Dr. Gregory L. Charvat

Battery Powered Tube Pre-Amp

Battery Powered Vacuum Tube Microphone Pre-Amplifier for the Purpose of “bootlegging” a Concert

Battery powered tube pre-amplifier:

  • 2 channels
  • gain > 50 dB
  • Requires 12 VDC power source
  • Internal 12 VDC to 170 VDC power supply
  • Built out of a pair of 12AX7 West German ‘Computer Tubes’
Battery powered tube preamplifier schematic


This is a two stage, two channel (pre-and post gain adjustable) battery powered tube pre-amplifier. Microphones or other sources can be plugged into this unit. It is very portable and easy to use. This unit runs on 8 AA batteries and should last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. It has an internal high voltage power supply that is regulated to 80 volts or so using zener diodes. I have received many inquires asking for the schematic to this pre-amp. This is built out of a pair of 12AX7’s (West German ‘Computer Tubes’) and an HV supply made out of a 555 timer, a TDA series 2 Watt audio amp chip, and an old military surplus audio transformer (see grey can on top of chassis).

Schematics and Notes

Caution! High voltage. Do not attempt to build anything shown here unless you have taken proper high voltage training. The high voltage present in this tube design is deadly.

Download System Architecture

Portable Tube Preamplifier Photos

Photos of the insides of the portable tube preamplifier.