It’s so hard to find the best tube amp for the money these days. With the sheer variety of products out there, it’s easy to get caught in the endless noise of pricing, impedance, ohms, speaker matching, and all the other factors that need to be considered. However, when looking through all the info out there, one trend starts to become clear. Audiophiles who have been at it for years and years all tend to agree on one thing: they all wish they’d gotten the Yaqin MC-13S sooner. The MC-13S is an integrated push/pull amplifier that stands as perhaps the best tube amp under available under $1000. Whether you’re just getting into tube amps and home audio, or whether you’re an old hand at tube rolling, this amp is a solid piece of gear to add to your setup.
Here’s the specs on the MC-13S:
- (4) 6AC7T tubes + (2) 12AX7B tubes + (2) 12AU7 tubes
- ≤ 0.26V sensitivity
- 40W + 40W output power
- analog VU meter monitors the average output levels of 2 channels
- 10Hz — 60kHz (±2dB) frequency response
- ≥85dB (A) signal/noise ratio
- Class A push/pull amplifier for reducing distortion – ≤0.9%(28W)
- 220W maximum power consumption
- size: 22.5 x 10.2 x 16.5 inches
- weight: 46.5 pounds
The MC-13S can be one of the core pieces of your home audio setup. It adds a lot of clarity to your sound without drawing attention to itself or adding a hint of artificiality. The tone and clarity of the signal can allow you to differentiate the individual instruments in whatever song you’re listening to. When there’s silence, you don’t have any of that low-end hiss that you may normally associate with using a tube amp. This machine is clearly well-engineered and a lot of thought and care went into the design and architecture of this piece to maximize the amount of performance you can get out of your system.
You may be tempted to immediately switch out the tubes with your preferred brand, but I highly recommend giving the set that comes with the unit a chance. Many people implied getting great sounds out of the machine fairly quickly with a warm up and a quick bias adjustment. But of course, changing out to higher quality tubes will of course increase the quality of the sound, so your mileage may vary. But give the tubes a chance – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Check out this walkthrough from Johnny Vette:
The biggest con with this unit seems to be the occasional manufacturing error – there’s a decent amount of online reviews that involve receiving the unit and it having an obnoxious buzz when its in use. While this is unfortunate, I think with an unit that sells as well as this one, there’s bound to be a human or machine error introduced every so often – nothing that can’t be fixed by swapping it out for another unit if it happens to you. With all of the praise this unit gets across the internet from audiophiles, there’s also some reviews that mention the unit not meeting up to that person’s expectations. This is another nice quality problem to have – there’s plenty of variety out there available!
Overall, this amp can’t be considered “cheap” although it is inexpensive compared to some of its competitors in terms of wattage, tone, and sheer style such as the brushed-metal face. The Yaqin MC-13S has a deserved reputation and a cult following for delivering more bang for your buck. If you’re looking for the best tube amplifier under a thousand dollars, look no further!