Bravo Audio Ocean Review - The Budget Headphone Tube Amplifier
Tube amps are not as common as they once were, well, not at a reasonable price. Yes some other companies manage to produce absolutely incredible amps through the use of tubes but usually they also attach an incredible entry fee to that world of “warm” analogue sound. Bravo have been recognised by the community for some time now and in the first part of our coverage of Bravo Audio we are going to have a look at the one that made them famous. The Bravo Audio Ocean.
THE MEAT OF THE REVIEW
Bravo Audio Ocean - Packaging (7/10)
Very basic and very simple it keeps the total cost down. The amp is very well packaged in dense foam cut to fit the unit and we have no doubts that their should be no problem in receiving the item in working condition. This sturdy packaging we would consider essential as most buyers will be importing the amp from international distributors, the amp has no room to move around and there is more than enough foam in there to survive knocks and drops. The box is standard cardboard with the Bravo Audio logo on the outside.
Bravo Audio Ocean - Accessories – (7/10)
Not to many accessories are included, just the essentials that you need to get going. Basically a Power adapter, we are based in the UK and our unit came with the appropriate connector which is a nice touch meaning we don’t have to fumble around with adapters and convertors which is usually the case when ordering many electrical goods from China.
Bravo Audio Ocean - Looks and Build Quality – (8/10)
We love it. A very cool little desktop amp made even cooler with that little glass tube poking out the top. Tube amp designs just look a whole lot more interesting than traditional amps which are usually just a box with a few dials. Bravo have gone with an aqua finish on the ocean which fits the product well and makes it unique and recognisable to us geeks. On the back there are to options for line in and one for line out as well as the port for the power supply. The front is simple and clean with the volume control, 1/4
and 3.5mm headphone out sockets, power LED indicator and a sweet flickable on off switch. The top of the amp has the tube sticking out the top which is user replaceable and there is also a nice touch of a protective bar which runs over the top to protect against dropping the unit or dropping something on the top.
Bravo Audio Ocean - Sound Quality (8/10)
The amp uses a 12AU7 tube which in the past has served us well for creating a sound that has a warm and mid centric sound. Generally this was the case with the Ocean as well which is just the way we like it here. Drivability certainly wasn't an issue as this amp packs some serious power in a small package. It is after all a class A amp and we were able to drive our LCD2 with no noticeable power issues present.
Down to the nitty gritty now and we can say that the Ocean is an incredible sounding amp that punches way above its price point. What you are going to get is an amp that is warm, analogue-esq and buttery buttery smooth. Anything in the mid range sounded excellent, providing a rich and engaging presentation that makes vocals and guitars very enjoyable but truth be told it performed well over most genres.
Detail levels are good but due to it being a tube amp its not super clean. This is a feature found in most tube products though and most buyers will be fans on that liquid smooth sound and know what they are getting in to. On a personal level I find tubes to provide an extremely relaxing and enjoyable experience with low levels of fatigue and high levels of connection with the artist. Listening to something like Two steps from hell or Diana Krall just seems like it is the way it was meant to sound, natural and inspiring.
Highs - Highs were smooth and a touch laid back, not a hint of sibilance was present and detail levels were good but not incredible.
Mids- The mid range was truly excellent, it just made me want to listen more and more stringed instruments as well as male and female vocals were presented beautifully and it was hard to want to stop listening to these genres to move on to others. Well done Bravo.
Lows - Strong powerful and clear but not overly boomy is the best way to describe them. There is some good warm bass here but it remains punchy right down low the lowest levels and never bleeds over to distract from those beautiful mids.
Bravo Audio Ocean Tube Amplifier Review - CONCLUSION
The Bravo Audio Ocean sure is a hell of a lot of value for money. You get loads of power and a unique sound that a lot of non tube competitors just cannot provide due to their design. When it comes to other tube amps I really would find it a hard job to recommend anything else even at double the price of the Bravo. We have actually had a fair few tube amps in over the past year which range all at a similar price point but they have been flawed to the point that we refused to feature them. With that in mind Bravo have made an absolute standout unit that is a great entry point for those that want to get into the world of tubes.
In Put Power DC24V
Input Sensitivity 100mV
Input Impedance 100KOhm
Out-Put Impedance 20~600 Ohm
Frequency response 10Hz-60KHz +/- 0.25dB
Signal/Noise Ratio >90dB
Dynamic range 84.6dBA(300 ohm) 89.8dBA(33 ohm)
THD 0.016%(300 ohm) 0.45%(33 ohm)I
MD + Noise: 0.045(300 ohm) 0.42(33ohm)
Dimension 115mm (D) X 82mm (W) X 78mm (H)
Input Stereo RCA x1, Stereo 3.5mm x1
Output Stereo 6.35mm x1