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GINI iTube review: GINI iTube

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The Good The GINI iTube has excellent sound quality; adds warmth to compressed files; can be used with non-iPods.

The Bad The GINI iTube is bulky and to some eyes, ugly; must add iConec (or equivalent) dock accessory for ultimate iPod integration.

The Bottom Line The vacuum tube-equipped GINI iTube speaker system may not not be beautiful nor is it a household name, but its sounds great.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 7
  • Performance 9

0823 GINI iTube speaker

Looking for a different kind of iPod speaker system? GINI's iTube not only looks different, it's got remarkably decent sound quality thanks in part to its vacuum tube amplifier system. It's true that this $349 system brings out the warmth often missing from digital music, but we must admit that this three-piece speaker system isn't the prettiest thing we've seen.

GINI Systems is known for producing pricey tube amplifiers (such as the $20,000 Audio Space Reference One). Tube amplification is generally known to produce warmer and more natural sounds than the smaller, more typical, and more cost-effective solid-state transistor. Here's GINI's explanation with diagrams.

Made in China, the iTube (not to be confused with the i-Steroid) features a vacuum tube meshed with solid-state electronics and the results are pretty nice. The system includes the odd-looking main amplifier unit, which measures about 12 by 9 by 7.5 inches. A solid piece of white, laquered wood surrounds the vacuum tube, which juts out of the top section of the iTube (which is covered by a plastic roof). Incidentally, the tube lights up with a cool, white color when powered. The 18-watt subwoofer is also integrated (More specs here).

Strangely enough, the front controller panel looks just like an iPod Click Wheel. But, the wheel is a tactile five-way controller and is not touch sensitive. Press up and down for bass, left and right for volume, and the center button to mute the system.

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