#1.ART Tube MP/C Tube Pre-Amplifier
The ART Tube MP/C is the best tube preamp in our opinion and you won’t be disappointed. This tube preamp is pretty good quality and is extremely flexible for what it’s worth. Mostly, we recommend it because it is a good bang for the buck and very good value for what it is. You won’t be disappointed!
Best Tube Preamp
- #1.ART Tube MP/C Tube Pre-Amplifier
- #2.Behringer Tube With Limiter
- #3.Nobsound Little Bear Tube Preamp
- #4.FX Audio Tube Buffer Preamplifier
- #5.Little Dot MK2 Tube Preamp
#1.ART Tube MP/C Tube Pre-Amplifier
When it comes to the best tube preamp, the ART Tube MP/C comes to mind. While it is not the best quality or most expensive, we think it offers the best value for the widest audience. It definitely more than exceeded our expectations in terms of sound. The ART Tube is very flexible and provides some good sounds for most people’s purposes.
It goes without saying that if you are particular about your sound, this may not be the right tube preamp for you. And the compressor does a great job without noticeably coloring the sound. And finally, we find the input gain to be very clean but unfortunately, the output gain is very noisy in our opinion. If you can live with this, then, by all means, get this tube preamp.
#2.Behringer Tube With Limiter
Next, we have the Behringer Tube With Limiter which is the best tube preamp for those who want a professional and cost-effective preamp for all microphone, instrument, and line-level sources. What we like about this tube preamp is mostly the price, as it is cheaper than most of the other brands we tried out there while still maintaining its integrity.
In other words, we think this is the cheapest tube preamp money can buy without dipping into junk territory. At the heart of it is a 2AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology, which delivers exceptional warmth. Also, we really like the output limiter which is complex enough to prevent the output signal from being distorted. Even when used as a high-end DI box, there is outstanding signal transparency.
#3.Nobsound Little Bear Tube Preamp
For those who are looking for the best tube preamp for turntables, the Nobsound Little Bear should be right up your alley. This is a pure tube phono preamplifier working with MM cartridge turntables. Overall, these work great out of the box but are even better once you unlock the full potential by swapping out the Chinese tubes for some really expensive driver tubes which could run your over $100.
There is a bit of an issue with humming and background noise, but this is normal for any phono preamp. To get rid of it, just attach a grounding wire to it and you should be all set. We recommend this tube preamp to anyone who wants a classic tube sound for their vinyl setup. The fit and finish is also pretty rock solid and much better than many other brands.
#4.FX Audio Tube Buffer Preamplifier
Another great option when it comes to the best tube preamp is the FX Audio Tube Buffer Preamplifier. This is a very cheap little tube preamp that can produce amazing sounds. Even if you don’t want to replace the tubes it comes with and just use them in stock, they still produce a pretty decent sound with low noise. The bass is pretty solid and the highs are airy.
Although it is designed for those who want to experiment with the tube sound for cheap, you can certainly amp it up by replacing the stock tubes and getting a power supply. You will see a ridiculous improvement. All in all, this little tube preamp is completely worth the money and if anything, you can use it as an experiment to see if you like the tube sound.
#5.Little Dot MK2 Tube Preamp
Finally, we have the Little Dot MK2 Tube Preamp, which is a great little tube preamp for beginners as well as pros. It delivers great sound with plenty of power even with the stock tubes. We think the amp is built very well and is the perfect size for most people. Also, we like the fact that the amp does not make too much noise and doesn’t have any humming issues.
Unfortunately, this tube preamp does have some pitfalls. The one very noticeable one is that you need about a 50-hour burn-in time for them to really get cranking. Also, the low end is a bit weak. Finally, we recommend that you turn it off every 4 to 6 hours and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before using it again. They can get quite hot.