A Little Monster: Bravo Audio V1 Tube Driven Headphone Amplifier Reviewed! 0

One of the problems with using headphones is that they are not exactly that great an audio experience. Yes, admittedly, they are near your head and have can put the sound directly into your ear, but they are not still limited by the signal they receive from your audio device.

This means that if the signal they receive is weak in some areas, they do not give you a great listening experience. This is because they tend to carry only weak currents. It does not help that a lot of headphones have differing levels of impedance.

Impedance is the amount of resistance the headphones have to the electrical current that carries the sound to them. Low impedance headphones need a little power to deliver loud sounds, while high impedance headphones will need more power, but can work with a wide variety of audio equipment.

Anyway, with all of these obstacles to enjoying high fidelity sound on your headphones, it is not surprising that some people resort to getting headphone amplifiers. One of the better ones out there is the Bravo Audio V1 Tube Driven Headphone Amplifier.

Features

I’ll admit it right now now. I’m a big of the Bravo V1 mostly because of its looks. Just look at it. It’s got the small form factor and a clear box amp. This is the first solid feature that anyone will see: how cool it looks. This is conversation starter waiting to happen.

Anyway, besides being a cool-looking amp, the Bravo V1 is a basic Class A amp that delivers amplification with no frills to it. What’s a Class A amp? This is most common amp configuration. It has the vacuum tube or transistor is always biased “ON” which means the current is always conduction. This produces minimum distortion and maximum amplification to the output.

This is probably the best configuration for this hybrid tube amp. With a single vacuum tube supported by solid-state transistors, it was never going to be fancy. It’s job is to improve the sound of the headphones and it does it well.

This product focuses on clarity of sound and it shows in its main features. It has OP or IC in its circuit, which reduces the chance for distortion. It also uses the EH9622 vacuum tube to further clarify the sound. Overall, Bravo just packed this little amp with ways to ensure that you don’t hear anything beyond the natural sound from this amp.

Pros

Buying this amp has several things going for it.

  • Great Looks. You really have to see it in action to believe it. When you open up the box to see this product, you will wowed at what you see. The clear glass, the spare circuit design, and the bright EH9622 tube all contribute to a great-looking amp. Though amps are not exactly supposed to be centerpieces and this is a headphone amp, bringing this out will have people “ooh”-ing and “ah”-ing.
  • Clear Sound. The main concern of headphone amps is to improve the sound signal enough that the headphones will be able to deliver the best music experience possible. This is exactly what the Bravo V1 does. Even at low volumes, you’ll hear every note of music being played. There will be no distortions at all, unless you turn the volume all the way up – which you will never do since even at 75%, the sound will be more than enough to hear everything.
  • Durable. One of the problems with headphone tube amps is the tube can be a bit fragile when you are carrying it around. However, the Bravo V1 solves that problem. It does this by having the single tube recessed into the case. Only a direct hit would break the tube and if you handle it carefully, that should not be a problem.
  • Powerful. The gain is 30 dB. That’s quite a big jump for any headphone. You’ll have to respect an amp that can add so much sound to your music.
  • Safe. The current to get this amp active is pretty low. You won’t get accidentally electrocuted with this particular amp.

Cons

However, the V1 does have its share of flaws.

  • Open Case. Yeah, I know, I said it looks good. However, the open case does draw attention to the fact that dust will get into this amp. The simple Class A amp is not going to be disrupted by that initially, but a dirty amp will soon end up not working. You may need to clean those internals frequently.
  • Tube. There is also the fact that you cannot avoid the fact that the product uses a vacuum tube. It may not seem so bad, but vacuum tubes work by heat. It won’t work as well as it could unless you preheat it – which will take you some time to get to that good sound. It will also run hot when you are operating it. That can be a problem if you are using it in a portable manner.
  • Headphone Only. This amp is for headphones only. This will limit your use of this amp a lot. If you were planning to get a guitar amp or a room amp, then this is not the purchase for you.

Verdict

Definitely a must-buy for any audiophile who likes to use headphones. This is an amp that will change your listening experience. If you want to start out with tube amps, this should be well-within your budget and works well with just headphones.

Conclusion

A lot of people have problems breaking into the tube amp world. The Bravo Audio V1 Tube Driven Headphone Amplifier gives them a clear way to enter it with a minor investment. It is also a good and simple introduction. As a Class A amp, there are no complicated settings to check out or to hook up. This just a simple plug-and-play product that delivers the tube amp experience with no extra frills to confuse you. Try it out to hear a new audio experience.