Brookstone Big Blue Bluetooth Amplifier (dac amp) - really?

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  1. MVDude
    Hi all. Long-time visitor, first-time poster. I have some information to contribute and then hopefully I can get some reaction.

    Believe it or not, Brookstone sells a dac amp. It's called the Big Blue Bluetooth Amplifier. It has bluetooth features, but it also works as a USB dac amp. It caught my attention because it is being sold at a clearance discount right now: $20 instead of $100. (Availability comes and goes right now.)

    Reviews about this unit are scarce. I've searched the forums here and have not seen it mentioned before. (Being Brookstone, it's probably not a device that audiophiles are clamoring to try.) However, I did some sleuthing, found the FCC page for the device, and did some more sleuthing on the chips shown in the FCC photos of the internals. I was expecting this to be junk, but it seems to have some quality components. In particular, it uses a PCM5102A dac like the Fiio E10k.

    It's made for Brookstone by Taiwanese manufacturer Vence. It's overseas clone seems to be the Ampio G3 VD6880 or maybe VD6000. It's described in the trade press (thanks Google Translate) as being positioned to compete with TEAC HA-P50SE-B and Roland Mobile UA dac amps which are $200-ish price point devices.

    Could this be a bargain basement gem? For $20 I took a chance. I'll report back here once it's in my hands. I'd appreciate any reaction anyone might have.

    Here are the details:

    FCC page (FCC ID matches Brookstone product manual):
    https://fccid.io/VHVBTVD6000

    Images of the internals are within FCC PDF documents.

    Chips seen in photos:
    Amazon Product Page:
    https://www.amazon.com/Brookstone-Big-Blue-Bluetooth-Amplifier/dp/B01N9F3FYQ

    Brookstone Product Page:
    http://www.brookstone.com/pd/big-blue-bluetooth-amplifier/311665p.html
     
    trellus, kl884347 and OldDude04 like this.
  2. OldDude04
    Thanks for the post. For $20 I just couldn't pass up trying it. I'll post back in here when I get mine as well.
     
  3. OldDude04
    Looks like it's sold out already. I tried to get a friend to get one too, and it's out of stock. I might have gotten the last one, lol.
     
  4. buke9
    How can you go wrong for $20 paid that for a burger once.
     
  5. MVDude
    In-stock status has been bouncing up and down on both Amazon and Brookstone for the last couple days. Just keep an eye on it. May very well come back. :wink: (Note: on Amazon the seller needs to be Brookstone to get the clearance price. Other 3rd party sellers may have different prices.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  6. buke9
    It's 49.99 on Amazon.
     
  7. serman005
    Brookstone sells some quality products. I am very interested in how this works out.
     
  8. MVDude
    I should have added, Amazon price will only be $20 if Brookstone is the seller. Other 3rd party sellers will have different pricing.
     
  9. Karendar
    Yeeeah. So I logged in to my VPN and it's available. :p They just tag it as out of stock for Canadians. hehe... And shipping it cross-border will cost me 3x the price of the item :\ Stupid borders and crappy CAD currency.
     
    OldDude04 likes this.
  10. buke9
    Back in stock from Brookstone
     
  11. atx
    Logged in to my 10 year old account just to say this amp is good. First bluetooth amp that sounds like wired. He-400i headphone.
     
    trellus likes this.
  12. Ynot1

    The pictures don't seem to show a couple of things that an amp would need.
    Is there a user manual perhaps with specs?
     
  13. Ynot1

    The pictures don't seem to show a couple of things that an amp would need.
    Is there a user manual perhaps with specs?
     
  14. MVDude
  15. Ynot1
    Oh boy. The manuals drawing on more questions than answers. Spdif and coaxial and no mention of distortion nor do I see any capacitors.
    I didn't see the battery so I assumed a part of the amp was not photographed. Anyway at this point I can only assume the headphone jack is the line out.
    Also bluetooth may not work with spdif because the selector separates the functions. Likewise usb and bluetooth may not work together. Only saving grace may be the aptx transmitter may work off the line in, which not too many devices can do that.

    But at the end of the day this device opens up possibilities for other manufacturers to do stuff people would like to use.
     
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