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BlueTube Amplifier Marries Vacuum Tubes to Your Audio Gadgets

Who says new tech has to be devoid of the warmth of old tech? Not the guys at BlueTube Audio. Check out their upcoming vacuum tube amplifier.

The trend of bringing vintage design to modern products that Jill talked about in The New Old continues to roll along. Ben and Adam Clarkson have a new Kickstarter project that combines the visual richness of hand-worked wood cabinets, the goodness of old-fashioned class-A vacuum tube audio amplifiers and modern Bluetooth audio input.

The BlueTube amp and its warmly glowing vacuum tubes (Credit: BlueTube Audio)

The result is called the BlueTube Audio vacuum tube amplifier with built-in Bluetooth. It enables your iPod Touch, iPad or A2DP Bluetooth-compatible smartphone or tablet to pair wirelessly with the amplifier and pipe your tunes through its tubes. There are also two traditional auxiliary inputs (a 1/8″ jack and a pair of RCA connectors) for hooking up other audio devices such as CD players and cassette decks (remember those?).

The back panel of the BlueTube amp (Credit: BlueTube Audio)

I really like the combination of the simple power switch, volume knob and input selector on the face plate with the walnut and cherry wood cabinet. The pair of parallel metal rails on the top of the amp really give it a vintage look and feel. Finally, the cool blue glowing power button contrasts nicely with the warm orange glow of the vacuum tubes.

The wood cabinet is hand made and finished (Credit: BlueTube Audio)

Each amplifier is hand crafted and finished with oil and wax, just like the good old days. Of course, this means that you will want matching speakers too, right? Fortunately, Ben and Adam thought of that already and are building 4-inch, full-range titanium speakers with the same care and dedication.

Matching 4″ full-range speakers for the BlueTube amp (Credit: BlueTube Audio)

As a bonus, Adam Clarkson was kind enough to do a short interview with me about BlueTube Audio and the BlueTube amp.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in BlueTube Audio.

“I’m 30 years old recently married. I have been working in new product development and graphic design for the past ten years. I am the project manager for the BlueTube Audio project. I’m very passionate about what I do and I’m very excited about this new product we are releasing.”

2. How did you make the leap from agricultural products to clocks and audiophile amplifiers?

“We like to say we’re a technology company not an agricultural company. Farmers know a lot about farming and we know a lot about electronics. We try to keep it that way.”

3. Any plans for adding direct digital input (e.g., S/PDIF, optical, USB audio) to the tube amp platform in a future version?

“It’s always a possibility. Currently at the prices we’re selling these on Kickstarter we don’t have a lot of margin for adding things though if we can get the quantities up and the cost down then anything is possible.”

4. Could we see custom versions of BlueTube in the future with different kinds of wood, stain colors, etc.?

“We have considered this however we have no plans for that at this time.”

5. What other elegant combinations of form and function can we look forward to seeing you bring in the future, if you can give us any sneak peek?

“Oh we have some awesome ideas and I can’t wait to share them with you. Unfortunately that’s all I can say for now.”

Fair enough, Adam. We will all keep our eyes peeled for the surprises.

The Kickstarter project ends on December 21, 2012. So, if this is up your alley, it appears that backers will be able to acquire these at a considerable savings over those who purchase retail units.

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