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The iMPAMP, The World’s Smallest Tube Amp

By David Ponce

I’ll be the first to admit, I know next to nothing about good quality sound. I’m as much of an audiophile as I’m a cigar connoisseur. Yet, I’ve heard a mumble or two, here and there about how analog sound can be better than digital, how you lose something or other through audio compression codecs, etc. And somehow, somewhere in all of this, I’ve concocted the impression that good ole vacuum tubes used in conjunction with music are something good.

That’s why, staring at the iMPAMP from designer Zachary Vex, I get the feeling I should smile the smile of the enlightened dimwit. The amplifier pumps out a tiny 1W, and to

squeeze everything into such a tiny space, the iMP uses a pair of sub-miniature 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.”

Uh huh, seems nice… It’s $525. If you’re musically inclined, you can get some more details here. Story VIA Retro Thing.