Yep, tubes are back.
At this year’s CES, Samsung introduced a vacuum-tube-based sound bar, the HT-F9750W. Powering in at a gigantic 1.3KW of audio power, it incorporates Samsung’s vacuum tube and digital amplifier, as well as new Smart TV features.
The sound bar claims to offer multi-dimensional sound through a swivel speaker powered by Samsung’s version of the DTS Neo codec. The system uses a Gallium Nitride (GaN) amplifier enabling super-audible sound (I call it dog-hearing) range. Paired with a vacuum tube pre-amplifier, the Ceramic Polypropylene Injection Diaphragm (CPID) speaker expands sound resolution so “every note is distinct."
The vacuum-tube-based system also comes in a dock version, the DA-E750. Users can plug in their Android or iOS devices to achieve both a harmonized design and crystal clear audio experience.
Both the dock and sound bar use the previously very common 12AU7. Engineers over the age of 50 will recognize that tube as a ubiquitous amplifier, often used in push-pull configuration to develop maybe hundreds of watts of power.
If tubes are back, what’s next, CRT’s?
The CES spin can be found on this Engadget page.