Home » Best Tube Headphone AMP Under 200 USD

Best Tube Headphone AMP Under 200 USD

Right from the days, we began using listening to music to the streaming being used these days – a lot has changed and has revolutionized the way we listened to music. With the music gone extremely portable, the headphones have become an extreme necessity. These days we find a host of headphones and using an amp for the headphones has become the right option for your listening pleasure. But, how about the headphone amps? Let us check out a few best tube headphone amp under 200 USD today. 

Why do you need a Headphone Amp?

Before understanding that, we will check what is a headphone amp. It is a relatively low powered amplifier that would be helpful in raising the weak voltage audio signal coming from the source into a sufficient level of performance inside your headphones. They are similar to the amplifiers used for the full-powered systems but work on a lower scale. 

Well, all the devices that stream music come with a built-in amp and that is precisely why you can just plug in your device and listen to your favourite music through headphones. Then, why do you need a separate amp? 

A valid question. But, the quality of the built-in components may vary from one device to another. That would make the sound quality to differ considerably. For instance, a MacBook can have a better DAC, but a few lower-priced laptops can come with a lower quality of amps. It would be the same with phones. A few of them provide a better quality; a few others don’t. 

That would mean, if you are looking for a piece of good quality music on your high-end headphones, a decent headphone amp is much needed. 

Best Tube Headphone Amp under 200 USD – A Buying Guide

If you are looking to buy the best tube headphone amp under 200 USD, it may be worthwhile to consider checking out a few key factors that can act as a checklist for your choice. Having a few requirements ready at hand can be extremely helpful in arriving at the best headphone amps your money can buy. 

Factors to consider while buying

  • Impedance

The impedance should ideally be provided on your sales package. The impedance is marked in ohms, represented as Ω. Ideally speaking, the impedance on your headphones should be at least ten times that of the amplifier you are opting for. For instance, if you are buying an amp for a 300 Ohm headphone, the impedance value should be 30 ohms. 

  • Headphone Sensitivity

This is yet another aspect you need to check out when choosing the best Tube Headphone Amp under 200 USD. In fact, the sensitivity of the headphone will determine whether it would be worthwhile to opt for amping. The sensitivity is typically referred to in Decibels and represented by dB. Anything above 100 dB per 1mw should be considered to be good enough. Check out the comparison to arrive at the right sensitivity on your headphone. 

  • Budget

That should be a personal preference. However, we would not recommend opting for a budget of more than 25 to 50 percent of what you have spent on your headphone. In fact, the headphones are essential for a perfect audio performance. If you need to pay a substantial amount on the amps, it is better to go with some other brand of headphones themselves. 

  • Connections

Get an amp that offers you the right output connections for your headphones. If you do no pay attention to this aspect, you will need to go with another additional adapter. Most of the headphones will need a 3.5 mm miniplug or a 14” connection. Check if the amp you buy meets those requirements.

Best Tube Headphone Amp under 200 USD – A few top picks

Having understood what headphone amps are and what are they needed for, here are our top picks for the best in terms of the best tube headphone amps you can opt for. 

  1. Nobsound NS-08E

If you are extremely cautious of budget, the Nobsound NS-08E tube amps for headphones can be an excellent choice for most of your needs. It is a HiFi unit and provides you with the best music experience. It delivers 1100 mW at 32 Ohm and can drive 18~600 Ohm headphones. 

You can experience a powerful sound and an extreme drive capability. It can provide a lower background noise and offer a more powerful bass performance. In addition, you can also have access to a brilliant treble efficiency. You can even use it as a stereo preamplifier for other amps or for active speakers. 

It also offers you an exemplary workmanship quality. The CNC Aluminum shell provides you access to a high degree of durability and mini size options. It can be best suited for 24~600Ω headphones. 

Pros and Cons of Nobsound NS-08E
  • It opens up the soundstage and works with all high-end headsets. 
  • Affordable pricing. 
  • You get access to the best music with detailed clarity. 
  • The tubes appear a little terrible. 

Nobsound NS-08E FAQs

Q: Can it be used with a laptop? 

A: Yes. If your laptop has 3.5 mm audio jack

Q: Can it work on a battery?

A: Yes. You will need 6volt 2.0 amp/hour rechargeable battery

  1. Little DotMK2

Costing just under 100 bucks, this one can be an excellent choice for the best Tube headphone amps under 200 USD. It can improve the sound quality, dynamic range, output impedance, and harmonic distortion to a considerable extent. 

It comes under the category of a transformer-free push-pull headphone amplifier. It can efficiently work with the headphones with varying impedance levels – right from 32 Ohms to 600 ohms. The tube amp comes with RCA cable as well as a 3.55mm to 6.55mm adaptor jack. That should be a thoughtful addition so that you can use it on a wide range of headphone connections with ease and no need to buy additional adapters. The driver tube-rolling options should be yet another plus point.
The amp does deliver good enough – even with the most powerful headphones. The decent size and weight should be one of the factors that should make it one of the preferred options for most of your requirements. Bass is powerful enough, though not highly overwhelming. The Mids and trebles are quite clear enough. 

Pros and Cons of Little DotMK2
  • No distortion music.
  • Can work with a wide range of headphones. 
  • Can handle the demanding headphones like those from Sennheiser. 

The front tubes – called the drivers may need to be replaced. 

Little DotMK2 FAQs

Q: Can it be used as a preamp?

A: Yes, it can be. 

Q: Does it come with a DAC?

A: No. It is just an amplifier 

  1. Bravo Audio V2 Tube Amplifier

It should be something that beats even the powerful options in the game with its affordable pricing. The high-end build quality with the improved components and a high degree of workmanship make it a worthy option to go with. 

It has been paired with the huge names in the headphone arena like Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and HiFiMan headphones and has come out a winner. It can safely be the best bet if you are checking out the options for the best musical sounding amplifier. A capable option with a focus on the affordability, it should be your good option for the best tube headphone amp under 200 USD by almost every count. 

It adds up warmth and richness to the low and mid-range. It does not emphasize treble much, but the effect is not underwhelming either. It can indeed be considered a good value for money product and lives up to the expectation. The full frequency response is good enough. 

Pros and Cons of Bravo Audio V2 Tube Amplifier
  • It does sound a lot live and better.
  • It offers you a lot of clean gain.
  • Works with even the most demanding headphones. 
  • May not work with more sensitive headphones and can produce distortions

Bravo Audio V2 Tube Amplifier FAQs

Q: Which inputs does it offer?

A: L+R RCA connection

Q: Does it come with audio cables? 

A: No. 

  1. Syba Sonic USB 2.0 DSD DAC Audio Tube Headphone Amplifier

If you are looking for an excellent and precise audio playback and output, the Syba Sonic USB 2.0 DSD DAC Audio Tube Headphone Amplifier should be an excellent choice among the best tube headphone amp under 200 USD. It offers an asynchronous transfer mode. This can be helpful in lowering jitters. 

The USB connectivity should make it a great option to go with if you are using it with Android and iOS smartphones. It can work with OTG adapter offering you an exceptional degree of performance characteristics. The High-quality 12au7 tube amplifier can provide you access to an exceptional crystal clear audio playback capability. 

We did not notice any sort of distortion or hissing sound even at the highest of the volume settings. It offers a complete performance without bumping or boosting of any of the frequencies. It works with almost all headphones with effective and efficient performance with a cleaner and undistorted sound. The soundstage offered by the headphone amp is one of the best among the budget options. 

Pros and Cons of Bravo Audio V2 Tube Amplifier
  • Highly affordable pricing. 
  • Can be used as a preamplifier. 
  • Good and cleaner sound performance. 
  • The dials are rather easy to turn and thus, even a small movement increases or decreases the volume. 

Syba Sonic USB 2.0 DSD DAC Audio Tube Headphone Amplifier FAQs

Q: Can it work with Mac?

A: Since it comes with a USB interface, it should ideally work with any computer

Q: What impedance range can it work with? 

A: It can work with an impedance range between 16 to 600 ohms. 

  1. Little Bear B4-X Portable Dual-Mono Vacuum Tube

This is a dual-mono balanced option for the best audio performance. In fact, the right and left channels are amplified by different components. Almost all components are separate and symmetric. This would ensure that you have access to a better sound separation. 

The compact size of the tube headphone amp would make it one of the best options among the best tube headphone amp under 200 USD. The compact size makes it easy to carry it anywhere you go. The outputs are best suited for most of the standard and balanced headphones. 

The amp offers you full, delicate and soft sound performance. You can experience less interplay and excellent soundstage. The build quality and materials used in the construction are exemplary for the price. Gold plated socket, nichicon electrolytic capacitor, and DALE resistors are a few factors that should speak for its quality.

Pros and Cons of Bravo Audio V2 Tube Amplifier
  • High-end construction quality with an all-metal case. 
  • Fully rechargeable built-in li-ion battery 
  • Extremely smaller size making it the right option to carry around
  • Minimal interference
  • Does not have USB charging making you carry the charging cable. 
  • Internal finish may not be up to the mark 

Little Bear B4-X Portable Dual-Mono Vacuum Tube FAQs 

Q: How long does the battery last?

A: A minimum of 5 to 6 hours

Q: Can it be charged with a cigarette lighter charger? 

A: No.

Well, those were a few excellent choices if you are looking for the best tube headphone amp under 200 USD. The tube amplifiers are the best options that a true music lover will always vouch for. We assume the top five picks we have featured here should ideally meet most of your requirements in the best affordable options for the best tube headphone amps under 200 USD. 

Do share which among them appealed to you and why. Also, share with us if you find any better options under $200 that you think should have been included in this compilation. 

About the author

Timmappa Kamat

Timmappa Kamat is interested in technology and allied subjects and loves sharing the knowledge through the tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. He has been involved in providing content for a host of technology-based sites on day to day topics in the tech arena. Fond of gadgets and gizmos, he loves working with different apps, tools and software and sharing the knowledge with the world at large.

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