World's Smallest Tube Amp
By James Grahame
The iMPAMP by Z.Vex is a truly tiny stereo tube amplifier from designer Zachary Vex. Intended for use with iPodish things, it puts out an itty-bitty 1W per channel. To squeeze everything into such a tiny space, the iMP uses a pair of subminiature Philips JAN 6021W vacuum tubes manufactured in the mid 1980s. Vex comments "These tubes represent the height of civilization's investment in tube technology. There was nothing better ever made."
Some might question the sanity of hooking a tube amplifier to an mp3 player, but you can feed it more refined audio sources as well. Vex also uses the iMP with his Clear Audio turntable, a preamp, and a pair of Monitor Audio Gold speakers with surprisingly good results.
The iMP sells for $525 and measures an almost sub-atomic 4.4"x 3.3" x 3.3" (that's 111mm x 76mm x 76mm in the metric world). This little jewel was mentioned by Tom at Music Thing a while back. Since then they've reworked the site and added some interesting videos of the iMP in action.