Bravo headphone amplifier review Bravo headphone amplifier review

We love
The price, the sound, even the look
We hate
Pair it with a toddler and you’ve got a 999 case on your hands
The wide-open design means it’s a bit fragile, but the rock-bottom price tag and that warm tube sound make the Bravo a winner
Launch Price
3 Pages

Bravo headphone amplifier

The Bravo headphone amplifier is a way to bypass the cruddy headphone socket on your laptop or hi-fi amplifier without being lumbered with another great big piece of kit, or indeed a similar-sized price tag. Does its sound quality deserve a round of applause or to be boo’d off stage though? Find out in our Bravo headphone amplifier review.

Even if you’ve got a decent amplifier in your home setup, there’s a very good chance that its headphone output will be rubbish. Noisy or just plain weedy-sounding, it’s no way to treat a good pair of headphones – here’s where the Bravo headphone amplifier steps in.

It takes either a line or phono input from whatever source you fancy, whether a £2000 CD player or a five quid MP3 player, passes it through a load of circuitry and a hi-fi tube and into your ears. Does the Bravo amp make any difference though?

Read our Sennheiser HD 650 review now

Well, we certainly found it did. We checked it out with a handful of sources, from our trusty old iPod Classic to a £2k home cinema amp, and in every case the Bravo headphone amplifier improved the sound. It wasn’t just pesky interference noise it got rid of either.

The Bravo headphone amp warmed-up the sound too, making harsh bits in songs sound that bit smoother without smothering-away any detail – as might happen when EQ’ing away a harsh treble. We also found that it widened the soundstage when used with a quality pair of headphones like the Sennheiser HD650s too, making your music sound, well, bigger.

For all these improvements offered, the Bravo headphone amplifier is both dinky and cheap. Most professionally-made budget headphone amplifiers will cost you over twice the price, and here you’re still getting a real sonic improvement. Plus, if you catch the audiophile bug, you can easily change the tube used in the Bravo because it sticks right out of the top of the thing.

While the Bravo feels professionally made, everything’s on show – not just the tube. The sides are open and the see-through Perspex used means you can see every chip and transistor. Add in the chav-tinged blue LED that lights-up the tube and you’ve got yourself an acquired taste, but it’s one we quickly grew to love.

You do need to keep it away from tiny wandering hands and paws though – not only is the tube made from glass but the heatsinks form part of the Bravo headphone amplifier’s protective armour, and they get damn hot. Heat’s a factor with any tube amp though. In fact, side and lovely warm sound aside, the only thing the Bravo hasn’t replicated from a much higher-end tube amp is the price.

  • Rafi

    Why don’t you put links to the company/store web sites for these reviews, then we can just click to buy?

    • James Holland

      There’s a price comparison box below the review whenever our shopping partner can find a price for it. We’re working to improve it though Rafi – so thanks for the comment, and if you have any other ideas for features you’d like, drop me a line: Cheers!

      • Filipe De Sousa

        Why the hell don’t you just post a link to the manufacturer’s website though, that’s fair enough that you have you a shopping partner, but by-gum geebus, I’d like a direct link to the site of the company. Just common sense really. Especially when the shopping partner hasn’t turned up a match, which makes it doubly important to provide users with some decent information of how to acquire one.

        • James Holland

          Thanks Filipe, we’re actually doing that. Check out recent reviews and you’ll see links towards the end where appropriate.

  • Pressure Pros

    Waiting on a v2 with the 12au7 tube on the slow boat from China. Can’t wait to hear the improvement with my Senn 555HD’s.

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