If your life is closely connected with music, then you have probably heard of various amplifiers. Basically, there are two types: transistor and tube amplifiers, but most professionals and amateurs give their preference to tube amplifiers that appeared in the 20th century.
Best tube headphone amp may cost a lot but you can face the difference.
Such devices convey vocals much deeper, as well as most stringed instruments, sharing the sound that is warmer, softer and more exciting.
Transistor amplifier produces a rather cold and machine sound. When using a tube amplifier, you can feel the full range of emotions from listening to your favorite tracks.
Of course, there is also a minus, the basses transmitted by such a device will not be as deep as when using a silicon amplifier, but this is almost imperceptible to an ordinary music lover, even professionals cannot always notice the difference, so they give preference to the first option, spending a lot of money on such devices.
Best Tube Headphone Amp Reviews
Best Tube Headphone Amps Under $200
Nobsound NS-08E – best budget
Let’s start our tube headphone amplifiers reviews with one of the best budget models that can be purchased for a very low price compared to other devices. For just about fifty dollars, you can get a great tube amplifier that can take your headphones’ sound to a completely different level than before.
The latest version of this device can handle a very soft and warm sound that will definitely give goosebumps to even the most demanding customer who might be interested in the best tube headphone amp under 200.
The main power of this amp is 1100 mW, which is an excellent figure for a device for such a low price, with a resistance of only 32 ohms.
This amp is suitable for 18 ~ 600 ohm headphones.
Nobsound is committed to making only high quality budget amplifier models that become the best in terms of price and quality.
The amplifier weighs only 185 grams because it is housed in an ultra-lightweight aluminum housing. This device operates at a frequency of 20 Hz to 30 kHz.
On the case you will find 2 3.5 mm outputs and one AUX input, there is also a volume control and an amplifier power button.
Everything is quite simple and concise.
- Excellent value for money
- The very decent design combined with the aluminum housing makes this amplifier easy to carry, which is also helped by the size
- Perhaps over time the 3.5 mm outputs will fail
- Slight noise may occur at minimum amplifier volume
Little Dot MK2
This budget tube headphone amp is much more expensive than its predecessor and can already be found online for up to $ 150-200.
Of course, the difference is almost three times should be leveled by the technical characteristics of this amplifier and the best sound quality, but is this really so? Let’s figure it out about vacuum tube headphone amp. It weighs almost 4 times more than the $ 50 option, and looks rather rough.
But, design is far from the main attribute of an amplifier, because it is bought to improve the sound quality of headphones or speakers, and it copes with this just fine, since it works at frequencies from 20 Hz to 50 kHz. Suitable for any headphones with impedance from 32 to 600 ohms and has an output power from 300 mW to 100 mW, naturally depending on the impedance of the headphones.
The dimensions of this amplifier are 8.66 x 4.33 x 4.21 inches. That is still quite a lot, even for models that provide the best technical characteristics.
- Quite good technical characteristics, as for a budget valve headphone amps
- Produced by a popular amplifier company
- Big enough and heavy amplifier which weighs about 4.4 pounds
- There may be specific problems with the voltage supply after half a year of work
Best Tube Headphone Amps Under $500
The tendency is that as the price of an amplifier and its characteristics increase, of course, its size also grows, because for the best sound you need the best sound card and the details used in the design.
The best tube headphone amp under 500 is no longer possible to take with you for a walk, and it will even be difficult to carry it to the car, because it weighs almost 8 kilograms. RFTLYS EA1A is a well-known model that can be found for up to four hundred dollars.
It is powered by 110 to 120 W.
With sensitivity from 18Hz to 20kHz, it will perfectly transmit low frequencies, which usually such devices do poorly and this is its distinguishing feature.
The input resistance is 100 ohms, and the outgoing resistance is 6 to 8 ohms.
82.68 x 59.06 x 135.04 inches is the main dimensions of this amplifier, which makes it quite bulky and awkward.
- Copes with the transmission of all low frequencies from 18 Hz
- Simply amazingly conveys the full depth of sound
- For some, the dimensions are even a plus, but for others it will be difficult to carry it, so it is better to immediately choose a suitable place for installation
- During operation for more than six months, it may be necessary to change the components of the amplifier for better performance
Dared MP-5BTHIFI – best overall
If you are looking for a really high quality and unique tube DAC amp that will brighten up your everyday life with excellent sound quality, then this model is for you.
For a relatively low cost among professional amplifiers (and you can buy it for up to $ 500), this is the best option, whatever one may say. The quintessence of good design, quality sound and materials used in the creation – this is all about the Dared MP-5BTHIFI from Dared.
The maximum output power is 2×25 W. This amplifier works with frequencies from 20Hz to 25kHz, which is not so much, but it transmits sound it is simply unrealistic.
For connection there is a USB port, 3.5 mm jacks, as well as the possibility of wireless Bluetooth connection.
Weighing up to 4 kg, it is much more compact than the previous one, which can also play a very important role.
- An excellent and very versatile choice that will work even when traveling by car
- It copes with the transmission of sounds at various frequencies, plus the ability to wirelessly connect
- 32 bit DAC is missing
- It would be nice to add Bluetooth 5.0 to the latest model
Let’s continue our review with the Nobsound 6P1 model, which immediately stands out from the crowd. And this is because the amplifier has a classic appearance and features and even can be called graceful. Volume controls and vacuum tubes add charm and make it more elegant and attractive.
In addition to good looks, the amplifier also has a good sound. The sound is output in analog format and is distinguished by the softness inherent in tube technology, as well as sufficient detail.
Moreover, I was pleased with the reproduction of bass and vocals. The bass is deep and rich, and the vocals are audible and not overpowered. The amplifier works great with most headphones, as the headphone output has an impedance range of 32 ohms -600 ohms.
Most likely, the sound was influenced by a non-standard amplifier design. It uses a parallel output transformer. This significantly reduces the resistance of the circuit and has a positive effect on the sound. Besides, the same transformer is surrounded by an anti-magnetic protective casing to minimize static noise.
- Each channel comprises two clean full-wave amplifier blocks but 180 degrees out of phase
- It is not possible to turn off the crossover, but this affects the sound only positively
- After prolonged use, there may be extraneous noise in the sound
- The amplifier is supplied without any documentation
Best Tube Headphone Amp Under $1000
Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies (2nd Gen)
The design of this tube headphone amp under 1000, as well as its compactness, is at the highest level in comparison with all other options, which of course should be so for a price of about a thousand dollars.
At the same time, the technical characteristics do not differ much from the previous model considered. Here we have a 24 bit DAC that improves sound quality, not just loudness.
All necessary connectors for work are also present, including 3.5 mm, but there is no possibility of a wireless connection.
This is a rather heavy amplifier, which weighs about 11 kilograms, but at the same time it has not so big dimensions 4.8 x 4.8 x 5.1 inches.
- Not just an amplifier that boosts the volume, but a great combo with a DAC
- Excellent package bundle that is hard to find from other companies
- Not as good as it could be for its value
- It is possible to convert audio up to 24 bits, which is not enough