Ah, the turntable. The dinosaur/workhorse of audio gear.
It’s probably few and far between these days for audiophiles to NOT have a turntable as a core piece of their hi-fi system. Finding a good tube amplifier for your turntable can really draw out a new layer of sound that wasn’t available before. The best tube amp for a record player is one that will add warmth, but also accentuate those key elements that the turntable brings – the slight hiss of the needle on the vinyl, the rich landscape of sound that gets lost when a digital file is compressed for size.
In this article we’ll be looking at 5 of the best tube amps to pair with your record player to take your hi-fi system to the next level.
Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Mini Audio HiFi Stereo
Nobsound developed this amp to be small yet powerful and deliver sounds audiophiles want. The small tube amp still delivers high fidelity you need for sound productions and is one of the best tube amps for vinyl.
This unit can power headphones including the:
- HD 600
- HD 580
- K 701
- HD 650
- K 702
Other headphones in the 24-600Ohm range will most likely also be compatible.
Armature earphones and headphones are not suitable for the amp. They have high sensitivity and low resistance ranges.
Both input and output jacks are 3.5mm.
- Frequency response: 20Hz-30kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: ≥110dB
- Output power: 32Ohm: ≥110mW
- Produces clear and balanced sounds
- The product has a strong, sturdy construction
- You can hear the sound difference in the bass and vocals instantly
- The amp is compatible with certain Smartphones
- Makes a static noise on startup
- The input and output jacks are not secured which may lead to constant disconnections
- The amp can vibrate which distorts the microphone’s feed
- Set up is difficult
SMSL T2 2X6J9 Super Low Ground Noise Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier
The amp was designed to produce no buzzing or ringing noise when used. This is achieved by the microprocessor which controls the relay when the unit is switched on or off. The microprocessor also contributes to a low ground noise power circuit.
The amp is made of high grade CNC aluminum. This material is scratch resistant which makes the amp look newer for longer.
The CNC aluminum can heat up when the amp is used for hours on end. Yes, this is a normal occurrence, but beware because if you touch the unit while it’s hot it can burn your hands.
The output delivery of the amp is specifically designed to elevate the drive current. You’ll experience a drive current that is far superior compared to other amps’. The drive current helps elevate the sound production.
The temperature portion of the tube is deliberately positioned inside the amp. This is a safety measure to prevent harm.
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 80dB
- Output power:
- 32Ohm: 70 mW
- 64Ohm 44 mW
- 150Ohm: 23 mW
- 300Ohm: 13 mW
The input interface is a 3.5mm stereo jack.
- The amp enhances the loudness of songs with time.
- You can get volume control.
- You need to warm the tubes first. When you do it unmutes itself to prevent popping.
- The stereo fields are widened.
- The headphones and music genre can affect the loudness of the amp
- The amp doesn’t provide enough musical power for headphones greater than 35Ohm
- Some music can distort
- Noises can be heard when you adjust the volume
Gemtune GS01-M Class-A Integrated Tube Amplifier
This amp is designed to deliver sound audiophiles enjoy. Vocal music and chords are delivered in high clarity along with bass, trebles, lows, mids & highs.
This entry level amp has top rated tubes to help deliver a sound performance you need. It’s 100% handmade. Each item is carefully crafted to elevate quality and refine the audio you hear.
A class A single ended amplifier is installed in every product to reduce distortion.
- Frequency response: 20Hz-25kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 88dB
- Output power: 8W
- Replacement parts are readily available
- The amp is simple to use
- Clear sounds are heard
- The amp can add more volume to music
- The output isn’t as intense as an 8W amp should provide
- The internal components can burn up
- May need to be connected to a preamplifier to get the enhanced sounds you want
- The tubes may become faulty
Bravo Audio V2 Class A 12AU7 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amplifier
The open design of the amp helps with the cooling process. There are many elements which heat up when the amp is used for long periods. The elements are made of quality materials to make them durable.
The Shugang 12AU7 tube, Japanese ALPS potentiometer and Chemi-Con capacitator are just some of the high grade elements you’ll find. These parts work together to boost music and vocals.
You can feed music to the relevant device with the 3.5mm input jack or the RCA stereo inputs.
- Frequency response: 10Hz-60kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 90dB
- Output power: 20-600Ohm
- Music separation is heard instantly
- Vocals are smooth
- You notice a sound difference the moment you use it
- User friendly
- Popping sounds can occur
- One design flaw can make the unit spark
- Too heavy for easy portability
- The unit is not long lasting
Kkika Tube Amplifier Black HI-FI Stereo Amplifier 38W2 Vaccum Tube AMP
The master volume knobs give you full control of the treble and bass. You can monitor these two ranges for ultimate music fulfillment.
As an alternative to the non existing input jack there are four other methods of playing music.
When you watch a movie you will have the full effects of a cinema in the comfort of your own home.
- Volume doesn’t diminish
- Sounds are heard clearly and in isolation from one another
- Works well with a DJ turntable
- Bluetooth pairing is straightforward
- The knobs are difficult to turn
- Buttons and knobs are not aligned properly
- A pre-amp may be needed to elevate sound further
- All sounds get tubed before amplified
This can be a tough selection. These five products are the best that are loved by professionals and you can see why. While we love the user friendly Bravo Audio V2, you may need different features for your studio. Which one will you pick?
Need help finding a turntable? Click here for a great roundup from Michael at Devoted to Vinyl.