF probe to move smoothly on my face and definitely did a good job conducting the RF energy, so my skin clearly felt the results after each treatment. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase new gel after the included tube runs out.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.