What goes for being the best tube amp?

as above. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Well, define best and define a price lol. There is a lot to chose from

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Not to mention what one may find sublime, another may find absolute dog shit

Yes, and all the tubes that you can have lol. More combinations then you could reasonably try lol

oh, i wasnt aware. how come?

Perception. Our ear cannals are different, and that can effect the way we perceive the same sound. Not to mention our preferences could be different. Me? My preference is in constant fluctuation. Sometimes I like a nice clean sound signiture, while others I like something dark and warm.

Yes, different tubes will produce a different sound and some may enjoy some tubes and others may not

At the high end most tube amps use output transformers to match the output impedance of the amplifier to the impedance of the speakers or headphones. Those transformers heavily color the sound if they aren’t extremely high quality. In fact arguably the biggest contributor to the sound is the transformer.
Some of the $10K+ amps use hand wound pure silver wire transformers, and exactly how they are wound matters.
Most lower end amps use OTL (output transformerless) designs, these usually, though not always couple the output through a capacitor.
Tube amps sound very different to each other and there is a lot of personal preference involved.
You can spend 6+ figures on a tube amp, so how much do you want to spend and what sound are you looking for?


why do you use a tube amp instead of a ss?

To get a diferent sound. Tube electronics have a different type of sound that some may enjoy and some may not. Typically it adds some almost echo or reverb to the music, creating a larger sense of space, it smooths out the harshness of some tracks, and typically has a warmer and more rolled off character that some really enjoy. It also changes with the different tubes you can swap out for, and it can easily be tailored to your preference. It’s something to try for sure if you are interested.

With an otl tube amp, typically they work well with high impedance dynamic headphones, and not so well with lower impedance planars

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ah yes, i see. sounds fun, and thanks for all the other info as well. much apreciated sir Monmon

No problem lol, but there are alot more hard core tube fans out there than me. I traditionally prefer solid state tbh, and only recently decided to actually get a tube amp (because I had just decided to not get one for the longest time, even though I had heard and was pretty familiar with most tube electronics)

what seems to be the most popular amps anyway? and do you happen to know a little bit about their sound as well? you’ll be my leksikon now

There are alot of popular tube amps for headphones. Something to take note is that some of the tube amps are hybrid amps, where they use a tube on the input stage and use solid state for amplification. This yields a not as “tuby” sound (more subtle tube effects), but means it can be used with planars or low impedance without frequency response or under powering issues. Do you think you would want to go full tube or perhaps look into a hybrid? Also what price range are you thinking, as there are good tube amps in mostly any price bracket

Also, what headphones do you have and what type of music do you listen to?

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400usd max possibly… aeolus’s, 58x’s and t800 are the only ones i use these days. i listen to more then you could possibly imagine someone doing. not the ones that think they listen to everything, i could exlude what i never listen to and dont like on one hand probably

i can see you typing hhh

ok ill stop. im making it weird

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im high…fdas


So that gives you some pretty good options then. For a full otl tube amp which I think would be good since you mainly have high impedance dynamic headphones (minus the iem). I think something like the bottlehead Crack 1.1 (either with or without the speedball upgrade depending on how much you want to spend), darkvoice 336se, or if you can find one the eddie current zdt jr are some stand out options. The schiit valhalla 2 is also an option in this price range. I didn’t factor in the price of tube rolling though, so that could be something to take into account if you want to experiment

No problem with weird lol