Affordable Tube Amps in Europe?
Apr 17, 2007 at 6:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10


Headphoneus Supremus
Jul 20, 2005
I'm aware that Head-Fi is largely US-centric, but I'm on the lookout for decent, somewhat affordable headphone tube amps in Europe (Austria, specifically). Maybe some European members could help me.

So far I know that some Chinese-made amps are available via eBay, like the Darkvoice or Little Dot amps. But other Asians, like the Bada or Doge don't seem to be available here.

It's even worse with American amps, like the Woo Audio, Mapletree, Antique Soundlab, etc. - they're nowhere to be found. Importing one of these amps to Austria would cost a lot of money, our customs taxes are really high, annoying, and strict.

Furthermore, I don't know any European tube amp manufacturer that makes amps for less than, say, $1000...

I'd prefer to not spend half of the money on customs/duty/taxes, if possible. My favorite so far would be the Woo Audio 3+ or 6, but those obviously are only available in the USA, there's no reseller in Europe.

I'm really not fixated on any amp yet, I just know I want to try a decent affordable tube amp, and they're really hard to find in Europe. Does anyone know any links or hints where to look at?
Apr 17, 2007 at 10:30 PM Post #2 of 10
I have a Little Dot II+ Tube amp for sale from UK. Please email me if interested.
Apr 17, 2007 at 10:57 PM Post #3 of 10
Perhaps the Rudistor RP5.1?
Apr 18, 2007 at 9:24 AM Post #4 of 10

there are some alternatives in Germany, I think you won't have problems with Austrian customs/taxation when buying here ... but I'm not shure :)

1. Meyer Audio - Corda Eartube;

2. An online shop called ... tubedoctor or tubedoc or something like that, they sell tubes and also Ear Max Amps - you can find the shop via google;

3. Musical Fidelity XCan V3 might also be an option.
Apr 19, 2007 at 10:40 AM Post #6 of 10
Thanks for all your suggestions, they're very helpful.

The Rudistor, XCan v3, and Corda Eartube are a little over my budget, I'm afraid - and to be honest, for a first tube amp I'd like one where I can see the tubes.
For that kind of money I'd like to get the pretty light show... very unessential, I know. But maybe some of you can understand me... it's my first foray into tubes.

The Dared MP-5 completely slipped my mind, I've seen it before, but I've forgotten about it already. This one's the easiest to get, it seems - three distributors in Austria alone. But from what I read, it's a hybrid amp with a SS output stage, and it's not very good with headphones (hum or hiss). I don't really need the power amp, neither the DAC. But it still seems to be a rather good, not too expensive option for starters. I mailed all three Austrian distributors already, the price is between 350 and 400 Euros.

The less expensive Earmax only works with high impedance phones, more than 200 Ohms (which I don't have... yet), seems the more expensive version of this amp would be the way to go. Thanks Frienes, the site you mentioned is

So it's mainly Darkvoice vs. Little Dot vs. Dared vs. Earmax...

On a side note, I'm trying to get an acquaintance, an airline pilot, to get me a Woo Audio 3+ or 6 from the USA, but I'm not certain if that will work. The Woo amps should sound really "tube-y" from what I read - and their drool-inducing industrial design is the best, IMO. Even better looking than the $30.000 Lamm ML2.1 amps.

If someone else knows of some other underdog amp that's noteworthy, I'm all ears - thanks for any more suggestions.
Apr 19, 2007 at 10:44 AM Post #7 of 10
theres one I think called timester that is available here, plus there is an ebay seller called timaudio that is based in germany and often has amp that ship from germany which will avoid your duties etc.

Apr 19, 2007 at 12:50 PM Post #8 of 10
Personally, with the euro/$us ratio, I think it's worth risking custom fees. You get a 30% discount from the USD price and the worst case scenario is 30% of the total amount (price+shipping). You're still winning.

Plus you can always ask the seller to make a dummy invoice or to send it as a gift/used item or commercial sample.

I agree it's a gamble but mathematically, you cant loose
Apr 20, 2007 at 8:45 AM Post #10 of 10
Cayin has a German Web site with the HA-1A listed:-

I'm in the UK and didn't pay import taxes on my DarkVoice when it was shipped from China. I don't know if the Austrian authorities are more rigorous in charging taxes.

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