The Blue Aura v30 Blackline Tube Amplifier and Speaker System is an interesting product that I came across online and seriously wanted to audition for my new desktop audio system. I did in fact pick one up and use it for about a year in my office at work, putting about 150 hours of listening time on it. I used the stock tubes only, with the one thing I upgraded being the included speaker wire to a lower gauge. I would usually give the tubes a few minutes to warm up before playing anything to ensure I was getting the best sound this little amp could deliver, and the price of $550 is not bad for what you get.
- Type – Hybrid vacuum tube amplifier
- Tube Type – 6n1x2 and 6e2x1
- Size – 5½” x 10” x 7⅞”
- Impedance – 4/8 Ohm
At first, I used the v30 amplifier without the included speakers because I quickly discovered that no matter which speaker I used, it performed superbly. I used a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2s and Triad Inroom Silver’s about equally during the year I tested it. While the amp does have tubes, it doesn’t have the warm tube sound I was expecting to hear. It was a very natural-sounding amp, but just didn’t have the warmth you would come to expect from tubes. Another thing I did not like was, if you turned the volume above 11 o’clock, it would start to buzz a bit. However, that was rare, as most of my listening was done at lower volumes from just a few feet away while sitting at my desk. I felt the amp did a great job of providing clear audio at reasonable volumes at my desk, which is exactly what this system is designed to do.
- Tweeter – ¾” soft dome
- Woofer – 3½” paper cone
- Frequency response – 20Hz-20kHz +/- 1.5dB
- Enclosure type – MDF covered in Faux Leather
I feel these were the weakest part of the system. The WS30s were merely OK, but if you switched them out for something better, you could get a lot more sound. I also tried them with my Emotiva A-100 and thought they seemed flat with severely-lacking midrange and bass. Highs were a bit clearer, but still had room for improvement. I did however really like the rubber speaker stands that came with them, they looked and performed great. If you really must use the speakers with this system, I would suggest getting a decent subwoofer and dialing it in just right. I think that would make a significant improvement to the system’s overall sound quality. One thing that made the speakers stand out was their size, they are very small and can fit on almost any desktop.
Build quality is excellent in every way, with excellent attention to detail. Every surface feels like quality, no cheap plastic is found here. They will look like a $3000 audio system on your desk. The amp controls feel heavy, and move with click-stops. I personally prefer smooth-turning knobs to the type with detents. The remote is a cool addition, but I had this setup on my desktop and was never far from the volume knob, and only had one source hooked up. But, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. The speakers were covered in a faux leather that felt and looked amazing, I wish more speakers looked this good!
At the end of the day, this is a solid system, but don’t expect a super sweet, warm sounding tube amp. It’s very clear and clean sounding, but lacks the tube sound I was hoping for. And unless you’re tight on space, I highly recommend using better speakers to pair with the amp or a subwoofer, it will help the overall sound quality tremendously. Is the v30 my top choice? No. Is it still a good choice? Yes, but with some upgrades it can sound great for the price. More than anything though, it will look very cool on your desk.