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Bravo Audio Ocean

Posted

Pros: design, build quality, warm sound

Cons: not for all genres

Before listening to this charming little amp, I was very skeptical about overall tube amp idea. But this amp changed my mind greatly.

First of all, I have to admit it's design and build quality - it's really great, amp looking very stylish.

As for sound, I have to mention, that it's really giving "warmth" to sound. This is hardly explainable by words, but old rock, for example, starts sounding much more pleasant. I've listened Led Zeppelin, Doors, The Who and really rediscovered some of my favorite tracks in a new way.

Also I found it sounding good with almost all genres of metal, except Nu-metal. Very nice sounding for Nile, Behemoth and other "brutals"

Only exception I need to mention - it's dance music. This it amp IMHO is not for it.

To summarize - this amp is perfect pass to tube world with affordable price of $90

LL

Posted

Pros: Adds body and smoothness without sacrificing the highs, doesnt take away too much detail,

Cons: Takes away a little of the dynamics

Bravo Audio Ocean Review:

 

Firstly I would like to thank Henry at Bravo for sending me this sample for review, I will write as honest a review possible, this amp has received well over 100hrs of burn-in due to valves needing extended burn-in time.

 

Gear Used:

iPod Classic 160gb > Silver LOD > Ocean > German Maestro GMP 400, GMP 8.35D, Final Audio Design Piano Forte X-G

Asus M50vm > iFi iDAC > Silver RCA > Ocean > German Maestro GMP 400, GMP 8.35D, Final Audio Design Piano Forte X-G

 

 

Tech Specs:

In Put Power

DC24V

Input Sensitivity

100mV

Input Impedance

100KOhm

Out-Put Impedance

20~600 Ohm

Gain

30dB

Frequency response

10Hz-60KHz +/- 0.25dB

Signal/Noise Ratio

>90dB

Dynamic range

84.6dBA(300 ohm) 89.8dBA(33 ohm)

THD

0.016%(300 ohm) 0.45%(33 ohm)I

MD + Noise:

0.045(300 ohm) 0.42(33ohm)

Dimension

115mm (D) X 82mm (W) X 78mm (H)

Input

Stereo RCA x1, Stereo 3.5mm x1

Output

Stereo 6.35mm x1

Price: $129.99

 

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:

I did not receive retail packaging, but the amp was very well packed in a foam insert, the power supply was well packaged too, the amp arrived safely with no issues.

 

Accessories are basically a power supply, that is it. I think that either some RCA-RCA or 3.5mm - RCA cables should be included, but for the price I cannot complain. Most people have plenty of interconnects laying around. Another accessory that should definitely be included are adhesive feet, as otherwise it is just metal against your desk, I purchased some quite large rubber feet for it so it would also be higher off the desk for better heat dispersion.

 

Build quality feels solid, the housing is aluminium and the finish is of high quality, but I'm not so keen on the colour, I suppose it stands out though. The volume pot is smooth to operate, the tube protector is very good, it means that if you drop it (unlikely) the tube won't break if it lands that way up. The included power supply is fine for most, unless you have big problems with noise, you shouldn't need to upgrade it. The top part of the housing is easy to remove if you want to roll tubes (12AU7 compatible).

 

 

Inputs, Tube microphonics and other info:

The Ocean is very well thought out, it has RCA inputs and a 3.5mm input, also has RCA out for use as a pre-amp, and has a 6.3mm and 3.5mm headphone out (cannot be used at the same time though). The power switch is located on the front, the LED indicator is way too bright though (easy fix, heatshrink and nail polish). I changed the LED to a green one with heatshrink applied so it doesn't reflect on the tube either.

 

Tube microphonics are not present unless you really knock the housing or the tube, using the volume knob will not create any noise through the tube. General noise is not too bad, only noticeable with sensitive headphones, which in general are not good with this kind of amp, as the amp is very powerful it is difficult to get a suitable listening volume without channel imbalance with sensitive headphones.

 

As with most tube amps, it is best to power them on and then insert the headphones, it takes about 10-20 minutes for this amp to warm up, and after that the amp does get hot, but not enough to burn, and it gets to a certain temperature and doesn't change after that. I have left the amp on overnight and had no problems with it.

 

 

Sound:

 

Well this is a budget Class A tube amp, so don't expect miracles, but for what it is I must admit it is great, when paired with the right headphones.

Paired with the Final Audio Design Piano Forte it can sometimes be overly lush as the PF are known to be on the smoother side of sound. But when listening to the right kind of music, it adds a sense of fullness to the bottom end, and finesse throughout. Listening to the Swan Lake Suite with this pairing is incredible, full and lush, with great soundstage.

Now the best pairing with this amp are the German Maestro headphones, especially the GMP 400, because the GMP 400 are very neutral but lack a little body, this amp really brings out the best in the headphones, adding that extra bit of body and fullness, without taking much away from the highs. I took this amp along to Hifiheadphones and they all had a listen to it with the GMP 400 and they may do some bundles of the German Maestro line + Ocean in the future, it was that good.

 

On the whole this amp does have that lush, natural tube sound. But I was quite surprised to find out that it did not have hugely rolled off highs like some tube amps have, it adds body and warmth without taking away the detail. The only slight downside would be a tad less dynamics in the music, it sounds a tad bit more congested. Separation on the whole is good, but it can sound a little congested sometimes, partly due to the slight decrease in dynamics, partly due to tube amps in general, as they are not known for their speed.

 

The amp is very powerful, and will power most headphones, with an exception to the Hifiman HE-6/AKG K1000 probably. I have not been able to use it as a pre-amp yet, but that added feature is there for when you need it, which makes it very versatile. For the price it is an excellent piece of kit, with the ability to tube-roll and also upgrade some components (in the future I will be testing different tubes, upgrading the MOSFET's and Capacitors). Bravo are well known for producing great budget tube amps, and I will say that the Ocean doesn't fail to please. A lot of this will depend on the headphones you have though.

 

Sound perfection rating: 8/10 (depending on pairing)

 

Posted

Pros: Build, Appearance, amount of inputs and outputs, sound

Cons: I'm not sure if the tube is easily exchangeable

Sometimes, we as audio enthusiasts want new gear to power our favorite headphones, but can't afford to spend too much.

Enter Bravo Ocean 

This hybrid tube amplifier is a gem for anyone on a budget that wants the renowned sound that a tube can bring. At $130, the Bravo Ocean is truly spectacular.

I normally find myself using this amp to power my Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro and Takstar Hi2050. Usually, I find the Hi2050 to be a bit cold and boring, but with the Bravo Ocean amp powering it, the sweet tube sound gives them the warmth that I feel they need. 
Now, with an already warm-ish headphone like the DT770, the Bravo Ocean does not make the sound become boomy or anything, however it does still add a bit of warmth, which I personally find beneficial.

Build - The Bravo Ocean is a stunning piece of gear, be it in terms of anything, including looks and build. The Ocean is very well made in my opinion. 
The body consists of smooth brushed aluminum colored in a cyan hue with a couple stripes near the middle that extend to both ends. The front and back panels are of the same kind of aluminum, except colored black. There's a metal bar that loops around the tube itself. I find the whole presentation to be gorgeous. 
The front has both a 1/4" and 1/8" headphone out. I assume the small jack is for IEMs, but it can also be used with anything that has a 1/8" termination. The volume knob, also in aluminum, and the on/off switch are on the front as well.
The back has the power supply port, a 1/8" line-in, an RCA line-in, and an RCA line-out. I normally use the RCA over the 1/8" jack for whatever reason.
 

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The Bravo Ocean has a 500mW output power, so it can power just about anything, including low-impedance dynamics. My Hi2050 is 64 Ohm, and it powers it perfectly. With the 16 Ohm dynamic IEMs that I tested, they seemed to be a little sloppy, but I still loved how they sounded.

Sound - As mentioned earlier, the Bravo Ocean has a warm sound signature. This is to be expected, as the Ocean uses a vacuum tube. I think that anything plugged into this amp sounds better.

Overall, I would give this amp a full 10/10 in performance and value. I don't think you could go wrong with it.

Posted

Pros: Compact size, large and small heaphone jacks, build quality, line out

Cons: Not quite sure on the colour

I was searching for a budget tube headphone amp and this one caught my eye just because of the colour and shape. There was very little in the way of reviews for this I could find other than a utube clip.

Having had Cmoy type amps and a few solid state amps in the $100-$200 running off a cowon S9 with various audio technica and sennheiser headphones I could not  get the sound i was looking for.

Took a risk and brought this little amp and I am very glad i did.

In my view this made my ATH-a700 and ATH-M50s sound significantly better than being driven straight from source.

The bass and sound stage depth appeared much better and i found myself listening and getting more involved in the music for hours at a time.

I think this is a great value amp which has a very rich and smooth tube sound- at this price you should not be dissapointed

Bravo Audio Ocean
Description:

Powerful dynamic and sweet TUBE sound With Shu Guang 12AU7 TUBE Multiple input output option, no more adapters. Aluminum Casing and Beautiful looking Pure Class A Tube amp, No op amp IC Low voltage, good safety Powerful for any Headphone

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