Hybrid Valve Headphone Amp

4 Reviews
USD $‎169.95
We are sold out of this version but the Northern Electric Hybrid Tube Amplifiers are available.  They are essentially the same amplifier internally, only the case is branded differently.

Transform your smart phone, mp3 player, DAP, tablet, or laptop music with tube tone that fits in the palm of your hand.  This portable valve amplifier will take your audio listening to the next level while you enjoy vacuum tube tones everywhere you go.

From IMS:

Walk into the lounge of any keen Audio Enthusiast and you'll see a Tube Amplifier at the heart of their system. Why? Quite simply because the old fashioned vacuum tube amps gave the best sound. So what if there was a pocket size tube amp that would give us back the rich audio quality our smartphones so badly lack?

The Hybrid Valve Headphone Amplifier gives us back the warm rich quality sound that was lost when transistors took over from valves. Plug it in between your phone or MP3 player and your headphones. Your music now passes though real glass tubes resulting in vastly improved sound quality. It will also boost the volume so you'll now have enough power to drive your headphones.


When designing the Valve Amplifier, our first priority was to get the best sound possible. Right down to the individual resistors we've chosen components to give the lowest noise and to be virtually distortion free. We've even hand measured each tube before assembly and matched these to be within 1%.

-    Superior sound quality

-    Ultra low distortion <0.00008%

-    Ratheon 6418 Tubes

-    Burr Brown OPA2134 FET Op Amp

-    Metal Film Resistors

-    2oz Copper PCB, lead free

-    Low ESR Tantalum Capacitors

-    Output impedance 4-32 Ohms

-    750mW Output Drive

-    1800mAh Lithium Battery gives 10 hours playtime between charges

-    3.5mm audio input and output sockets

-    Micro USB charging socket

-    Overall Dimensions 105mm (H) x 59mm (W) x 14mm (D)

-    Machined from solid aluminum block resulting in high shielding from electromagnetic noise

-    Weight 90g


Made by Raytheon, makers of the patriot missile and Apollo's guidance computers. These 6418 tubes are special: You'll find these same valves in some of the best studio microphones such as the Audio Technica's AT3060.

If you bump the amplifier you will hear a slight ringing sound similar to if you tap a wine glass, this ring is called microphonics and unavoidable with many small tubes. The ringing will die down quite quickly. It's not a buzzing noise but a pure tone. When you have music playing though the amp and you knock it slightly it will be hard to hear any ringing. When you turn the amp up full volume with no music and knock it the effect will be more obvious. This is how valves behave. The upside to this annoying phenomenon is the warm rich sound which valves deliver and transistors cannot.

What's Included

-    Hybrid Tube Headphone Amp - 1

-    3.5mm to 3.5 mm interconnect - 1

-    Micro USB to USB - 1

Made in New Zealand

Additional Information

Related Websites:

Original Kickstarter Page

Head-Fi Forum Discussion

Warranty and Support Information

Warranty Period: 6 months as provided by the manufacturer, IMS

For more warranty and support visit their website: www.ims-nz.com

Ratings & Reviews

4 reviews

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Recently purchased from The Tube Store in Canada


I have previously owned two other headphone amps, as well as a hybrid pre-amp, a pre-amp that can drive speakers as well as headphones. So I am not unacquainted with the sonic improvements these amps can bring. I am also a demanding listener, who listens to and loves to hear the detail in a broad array of musical genres.�I was happy with each of those tube-enhanced amps. Each was an advance over its predecessors and each showed me new improvements in the listening experience.

But this amp is far and away the best tube-enhanced amp I have ever listened to. Every aspect of sound is improved. No noise is introduced into the system, no distortion into any instrument. But as music generally eludes our attempts to capture it in discursive speech, so do the musical effects of this amp elude our talk about it. It brings the music us to hear in a new way we have never heard it. It is simply there for us to hear: more limpid, more present, more musical than before.



I have been buying little headphone amps for about 18 years, I bought some costing $800 and more. This Amp is by far the best yet without even being broken in. I use AKG 3003I's. I love this amp and at that price you could pay at least $1000.00 to find some amp that might come close. I know I have not. I have RS amps about 6 of them and KS amps. I have been in to music all my life now at 55 years old I found one that's worth every dollar. Thank You Tube Store.

Yes I can recommend this unit highly.


Have used this headphone amp now for some days. I am using this with an Ibasso DX 90 DAP player and Beyerdynamic DT 1350 headset. I listen to FLAC files converted from CD’s or purchased as digital file. The sound quality is very good. Bass in nice and well controlled the highs are natural and voices and acoustic instruments are superb. I have no issues with the ringing. Is this addition a huge difference with the standard Ibasso headphone output? No not huge but noticeable, then always the question is the difference better or just different? I found in general the difference was better, in specific the bass and voices and acoustic instruments like trumpet, because the highs are smooth there is less fatigue. I use this unit for hours on length.�Yes I can recommend this unit highly.

Want a portable tube amp that sings?


When I first got this little amp I knew it was something special, looking through the little glass port, I could see some very high end components on the board. The sound: detailed, wide soundstage with clear sweet midrange. Adds a whole other dimension to my headphone listening. One point of note: turn the gain up only a bit on the amp, turn your source to 75 to 80 percent volume....then turn up the amp to your desired volume level. Using this method I had a jet black background. For the money vs quality, I cannot say enough good about this!!