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iPod speaker rig returns to valve amplification era

Higher fidelity?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Some in the audiophile world mourn the passing of the thermionic valve, out-evolved by the transistor and integrated circuit. Valves, they maintain, make for a warmer sound and better audio fidelity. But now the vacuum valve is back, revived for the iPod era in the i-Steroid amp and 2.1 speaker combo.

UK distributor ODS has brought Sonic Gear's i-Steroid to our shores, offering two versions through its retail partners: one black, other white, though the black model's red trim makes it more suitable, perhaps, for the U2 iPod than the regular midnight-hued model.

sonic gear i-steroid 2 valve amp and 2.1 speakers

There are three types of i-Steroid, offering either 28W RMS output or 50W. The 28W model comes in two forms one with and the other without an FM tuner. All three ship with a universal iPod dock and a pair of remote controls: one for the iPod, the other for the i-Steroid. Dock and amp connect via 3.5mm earphone jacks and sockets, so i-Steroid can be used with other sounds sources too.

According to ODS, the valves smoothen the sharp edges of digital sound "producing a 'natural' signal which is more pleasing to the ear". They're less noisy than transistor-based amps but no less long-lasting, the company claimed.

And the claimed audio improvements even come despite lossless compression music formats' inherently sub-CD sound quality.</p

sonic gear i-steroid fm valve amp and 2.1 speakers

ODS said the i-Steroid line is currently available through a number of UK resellers, including Play.com, Easy iShop and MobileFun. Available now, prices range from around £130 to £200. ®

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