You guys know how much of an audiophile I am, of course I’d have to try whatever audio gadget I can to find the best one that suits me and apparently, it’s a never ending upgrading cycle. Coming from the classic days, we had the tube amplifiers which were, and up until now, are highly regarded due to their very meaty tubey sound that is just so lusciously addicting! Elekit, an audio company from Japan, brings to us a portable version of their tube amplifiers. The Elekit TU-HP01. The Elekit TU-HP01 is a portable hybrid tube amplifier. It is a hybrid of both solid state amplifiers and a tube amplifier. Let me get started with the review…
Packaging: The packaging of the Elekit TU-HP01 is very simple. A standard white carton box with the Elekit sticker label, pretty much that’s it. It would have been much better if they added some flare to the packaging though. Included accessories are pretty good. You have a 2nd set of front and back plates which you can use so that the Elekit TU-HP01 could be used upside-down stacked with your portable player, in-case you need to stack it on the opposite site where the vent will be covered. There is also an extra opamp included. Yes, you heard that right “opamp”, meaning you can change the opamp to change or improve the sonic character of the Elekit TU-HP01! And yes, there’s an extre opamp with a different sound signature included!
Build: Build quality is pretty good being mostly metal and only the face plates being plastic. The Elekit TU-HP01 has the same problems with other portable tube amplifiers though, where the sound rings when the metal body is hit. Not much of an issue since other portable tube amplifiers suffer this as well.
Sound Quality: using the stock MUSES8820 opamp, the stock sound signature is a little less tube sounding, having background instruments and details to be brought up-front yet, the Elekit TU-HP01 presents them in a laidback manner which shows the “solid-state” characteristic of the amp more than it’s “tube” self. Usually, the mids would have this full-bodied thickness that really made vocals shine. It was evident with the Elekit TU-HP01, but more of a laidback full-body than a meaty one. Switching to the included OPA2604 opamp makes the Elekit TU-HP01 more tube-like sounding. It adds additional warmth and body to the overall sound. It may be a little on the colored or fun-sounding side, but it does add that necessary warmth to be more “tube sounding”. I prefer the included OPA2604 opamp to be used with the Elekit TU-HP01.
Overall: The Elekit TU-HP01 is a great alternative to the much more expensive portable tube amps such as the ALO Audio Continental V2, ALO Audio Continental V3 and Go Vibe Porta Tube. The capability to roll opamps is a great inclusion as well, adds a lot to versatility and capability to upgrade. The Elekit TU-HP01 costs around $230 which is pretty cheap for a portable tube amplifier! Awesome! Grab yours soon!