Studio-Quality Triode-Tube iPod Speakers

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Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

40 Comments to Studio-Quality Triode-Tube iPod Speakers

  1. Smarter than all of you apparently

    If all of you have this much money to THROW the F away…why don’t you try throwing it away at homeless and underprivileged kids.

    People like you make me sick to my A$$ just hearing this drivel.

  2. My vinyl is far better than your CD,s DVD,s, Ipods, 4 grands worth of speakers n shit and the whole set up cost less than 600 quid and it sounds better than any digital crap could ever hope to sound no matter who has how many megabits, bits, kilobits and bytes. sound uses pressure waves not bloody bits.

  3. If you’re going to spend $4K on a hi-fi system, there’s much better stuff to spend your money on and that includes an iPod dock and tube amp if you so desire.

    Jay is confused between “bit depth” (16/24) and sampling bitrate for compression purposes (360kbps etc). The truth of the matter is that most people listening to a decent hi-fi *can* in fact tell the difference between a 16/44 PCM file (CD quality) and a 24/ 96 file (master quality). I have run that test multiple times. It is also true, however, that a lot of people just don’t care enough.

    I personally find it asinine that there is still no way for me to legally purchase 24/96 masters of my favorite albums that are not locked up in some proprietary format like SACD and Audio DVD. Ultimately, this attitude will lead to both of these technologies’ demise …

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that

  4. I’m going to ignore the ignorant comments like timmys and mention something that might be important to some people.

    These new tube kits really should list the tube compliment and have recommendations for where to find replacements. Tubes do not last forever, whatever else you may think of them they have a finite life, before the getter is used up and the plates are stripped. 4 years might be general rule with constant use.

  5. China (mainland) – Shenzhen Hannsonic Electronic Co. Ltd has
    introduced model HS-312, a portable speaker compatible with all
    versions of the iPod (including the Shuffle). The unit also has a 3.5mm
    stereo mini jack connection that supports other portable devices such
    as MP3/MP4 players, MD players and CD players. It is a 2.1 system, has
    a 3W per channel power output for audio left and right and 5w for
    woofer. The speaker diameter is 40mm and the frequency response is
    100Hz to 20kHz.

    This unit with touch-volume control is powered through an external AC
    adapter. An external remote can control ipod throught IPOD menu and
    volume too.
    It can charge ipod and sync.

  6. It’s VERY difficult (impossible?) to produce high fidelity with such tiny speakers. Even at $4000.00. If the thing had a headphone jack (and you owned Sennheisers!), you’d probably be better off.

    But hold on and let me make a recommendation.

    David Berning makes a toaster-oven sized triode amplifier called the MicroZOTL, and it has tons of accolades in the hi-fi world. It’s designed for exacly the same purpose as this $4K budget-breaker, but Berning’s costs about $800.00.

    http://www.davidberning.com/microzotl.htm

    For $800.00, the MicroZOTL is hand-built and numbered, and comes with both high-quality headphone and speaker jacks.

    My MicroZOTL has produced some of the best sounding music I’ve ever heard… and I’ve used it for CDs, DVD-As and SACDs.

    Okay, okay, the $4K amp/speaker combo is more compact than Bernings MicroZOTL… and comes with speakers… but it’s VERY difficult to believe then can beat Berning’s amp.

    Oh, and back in iPod gen 1 or 2, Stereophile reviewed it (at full-resolution CD quality) and deemed it an audiophile-grade device!

    -Pie

  7. what a CROCK! Tube based speakers that smooth over distortions? Right. Kind of like how Monster Cable sells SHIELDED FIBER OPTIC CABLE. Sorry, which electromagnetic interference was going to screw with the LIGHT coming through? (Although I’m a HUGE advocate of Monster Cable.)

    Try this:
    http://www.impamp.com/

    Zachary Vex’s Imp Amp. Run that through a pair of Genelec 1031As and tell me it’s “not as good.”

  8. Why are people so hung up on the “iPod” discussion??? You can use this little stereo with your Mac Mini!!! (or Shuttle PC if you want, or iMac). Then the whole point about compression / space is moot. That said… why is this thing white? $4000? Nuts!

  9. Yes, tubes do distort the recording. But it’s just that, a recording. That is, not the actual acoustics, and thus distorted to begin with. Tubes do take the unnatural edge off of recordings and smooth it over a bit. If you want absolute accuracy, that’s a bad thing. But unless you’re recording and monitoring the music, you probably want it to sound the best it can.

    This is why tubes excel at highs and mids, which handle much more detail and reveal more faults in the recording. But solid state amplification is desirable for bass, where you want every bit of detail you can get in order to keep up with the highs.

    Are these things worth $4000? I seriously doubt it. Are they worth more than $100? Undoubtedly. The tubes alone probably are.

    –Ethyriel

  10. What are you guys arguing about? This product is a TOTAL rip-off scam! All tubes do is distort audio, which is apparently what they mean by smoothing out the sound. There is nothing in this kit which should drive the price much over $100. Just about every one of their claims is an outright lie.

    Anybody stupid enough to buy this deserves to be ripped off. I hope someone files a lawsuit.

  11. Yeah, despite the lower market share, you’d think they’d be better off marketing towards something which supports flac, like the Cowon X5.

    Not that I’d buy the things, what a total waste of money considering I could get a pair of Legacy Audio Classics for that much. But then, I only use my X5 with earphones… go figure.

  12. Why bitch about compression? Anybody who spends this much money on speakers will have a 60 GB iPod, which can hold about 2,500 songs if you encode in Lossless AAC (it’s variable bit rate, so the exact number of songs will depend on the style of music). That’s enough music for anyone, and if you have more music than that iTunes will just make a random selection for you every time you plug in your iPod.

  13. Your all wrong, these speakers are amazing! They sound so much better then BMW’s sound system I just bought.

  14. I think its great that people are trying to re-introduce the tube into a popular market, but “hifi man” is right … once its compressed that quality can’t be truly regained. The majority of consumers honestly cant tell a good sounding amp when they hear it, thats why these cheap “all in one” systems are doing so well. On a sidenote, generally the kind of people that like tube amps, hate the ipod with a passion because it encourages compressed audio, which is the exact opposite of tube ideals.

  15. Distortion is not always bad. Musicians buy tude based guitar amps because they distort in an endearing way. I might also point out that every audio recording is distorted because sounds as they appear in nature are very difficult to reproduce, mainly because they have very loud transients that are often 100 times more powerfull then the average level. So it is very important how a audio system fails and the vacum tube systems produce more even order harmonics unlike the transistor based counterparts that produce odd order harmonics. The even ordered harmonics are more pleaseingf to the ear and often described as warm. That being said, I would not pay 3 grand for those speakers.

  16. >By using analog tubes as opposed to digital electronics, these speakers are able to generate warm, low-octave sound that is virtually distortion free.

    This sentence is just great. So the speakers warm the sound and are virtually distortion free at the same time? People might like tube amps better than modern ones but it’s exactly because they distort the sound.

  17. Oh and I’m not endorsing this product at all, I’m sure it’s a fantastic waste of money. It probably sounds good, but if you’re going to pay $4000 for a stereo, you should buy DVD audio disks. Poster number one does make a valid point in that once the file is compressed, that information is gone. There’s no way to get it back. With a 360kpbs file though, you don’t need it back.

  18. I have a video iPod, and I also happen to be an audio engineer, and this thing sounds great. Does it sound as good as my 24 bit 96KHz masters? No. Does it sound damn good? Yes. Why have an iPod? Well having all of your music with you ALL of the time is great.

    When i’m driving in my car can I tell the difference between a 360kbps compressed audio file and a 24 bit 96KHz file? Hell no, the road noise drowns out any chance of being able to hear that level of fidelity. Not to mention that your car speakers probably don’t produce anything over 18KHz anyway, not to mention your home stereo speakers or headphones. Not to mention the fact that the average human living in the US can’t hear above 18KHz anyway.

    As to the bit depth, I’ve done a lot of blind tests on this and I’ve never met anyone that can consistently tell the difference between a 16 bit audio CD and 360Kbps .mp3 file. Now 24 to 16 bit is a difference a lot of people can hear, and so on down to 360Kbps from 24 bit. As far as I’m concerned, anyone that claims they can hear the difference between at 360Kbps file and a 16 bit file is full of crap.

  19. Poster number 1 has NO IDEA what he’s talking about. .mp3’s as well as other file formats DO NOT cut off at 12KHz. At any rate, an IPOD will play whatever bit rate you throw at it. The iPod itself plays back 20Hz to 20KHz.

    You can cut your CD’s to your ipod with NO loss in quality if you don’t compress them as .mp3’s. Just so you know. The ipod itself plays wave files, aiff files, etc which are NOT compressed files.

  20. It may play uncompressed WAVs, but iPods actually sound worse than a CD using WAVs. I know. I’ve done it.

    Plus, why bother with a CD in full uncompressed WAV on an iPod when it takes up half your memory?

    Stupid accesory in my humble opinion.

  21. MP3 files cut off at 12 kHz, nothing gets through above that. And it is lost forever! Not what most folks would call “hi fidelity”. Still, there are fools that believe that the more expensive it is, the better it must be!!!

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