14 Best Tube Headphone Amps Under $90 (for 2022)


budget tube amp lg

Headphones are a great way to appreciate all the little details in our favorite music. And there’s no doubt the warmth of a tube amp provides the best sound. But they can be pricey, so what is the best budget tube headphone amplifier?

The best lower-priced tube headphone amplifier is the Fosi Audio T20 with Bluetooth. It is perfect not only for headphones but also for a wide variety of speakers and is compatible with a wide variety of audio sources too. 

And 50 watts per channel and a price under $100 ensures quality sound for even the tightest budget.

But that’s far from the only option!

So below, I get into 14 of the very best tube headphone amps that deliver crystal clear sound, and all of them are currently under $90.

Let’s dive in!

1. Fosi Audio T20 Bluetooth Tube Headphone Amplifier

This is a great choice for those who want to enjoy the best of both worlds: tube sound and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Fosi Audio T20 Bluetooth Tube External Headphone Amp has an impressive sound quality that makes it worth the money. Not to mention the easy-to-use front panel and power that rivals those of solid-state amplifiers.

This product comes with a Class-A 12AU7 tube amplifier and Bluetooth + RCA input so that you can listen to your favorite tunes wirelessly.

It also includes passive speakers + headphone input so that you can use this amp with both headphones and speakers.

The Fosi Audio T20 has a power output of 20W RMS (8 ohms), which means that it will be able to play high volumes without distorting your music or damaging your hearing in any way.

In addition, its clear and clean audio playback gives listeners an immersive listening experience. I find this one to be mostly at par in terms of sound quality and performance with other more expensive amps I’ve tested, making it an excellent option if you’re on a budget.

One of the notable drawbacks is that the tubes aren’t of high quality and don’t feel durable. If you have extra cash to spend, you might have to get different tubes to maximize the whole experience.

Also, the Bluetooth connectivity isn’t 100% reliable, and it has no built-in DAC or digital-to-analog converter.

A good DAC is a device that successfully converts digital audio signals to analog signals. Therefore, you’d need to get yourself a separate DAC or sound card to boost the audio experience, preferably one with optical input.

Pros:

  • Works with headphones, speakers, and various devices
  • Clean, clear, and crisp audio quality
  • Comparable to other pricier amps
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Compact
  • Adds warmth to the sound

Cons:

  • Low-quality tubes
  • Bluetooth pairing can be tricky

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


2. Douk Audio T4 Pro Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

The Douk Audio T4 Pro Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier is a tube headphone amplifier known for its strong and powerful sound.

The device works very well with high-quality headphones that don’t have a very high sensitivity rating. It can also be used as a MM phono preamp which boosts its versatility.

The build of this device is solid and sturdy, which makes for great performance despite its affordable price tag. This little amp works remarkably well for its size, producing great warmth and clarity in your music-listening experience.

The product’s overall aesthetics are pleasing to look at as well; it gives off an air of sophistication without being too flashy or ostentatious about it—a fine balance between form and function!

However, it can get a bit fizzy in the upper midrange, which some audiophiles may find disappointing. It can also be a bit tricky to pair it with another device via Bluetooth.

But then again, for its incredibly cheap price, you will still get more than what you pay for with this solid headphone amp.

Pros:

  • Can be used as an MM phono preamp
  • Versatile
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Clear, rich, and warm audio quality
  • Smooth and responsive potentiometer
  • Solid and sturdy build

Cons:

  • May get fizzy in the upper midrange
  • Bluetooth pairing can be tricky

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


3. Fosi Audio P2 Headphone Vacuum Tube Amplifiers

The Fosi Audio P2 is one of the best headphone amplifiers on the market, and for a good reason.

It offers an outstanding audio performance with low ground noise, no buzzing or ringing, audiophile-level sound quality, and a solid state.

You’ll find plenty of power sources here to drive even high-impedance headphones like Sennheiser HD600s without any issues whatsoever. In fact, it may surprise some people just how much volume you can get out of this thing considering its diminutive size!

At first glance, it looks like just another one of those generic-looking tube amps. But I was pleasantly surprised once I plugged into headphones for testing purposes.

It turned out to be some excellent performance from these little guys when compared to similarly priced models from competitors, such as the Schiit Magni Vali from the reputable Schiit Audio and the non-tube FiiO E10K-TC and FiiO K5.

This provides you with an impressive midrange and treble to produce a more balanced and warmer sound.

Some of the downsides though are the lack of DAC upstream and clean power as there’s audible distortion at higher frequency responses. And if you enjoy really loud sounds, you might have to check for other options.

But other than that, the Fosi Audio P2 is still a solid value for your money.

Pros:

  • No buzzing or ringing
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Sturdy and excellent build quality
  • Produces a more balanced and warmer sound
  • No static noise issues

Cons:

  • Lacks DAC upstream
  • Distortion at higher frequencies
  • Short AC power cord

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


4. Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier is a hi-fi tube headphone amp that has impressed numerous users. It adopts a 6J3 vacuum and valve tube, which gives off a warmer sound, suitable for 18~600 ohm headphones and headsets.

The compact size makes it easy to carry around on your travels or in your home studio. Users report impressive longevity of this amp, with some reporting having theirs for two years now.

Speaking of home studios, if you’re looking for the best vocal plugins for GarageBand, you might want to check a recent article I wrote about it!

Now, going back to the NS-08E, this affordable device provides rich detail without being too harsh on the ears, even at high volumes.

The bass response is also impressive, making this a great choice for those who enjoy listening to all genres of music—not just classical, jazz, or rock, like other audiophiles might prefer (you know who you are).

The Nobsound NS-08E Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier delivers high-quality sound without the hefty price tag associated with many other amps in its class.

You can also run this with a battery; just make sure to get one with good battery life.

I noticed that it doesn’t “feel” like it’s well-made. The unit gives off an occasional loud crackling noise, and the tubes tend to detach rather easily. While the performance is great overall, I wish they went for a better and more durable build for this one.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Suitable for a huge range of 18~600 ohm headphones or headsets
  • Great longevity
  • Delivers high-quality audio
  • Adds warmth to the sound

Cons:

  • Low-quality build
  • Tubes detach easily
  • Gives off occasional loud crackling noise

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


5. FX Audio Tube 02 Pro Vacuum Class-A Tube Mini Headphone Amplifier

The Tube 02 Pro Vacuum Class-A Tube Mini Headphone Amplifier is a tube headphone amp that uses 5752 tubes to amplify audio signals.

It is one of the best portable headphone amps if you are working on a budget.

It offers a high-quality listening experience and can be used with most headphones. I also used it as a desktop headphone amplifier, and it performed impressively.

If you want more ideas on which music to play to test this amp further, check out a recent article I wrote about the best blues musicians of all time.

Moreover, this amplifier comes with audiophile-grade coupling capacitors, which is an important thing. This ensures the best sound quality possible, regardless of what type of music you’re playing or what genre it might fall under (from classical to rock).

With such an impressive design and build quality, this product will make a great addition to any audiophile’s collection. The volume knob turns smoothly, which gives this equipment a premium feel, something most amps at this price range fail to do.

The stock GE tubes that come with the unit are superb in terms of showcasing durability and incredible performance. It offers the best of both worlds between solid-state amps and tube amps.

It also comes with 3.5 MM and 6.5 MM headphone jacks. If you want to go beyond just listening on your phone or computer, then this could be an excellent choice for those who want something more versatile.

However, the gain switch doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference when it comes to power. Also, when I try to crank the volume up, I always tend to hear noticeable white noises at a certain point. The good news is that if you don’t need your volume too high, this should not cause any issues for you.

Pros:

  • Comes with audiophile-grade coupling capacitors
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Volume knob feels premium
  • Clear and detailed audio quality
  • Stock tubes are pretty incredible compared to competitors

Con:

  • Audible white noises at higher volumes

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


6. Bravo Audio V2 Class A 12AU7 Tube Multi-Hybrid Headphone Amplifier

The Bravo Audio V2 Class A 12AU7 Amplifier is an incredible amp for its price.

It produces fuller and more spacious sounds in a way that’s hard to describe. The sound is colorful, smooth, and rich—and it noticeably enhanced my listening experience, making it one of the great desktop amps.

I tried this amp with the Audio Technica ATH-M40X headphones. After using this amp with them, I noticed that there were two main differences: 1) the music sounded clearer than before, and 2) there was more bass present.

I’ve also noticed that the lows seem slightly weak (for example, when listening to classical music), but otherwise, I feel like everything else sounds great.

It took me about 30-45 seconds of warming up before music became audible through my headphones, but once it did warm up properly, the listening experience levels up!

What is bothersome about this unit is the shock hazard of an open-build design. It shocked my hand quite a few times, and it can be pretty disturbing. And, again, to the open build, it’s quite vulnerable to electrical signals interference from my phone.

Also, I noticed that the Bravo Audio V2 has way too high of a gain. A tiny turn at the volume knob can suddenly make the sound so loud that it’s almost surprising. But overall, this one’s a high-performing headphone amp you can enjoy.

Pros:

  • Produces fuller and more spacious sounds
  • Clear and rich audio quality
  • Loud with plenty of power
  • Sleek open-build design

Cons:

  • Vulnerable to interference
  • Electric shock hazard
  • Too high of a gain

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


7. Nobsound Little Bear FU32(832A) Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

The Nobsound Little Bear FU32(832A) is a high-quality amplifier that offers a warm tone with unprecedented clarity.

The amp is compatible with a wide output impedance range of 12~200 ohms, making it perfect for almost any pair of headphones you own. A lot of people enjoy using this as one of their desktop headphone amps.

Plus, it comes with two inputs, so you can easily connect your main audio source (like a turntable) alongside another device like a CD player, tablet computer, or any music player.

As far as sound quality goes, I was pleasantly surprised by how much detail and nuance the amp was able to bring out in my music. It’s easy on the ears and doesn’t distort at higher volumes or when listening to bassier tunes like hip hop or dubstep.

You won’t find any hiss or hum here either—even at maximum volume!

The build quality is solid too: there are no loose parts like knobs jiggling around when you tap them lightly.

Additionally, the appearance looks sleek and modern, and the device glows in dark rooms — this can be helpful if you’re trying not to wake anyone up when listening late at night!

I noticed though that the volume raises too fast after 2 o’clock so the knob is a bit inconsistent.

While some users report having problems getting it set up correctly due to poor instructions (no guidance provided), most people have no issues whatsoever once they figure out what needs to be done.

Pros:

  • Clear and warm audio quality
  • Wide impedance range of 12~200 ohms
  • No distortion
  • Solid and durable build
  • Sleek and modern design

Cons:

  • Inconsistent volume increment
  • Poor or lack of setup instructions

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


8. Fosi Audio Box X4 Phono Preamp Headphone Amplifier

The Fosi Audio Box X4 Phono Preamp Headphone Amplifier appears to be one of the best headphone amps you can get for under $90.

A lot of people are happy with the device and find it quite useful. It offers great sound quality, is easy to use, and has a sturdy metal construction.

This amp comes with high-quality imported 5654W vacuum tubes with a DC 12V power supply. It also has 3.5 mm AUX input and 3.5 mm headphone output for easy connection to your speakers or headphones without any issues!

You will definitely enjoy its mind-blowing sound quality as well as its clear, crisp audio. If someone doesn’t want an equalizer in their build, then this might be an excellent choice because there’s no need for it with this one.

However, a downside here is that there’s a waving hum that’s audible when nothing is playing on either side, so that could be distracting. It was also evident that the volume is lacking a bit when used as a headphone amp.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and solid metal build
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Comes with high-quality vacuum tubes
  • Provides a clear and crisp audio
  • Performs well even without an equalizer

Con:

  • Audible waving hum when nothing is being played
  • Lacks volume when used as a headphone amp

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


9. SUCA Audio Tube-T2 Headphone Amplifier

The SUCA Audio Tube-T2 Headphone Amplifier is a good headphone amp if you’re looking for a tube amp that offers warm, soft sound with greater treble and more powerful bass. It provides low-ground noise that eliminates buzzing or ringing, which makes it great for listening to music.

The amp requires 30 minutes of warm-up time for best results.

The manufacturer recommends running the unit at half volume for 15 minutes before using it at full volume, as this will provide optimal performance from your headphones and speakers. Once warmed up, you can expect clean sound with punchy bass and low distortion.

As far as downsides go, some users report occasional static from the unit when used in conjunction with high-impedance headphones (above 60 ohms).

It also may not have much power depending on what type of cans are plugged into it. It’s best paired with medium to low headphone impedance cans (32-80 ohms).

Pros:

  • Produces warm and soft sound
  • Adds treble and more bass
  • No buzzing or ringing
  • Low distortion

Cons:

  • Requires warm-up time
  • Occasional static from the unit
  • Not as powerful on its own

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


10. Douk Audio P2 Mini Bluetooth 5.0 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

If you’re looking for a powerful little tube amp that’s easy to set up, the Douk Audio P2 Mini Bluetooth 5.0 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier is a great choice.

It is compact without sacrificing the quality of its performance. It is one of the best budget portable headphone amplifiers on the market.

While it does have the occasional bit of static when turned on, once it warms up and settles in, the sound quality is solid. Although some may find this bothersome, it’s not a total deal-breaker.

The stock tubes are decent but can be improved if you upgrade them with higher-quality ones (which are also easy to install).

Upgrading the tubes will definitely give you a better listening experience. The unique design is aesthetically pleasing as well.

The main downside of this product is that its volume remote control has some responsiveness issues: sometimes, you’ll need to press several times before it registers your commands and changes the volume of your music.

This can be a huge turn-off for some, but other than that, this amp is a great run for your money.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Solid sound quality
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Occasional static when turned on
  • Requires some warming up
  • Volume control has responsiveness problems

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


11. Sabaj PHA3 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

This headphone amp has a stylish design and great quality sound, making it a great economical option for your headphones. It also comes with authentic military-grade tubes that elevate the sound quality.

The Sabaj PHA3 vacuum tube headphone amplifier offers an all-in-one low-ground noise vacuum tube amplification that includes everything you need to get started.

This device provides deep, rich, warm tube audio system quality that will make you enjoy your music more. The overall build also gives off a solid feel with a power switch that doesn’t feel flimsy at all.

Take note though that it takes a few days to fully warm up after being plugged in before it reveals its true potential.

The sleek unit looks like something out of a sophisticated studio, and you’ll have people asking you where you got it. The unit definitely feels solid despite its affordable price tag.

While this amp may not be powerful enough to produce very loud audio on its own, it does provide excellent clarity without sacrificing warmth or music quality at higher volumes when paired with a good preamp.

Pros:

  • Modern and sleek design
  • Low-ground noise amplifier
  • Produces rich, deep, and warm audio quality
  • Solid build

Cons:

  • Not powerful enough on its own
  • Takes a few days to warm up fully

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


12. Douk Audio T3 Plus Tube Headphone Amplifier

The Douk Audio T3 Plus Tube Headphone Amp is a great dedicated headphone amplifier that can be used as a MM/MC phone preamp, a tube audio preamp, and also as a headphone amp. Talk about the incredible versatility!

Its compact build makes it easy to bring just about anywhere.

The powerful function in such a small size makes the Douk Audio T3 Plus Tube Headphone Amplifier useful for all kinds of audio devices: dynamic headphones, electrostatic headphones, and high-end planar magnetic headphones.

This portable amp has the extra power to drive 32~300 ohm headphones. Therefore, expect this device to work with low-impedance and high-impedance headphones.

With this amplifier, you can achieve much more enjoyment than with your smartphone or computer speakers. It offers a warm and crisp sound quality with no hum at all—something any user will definitely adore.

The volume knob feels a bit cheap because it doesn’t have any “stop” signal once the volume is at max. However, its price point makes up for this minor flaw.

Pros:

  • Offers impressive versatility
  • Comes in a mini size
  • Suitable for 32~300 ohm headphones
  • Produces warm and crisp sound

Con:

  • Volume knob feels cheaply made

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


13. Socobeta Tube Board DIY Kit 6J1 Preamp Headphone Amplifier

If you’re looking for a preamplifier and headphone amplifier in one, the Socobeta Tube Board DIY Kit 6J1 Preamp Tube Board Preamplifier Headphone Amplifier is right up your alley.

This unit can drive up headsets up to 300 ohms, so it will mostly work with the majority of the headphones on the market. It offers a warm, mellow, and sweet sound that’s perfect for jazz fans but can also be used as a preamp for an audio system.

This tube board was easy to set up; we just plugged in our tubes, screwed on the covers, and plugged it into a power source—that’s all there was to it!

The only issue we encountered with this kit was that some of the tubes didn’t fit into their holes neatly because they were crooked—but if you’re handy with tools like pliers or clamps, then this won’t pose too much trouble.

The good news is that this device provides excellent performance at an affordable price point once everything’s set up properly. Plus, its cool retro design makes it look awesome sitting on top of your amp rack or console table!

Pros:

  • Offers versatility
  • Unit can drive headsets up to 300 ohms
  • Produces warm, mellow, and sweet sound
  • High-performing despite the cheap price tag
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Acrylic holes needed a bit of extra work
  • Does not come with a 12-volt power source

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


14. SUCA Audio M1 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Headphone Amplifier

The Tube-M1 is a vacuum tube preamp headphone amplifier that comes with Bluetooth 5.0. This lets you stream music wirelessly from your mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.

It also has an RCA input, so you can connect it to TV and other media players.

It also has a remote control for convenience, and the volume knob is pretty handy as well for easy access when listening to music. The device comes with bass, mid, and treble controls which allow you to tweak the sound according to your liking!

The tube-M1 features a Class A design that gives it rich, warm sound quality.

It’s compatible with 16~64 ohm headphones which is a bit low compared to other amps. But if it matches your needs, this shouldn’t be much of an issue since most headphones fall within this range anyway!

Some customers have expressed getting defective units, but once you get one that works, the performance is outstanding! No hissing or noises coming through while listening on some high-quality earphones.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-pair Bluetooth connectivity
  • Gives an excellent warm audio quality
  • Works with most media players
  • No hissing or noises
  • Comes with a remote control

Cons:

  • Occasional defective units
  • Can only support up to 64-ohm headphones

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a tube amp worth it for headphones?

One of the best methods to enhance sound quality is by using tube headphone amplifiers. Amps are frequently necessary for particular headphones.

There are primarily two categories of headphone amplifiers available. A vacuum tube amplifier uses vacuum tubes to amplify electrical signals, while a solid-state amplifier uses transistor circuits to do the same.

Between the two, tube headphone amps are less common nowadays now that the world has gone digital. However, a lot of audiophiles still prefer tubes over transistors since tubes produce a warmer sound—something a lot of people enjoy.

Tube amplifiers can give your headphones or speaker more power, frequently assisting in bringing out sounds that were previously muffled and lacking.

Therefore, a tube amp is worth the cash if you want an elevated audio experience with your headphones.

To make your whole experience even better, you can also add an external DAC into your setup. Check the back panel of your amp to know whether you need a USB DAC, a Bluetooth one, or other types. I personally like the DAC X, but it can cost quite a lot.

Are cheap headphone amps worth it?

If you’re new to headphone amps, affordable ones work incredibly if you find the right one for you. There are numerous cheaper options that work in different settings you can look into.

The list of budget headphone amps above should help you find a high-performing amp without having to spend a fortune.

But if you’re a pro who wants the best out of your audio system, you might have to be ready to spend some more cash for more premium options.

While there may be some exemptions, premium amps are pricey because of the high-quality materials and intricate labor that goes into manufacturing them. Therefore, you can expect top-notch performance.

But today, there are more affordable headphone amps that blow audiophiles away with their performance. With enough research before purchasing, you can definitely find cheap headphones that are worth trying.

What is the best tube headphone amp under $500?

The best tube headphone amp under $500 is definitely the XDUOO TA-20 High-Performance Balanced Tube Headphone Amplifier from Amazon.

It promises outstanding versatility as it can function as an amp or a preamp.

It can drive almost all kinds of headphones with an impressive impedance of 6~800 ohms. This unit is easy to set up—just 5 minutes of your time, and you’ll have yourself some warm, crisp music.

It lets you hear the subtle nuances you’ve never heard before, making the music come alive. This amp also holds plenty of power, so you won’t have to hold back.

I also found that the TA-20 has no hissing at all. Essentially, this is an impressive option that will definitely give a lot of back for your buck.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading through our list of the best budget headphone amps. If you’re looking for a tube headphone amplifier, there are plenty of options to choose from to suit your personal preference.

If you’re on a budget and you want to keep it under $90, one of the best options I can attest to is the Fosi Audio T20 Bluetooth Tube Headphone Amplifier.

It’s an affordable amp designed to work well with most headphones that come in at around $90 or less. It’s pretty easy to use as well!

Now, if you’re fine working with a non-tube headphone amp, I highly recommend the Behringer Microamp HA400, which gives off a stunning audio quality without the hefty price tag.

But if you have the money to spend, I also enjoy using the Chord Mojo Black Headphone Amplifier.

And there you have it—our top picks for the best tube headphone amp under $90. If you still can’t decide which one is right for you, use our guide to help narrow down your options.


Image by MH Rhee from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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