Review: Fx Audio Tube-01 6J1 Tube Buffer HiFi Preamplifier

Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
March 2018 Issue

Fx Audio Tube-01 6J1 tube Buffer HiFi Preamplifier

The following review is dedicated to space challenged audiophiles who are looking for a small separates based
amp preamp combination that sounds good. I will be using the Fx Audio preamp with my Parasound Zamp power amp and a small pair of EMP E3B speakers. The main focus of my review will be to determine if the pair of 6J1 tubes are having any effect on the sound.

Don't be put of by the small size of this tube preamp. It might be tiny, but it can play pretty loud. While the preamp is very small, it does not appear to be cheaply built. It has a rather stately look to it and exudes confidence. Fit and finish was near perfect on my sample. Packaging of the preamp was also excellent. It is available in silver and black finish at for $35. For that price you are getting your money's worth and then some.

Reference Disc

1. Lonnie Liston Smith, Cosmic Funk & Spiritual Sounds, Track # 1, "Expansions", Track # 9, "Meditations".

The bass coming from this tiny preamp totally surprised me. The Emp speakers only have a three inch woofer but they were thumping very nicely. I placed the mini speakers on top of a large pair of vintage speakers to reinforce the bass. While listening to the song "Expansions", from the Lonnie Liston Smith cd, i also noted clear and smooth vocals. Musicality was very good, surpassing a classic Rotel integrated amp i  was listening to. The highs seemed a little fuller with the tube preamp Parasound combination. The Fx audio preamp had a little more of that colorful juicy sound that a good tube system can deliver. 

Track # 9, "Meditations", has some excellent percussion work and i noticed a solidity  of instruments that was slightly better than the Rotel integrated amp. The Fx audio preamp seemed to have a little better sense of a three dimensional sound also. Overall, however the Rotel had a more precise and cleaner sound. 

I have come to the conclusion that the Fx Audio preamp is basically a neutral preamp with a slight touch of a tube sound. I think you will have a hard time finding a cheapskate preamp that is as musical as it is. Paired with my Parasound Zamp, it exceeded my expectations of what an under $50 preamp can do. My hat's off to the mini systems of the world. 

Associated Equipment

Parasound Zamp
Audiomagic Xstream power cord
EMP E3B speakers
Klotz stereo interconnects
Cardas 300-B micro stereo interconnects
JSC Pro Sound 2210 speaker cable
Rotel  vintage integrated amp

$35? Have you forgotten a zero?
I’m using one as a volume attenuator in my bi-amped system. Planar/ribbon midrange/tweeters powered by a rebuilt Conn 7868 PP amp, and Tannoy woofers powered by a Nikko Alpha II, buffered by the little FX-Audio Tube-01. It works very well, the volume knob has a nice feel (I am one of those tactile people), and it seems to add "something" positive to the sound.
Balance of system: Benz-Micro Wood SL, Thorens TD160 modded, Benz-Micro Lukaschek PP-1 T9, Audio Experience Symphonies VR2 preamp
A good $35 CAD investment!