Vacuum Tube Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews

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Skylab Posted: Aug 22, 2014 23 comments

Attention audiophiles!!! The TTVJ Apex Teton is an amp built by and for audiophiles. No compromises, exquisite parts, and looks to explode your wife's head.

Make no mistake, a true high-end headphone amp.

Skylab Posted: Apr 07, 2014 8 comments

I always wonder what will come out of review amps once I fire them up and first listen. I always run the amp in for 10-12 hours after getting it without playing the amp at all, and then I let them warm up for an hour on the day of first listening before I strap the cans to my head. And then I eagerly press play and let the music flow. And in the case of the Elekit, flow it did indeed, and in a very pleasing way.

Skylab Posted: Nov 14, 2013 4 comments

When famed audio designer Jim Fosgate first announced that he was going to be making a tube headphone amp, I was definitely interested, especially when I saw the first pictures of it—it's a beautiful product. For a variety of reasons, it took quite a while for me to actually hear one, which was at a Chicago headphone meet—and on that cursory listen I thought it sounded good. So finally, a review unit arrived for me to really put through the paces.

Skylab Posted: Jun 17, 2013 8 comments

I have seen some nice looking Pathos products reviewed in the pages of Stereophile before, but I have never heard any until now. They always seemed to get enthusiastic reviews, and the pictures looked pretty. When the Aurium showed up here, I didn't have any idea what to expect sonically, but I expected and got a nice looking product.

John Grandberg Posted: Mar 06, 2013 13 comments

Icon Audio is a self-professed "small company" based Leicester UK. Since 1999 they have been in the business of making tube-based audio gear, chiefly amplifiers and preamps but also CD players and even tube-friendly speakers. I examine their HP8 MKII headphone amplifier to see what Icon is all about.

Skylab Posted: Feb 13, 2013 2 comments
Skylab takes a listen to Cary Audio's first dedicated headphone amplifier, a hybrid 6DJ8/6922 gain stage with MOSFET output at a cool $1599. Sounds good already, doesn't it?
John Grandberg Posted: Feb 04, 2013 3 comments

Consonance probably intended for this EL34 based tube integrated to be used in a dedicated listening room driving some high-efficiency speakers. And it does that quite well. Thanks to its relatively compact size and built-in headphone amp, it works perfectly for desktop audio too, which is why it fits here at InnerFidelity.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 25, 2012 50 comments

With just a few phone calls and emails, I've managed to get my hands on the amazing Stax SR-009 headphones, and some of the world's best electrostatic headphone amps and the gear to make use of them, and set them up my demo room for a week of comparative listening.

Quite the ear opening experience!

Skylab Posted: Dec 10, 2012 11 comments

The MP-301 Mk 3 is a very good sounding amplifier for the money. It wears its tube topology on its sleeve, both physically and sonically. Love it for that, or pass. But if you think it's a good thing, then you get a LOT of product for your $300 here.

John Grandberg Posted: Oct 25, 2012 15 comments

Electrostatic headphones. Just mentioning to term conjures thoughts of supremely expensive systems and frustratingly confusing naming conventions. Example: the Stax SRS-4170 system is comprised of the SR-407 headphones and the SRM-006tS amplifier. But the official name is "earspeaker" instead of headphones, and "driver unit" rather than amplifier. And at $2,000 this is merely a mid-range system, with the top models selling for significantly higher prices.

Woo Audio aims to help make 'stats more accessible with their WEE transformer box. Read on to find out why this thing might just be your ticket to electrostatic goodness at a reasonable price.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 18, 2012 31 comments

One of the very first things I did when I started InnerFidelity was call Doc B. (Dan Schmalle) at Bottlehead to get a little Crack. No, not the white stuff...the dandy little OTL headphone amp DIY kit. I wanted it for my measurement program, which was slow in coming, so it took a while to get around to building it.

Ah! The sweet smell of solder!

n_maher Posted: Mar 19, 2012 10 comments

There's a place on the web like a bar on a back street, dimly lit and cozy, where the hard-core headphone geeks hang out. There, where it really counts, this amp is getting a lot of praise. Doug (this amp's maker), Nate (who wrote this article), myself, and a number of others are regulars there, and talk of serious stuff, like bourbon and bacon ... and amps like this.

Consider yourself very fortunate that Nate's words in a review like this get to see the light of day. Very. Good. Stuff.

Ryan Clarin Posted: Jan 03, 2012 16 comments
A happy buzz in the headphone world prompted InnerFidelity headphone amp reviewer Ryan Clarin to request an Apex Hi-Fi Audio Peak and Volcano from Todd the Vinyl Junkie for review.

Let's see if he got a happy buzz, too.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Sep 19, 2011 7 comments
Photo Credit: Steve Guttenberg

You can't listen to a headphone without plugging it into an amplifier of some kind: an iPod, portable device or a maxed out home amp. It's really the combination of the two we hear, so when we talk about the "sound" of a headphone, it's more about the sound of a headphone/amp system.

Lets get started.

Ryan Clarin Posted: Jun 14, 2011 6 comments

I am no stranger to Eddie Current – having owned numerous Craig Uthus creations throughout my headphone amp journey allows me the experience to say that no other manufacturer still in the business has been as consistent a home-run hitter in the tube amp department. Eddie Current has produced numerous tube amps that not only consistently sound good, but push the design envelope significantly over their peers while keeping cost within human reach.

Let's have a look, shall we?

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