Northern Electric Hybrid Valve Headphone Amp

2 Reviews
USD $‎169.95
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 Northern Electric 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:

Ratings & Reviews

2 reviews

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Sounds amazing!


I just received your amplifier from the tube store and I love it. Sounds amazing!

Jonny Hogg


What a journey it's been.... When I first fired up this amp I was desperately underwhelmed: a seemingly flat sound, terrible microphonics, and over-bright LEDs illuminating the valves themselves. I was suffered some serious buyers' remorse. Following advice from the makers, I gave it 50+ hours burn in and kept persisting, and, call it burn in, or brain burn in, or some sort of strange audio alchemy, but this little amp got a hold of me, and it hasn't let me go. ��Paired with my Fiio X3ii and Fidelio X2s it is sonic heaven! Rich, buttery highs, tight rumbling lows and relaxed yet vibrant highs - a truly holographic soundstage and a beautifully presented overall signature, tubey but not sloppy, fun but still detailed. It makes me listen to it. It even makes me listen to albums I don't really enjoy anymore with a silly grin on my face. It works with all types of music I've thrown at it so far, from techno to rock to folk to classical. It's a flipping joy.��Lord knows it's not perfect. The microphonics, whilst better, are a bit of a bore, making me wonder how it would fare in a pocket on a walk. I still think the LED light's a tad naff. The volume pot's a bit noisy at the bottom end and it's fiddly getting it to play nicely with the source, without distortion. But, but, but.... It's all about the sound right??! In which case, it has to be five happy, addictive, silly grin inducing stars.