Sep 16, 2018243 views

Best Tube Amp? ($100-$150)

$200 is reaching a bit too far, but if there something REEEAAALLY good for that price then feel free to suggest it.
Anyways, I own a pair of HD 58X Jubilees and I'm looking for a tube amp. Any suggestions for me? I'm gonna be pairing it with the Modi 2.
So yeah, $200~$250 (maybe $300) for an amp and dac. I've seen many positive reviews for the Modi 2, so I'm probably sticking with that dac.
bryan.bell and Graham43

TBH, at that price point I would just avoid tube amps all together.
I'm assuming you already have the Modi 2, if so, I can suggest you three amps - Little Dot I+ (with NOS tubes and, why not, upgraded opamp), a budget hybrid amp. I own it, and it drives well anything from low impedance (T50RP mkII, HE4XX, M50x) to high impedance (HD6XX) and adds a bit of warmth to the sound (not as much as a DarkVoice 336SE, but you can hear the difference from a bugdet solid state DAC/amp). - Little Dot mkII, the full-tube brother of the LD I+, basically the same but it also uses tubes for the amp section and not just the preamp. It'll add a bit more tubey-ness than the LD I+ but won't drive well low impedance headphones. - DarkVoice 336SE. This might be a bit above your budget, but it's a excellent OTL tube amp for this price. I bought it through MD, unfortunately it decided to stop sounding from the right channel after a few months of usage, but I'm trying to contact the manufacturer and if that doesn't works I'm confident I can fix it with my basic electronics knowledge. However, bear in mind this kind of amps only work well with high impedance headphones, don't even try to plug multi-driver hybrid IEMs or planar headphones. In fact, the 150ohm your HD 58X has are not ideal, but it'll drive them quite well.
If you don't have the Modi 2 yet, I suggest you to: - consider getting another DAC, Topping D30, it shows better measurements and costs about the same (even less from some eBay sellers or when available on MD). - if you're 100% sure to get the Modi 2, you should consider going solid state and buying the Magni 3 along with it: from what I read it offers ridiculous value for the price, it's versatile and very powerful, you won't "need" another amp (like you would if you buy, for instance, a DarkVoice 336SE).
If you need any tube suggestions for the Little Dot or DarkVoice, just let me know. Good luck!
project starlight from garage 1217 is probably the best cheap tube amp out there, actually, all of their amps hit well above their price range so it's hard to go wrong with them
Thanks for the suggestion! I'll keep it in mind.
For an SE the APPJ with NOS tubes and a cap upgrade, if you are adventurous, it can then keep up quite well with the $$ big boys. It will bring you into the second harmonic voice of the sirens... Pops up here or eBay/Amazon. A Darkvoice is a popular OTL, do not own, needs NOS tubes as well, a given; both will want clean power. The Aune T1 SE is another choice, DAC/tube buffer/SS op-amp, again NOS tube (single), + caps to make it sing.
Thanks for your suggestion. I'll probably only keep my eye on the APPJs and pass on the Darkvoice ($300!) And once I get a tube amp, I'll now need to worry about what tubes to get.. Thanks for suggesting the NOS.
And cap upgrade? Can you tell me more about that?
More here, also as in spend more... but there is a reward:
I've just purchased some of 58X Jubilees also and i currently have a Fiio E10K to run them on when they arrive. My next thing will be looking for a better amp and possibly the 6xx when they drop next.
I can't help you with your question but i will be watching this space to see what you end up with.
How do you like the headphones ?
It's definitely an upgrade from the years of just using earphones and "gaming" headsets.
Everything sounds so much.. better! More open, clearer, it really blew me away. For $150, it's the perfect entry pair into the audiophile realm, and you know what? I'm pretty content with them. I can't imagine anything that sounds better (until I get my amp and dac, lol).
So yeah.. I like these headphones a lot!