- Luxurious build quality
- Striking retro design
- Warm and detailed sound quality
- Cheap fiddly remote
- Can’t change sources with remote
Review Price £279.00
Manufacturer: Blue Aura
It’s no secret that sound quality suffers when compressing digital music for playback on iPods and MP3 players, but Blue Aura reckons its latest audio system has the answer.
The achingly gorgeous V30 Blackline is a two-channel system that uses valve technology instead of transistors to replace the warmth lost through the conversion process, hopefully bringing it closer to its original quality.
It’s primarily designed for music playback, but there’s nothing to stop you piping a Blu-ray player through it and giving movie playback a bit of a boost. In fact, the unusual beauty of the system means it deserves pride of place in the living room – it’s quite a talking point.
The v30 comprises a 2 x 20W amplifier and compact stereo speakers, but it’s the former that’ll get guests’ tongues wagging the most. The main bulk of the bodywork is covered in a flashy chrome finish, nicely complemented by faux leather side cheeks. Large chrome knobs adorn the front, allowing you to control volume and switch between sources.
But it’s on top where the interesting stuff lies. The two glowing 6n1 audio processing valves and 6e2 volume indicator valve poke up through the top panel, surrounded by a two-tiered ‘rack’ and chrome handles on either side. The volume indicator is a nice touch, with a green bar that moves up and down according to the loudness of the music. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but those who hanker after the amps of yesteryear might enjoy its retro charm.
Build quality is fantastic too. At 3.5kg it’s deceptively heavy (those handles really do come in handy) and oozes quality craftsmanship from every nook and cranny.
The same goes for the speakers. Like previous Blue Aura systems they’re dressed in a luxurious black faux leather finish with white stitching, which not only looks and feels wonderful but also enhances the overall build quality. The 175(h) x 112(w)mm cabinets won’t take up much space either, and they come with rubber desk stands for extra stability.
On the back of the amplifier are inputs for three external sources. There’s a USB port for piping in sound digitally from a PC or laptop, as well as a 3.5mm minijack input, analogue stereo input and a headphone output. These are joined by gold-plated binding posts, with matching terminals on the speakers.
The speakers use a two-way design, with a 3.5in paper cone and ¾ in soft dome tweeter, with a quoted frequency response of 55Hz – 20kHz.