Portable Tube AMP recommendations

The type of amplifier I am looking for is: a portable (battery-powered) tube or tube-sounding amplifier. Preferably with built-in bluetooth+DAC, but I’ve got a FiiO BTR5 which I can theoretically use in lieu of a built-in one.

Headphones/IEMs I use:

  • Focal Radiance
  • ZMF Verite Closed (or will do soon!)
  • Drop+Sennheiser HD6xx
  • HiFiMan Sundara
  • Moondrop Blessing2
  • 64 audio Tia Fourte Noir

My price range is: Any - I just want it to sound good.

I like to listen to: Most everything.

I will be using them for: Travel & listening in my home away from my dedicated DACs/AMPs.

I’ve looked at:

  • The Douk Audio Little Bear B4-X - I really like the size of this and the fact that it’s portable.
  • The Woo Audio WA8 - This isn’t as portable (size-wise) as the Little Bear B4-X, but supposedly sounds tubey-ier and lasts longer. No balanced output.

Neither of these devices have built-in bluetooth, although the WA8 Eclipse does have a built-in DAC.

Are there any other devices I should be considering? Is there some other non-tube device that still sounds somewhat tube-y that I should look at?

Edit1: Apparently I can’t complete sentences properly.

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Cayin N8?

I think they have another model with tube as well but not sure.

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Oh, interesting - I hadn’t even considered getting a DAP since I typically just use my phone, but now that my offline audio collection is starting to grow again, that might not be a bad choice!

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Big $$$ but well reviewed from what I recall.

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N3pro is the more affordable tube amp version by Cayin. Antdroid did a review of it recently.

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That’s the one I was kinda sorta remembering. :roll_eyes::+1:t5:

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I’ll have to look into that one, too. Thanks!

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Good and easy to move but probably not otg unless you have a backpack?.. WA8 Eclipse Headphone Amplifier / DAC — Woo Audio

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If you have the Dac sorted? then the new Cayin C9 tube amp looks the dogs with plenty of :boom::muscle:

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That looks like it’s almost exactly what I’m looking for, especially with the ability to choose between tube and solid state! Do you have any idea when it’ll actually be released? Everywhere I’m seeing it has it as pre-order.

That UK Cayin dealer says due Beginning Feb, but it maybe wise to check your own countries dealers or mail Cayin direct :+1:
john@cayin.cn(Marketing International)

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Perfect! I hope this shows up here on headphones.com - that would be super nice!

Actually, according to the head-fi forums (Cayin C9: Dual Nutube, Fully discrete Fully Balanced Class A/AB Portable Headphone Amplifier | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org) it seems the release date for this might be as soon as Jan 20, '21. Still not seeing it on any US vendor websites yet, though…

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I’ve confirmed the Jan 20, '21 date based on this Facebook post by Cayin themselves. I think I’ll give the C9 a try and see how I like it. If I find it lacking, I’ll probably sell it and go for the WA8 or the N3 Pro. I’ll probably skip the N8 unless everything else disappoints since it has the same tube as the C9, so I’d expect it to have a similar sound signature.

I reached out to MusicTek, Cayin’s US dealer for personal audio, and they said they’d be carrying it and would let me know as soon as they get it in stock.

Thanks for the help everyone!

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Cool it’ll be great to get your thoughts on it when it finally arrives :+1:

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Just preordered mine. I’ll definitely do a full write-up as soon as I get some listening in on it!

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