Bluetooth speakers tend to trade sound quality for a compact form factor and portability — but not this monstrosity. Looking like a contraption you’d find in Willy Wonka’s factory, this vacuum tube amp promises to vastly improve the sound of music streaming from your mobile device.
Many audiophiles swear that vacuum tube-based amplifiers produce warmer, distortion-free tones, thanks to a better signal-to-noise ratio than transistors — and this amp includes two 6N3 tubes generating 20 watts per channel.
However, you can only improve the sound of a compressed digital file that’s been stripped of its subtle frequencies so much. Which is why this $US1,800 amp also includes analogue inputs for connecting SACD players, or even a good old record player.
Paired with a great set of speakers (which aren’t included), this amp could certainly help your streaming music sound its best, but don’t expect any miracles with the low bitrate files you pulled off Napster many years ago. [Hammacher Schlemmer via 7Gadgets]