Best Tube Amps for Vinyl Turntables – Review & Buyer’s Guide

Vinyl players might have pasted their golden time, but never their prime.

There is just something about them that draws us music enthusiasts in, something that cutting-edge devices do not seem to be able to grant us with.

The melodies they fill our room always carry some distinct traits – traits that even after ages of evolution, modern MP3 still fail to give.

If you agree to what we have just mentioned, then, obviously, you are a true music lover, and you love your vinyl turntable with a passion.

Then, you must have already realized the importance of a tube amp.

Are you happening to need one?

Well, just your luck, because our reviews of the best tube amps for vinyl turntables will now commence!

Little Bear T7
Little Bear T7 Vacumn Tube Mini Phono Stage RIAA MM Turntable Preamp & HiFi Tube Pre-Amplifier (Black)
Little Bear T11
Nobsound Little Bear T11 6N2/12AX7 Vacuum&Valve Tube Phono Turntable Preamplifier; MM RIAA LP Vinyl Record Player Preamp; Stereo HiFi Audio Pre-Amplifier
Pro-Ject Tube Box S2
Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 Phono Preamplifier - Black
Nobsound NS-10P
Nobsound NS-10P Mini Vacuum Tube Preamp Audio Hi-Fi Stereo Pre-Amplifier Treble & Bass Control
MUZISHARE X7 KT88
MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Push-Pull Vacuum Tube Integrated Amp Power Amplifier MM Phono amp Remote Upgrade
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Little Bear T7
Little Bear T7 Vacumn Tube Mini Phono Stage RIAA MM Turntable Preamp & HiFi Tube Pre-Amplifier (Black)
Little Bear T11
Nobsound Little Bear T11 6N2/12AX7 Vacuum&Valve Tube Phono Turntable Preamplifier; MM RIAA LP Vinyl Record Player Preamp; Stereo HiFi Audio Pre-Amplifier
Pro-Ject Tube Box S2
Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 Phono Preamplifier - Black
Nobsound NS-10P
Nobsound NS-10P Mini Vacuum Tube Preamp Audio Hi-Fi Stereo Pre-Amplifier Treble & Bass Control
MUZISHARE X7 KT88
MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Push-Pull Vacuum Tube Integrated Amp Power Amplifier MM Phono amp Remote Upgrade
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Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 5 Best Tube Amps for Vinyl Turntables

Little Bear T7

The title of the Greatest Tube Amp of all time, or at least this decade, belongs to none but Little Bear T7!

Do not be misleading by its name.

It might go by Little, but it is undoubtedly a beast when it comes to melody and sound.

Allow us to elaborate more on this. In the making of this best tube amplifier for turntable, its producer has managed to get all the components inside to work in a flawless manner.

And thus, this “little” fellow can fill your ears with extraordinarily warm sound of high fidelity, letting you immerse in the lovely lyrics of your favorite song to the fullest.

But quality features will be all for naught if the machine breaks down after just a day or two.

This is something we bet you have already been through and never wished to repeat the experience all over again.

Well, just let your mind relax.

Best Tube Amps for Vinyl Turntables

The valuable music-making ability of this device, as well as its components, is well protected under an aluminum shell.

In short, you can rest assured that this model is made to last.

But there are still some minor issues.

The producers advise you against using this for class D amplifiers due to noise-related problems.

We are not really fond of the way it works when the gain is switched to high either.

The sounds come out pretty distorted.

Little Bear T7 Vacumn Tube Mini Phono Stage RIAA MM Turntable Preamp & HiFi Tube Pre-Amplifier (Black)
  • This product can be used as a MM Turntable Preamp or a HiFi Tube Pre-Amplifier and can provide high fidelity and warm sound beyond your expectation.
  • Please do not connect T7 to any inferior Bluetooth digital amplifiers except Class T digital amplifiers, since all Class D amplifiers have very loud background noise.

Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pros

  • Amazing sounds
  • Sleek design
  • Durability

Cons

  • Noise-related issues
  • Cannot work with high gain settings

Little Bear T11

In the second place, we would like to introduce you to Little Bear T11, the very brother of our champion and also the leading tube amp for MM cartridge turntables!

We know that there are plenty of sound-enhancing products for these turntables out in the market, but we honestly think you should just push them aside and go straight to this device.

There are several reasons, but here is the most vital one: Its sound quality is beyond impressive!

The vocals and melodies coming from this device sound quite natural and open, and you can take a guess of what instrument had been implemented in the making of that very song.

To take your music experience up a notch, Little Bear T11 offers warm sound, which pleases your ear and helps your mind relax, which is what all of us need after a long and tiring day at work.

best tube amplifier for turntable

Another plus point is that this device supports a wide range of tubes, with the prime examples being the 6H2,6H2n of the 6N2 kind and the 12AX7B,6N4 of the 12AX7 kind.

As such, if you feel like increasing the quality of your music, you can always get a new set and replace what you have been using with it.

But this model, unfortunately, is not without flaw.

It only works with MM cartridge turntables and nothing else.

Plus, you might encounter some humming sounds when turning it on (this can be addressed by the metal shield accompanying the device though).

Nobsound Little Bear T11 6N2/12AX7 Vacuum&Valve Tube Phono Turntable Preamplifier; MM RIAA LP Vinyl Record Player Preamp; Stereo HiFi Audio Pre-Amplifier
  • Little Bear T11 is a pure tube phono preamplifier working with MM cartridge turntables only. Please make sure your turntable is equipped with a PHONO signal output instead of a LINE output.
  • Little Bear T11 is based on T10 with improvement. Compared to T10, T11 has lower background noise at normal volume. Its sound performance is better with increased liveness.

Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pros

  • Clear and warm sounds
  • Suitable with classical music
  • Support several tubes
  • Impressive design

Cons

  • Only work with one type of turntable
  • Humming sound

Pro-Ject Tube Box S2

Little Bear themselves seem like ideal picks for your trusty turntables themselves, but they are a little bit of a one-trick pony, only supporting one type of sound?

Meanwhile, the product of your dream has to be somewhat versatile, being able to shape the music just the way you like it?

Then Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 is what you have been looking for!

This best tube amplifier for vinyl does not come as a standalone, but with a full set of tubes, enabling you to change the sounds to your preference.

Now, tubes for amps are no longer a foreign concept, and the market is particularly bombarded with them.

But hardly any amp is sold with its own tube combo – most of the time, you will have to get some separately, and they are nowhere near cheap.

That is why this particular product can be considered top-of-the-line.

They allow you to immerse yourself in quality tunes without actually forking out a fortune!

Apart from the tubes, its quality of sounds is superior to that of other devices thanks to several other factors.

best tube amp for turntable

Case in point, its FET input stage reduces the noise to nothing.

And its body made of high-end aluminum keeps it safe from vibrations as well as the threat of electromagnetic interferences.

Still, there is one thing we find rather irritating about this model: its price!

Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 probably has had multiple potential buyers click back because of that.

But then again, you get what you pay for!

Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 Phono Preamplifier - Black
  • Suitable for MM and MC cartridges
  • Fully discreet circuit design without OpAmps
  • Ultra low noise circuitry with FET input stage
  • External power adaptor and multiple internal power supplies
  • Sandwich alu/metal casing protects from vibrations and electromagnetic interference

Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pros

  • Work for both MM and MC cartridge
  • Deliver outstanding sounds
  • Offer tubes for sound modification

Cons

  • High price

Nobsound NS-10P

Fancy the best tube amp for vinyl, but you are pretty much skint at the moment, so you are hoping to find something affordable but still delivering compelling music?

Then no doubt about it, this Nobsound NS-10P is born to play songs for you!

We must say, for something with the lowest price on the list, this product has outdone itself.

The quality of music it offers, as well as the wealth of features it houses, is definitely of higher value than its very price tag.

To begin with, let’s have a look at its sound quality – which is what makes or breaks every single tube amp on the current market.

The sounds it offers carry a decent warmth and depth, which is more than enough to please all music enthusiasts.

best tube amplifier for vinyl

And to make your experience a tad better, it even comes with treble, bass, and volume control in order for you to adjust the tune to your personal liking.

Sound performance aside, this device is also your best tube amp for vinyl if you place compactness and portability on the same level as other vital factors.

Only 2.5 inches high and less than 0.5 pounds when measured by weight, this can fit right in your pocket, allowing you to bring it everywhere you want.

Impressive as this may sound, this tube amp is only a gem when compared to all low-end products.

Sure, its music is phenomenal, but all the premium models can give the same thing, perhaps even better.

Nobsound NS-10P Mini Vacuum Tube Preamp Audio Hi-Fi Stereo Pre-Amplifier Treble & Bass Control
  • Notice: ① Preamplifier needs to work with amplifiers or active devices; ② Not PHONO preamp and can't be used for record players
  • Excellent sound performance; No background noise; Warm and soft tube sound; Sound quality enhancement; Pure tube preamplifier; Suitable for all amplifiers and music types

Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pros

  • Suitable for multiple devices
  • Cheap yet quality
  • Decent music
  • Portability

Cons

  • Everything is just so-so

MUZISHARE X7 KT88

Last but not least, we would like to present to you MUZISHARE X7 KT88, a turntable tube amp boasting extraordinary integration ability.

It is compatible with more than just your vinyl record player.

Believe it or not, this device can act as a headphone amplifier as a power amplifier – a 3-in-1 combo!

This means you can exploit it for several purposes and enjoy music at its finest.

best tube amp for vinyl

What else does this device have in store for you?

A lot! For starters, its ability covers a wide range of music, from rock, jazz, and even extends to genre worlds apart from them, such as classic country.

Of course, all the sounds coming out are all sleek and pure, and this very quality goes for all sorts of songs it plays for you.

Another point that should be mentioned that when using this tube amp for vinyl, there will never be any noise-related issue whatsoever hindering your experience!

However, this item has one single weakness, which happens to be its price.

But if budget is not that big of a concern to you, then this is a great choice for you.

MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Push-Pull Vacuum Tube Integrated Amp Power Amplifier MM Phono amp Remote Upgrade
  • MUZISHARE X7 Upgraded version. Upgraded the internal coupling capacitor, is the designer to debug the custom-made silver film capacitor, relative to the classic version of the extension, control, density is better.
  • MUZISHARE X7 is an integrated Amplifier. This is also a Power Amplifier (there is a group pre-amp input), a Headphone amplifier and this is a amplifier for Phono player too, direct link your phono player to this amplifier to output to speakers.

Last update on 2021-04-10 at 19:54 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Pros

  • high-quality device
  • powerful sound
  • cover a wide range of music

Cons

  • high price

Does Vinyl Actually Sound Better?

Well, here comes the million-dollar question that many longing for an answer, but few can offer the right one: Does vinyl actually sound better?

You may doubt the quality of these old-time music players; we get it.

It would be more surprising if you do not, in fact.

After all, no matter how you look at it, these items are nothing more than the non-upgrade versions of the MP3 and iPod the modern age grants us.

Then what chance do vinyl have to be considered an equal, let alone outmatching these cutting-edge sound blasters?

You might think of this as a joke, but vinyl, despite dating back many decades, puts all the contemporary music-related machines we have these days to shame.

And the reason behind this seeming paradox lies in the music quality they present.

When music is converted into their digital form and put into an audio file, which will later be a part of your MP3 collection, it is compressed, its size shrinks until it can barely get any smaller.

This explains how you bombard your digital device with millions of songs and still have enough space for hundreds of other things.

Of course, as the music gets “smaller” so that it fits your music player’s storage, its quality was distorted as well.

tube amplifier for turntable

Have you ever listened to your favorite song and just wondered how come it sounds so different compared to the live version?

Some of the details are missed and you can never guess what instrument being used at certain parts?

Well, this is why!

To maximize convenience, the producers of these devices have decided to compromise on quality.

Meanwhile, if this is a vinyl we are talking about, things will take a 360-degree turn.

Unlike digital music, the music of the vinyl does not go through any sort of compression or size reduction, so you can experience the tune in its true form, its truest nature.

Something as compelling and pleasant as a music concert itself.

And that, my friend, is what digital music and MP3 can never offer.

See how comes vinyl is better now?

Is it worth buying a vinyl player?

We have said this many times before, and we will say it again: If your budget allows, and you fancy yourself a true music lover, then a vinyl player is, without a shade of doubt, a worthwhile investment!

As you have already known, since we have repeated it since the start of this post, these devices let you experience the music of phenomenal quality.

Words alone cannot fully describe, but music from vinyl has a certain warmth to it, as well as a special feeling, which sets it apart from its digital counterparts – the mainstream of the music world.

Being a treat to your ears aside, a vinyl also plays a rather vital role in jazzing up a room.

You might not realize this, but having one inside your home is rather cool. It brings a sense of vintage and nostalgia straight into that chamber of yours.

And it goes without saying that the item will do a fairly good job in convincing people to trust that your taste of music is superior – After all, aside from those knowing music like the back of their hand, who would spend a fortune on anything vinyl-related?

Tube Or Solid-State Vinyl Amplifier?

Well, time to address another just as complex puzzle in the world of music as any of the matters stated above.

If a tube and a solid-state vinyl amplifier are to enter a battle, which one will prevail and walk out of a champion?

To get to the bottom of this, we must first set our focus on the criteria that pretty much decides whether a music-related item is up to the mark or down in the dumpster – their performance.

So, let’s now make a side-by-side comparison and see for ourselves which will come out on top.

If you have ever listened to music coming from two machines, you will notice that the sound of the tubes kind of features more distortion.

And while many people might think that this ruins their experience, it is, in fact, a huge benefit offered by the music device.

This might come as a surprise, but this sort of distortion is actually the harmonic one, sounding exactly like a part of the music.

We do not exactly understand how others think of it. But to us, it is pretty much similar to adding a higher tone to the melody, which is a great effect bringing your music experience one level higher.

Meanwhile, a solid-state vinyl amplifier does not let you take advantage of this cool sound enhancement feature, given that its nature is distortion reduction.

Sure, its sound is obviously many times clearer, but there is just zero extra effect that comes as a nice touch to it.

Besides, if you prefer your song sounding a bit natural, then tube amps are perhaps the more suitable options.

The chief reason is that they run on a lower amount of watts than the solid-state type.

In case you have not noticed, the tube kind’s wattage varies between 8 and 80 only, while that of the solid-state is 300.

Music sounds most impeccable with just a few watts only, and so tube amps beat solid-state in this.

Speaking of this, tube amps are also one level above their counterparts in terms of sound quality.

So, we assume that it is safe to say they have emerged as the winner.

FAQs

What kind of amplifier do I need for a turntable?

The world of amplifier stretches for miles and as you explore it, you will see that these come in all shapes and sizes.

It depends on your turntable to find one that is born to be your turntable’s mate.

If your turntable has already featured a preamp, then you only need a power amplifier to boost the sound.

But if there is not any coming along, a combo (mixed between a preamp and an amplifier) will be the most suitable option.

Do you need an amp for vinyl?

Of course, you have to get an amp to vinyl! Your music will sound at least three times better when you have one.

Aside from the fact that the tune itself will be improved, you can experience some really outstanding effects.

So, there is no reason to say no to one.

Does a preamp improve sound quality?

Yes, to some extent, it does change your sound for the better.

But this only comes to pass on the condition that you get an excellent one.

A poor-quality preamp will only turn your songs into garbage.

Why do tube amps sound better?

We have already explained this to you in the previous part.

The tube amps offer more harmonious distortion, which makes the tune higher and sounds more pleasant to the ears.

Plus, the music sounds terrific coming out of it thanks to the suitable amount of watts it runs on.

Conclusion

That’s all we want to share with you about the best tube amps for vinyl turntables.

Have you decided what to get? If not, then perhaps you would be interested in our recommendation, which is the Little Bear T7.

Compared to the other models, it might fall behind a bit, but it suits all users and does not put pressure on your budget.

Its sounds are beyond impressive as well.

And so we think you should give this one a try.

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