It is coming across projects like the TubeCore Duo that makes Kickstarter interesting, as this fully funded combination of bluetooth speaker and media streamer (embedded Raspberry Pi running XBMC), enclosed in a handmade wooden casing with vacuum tube pre-amp is already screaming out for a place in my living room.
While there is plenty to be said for modern designed compact speaker solutions, I’ve always had a soft spot for a slightly retro, but classy design, like the TubeCore Duo with its hardwood cabinet, colored front cloth, and the visible vacuum tube pre-amps taking center stage. This hybrid system that combines hi-fi speaker with media streaming is a box built for my living room, and with its open source heritage, one can expect some interesting developments to take place in the future as well.
The audio set up is quite impressive for its size, featuring amongst other 100W solid state amp and a 30W mono block subwoofer amp, dual 4-inch composite cone reference drivers, a 3-inch composite long-throw subwoofer (downfiring), dual single-phase vacuum tube pre-amps, Bluetooth 4.0, built in Wi-Fi, and the XBMC media center that is powered by Raspberry Pi. As they write themselves on their Kickstarter page;
“In a world of micro speakers and Lo-Fi toys, the Duo is a revival of big sound and heritage class Hi-Fi. Say good bye to compressed audio and battery operated sound and say hello to the Duo: the bluetooth hi-fi speaker, that’s wi-fi enabled and streams music and HD video through it’s onboard media center.”
This small beast is not just a speaker, but a media center, allowing you to stream movies from your network or through a connected USB storage device. At the back of the unit you have access to a variety of ports and outputs, including USB, HDMI, analog inputs, headphone jack, and more. You can control it all from your smartphone or tablet as well. Just what the living room needs.
If the TubeCore Duo can live up to expectations with great sound and media streaming on top, then this one will go straight to the top of my top gadgets of the year.
The TubeCore Duo speaker and media streamer is still available through Kickstarter with packages available from $375.