ONLINE - ISSUE 14
Glowing Divine - Blue Circle Music Pumps and Purse
Images and processing by Dave Clark
Procrastination is my middle name. I know that is an evil thing to admit to, but it is the truth. Don't tell Dave, but I am afraid we will wake up one day to no electricity, no water, and tow trucks in front of the house ready to take the two cars away. I seem to find plenty of zeal for the lesser important things in life, but not for the things I should. Things like reviewing audio equipment.
Recently, and this is the part where I cover my mouth with my hand so you can't hear exactly how recently, I had a chance to listen to the Blue Circle Audio Music Pump Mono Amplifiers and Music Purse Preamplifier. In a word, they were mesmerizing, but I'll get to that in a moment.
As I have said before, I am not a typical audiophile wife. It doesn't trouble me to have what amounts to sofa pillows tacked to the wall in the living room. I have grown accustomed to the fact that I will never have a couch facing my fireplace. I can explain the dots on the windows without batting an eye. The way things look is secondary to the way they sound.
The Music Pumps and Purse, on the other hand, could very will be considered the audiophile wife's dream. Who wouldn't want a pair of sleek Italian leather shoes and handbag? Most women would kill for such luxury. If you tore the innards out and put the shoes on your own feet they would show "cleavage"... with your toes that is. Don't laugh, I've had shoe salesmen attempt to sell me shoes based on this fact before.
The shoes that house the amplifier are designed by Pepe Jimenez and called the Lola pumps. They are unfortunately a bit too large for my puny feet as they are size eleven and a half. Gilbert Yeung, of Blue Circle, claims the idea came when he began tinkering with the idea of putting an amp in a shoe his girlfriend had purchased from Classic Pumps, a large online shoe store. Why? Because he really likes these shoes quite a lot. The idea worked, and the amp was born. It only seemed a natural progression to put the pre-amp in a purse from the same source.
Rest assured, you can specify any stock patent leather or kid leather color of the Lola pumps. The purse can be matched to the pumps. I was fortunate enough to secure a set in sexy black patent leather. My original plan was to hook them up in the bedroom, but I ended up putting them in the den. Either way, the Pumps make a stunning visual addition to your system.
If you have ever met Gilbert, you know that he leans toward the whimsical. In Montreal once, he had my son in stitches over a "hat" made of blue packing foam. At the recent CES, one of Gilbert's rooms sported a lamp made from a bathing suit. These amps and preamp are not whimsy though; this is a serious product with a serious punch.
The Pumps and Purse are subjected to the same rigorous testing that all Blue Circle products are subject to, and use the same quality parts. Don't be fooled by the fact that the power cord that comes with the Pumps is the same kind of cord that you use for Christmas tree lights. Space is at a premium here, so the on/off switch is built right into the cord. At a length of ten feet, it gives you ample amount of room to move it to just the right spot for maximum display value. Each pump is wired with a length of non-detachable speaker cable that is bare, along with a set of banana plugs. Of course, you supply your own interconnects.
Glowing divine. That was my first thought when we had the combo installed in the system. I can't get into all the technical aspects of how these Pumps are designed, but keep in mind that everything is pretty much out in the open. There's no "metal box" to hide all the innards. I'm not sure exactly which part of it was glowing, but when everything was put together, plugged in, and turned on, it lit up with a greenish glow. It was beautiful.
If you want to know more information about the construction of the Pumps, refer to www.classicpumps.com as they have presented the information in a much more detailed and succinct way than I could.
With the nuts and bolts out of the way, I sat back to actually listen to music. Music soothes the savage beast, as we all know, and when music makes me feel this relaxed and mellow I am a very happy person. As I said, in a word, I was mesmerized.
I know that all audiophiles have certain tests they use, or things they listen for. How is the bass reproduced, or the treble? What are your biases when you listen to music? I'm not as analytical when I listen, it comes down to whether or not I like the way it sounds. There are very few times when I can say that the listening experience moves me. I treasure those times, and remember the components that were in the system afterwards like young men remember the make and model of their first car.
I can safely say that the majority of magical listening experiences I've had have involved Blue Circle products. That is the primary reason why our main listening system includes the BC3000 preamplifier. I am fond of saying that before that product was a part of our system I thought music was supposed to sound flat and one-dimensional. The first time I listened to it I leaped up out of my seat to answer the phone that was ringing on the CD I was listening to.
The Music Pumps and Purse made me hallucinate. I shared that with Gilbert when I saw him last, and I think he took it the wrong way. I meant it in a positive way. Listening to music with these components relaxed me to the point where I began to drift away and solve all my problems. I had that elusive experience of becoming one with the music.
None of that helps you decide if you want them in your system though, so I will attempt to quantify it. I listened to a CD by Clinic, Walking With Thee. The music is bright and airy, full of complexities that are masked on lesser systems. With the Pumps and Purse I discovered new aspects that seemingly weren't there before. What struck me the most were the details, the three-dimensional soundstage, the well-defined bass and mid-range.
Many times when listening to music you can find yourself becoming fatigued. That was not the case this time. This was a stress free experience.
The Music Pumps are reasonably priced ($799/pair), as is the Purse ($499). They compete with much higher priced products, and deliver a pleasing style and sense of fun.
Procrastination has its merits at times. I'd much rather listen to music than sit in front of the computer on a warm summer afternoon. Wait a minute, is that a tow truck out front? I better run along and pay the bills.