The tube preamp / headamp kit is from Oatley Electronics in New South Wales Australia and based around the Raytheon JAN6418 sub-miniature valve (tube) and an IC. The K272 Stereo Tube Preamplifier – Headphone Driver kit cost $27AU (~$23US – August 2009). The kit is complete including a printed circuit board (PCB) which makes for easy assembly but you will need to provide your own enclosure. The kit only consumes about 12mA at 9V and can be powered with a single 9V battery making this a safe and ideal kit for those who are new to vacuum tube electronics.
The photo above is a build of the kit using the supplied parts. Since the 6418 tube are extremely microphonic and will "ring" if they are subjected to vibrations rubber grommets are used to help damp the tubes. Mark has built a number of these kits now including a few with upgraded parts (metal film resistors, polypropylene film inter-stage capacitors and a Burr-Brown OPA2134 op-amp). The photo below is a tube preamp in a plastic ABS enclosure using the kit and upgraded components.
Mark reports that the kit performs well and sounds good. The bandwidth is very wide, the -3dB points are 10Hz and 50kHz. As a preamp there is good depth, wide breadth and sharp detail revealing fine recorded detail with no hard edges. The photo below shows the kit in a plastic enclosure being used as a portable headphone amplifier.
The tube preamp / headamp kit from Oatley Electronics is well worth the $27AU price tag. For complete project details and more variations see the project page for the 6418 Tube (valve) Preamplifier / Headphone Amp Kit.
Additional Tube Headphone Amplifier Projects:
- 6DJ8 (ECC88) Tube Headphone Amplifier Project
- IRF610 MOSFET Class-A Headphone Amplifier
- DIY CMoy (Grado RA-1 clone) Headphone Amplifier
- 12AU7 (ECC82) Tube / IRF510 MOSFET Headphone Amp
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