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Vacuum tube speakers … for digital music?

Sections: Audio, CES, Home Audio, Household, Portable Audio, Trade Shows

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There are plenty of techies who dig the retro scene for their gadgets. You know who you are – dude with the old school telephone ring tone on your $300+ PDA. Acoustic Research (owned by Audiovox) has gone a bit extra retro with their CES 2007 offering, the AR4131 blackVault 2.1 Speaker System, a high-end speaker system with a built-in 30-pin iPod dock and a vacuum tube amplifier. Yep, vacuum tubes. You know, those glowy little glass things you used to need in radios and TVs in the 1950s. It is supposed to help provide a warmer sound quality but at the very least, it ads some visual dynamics to the speaker. The AR4131 also inputs so you can also listen to CD players, PCs or other MP3 players, a subwoofer amplifier (with an installed vacuum tube), a Universal Dock for iPod, two speakers, wire, an auxiliary input cable, remote control, iPod dock seat and – thanks goodness – a spare vacuum tube. The Acoustic Research blackVault 2.1 Speaker System will be available in February for $199.

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Here are some performance specs for all you audiophiles:

  • Sound-pressure level (SPL): 96 dB at 3 feet
  • Frequency response (-3 dB)
  • Subwoofer channel: 50 Hz – 160 Hz
  • Left/right channels: 100 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Radio
  • Subwoofer channel: greater than 75 dB
  • Left/right channels: greater than 80 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion
    • Subwoofer: less than 0.1% at 1 watt
    • Left/right channel: less than 0.05% at 1 watt
  • Left and right channel separation: greater than 50 dB
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Site [Acoustic Research/Audiovox]

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    One Comment

    1. Very good, very applicable
      Total Harmonic Distortion

      Subwoofer: less than 0.1% at 1 watt

      Left/right channel: less than 0.05% at 1 watt

      nylon tube