Looks extraordinary – (don’t) wait until you hear it – Valve80

I found this product being promoted on the back of I Create magazine. Which gave me the pretext for thinking a little about authenticity and how we like to be reassured about real quality. Its a premium product and sorry guys I just don't buy it. Here's the deal. We have for the most part switched from listening to music on  CD (16 bit quality) to mp3s which are a fraction of the size by virtue of throwing lots of the data away. MP3 is lo fi – I repeat lo fi. And here's a company which propose that by putting your ipod through a good old fashioned valve amplifier they can make the music sound unbelievable.

They can't. They can warm up the sound putting it through those wonderful looking valves which look so cool on top of the amplifier. But they can't amplify what was taken out in the first place. This is like taking a Big Mac and putting it on a Wedgewood plate – doesn't turn it into a restaurant quality meal. Now this may be rather like Mr Kipling cakes. We all know its lofi and a welldesigned gizmo makes us feel as if we are getting hifi sound. A useful example of borrowed authenticity. What concerns me is that any retailer who dares to sell this alongside genuine hifi products is undermining them. Valves as style instead of valves as substance. We are in the middle of a collapse of consumer confidence. Products like these remind us that if people get the idea that its all smoke and mirrors they may stop buying altogether. The Valve80  looks the business but it can't deliver it.



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