back to article Logic3 Valve80 thermionic iPod dock and speaker set

Logic 3, maker of accessories for gadgets such as Apple's iPods, has gone up-scale with the launch of the Valve 80 amplifier. Logic3 Valve80 Logic3's Valve80: not shabby looking Ever since the invention of the transistor, valves have been somewhat sidelined. They're bulky, expensive and take time to warm up and become …

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My irony gland just burst.

"the output can only be as good as good as the input [...] Nickleback's Rockstar"

I'm a bit puzzled about the market for this. Valve nerds will already have valve amps of better quality and, in the unlikely event that they aren't paranoid about mp3 compression, could stick a £20 iPod dock on top. And they're throwing naff speakers in. I suspect this is aimed at a style-over-sound "oh I have a valve amp" market.

Who probably listen to Nickleback ...

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Silly idea

Valves (tubes for the US readers) don't give "better" reproduction. Valve amps tend to have much higher levels of THD than solid-state ones (any real figures for the reviewed toy?) which can hide imperfections in the original source and make the music *sound* "better" to our imperfect ears. Considering all the other tricks that get played on music during the MP3 encoding process it is highly unlikely that this box will improve anything but the bank balance of the sellers.

Still, I suppose that warn red glow looks nice on a snowy day...

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Ha ha

Quote:

Thanks to audiophiles who are happy to sacrifice some convenience for better sound reproduction.

The HiFI reviews went gaga 30 years ago. A Good Valve amp is better than a cheap transistor one. But a good transistor amp is x10 better than any Valve amp. There have been plenty of rubbish valve amps too.

These are the people that believe in Litz wire for speakers, marker pens around CD edges, Gold on connectors (which is often worse), rant about "oxygen free copper" (all copper wire is the same).

The loudspeakers are weakest link and the ones in the "review " are rubbish.

A remote suggests electronic volume control. Good ones are fine, bad ones rubbish. I have an old hifi made when all electronic volume controls were rubbish. It uses a remote controlled motor to move a real mechanical volume control. This is a HYBRID amp. If it was a real valve amp it would use that motorised scheme and relays to select inputs.

This is aimed at posers.

Where is the double blind listening test with a reference amplifier?

Where are the IM, noise, distortion, frequency response figures?

I realise El Reg is not an HiFi Review mag, Which given the rubbish they print for last 20 years is probably a very good thing :-)

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Coat

Putting lipstick on a pig

The iPod sound has already been tainted by silicon. A valve amplifier is not going to make it sound any better.

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Appears to only have a valve pre-amp stage...

As far as I can tell from looking at the pictures here, it only has valves in its pre-amp stage, not its output stage. As most of the warmth and colour of tone in valve amps comes from running the output stage into saturation, this product will probably lack any serious advantage over completely solid-state amps.

For a 40WPC stereo valve amp, expect THREE large transformers, two pairs of (4" high) EL34 or similar output tubes, and probably three dual-triodes to act as line-level pre-amp and phase splitters. And, of course, for it to cost rather more than £250 :)

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@Funkster

You forgot: "...and a better signal source than a sodding iPod dock to make it worth having in the first place".

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Anonymous Coward

GIGO

It could be the best amp in the world but the ipod is kown to have an inferior output to many other players so I'm not sure exactly what the point is in "audiophile" terms.

It's also true what Funkster said - valve amps that size would be in the 3-5W range - I smell a solid state power stage.

Really it's all about the look, which I for one like but forget paying a premium for "quality".

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Oh, look!

More cheap shit from China!

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Boffin

Is it real, or is it... not Memorex?

So it isn't a real (legal, decent, honest, truthful) classic valve amp. What a surprise.

Maybe the reviewer (or an owner?) would like to look inside the box and see if anything other than the heater is actually connected on the valves.... no, surely they wouldn't put an all-silicon amplifier in a pretty box, with the valves' "transformer" just for decoration (instead, a switched mode power suppy for the heaters and a lump of concrete for weight where the transformer should be)? Surely? How would Joe Public know the difference?

Anyone who is interested in the "marker pens around CD edges" and similar concepts might also want to look at the work of one P.W. Belt. Amongst his many ideas, he says CDs sound better after you freeze and gently thaw them, and iirc he also recommends the same freeze/thaw "treatment" for connecting cables. Start at www.belt.demon.co.uk, and prepare for an interesting ride.

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Paris Hilton

Audiophiles?

Apart from seeming like a group of people who can convince themselves of anything when it comes to sound reproduction., would any "true audiophile" be using an ipod as they are accoding to reviews on El Reg pretty rubbish in the sound reproduction department.

Not that i can tell the difference between most sound sources.

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Remote Control

Note that the review does not address the lack a valve powered remote control - I think that this is the main reason for the poor aural response from the loudspeakers which are obviously confused by the mix of valve and transistor technologies in this product. Replacing the remote control with a valve design (using say a matched pair of EF80's and an array of SPMT toggle switches) and using an EM84 electric eye to indicate remote access at the amplifier would vastly improve the sound of this device and warm the hands of the user on cold winter nights.

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Logic of the third kind

... and also, beware of the Russians cutting off replacement valve supplies just when you need them.

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S

What's the point?

No self respecting audiophile would be happy listening to a lossy format like mp3. I don't really see the point of this.

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What's the point of this? Convenience?

I think for £300 you could buy a fairly decent (for the price) set of bookshelf speakers, mid-range amplifier and iPod dock from a vendor like Richer Sounds that would knock this setup apart. For a bedroom or office what is wrong with the £20 iPod Dock and £70 Amp, leaving you up to £200 to spend on the speakers (which could last you over 20 years, certainly outlasting the iPod and the iPod Dock Connector, and probably the amp)?

For the lounge you should be spending more than £300 anyway, and you certainly don't want to use the speakers included with this. They should sell a version without the speakers.

However it looks okay. Shame there's no digital audio input, but I suspect that they are amplifying the analogue audio output from the iPod anyway. I.e., amplifying something that is portable quality. Brilliant plan.

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Stop

Lets face it

any audiophile worth their salt would be feeding a digital stream to a HiFi grade DAC connected to their amp, plus they'd be starting from Apple loss-less or FLAC files not MP3 or AAC. The iPod (in all it's variants) is about convienience rather than ultimate quality. If you are going to use one then decent (not ultra HiFi) speakers or headphones are a much more cost effective solution to improving on the available sound quality.

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@steve

Valves tend to produce second harmonic distortion which is one octave up and doesn't sound horrid. Transistors tend to produce 3rd and 5th harmonics which sounds nasty even at far lower level of distortion.

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Totally pointless...

The input is mp3. No serious "audiophile" would consider mp3.

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Happy

Funny

This is about the funniest thing i have read this month, and I read some funny stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe...

...the snake oil these guys used came from that monster snake thing in Lewis' article. It would explain a lot.

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Pirate

Valve Madness

Over the last 25 years, I haven't read a single review of any type of domestic audio gear that wasn't completely pointless. One might as well read a fashion show review.

As far as this piece of kit goes, it may indeed well be that the valves are simply sitting there turning 'leccy into ordinary heat (and a tiny bit of orange glow). And even if the signal actually goes through them, you probably would't hear the difference. They might add in a bit of second harmonic (which some people like, 2nd harmonic tends to be "euphonic") but there are cheaper and less power-hungry ways to accomplish this.

The only place where valve circuitry really shines is in musical instrument amps, because it handles the tremendous dynamics (as in very high peak-to-average signal ratio) of most instruments fitted with magnetic pickups in a graceful manner, without the need for elaborate compresser/limiter circuitry.

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Boffin

"Product of the Year"

It's been done before, and slightly better - without speakers too - albeit with slightly less power...

http://www.fat-man.co.uk/docs/product_07/iTube_ValveDock.shtml

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Jobs Horns

No, rly, this is perfect.

At last, bona-fide audio fidelity for us Chosen.

The problem with sound reproduction from the iP[od/hone] has always been the clarity, realance, and texture of the output stage. This piece of kit solves all those problems in one fell swoop.

I tested it out in my depleted-uranium-lined-machanically-decoupled audio chamber just last week, and I was mesmerised, nay, entranced by the reproduction this unit is capable of. I could hear the rustle of Steve Job's shirt as he gave the famous 2002 MacWorld speech (I only put audio of or by Steve Jobs on my iP[od/hone] as anything else would ruin the delicate perfect audio balance). I could hear the sound of air swishing as He blinked!

If you demand the kind of audio quality Steve Jobs & Nathan Barley demand, you'll buy this amplifier NOW. Actually, buy TWO - and leave one sealed forever in pristine newness in it's box!

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Anonymous Coward

Better Alternitive.

A mid range Creative speaker system and a uncompressed source will do me and above all - p*ss on that supposed Valve amplifier and speakers.

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