Monoprice had quite an interesting and varied array of products on display. Pictured above is their new 50-watt hybrid tube amp, a bigger brother to the 15-watt version they have been selling for about a year. It has Bluetooth and a single analog input. The much more generous 50 watts of power means you can use this amplifier in bigger rooms and with many more types of speakers. The 15 watts version was very limited due to its low power.
What is a “hybrid” tube amplifier? A hybrid amplifier has a solid state amplifier (to power the speakers) combined with a tube preamplifier (volume controls and switching, etc.) A pure tube amp uses tubes for everything, including the amplification. By combining tube and solid state circuits, hybrid designs attempt to give you the best of both worlds with the power and efficiency of solid state and the warmth and musicality or tubes.
The amplifier is available for $249 on its own or for $299 with a pair of Monoprice “Retro” speakers. I’ll have more about the Retro speakers in an upcoming post.