The tube amp proudly sits as a cornerstone of many a home setup. Vacuum tubes have long been known and favored for adding a very warm, rich, and identifiable musical element to the distortion of sound they produce, in contrast to the more artificial distortion of the more common transistor. Because of this, many audiophiles are willing to spend large amounts of money just to get the most high-end tube amps on the market.
Before you invest in such an important a piece as a stereo tube amplifier, it’s important to separate the “amazings” from the “okays”. The last thing you want is to have that moment of regret when you install a new tube amp and find that you overpaid when a cheaper priced model would have had all the same features.
We’ve done the work for you and found 5 of the most popular high end tube amps on the market. Your mileage may vary on what these terms mean to you individually, however we measured based on three factors: most popular, price, and availability. Before you take the plunge, take a look at these 5 awesome stereo tube amps and get excited about how great your audio is going to sound.
The Best High End Tube Amplifiers
Note: Tube amplifiers often fall out of stock – if your favorite is available, I highly recommend snagging it.
YAQIN MC-84L Stereo Tube Amplifier
The YAQIN MC-84L is a Class A integration push-pull tube amplifier that uses a high-performance ultra-linear push-pull circuit to bring rich acoustics out of your audio.
This unit has a very large frequency response range thanks to its SRPP pre-amp circuit. The low distortion, low internal resistance of this technology enables for a very nice, wide midrange.
What really kicks that nice midrange into high-gear, however, is the EL84 tubes, which provide a solid bottom end and shimmering highs but also allow you to really hear the stereo separation and enjoy each instrument for its own worth as well as combined with the whole.
Many reviewers report having their socks knocked off by the tubes that come with the unit that they hold off on tube rolling for quite some time.
- Output: 12W +12W (4Ω-8Ω)
- Weight: about 10 kg
- Voltage input: 110-240v”
- Tubes : power tubes: 6P14 X 4 , voltage tubes:12AX7 X 2
- Volume: (L ) 275mm X ( W ) 320mm X ( high ) 152mm
- Harmonic Distortion : ≤ 1.5%
- Frequency Response : 6Hz – 60KHz
- Input signal level : ≤ 300mV
- Load Impedance : 4Ω – 8Ω
- Maximum power consumption : 90W
Pro-Ject Audio – Tube Box DS
The Pro-Ject Audio – Tube Box DS takes a lot of the guesswork and frustration out of dialing in nice tone. This tube phono preamplifier has specialized circuitry developed just for it, and the clean appearance and design allows you to quickly achieve the nice warm tones you want from a tube amp.
If you’re an audio perfectionist but don’t have the patience for endless tweaking, Pro-Ject Audio has your back.
The tones here produced by this unit generate a nice sense of “space” in the music whether listening through speakers or headphones. The sounds have a natural reproduction that minimizes that scratchy roughness of solid state amps.
- Weight: about 1.100 g
- Tubes : 2 x ECC83 (12AX 7A)
- Harmonic Distortion : <0.1%
- Load Impedance : Variable from 10 – 1,000 ohms
- Maximum power consumption : 490mA DC
- Input gain: 40 dB and 50 dB / 60 dB
- Input capacitance/impedance: 47 pF, 147 pF, 267 pF and 367 pF / 47 kohms
Xtonebox Silver 6011 Rosewood Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier
The Xtonebox 6011 is such a pretty tube amp.
Before we even get in to the sound, you must know that each Xtonebox Silver 6011 is made from natural wood and plywood, giving each unit a unique wood grain, tone, and finish. If you want a tube amp whose appearance matches the warm tones you’d expect to hear from it and add a gorgeous unit to your setup, this is the one.
The other thing that makes the 6011 stand out from similar units is versatility – this Class D integrated amplifier allows you a dedicated tube phonograph input to match that vintage sound, 2 additional aux inputs, and Bluetooth capability. If you find yourself with a variety of audio needs, the Xtonebox Silver 6011 can fulfill a variety of needs.
- Output: 8ohm
- Weight: 6.8 lbs
- Tubes: ECC83 x 2 / 12AX7 x 2
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz (+/-0.5dB).
- Turntable phono tube audio preamp
- High definition Bluetooth v4.0 with Qualcomm aptX
- Equalization tube audio stage. Lossless Bass and Treble controls
MUZISHARE X7 Tube Push-Pull Integrated Amplifier
The Muzishare X7 is an upgrade of the previously released X7 integrated amplifier. This newer upgraded version includes some better couplings and capacitors under the hood which allow for a better level of efficiency and unit density. One of the indications of the popularity of this stereo tube amplifier is the amount of reviewers who start raving about how much better their sound has gotten once they upgraded to this unit.
To me this unit seems a little mysterious – there’s not a whole lot of discussion about this unit online, and a smaller amount of reviews than some of the other units. You may be thinking to yourself that this doesn’t seem like such a popular tube amp after all. However, more than any other unit on this list (and even some of the units are some of our other articles) this unit seems to sell out more often than any other unit.
A nice unit with great engineering that outputs great sound. Take a listen and see for yourself.
- Output: 4Ω 8Ω
- Weight: 27kg
- Voltage Input: 100V – 240V
- Input Sensitivity: 280mV; 520mV (pre in)
- Tubes: 12AX7 × 1, 12AU7 × 2, KT88 × 4, 5AR4 × 1
- Harmonic Distortion: 1%
- Frequency Response: 15Hz ~ 30kHz
- Input Signal Level: 280mV
- Impedance: 100KΩ
- Maximum power consumption: 260W
YAQIN MC-100B Integrated Power Amplifier
The YAQIN MC-100B is a tinkerer’s tube amp. The YAQIN brand is well known for quality sounds and this amplifier is no different. Unlike many other vacuum tube amps, which are meant to draw attention to the warm and more natural-sounding elements that they add to the audio landscape, the MC-100B is a great tube amp for adding an almost invisible boost to your audio. You’ll know the amplification if there and you’ll feel it in your sound, but it won’t draw as much attention to itself.
What really sets this amp apart is that it makes you work for the great tone. To get the maximum tone out of this amp, you’ll need to swap out the stock tubes and do some serious tube rolling in order to find the perfect combination that makes your speakers sing.
I wouldn’t recommend starting with this tube amp if you’re new to vacuum tube technology, however if you’re looking to upgrade your existing setup and put in some elbow grease, you’ll really enjoy this tube amp.
- Output: 30W + 60W (8Ω and 8Ω)
- Weight: 23kg
- Voltage input: 60v-115v
- Tubes : KT88-98 × 4 6N8P × 4 12AX7B × 2
- Harmonic Distortion : ≤ 1.5%
- Frequency Response : 5Hz ~ 80KHz
- Load Impedance : 4Ω – 8Ω
- Maximum power consumption : 250W
Our Top Pick Is…
For me, I listen to audio from a lot of different sources, and I also have my stereo equipment as a focal point of my room. For that reason, the versatility of the Xtonebox Silver 6011 means that I have killer reliable tone no matter what I’m listening to.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Which tube amps are your favorite? Let us know below!