Glowing Cheaply: Inexpensive Tube Amplifiers

Tube amps are the old school favorite of audiophiles producing analog tones from a vacuum tube. Their sound and purity are classic, but, to purchase a tube amp in modern times seem impossible due to their exorbitantly high price. Thankfully, manufacturers have been able to deliver solid tube amp performance for even the budget audiophile for under $500.00.

  1. JoLida Integrated Amplifier:We love the JoLida amplifier for its beautiful retro glow and awesome looking build. Also at $450.00, it is far and away a steal for a old school sound tube amps product. While it only produces 10 watts per channel, if mated with efficient speakers, it should produce clear warm colored sound.
  2. MiniWatt N3: What the MiniWatt lacks in raw wattagen it makes up for in price and solid sound. This amp obviously needs to be mated with speakers over 90db in sensitivity (higher numbers mean it takes less power to become loud), but they will reward the listener with cheap high quality sound. Especially considering each amp only costs $378.00 dollars, it is audiophile quality at a very low price.
  3. ZVEX NanoHead: While it looks like a bad science fair project, the NanoHead delivers rich sound in a tiny almost cute package. As with all small tube amps, efficient speakers are needed to bring out the full potential of the glowing bulbs.
  4. Build your Own!: The build your own solution is one of the best out there to get the solid tube amp on the cheap. Besides, nothing beats a high quality system that has the pride of your own workmanship!