Vacuum Tube Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews

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Ryan Clarin  |  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.

Skylab  |  Feb 13, 2013  |  1 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  |  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.

n_maher  |  Mar 19, 2012  |  11 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.

Skylab  |  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  |  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.

John Grandberg  |  Mar 06, 2013  |  15 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.

John Grandberg  |  Feb 28, 2017  |  11 comments
A reference-caliber headphone amp with a plethora of unique features, the iFi Pro iCan has you covered...no matter what your preferences might be.
Grover Neville  |  Aug 03, 2018  |  17 comments
I must admit, this review is a little different for me.
Grover Neville  |  Aug 10, 2019  |  2 comments
Many of you will likely have heard passing reference to the MicroZOTL from a few years back when a number of hand-made semi-DIY kits got some buzz in the community.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  51 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  |  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.

Skylab  |  Jun 17, 2013  |  11 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.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Sep 19, 2011  |  8 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.

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