The 10 Best Vacuum Tube Amplifiers
This wiki has been updated 8 times since it was first published in January of 2019. Vacuum tube amplifiers have been around for a long time, and many enthusiasts claim they provide a warmer, fuller profile than solid-state devices. If you're a stickler when it comes to high-fidelity audio and insist on top-of-the-line components, the right valve model will almost certainly fulfill your needs. Here are some of the most iconic, affordable, and high-performing options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
November 13, 2020:
There has been a number of changes made with this latest revision of our ranking, starting with the addition of the small-but-powerful Fosi Audio T20. Despite its size, it offers plenty of useful features including Bluetooth connectivity, giving you valve performance via your digital devices at a very affordable price.
Next comes the Reisong A10, which has impressive sound and build quality, although it is basic in its functionality. Those looking for a stripped-down, good value option to perform the fundamental tasks expected of an amplifier might consider this model, although it's worth noting that output levels are quite low and it is not ideally paired with larger speakers.
We then replaced the rather dated Luxman MQ-88U with the Willsenton R8, as both these popular models are comparable in price, but the latter boasts a VU display on its faceplate, LEDs to signify channel selection, and has a remote control.
The BoyuuRange MT-34 MKII is a powerful and sturdy mid-range model, with simple functionality. It does, however, have three input channels, is switchable between ultra-linear and triode mode, and has a high signal to noise ratio, making it well-worthy of a place on our list.
Finally, we included the Muzishare X7 in our ranking, replacing the Dynaco ST-70, as while the latter is a classic in its own right, it is prohibitively expensive for most, and decidedly lacking in features. In contrast, our new choice has exceptional sound quality at a fraction of the price, pumping out a maximum of 45 watts per channel on ultra-linear mode. Add to this dual VU meters, a remote control, and a built-in phono preamp, and this professional-sounding unit excels on many levels.
February 07, 2019:
There's a massive sect of devout audiophiles who wouldn't be caught dead listening to their music collection using a solid-state amplifier. If you're among them, you're in luck, because there are countless tube-driven amps available, and they look and sound better than ever. The Dynaco ST-70 has sold more units in its three generations than nearly anything else on the planet, and that's no accident; it's an excellent device in nearly every respect — though it does cost a premium. The Yaqin MC-13S, on the other hand, delivers almost as good an experience, so much so that most listeners will be more than satisfied with it, and it is comparatively affordable. And if you're on a budget, you won't be disappointed by the Nobsound. Even tighter budgets should have no problem with the Rockville Blutube, which is relatively popular, and extremely affordable. The Dared and the Gemtune BL-02 are interesting options, as they combine old-school valve technology with modern features like Bluetooth, for the best of both worlds. And the Gemtune GS-01 is a solid choice for a mid-range amp that offers high-end sound. If you're really looking for the best, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than the Luxman, but be prepared to shell out quite a bit of dough. And for one of the best and most affordable headphone models, the relatively new Loxjie is tough to beat, whether your cans are single- or balanced-input models.
Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 Established in 1955, this small manufacturer of high-quality amplifiers set the standard with the Stereo-70 in 1959. Now, many generations later, this model has stayed fundamentally true to its original version and is the most popular tube amplifier ever made, with over 300,000 produced, thanks to its distortion-free tones and faithful sound reproduction. dynaco.com