With its solid build and excellent quality, The Bravo Audio V3 tube headphone amplifier gives you a clean, mellow sound at a price-to-quality ratio that is seriously hard to beat. The open design gives this amp a funky DIY feel, but Bravo didn’t skimp on the build quality: With solid soldering and high-quality, this guy is built to last.
Read on for an in-depth look into what you can get in this Bravo Audio V3 tube amplifier review.
This amp takes what you put in and gives it back several times bigger and distortion-free. You’ll get sweet, intimate mids and laid-back lows and highs. The Russian Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 tube produces a sound you’d expect from high-end tubes way beyond this price range.
The sound is very clear, clean, and crisp. It’s more natural than harsh, with a spacious, deliciously detailed edge. This amp is an excellent match for neutral to bright headphones.
The more modern the CD’s mastering, the better it will sound with this amp. It tends to soften CDs for a more enjoyable listening experience. You’ll notice softer sounds but they won’t be overbearing, whereas loud sounds will be full-bodied and strong.
Like all Bravo amps, the Bravo V3 headphone tube amp’s power is significant given its small size. At 30 dB, the gain is massive. This is what makes this amp able to bend even the most difficult headphones to its will.
Compared to Bravo’s V1 and V2 tube amps, Bravo’s adjustments to the power and gain were huge and well-placed. The sound is beautifully full-bodied, giving the bass additional heft. This is especially true if you tweak the EQ, which is passive.
This amp can effortlessly drive low-impedance cans. You can crank it up easily and smoothly.
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.4 x 4.5 inches
- Item weight: 1.2 pounds
- Gain: 28dB
- Frequency response: 10Hz-60KHz +/- 0.25dB
- Signal/noise ratio: >90dB
- Dynamic range: Between 84.6dBA (300 ohm) and 89.8dBA (33 ohm)
- Input power: DC24V
- Input sensitivity: 100mV
- Output impedance: 20~600 Ohm
- THD: 0.016%(300 ohm) 0.45%(33 ohm)
- IMD + Noise: 0.045(300 ohm) 0.42(33ohm)
- 12AU7 Russian EH 6922 tube
- Graphic slide EQ section
This amp starts well but really opens up after about 50 hours of use. It has plenty of headroom and you can crank it as loud as you want. It’ll remain clear and will give you a mellow sound. It plays quite a broad range of sound and you’ll get fantastic bass as well.
Whether your headphones are expensive or cheap, this amp will push them to reach their full potential. You’ll notice your favorite songs are fuller and cleaner. From a musical standpoint, this amp drenches you in sound without calling attention to itself.
This amp is whisper-quiet with zero hissing or input signal. It can also drive poor-efficiency headphones and push them to their best potential. The standard valve is also exceptionally quiet with an excellent overall response.
This amp’s small form factor makes it suitable for any device. The 3-band EQ allows you to customize the sound the way you like it.
This amp comes with several high-quality components. These include the respectable Russian Electro Harmonix 6922 tube, the Japanese ALPS potentiometer, and the Chemi-Con capacitor.
These quality parts come at a groundbreaking price, making this amp insanely affordable for the sound. This amp even competes with headphone amps that are several hundred dollars higher than this.
Its use isn’t limited to computers or laptops. It can be hooked up to mp3 players or tablets. They’ll work beautifully as long as your cell phone is nowhere near.
Given the open-case design, this amp gets hot. The part that gets too hot to touch is the heat sinks. This makes sense since they house the power MOSFET rectifiers. It can get hot enough that you have to be careful handling everything apart from the EQ sliders and the tube.
This also squashes any portability or semi-portability hopes you might have. On top of the heat, the open sides mean you don’t want to run this in the dark or without supervision. It would be great if Bravo found a better cooling mechanism.
Another problem is a certain degree of electromagnetic or EMI interference. This is due to the open-case design and also the ungrounded power cord.
There are ways to deal with this, however. Make sure cellular phones are several feet away from this tube amp. Alternatively, you can place the amp on an anti-EMI surface or under an anti-EMI patch.
What Customer Reviews Say
At the moment, the Bravo Audio V3 tube headphone amplifier has around 76 reviews from the US alone. Over 50% of these reviews are 5-star whereas around 5% are 1-star, which is a promising ratio.
The consensus among reviewers is that this amp adds brightness and warmth without shrillness. Many viewers can now notice violins, harpsichords, and other instruments they hadn’t noticed before. Many reviewers also think it’s great for tube rolling.
The DIY design is a fantastic conversation starter. This amp also gives you incredible value for the price, with the sound typically reminiscent of much pricier amps. The Russian Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 tube gets a lot of raves. Bravo certainly didn’t skimp on the tube part.
Bravo has certainly placed the high-quality parts where they matter most. The Russian Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 tube is known for its good quality and produces a bright, warm sound you’d expect from a much more expensive amp.
At this price, you have nothing to lose and a lot of enjoyment to be had. If you’re into funky DIY designs, outstanding quality for important parts, and a ridiculously accessible price, you might want to give this amp a whirl.