Low Voltage, Tube Driven, Guitar, Headphone Amp: 12K5?

I don't have room for a guitar amp right now so a headphone amp is the logical answer. I tried to find a tube driven, guitar, headphone amp but no one seems to make such a thing even as a kit. I don't really have the expertise to design my own circuit but it seems like that's the only way to get one. Would a 12K5 work for this purpose? Basically all I want is a beautiful clean sound I can listen to through headphones and I don't really want to run 200V for the purpose, if I can avoid it. Am I on the right track here?

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Try to find the July 2002 edition of Poptronics magazine (RIP, sniff...) and look on page 23 to find "The Tubester", a combo tube/solid state preamp made with a 6F5 tube and a pair of 741 opamps. This runs off 2 9V batteries and 4 D batteries. If you cannot find the magazine, I could copy the article for you.

jeff-o6 years ago
You can probably find something that meets your needs here:

flagrantfouler (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
Thanks! A lot of great kits! How would I edit a circuit designed for stereo components to EQ properly with a guitar? Could I use, say, the right channel to drive a tone stack and then use the left channel as the sole output, for example?
Ummm... I'm going to go with "probably." ;)
Re-design6 years ago
The 12K5 is a low voltage tube but only has an amp factor of 7.  Not much when you start out with a low power input from a guitar.  These types of tubes were originally designed to use in car radios before transistors became all the rage.

I found a design that uses 3 tubes for a higher amp factor. It works on 12 volts.

A small transistor preamp might be of benefit and you would still get the nice tube sound.

Here's a great little amp.  It's stereo but you could almost just cut the diagram in half for mono.  It takes 48 volts though.
flagrantfouler (author)  Re-design6 years ago
Yeah thanks! Do you have any input on the response I posted to jeff-o's answer?
keydogstony6 years ago
Not sure if you could find a Tube amp just for headsets, but there are lots of Guitar Amps for headsets for as little as $25. Google it or just check on eBay.