Following the success of there most recent Kickstarter campaign for the BT-4, BlueTube Audio has announced pre-orders for their third crowd-funding project, the BT-6 vacuum tube amplifier.
As an artistic endeavor, I can appreciate the design elements here, and visually they have succeeded in creating an aesthetically pleasing decoration. I’m sure the glow of the exposed tubes, atop the hand crafted 3/4″ thick walnut and cherry enclosure would make for a handsome addition to any home office. In contrast, what is under the hood may seem somewhat underwhelming..
The receiver allows you to hook up stereo analog sources up via an RCA cable or to connect digitally via bluetooth (lossy 16bit. A2DP). I can overlook the lack of balanced inputs at this price level, but with the increased availability of more high definition digital audio sources, it would be nice to see a better digital input and conversion option on a $1500 receiver/amp.
The MSRP seems a little steep for an 8 watt per channel tube amp. If it’s the tubes that make you want this product, there are definitely some comparable, but not-so-pretty, options out there at a fraction of the cost. Glow Audio has some pretty cool products in this niche- but I digress….
As a set, this BlueTube unit seems like it would be best suited for a small room – bookshelf-type application (or would that be a fire hazard?). The little 4″, 87db companion speakers also look like fine furniture, but at 25 watts, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be a good companion for any of my McIntosh tube amps. The company bills the speakers as ” .. full range titanium cone speakers that look as good as they sound.” .. I’d guess they look better –
BlueTube Audio seems to be sticking with a slogan that doesn’t fit their product (as featured in the promo vid):
“There is only one reason to invest in a tube amplifier…To thoroughly enjoy your music as it was intended to be heard.”
What does that even mean? .. Who intends their music to be heard after being compressed and streamed through a lossy bluetooth radio protocol, and then pooped out at 8 watts, to 4 inch, 87db speakers?
The truth is you aren’t going to fix low quality audio by amplifying it with a Tube. This set looks incredible, and that’s what gives it value. I would be impressed if, while waiting for my dental appointment, I saw this beauty in the corner of the waiting room. I’m sure it sounds lovely, but it’s not an audiophile’s dream come true.
Most importantly: Make sure you get in on the crowd funding discounts if you think having one will get you laid!