If you’re looking to get a better sound experience out of your headphones, then you are probably considering an amplifier.
Want my advice? Get a tube amplifier.
Why? They’re just different.
They sound different, look different – maybe even a little intimidating. They might not be particularly better than the conventional solid amplifiers but the difference is what we are going for. A tube amplifier does basically the same thing as a solid amplifier, except with vacuum tubes. The best tube headphone amplifiers are known to sound more natural or liquid – according to our audiophile testers.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Three
If you are an audiophile, then you probably know what I’m talking about. Another great thing about tube amps is that you can swap out the tubes to change how they sound. You could experiment with a tube amp, so why not get one?
Now, which tube headphone amplifiers should you get? That’s totally up to you, but I have narrowed it down a little. In this article, I will be reviewing five of the best tube headphone amplifiers for you to choose from. Simply pick one that best fits your needs and feel free to let us know your pick in the comments!
Best Tube Headphone Amplifiers
Little Dot MKII – Best Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier
The first of the best tube headphone amplifiers I will be reviewing is the Little Dot MKII. This tube amplifier is proof that the most expensive is not necessarily the best. It is inexpensive, simple, and easy to use. For those who are new to using tube amps, you should definitely start with this.
The Little Dot MKII comes with two power tubes, two pre-amp tubes, an audio jack, and blue power LED. It is guaranteed to provide amazing sound quality and no distortion. It is also ridiculously loud, nicely built, and gives you that real tube sound at a fair price. Give this amp a solid tube burn-in and you’ll get an even better sound out of it.
The most common issue faced with this tube amp is the faint sound of humming or buzzing in your headphones, and this can quickly be fixed by using an external DAC between the amp and your computer. Besides, the Little Dot amp works like magic with or without tube rolling.
P1 Bluetooth 5.0 – Best Portable Headphone Amplifier
The second of our best tube headphone amplifiers is the P1. The P1 is a triple threat, it can be used as a headphone amp, tube pre-amp, or USB DAC. It provides rich sound quality, great dynamics, and pure tube sound. It is compatible with several audio devices and any OS. The P1 comes with a bypass switch that lets you turn OFF or ON the tone control and control knobs for treble and bass.
It also looks great and comes with a switch to change or turn OFF the LED lights. One of the cons of using the P1 is the hissing sound you might get when pairing it with some devices. Upgrading the tubes might make the sound quality a bit better, so it wouldn’t hurt to experiment a little with tube rolling.
You might also face some issues with the Bluetooth performance, this is typically caused by competing hosts and can easily be fixed by ‘forgetting’ the device in your Bluetooth settings.
Dared MP-5BT – Best Budget Headphone Amp
The Dared MP-SBT is the third on our list of best tube headphone amplifiers. This amp is a good-looking hybrid amplifier with high-quality components that bring the sound experience close to perfection. The shiny exterior of this device is a major fingerprint magnet and that’s why it comes with a pair of white gloves.
Not only does it look great, but it also sounds great, works great, and is known to give ‘eargasms’. It is compatible with Bluetooth, USB, and AUX input. It also comes with speaker output, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and pre-output. Your first reaction after unboxing and burning in this beauty would be ‘WOW!’
Dayton Audio HTA20BT – Best High-End Headphone Amps
The Dayton Audio HTA20BT is another good-looking hybrid amplifier that has made its way to my list of the best tube headphone amplifiers. The tubes are a bit different from the typical look and the blue LED lights to make them even better. The amp comes with Bluetooth, AUX (1 & 2), and USB inputs. It also comes with subwoofer outputs which can be used to add an active subwoofer.
This device is loud enough to fill a large room. It provides amazing sound quality and is incredibly impressive for the price. To get that amazing sound, I would recommend letting it burn in for about 24 hours. You might get a scratchy sound, the fix for this is to increase the volume on the amp and reduce the volume on the source unit. One thing I would add to this amp to make it perfect is the tone control.
Nobsound 6P1 – Best Tube Headphone Amp Under $500
The last of my best tube headphone amplifiers is the Nobsound 6P1. One distinct feature of this amp is the toggle on the front to switch between speaker and headphones. It has a classic look that makes it quite attractive. This device is easy to set up and produces amazing sound quality.
Patience is key with this device. It sounds best when you let it burn in for a few days. You won’t be getting any distortion or hissing sounds and the LED lights make it look even more classic. You could also upgrade the tubes for even better sound. Remember to turn the volume up as desired and enjoy the surreal experience from this amp.
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One of the things that would draw you to a tube amp is its appearance. They all have this classical and attractive look that would make you just stare at the wonder. The sound is also undefeated – like I said earlier – there’s just something about it. Do not hesitate to cop one of these best tube headphone amplifiers listed in this article. Eargasms and satisfaction are guaranteed!
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