KT88 Power Tubes

Last modified on April 5th, 2010

I spent the last hour before bed last night searching out the type of tubes I want to use my home amplifier. Generally you need at least three variants – one for the power supply rectification, one set for the pre-amps, and one set for the power amplifier prior to the speakers. There are lots of different ones to choose from, each with its own unique set of pros and cons.

One of the most well known power tubes for home audio is the KT88. Not only does it produce a really great tone, but it has a cool shape which I think would look really nice on the chassis. The KT88 pictured above is a reissue of a popular Gold Lion variant. While I’m sure it doesn’t have the exact sound as its vintage counterpart, the reviews on it are quite excellent. Unfortunately it’s not very cheap, running approximately $100 USD for a matched pair, or around $200 for a matched quad. How many I will ultimately need will be decided by the type of amplifier I build and how much power I’d like it to be able to output, neither of which I know at this point.

3 responses to “KT88 Power Tubes”

  1. Do the tubes for home audio differ substantially from the tubes sold for guitar amps? Just wondering if there might be a deal in an alternate channel, like these



  2. Duane Storey says:

    No, for the most part the tubes are the same. Although, most tube amps for electric guitars purposefully run the tubes such that they clip, or at least produce non-linear results (i.e. distortion). The goal for most hi-fi amps is to never clip, and to be as linear as possible. But both of these are controlled by mostly the biasing point of the tubes, not the tubes themselves.

  3. Duane Storey says:

    Right now I think I’ll be building my amp with one 12AX7s as the pre-amp (there are actually two triodes in each tube, so I’ll probably put two pre-amp stages per channel) and a final KT88 power stage.

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