Juicy Music is like the maverick in the hifi World. You just need to see its product lineup and how they are named and you will understand why. The Blueberry Xtreme looks like an old school preamp (like a vintage McIntosh with its wooden cabinets) from yesteryears but given an “updated” facelift. The controls are fairly straightforward and functions with the sole purpose of providing sweet music to the user/listener. Although it looks “old school”, it sounded nothing like one. When we compared it with the much more expensive Marantz 7 preamp, the Blueberry Xtreme sounded almost as good. Not on par but close and we mean really close. It may not have the richly textured layering of the Marantz but it possessed a certain level of clarity and dimensionality that really impressed us. Depending on the different brand of tubes used, you could have an almost black background or the usual slight tube hiss when the volume is cranked way up. Vocals are the Blueberry’s best friend. It was projected with “soul” in out listening room and did wonderfully well with jazz and classical music. Hard rock or electric can sound a bit confused and reserved so you may want to consider other alternatives. The phono stage on the unit is really good for the money but it is its line inputs that we love. Tube complements are 1 x ECC83S, 2 x 12AT7, 1 x DJ8 and an 1 x 12×4 rectifier tube. This unit is a tube rollers delight. And with high quality parts used in its circuitry and real wood for its cabinet, the Blueberry Xtreme is the “aspiring” audiophile’s dream machine.
Cosmetically, the preamp looks really good. Some minor scuff marks here and there but nothing major. Current set of tubes inside tested out fine but we always encourage the new buyer to have a new set ready to replace them whenever the need arises or you just want to tube roll the unit. We don’t have the original box but will securely pack it for safe shipping.