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Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier

Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier

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Amplify Sound, Not Price

Despite appearances, you don’t have to shell out a small fortune for a high-performance headphone amplifier. Producers of some of the most affordable tube amps around, Bravo Audio packs an absurd amount of power into its products for the price tags. One of the company's most popular models, the Bravo V2 features an open-air design and a high-quality tube, making for exquisite sound.

Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier

Inner Tube

In addition to just looking cool, the open-air design lets in more air flow and results in optimal cooling. Set in the middle of the device, a Shu Guan 12AU7 tube produces a warm sound signature that brightens up your music without blowing it out. This makes it the ideal dance partner to a darker set of headphones, like the Sennheiser HD 650. As the V2 uses 12AU7 / ECC82 standard tubes, the parts can be easily swapped out if you’re into tube rolling.

Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier
Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier

Little Package, Big Power

The V2 supports output impedances between 20 and 600 ohms, letting you power everything from Audio-Technica ATH M50s to the Beyerdynamic DT880 600-ohm edition. Accepting both RCA and 1/8-inch inputs, the Bravo V2 amp pairs well with a DAC and works just fine on its own. If you’re ready for high performance at a low cost, it’s time to call for an encore.

Bravo V2 Headphone Amplifier

Specs

  • Bravo Audio
  • Class-A tube amp
  • Shu Guan 12AU7 tube
  • Inputs: RCA and 1/8 in (3.5 mm)
  • Input power: DC 24 V
  • Input sensitivity: 100 mV
  • Input impedance: 100 kohms
  • Output impedance: 20–600 ohms
  • Gain: 30 dB
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz - 60 kHz +/- 0.25 dB
  • Signal to noise ratio: > 90 dB
  • Dynamic range: 84.6 dBA (300 ohms), 89.8 dBA (33 ohms)
  • THD: 0.016% (300 ohms), 0.045% (33 ohms)
  • MD + noise: 0.045 (300 ohms), 0.42 (33 ohms)
  • Dimensions: 3.11 x 3.11 x 1.73 in (79 x 79 x 44 mm) 

Shipping

All orders will be shipped by Massdrop.

Estimated ship date is Aug 2, 2018 PT.

After the drop ends, payment will be collected and the group’s order will be submitted to the vendor up front, making all sales final. Check the discussion page for updates on your order.

Recent Activity

In case anyone's looking to mod this V2: - I don't understand why people spend dozens of dollars (or Euros) on any ECC82 or 12AU7 to 'tube roll.' It's a waste. The provided Chinese tube is adequate. If you want to improve the sound slightly, try swapping in any American 12AU7 or similar, or any European ECC82. You won't notice much sonic difference, but you may feel better--especially if you can find a pretty 'Bugle Boy' ECC82 or a nice Mullard. Those are pretty. (I have a few 12AU7s lying around, but had to reject two of them because they're noisy. I did find a good GE 12AU7A, and that's what I'm using.) - The capacitors in the amp look OK. The ones in my amp look like they were made by Rubycon and Nippon Chemicon. If those are really made by those companies, then they're decent quality parts. They are 85degC rated parts. Upgrading to 105degC rated parts could be a little helpful. Also, the installed caps are 25V-rated parts. Upgrading to 35V-rated parts might make for a tiny improvement. Changing those to higher quality parts might make a tiny difference, but I would not expect any major difference. Probably nothing audible in the end. - The one big attainable difference would be to replace the IRF630 output MOSFETs (source followers) with IRF510, IRL510, IRF530, or IRL530. Why? Because the input capacitance of the IRF630 is a whopping 800pF (picoFarads), while the IRF510 (and IRL510) input capacitance is MUCH lower at 180pF. High input capacitance in the MOSFET is likely to cause an audible high frequency roll-off when driven by a 12AU7/ECC82 run with only 16V on its plate and very low plate (anode) current. That means the 12AU7 will be running with high internal resistance (rp), which would appear to be in series with the output MOSFET gate (input). That series resistance (R) with parallel capacitance (C) will make a low pass filter (LPF). If the 12AU7 rp is 15k ohms, and the input capacitance of the MOSFET is 200pF, the -3dB down point of the resulting LPF will be about 50kHz. That means its -1dB down point would be within the audible frequency range. In other words, it will have slightly muffled highs. Maybe worse than slightly muffled, depending on the quality of the IRF630 used. Now if we replace that IRF630 with a (known to be good-quality) IRF510, the input capacitance should be reduced to somewhere around 50pF. R = 15k ohms and C = 50pF, so f3 (-3dB down point) = 212kHz. The -1dB point will now be above 20kHz. That's a BIG difference in the highs! One thing I've seen is that people say the IRF510 or IRL510 will run much hotter than the original IRF630. The current to that MOSFET is set by the LM317 voltage regulator IC, which is being used as a current sink (current regulator). The only schematic I could find for this amp (http://bilder.hifi-forum.de/max/415727/bravo-v2-schematic_691080.png) shows an IRF510 used as the output source follower, with the LM317 set to 167mA current. If there's 15V across the MOSFET, with 167mA (0.167A) drain-source current, that means the MOSFET would be dissipating 2.5W of heat. The supplied heatsink should be able to deal with that. It could be that the people who are replacing the IRF630 with an IRL510 are not adjusting the value of the current setting resistor for the LM317 (R7 7R5 in the schematic linked above). Perhaps it's the LM317 that runs much hotter after IRF510 MOSFETs are installed? Perhaps R7 can be increased in value (to 10 ohms?) so that there's less current being drawn by the IRF530, and less heat needs to be dissipated by the heatsink on the LM317. I'll try to replace the IRF630 MOSFETs with a couple of IRF510 I have in a drawer somewhere, and report back. If I can replace the 1000uF 25V caps with better ones that will fit, I'll do that too. That's the output (DC-blocking) cap from the MOSFET source (C4 in the linked schematic), which is directly in series with the signal to the headphones. A better part there should make an audible difference, but might not. The only better caps I have are Nichicon MUSE, which are bigger than the ones supplied, and might not fit physically. We'll have to see...