Best Tube Headphone Amps 2021

by Editor

If you’re looking for a way to get the most out of your headphones then the best option would be to invest in one of the best tube headphone amps you can find. 

Luckily for us, there are countless models of tube headphone amps available in the market and the only difficulty you might face is picking the right one. 

You’re guaranteed to get the most out of your headphones only if you use the right headphone amp and the number one factor you must always consider when buying one is the power output and whether the amp is designed to deliver and handle that load.

We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a bunch of top rated products from Amazon and out of the 30 tube headphone amps we tried, only 6 have managed to make the cut. 

These are some of the best tube headphone amps that money can buy and I hope this list helps you make your decision on which one to get for yourself.

Here are the top 6 best tube headphone amps out there.

Top 6 Best Tube Headphone AmpsFeaturesBest For
Fosi Audio P2 Vacuum Headphone Amp2 x 6K4 J-Grade Vacuum Tubes;
RCA/3.5mm input;
6.35mm output
Overall Best Tube Headphone Amp
Nobsound Little Bear FU32Beijing FU32 Vacuum Tube;
1 x 3.5mm audio input;
2 x 3.5mm audio output
Best High-Performance Tube Headphone Amp
Little Dot MK2 Hybrid Headphone Amp2 x 6J1 & 2 x 6N6 Vacuum Tubes;
RCA input;
6.35mm audio output/RCA audio output
Best Mid-Range Tube Headphone Amp
iNFI Audio Tube Headphone Amp4 x Replaceable Vacuum Tubes;
Bass, Treble Master Volume Knobs;
RCA, 3.5mm audio input & output
Best Versatile Tube Headphone Amp
SMSL T2 Vacuum Headphone Amp2 x 6J9 J-Grade Vacuum Tubes;
6.35mm input, 6.35mm output
Best Designed Tube Headphone Amp
Nobsound NS08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amp2 x 6J3 Vacuum Tubes;
CNC Aluminum Body;
Impedance Rating of 18-600Ω
Best Budget Tube Headphone Amp

Recommended Read: Best Headphone AMP under $100

Top 6 Best Tube Headphone Amps

Fosi Audio P2 Vacuum Headphone Amp

Fosi Audio is a name we’ve covered in numerous articles about DAC and headphone amps. They’re truly one of the best brands in the market today and the P2 is arguably one of the most effective vacuum tube headphone amps that money can buy.

This rather compact amp can also be used as a stereo amp and comes equipped with parallel 3.5mm and RCA stereo inputs and a 6.35mm audio output. The amp is a high performance device that uses two 6K4 J-Grade vacuum tubes that are capable of powering 32-600ohm headphones with ease.

The P2 is one of the best tube headphone amps that you can find on sites like Amazon and the 6K4 J-Grade tubes can be replaced with different vacuum tubes to deliver unique sounding audio. What we really liked about this product is the fact that it uses an all-aluminum alloy shell that’s durable while keeping the device lightweight.

Nobsound Little Bear FU32

Though it’s slightly more expensive than the Fosi Audio P2, the Nobsound Little Bear FU32 is a powerful headphone amplifier that is compatible with a rather wide impedance range allowing you to use it as a preamp beside your primary home amplifier.

It’s equipped with a 3.5mm audio input option that can be connected to a wide range of devices and there are two 3.5mm audio outputs allowing you to easily pair two headphones or connect two digital amplifiers.

By default, the Little Bear comes with a FU32 Beijing vacuum tube that can be removed and upgraded to one of the other compatible tubes. It’s small, has a durable build but is meant to be left in one place while in use since the audio chipset is exposed.

Little Dot MK2 Hybrid Headphone Amp

The Little Dot MK2 is a hybrid headphone amp that uses two 6J1 and two 6N6 vacuum tubes to greatly increase sound quality, range, impedance and harmonic distortion. It’s a wonderful choice for those looking for warm and clear sounding music.

This tube headphone amp is an exceptional piece of equipment that features a 6.35mm audio jack at the front of the amp, an RCA input and output at the back along with the power slot and main switch.

All-in-all, the Little Dot MK2 is a great amp that delivers quite a punch even though it doesn’t have an impedance range like the Fosi Audio P2. It’s slightly on the expensive side and costs around $150 on Amazon and when you buy this tube headphone amp you also receive the necessary connectors and power cables to run this bad boy.

iNFI Audio Tube Headphone Amp

iNFI is another premium-grade tube headphone amp that offers a wired and wireless connection method so you can practically connect all devices to it without any hassle. This hybrid amp features a volume, bass and treble adjustment knobs on the front of the device along with 4 replaceable vacuum tubes that generate warm sound.

The body has been constructed out of high quality aluminum material and comes with a range of input and output modes that you can easily toggle between with the help of the switch next to the volume knob.

We really found this tube headphone amp to be one of the best stereo amps you can buy and each of the vacuum tubes comes with a protection cover that gives off a low warm glow while keeping your hands and fingers protected from the heat of the bulbs.

SMSL T2 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amp

SMSL has been one of our favorites in terms of design and affordability ever since we got our hands on the SP100. The T2 headphone amp features a small form factor with low-ground noise allowing you to experience clear and unobstructed music playback.

It’s one of the few tube headphone amps to cost under $50 and probably one of the best since  it’s made from scratch resistant CNC aluminum and comes equipped with not one, but two 6J9 J-Grade vacuum tubes that glow a shade of blue and are capable of enhancing the quality of the music.

Each tube is replaceable so you wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Simply purchase a replacement, attach it to the amp and you’re good to go. This is a simple to use and rather straightforward amp that comes with only two 6.35mm audio jacks (input and output) that are found at the front of the amp.

Nobsound NS08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amp

The Nobsound NS08E is a Hi-Fi tube amplifier that offers up to 110mW at 32Ω  and is capable of driving Studio headsets that have a rating of 18~600Ω. This tube headphone amp is another affordable device that is available for under $50 on Amazon and is one of the few amps to use an upgraded chipset that filters out background noise.

 It is equipped with the 6J3 vacuum and valve tube that offers a warmer tube sound making it perfect for other amplifiers and active speakers apart from headphones. The tubes are replaceable so you can either customize it by using alternate tubes or replace these when they’re burnt out.

The case of the amp is made from CNC aluminum and its heart is an upgraded circuit that ensures lower background noise, powerful bass and excellent treble. This headphone is not pocketable because of the tubes, but it is small enough to fit in the palm  of your hand.

What should you look for in a tube headphone amp?

We took a few important features into consideration before buying a tube headphone amp and it’s something you should too. Key features like connectivity, range, price, value, build and output power are important things to consider so you always het the best.

  • Connectivity – When you buy a tube headphone amp, you must first consider whether you need one for your wired headphones or for a wireless set of headphone. Not all tube headphone amps come equipped with Bluetooth and rather would be compatible only with wired devices. Check the product description of the item you’re interested in and see whether it’s going to support your headphones.
  • Range – Range comes into play only when you’re dealing with a headphone amp that offers wireless connectivity. If your headphones run on Bluetooth, then you will need to check if the headphone amp comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.0. This is mainly because the 5.0 version offers more range than a device running on 4.2 or 4.0
  • Price – The best thing about shopping for tube headphone amps is that they are available in a range of prices. You have amps such as the Nobsound NS08E that’s available under $50 whereas the Nobsound Little Bear and the Little Dot MK2 are a bit more expensive.
  • Build & Design – You will need to find something small, compact and lightweight. While many of the tube headphone amps listed above are safe to touch when they’re running, the Little Bear FU32 comes with an exposed circuit that can shock you if you try handling it in the wrong way.
  • Power Output – Ideally, you will need to get a tube headphone amp that supports and is capable of delivering the power required to run your headphones. A higher frequency range and impedance level will ensure that even the most powerful headphones can run at their max capacity. If you want to get the best sounding music, then you will need to consider matching the power output to that of your headphone.

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