Valves make a digital return

The vacuum valve is to be revived in the i-Pod friendly guise of Sonic Gear’s i-Steroid amp and 2.1 speaker set.There’s something endearingly clunky a

The vacuum valve is to be revived in the i-Pod friendly guise of Sonic Gear’s i-Steroid amp and 2.1 speaker set.

There’s something endearingly clunky about the way the i-Steroid system looks: but the sound is definitely not to be sniffed at. Valves, according to the boffs on our sister mag What Hi-Fi, typically create a warmer, smoother sound without what The Register calls ‘the sharp edges of digital sound’. They’re physically warmer, too, since they heat up to fairly toasty temperatures.

So, put one in your basket, and you can be smug in the knowledge your ears are getting the best treatment in town.

The sets come in either black or white. The black version has a red trim reminiscent of LG’s Chocolate phone and – somewhat less cool - the U2 iPod. Great stuff, if you like to your hardware colour co-ordinated.

There are three i-Steroids to choose from: a 50W model, a 28W model with an FM tuner, and a 28W model without. They all come with a universal iPod dock and two remotes –one for your ‘Pod and one for your valves – and you don’t have to limit yourself to the iPod for sound either, since it can be hooked up to any audio source.

To get your hands on one, check out Play.com. They’re priced between £130 and £200.