The BIT88 package includes, one BIT88 unit, a power transformer, and user guide. Make sure you request the correct power transformer, depending on your country's power source. (110v or 230v). Unfortunately the package does not come with the required audio cables to setup everything. This was kind of annoying since I was so eager to listen to the BIT88 and only to find out that there are no cables. Therefore make sure where you're going to attach the BIT88 and get the required audio cables at the time of purchase. Another thing I wished it would be revised is the power transformer connector. The BIT88 uses a 4-pin DIN connector, and as a result, if one day the transformer fails, you're compelled to get one from 1388 technology Pte LTD. It would have been much better if they had resort a normal transformer, which could be easily purchased in case of failure.
As for the physical installation there was hardly anything to do. Looking at the rear of the BIT88 you can see 4 connectors. Right on top you can see 2 sets of RCA jacks. If you plan on hooking up the BIT88 to your home stereo system, then it's most likely that you'll be using these 2 jacks. If you prefer having it with your PC like me, then the 35mm jacks are your option.
The TestsI must admit this has been the most enjoyable testing I have ever done so far. First I wanted to see how well the BIT88 performs on average sets of speakers. Most of us don't enjoy the aspect of spending a great deal of cash on speakers, so we decided to see whether the BIT88 would stand its ground even on average speaker systems. Therefore we hooked the BIT88 to our three piece Diamond Audio Promedia 3025 speaker system. I didn't want to use any MP3 file at first since it cannot match the quality of a good .wav file. So after inserting a hard rock CD I sat back to enjoy the music.
At first I thought I was dreaming, then I did come to the realization that the sound was in fact coming from these cheap speakers of mine. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine these speakers would sound so good. The punch and depth was so great, I was a bit worried that the sub might rip apart. As for the trebles and mid range, it was certainly much better than what I had heard for so long from these speakers, however it didn't really give out that crisp quality I was expecting. A quick mail by Joe Lee (One of the designers of the BIT88) revealed that I had to keep the BIT88 running for at least 24Hrs in order to get the peak performance from it. The vacuum tube needs to be heated up to its optimum level to get the best sound clarity. So early next morning again I turned on the same CD. This time everything was simply perfect. The bass, trebles, and mid-ranges were all well balanced and the natural crispness of the treble was certainly fantastic. I never really thought the BIT88 would sound as good as it does, and I can very confidently say that this is exceptionally good because, I have yet to receive any kind of criticism from my friends to whom I demonstrated the unit to. What I'm saying here is not merely my opinion, but the collective thoughts of many. Rarely do you see a product, which pleases everybody without any questions, and the BIT88 falls right in that category.
Next we decided to test the BIT88 on one of our stereo systems. It's a decent setup with four 100RMS Mission Speakers and a 150RMS Sub (which seems to have no name, but works just fine). I wished the BIT88 had a fibre optic digital out, so that we could enjoy true 5.1 DTS surround sound. We couldn't attach all the speakers to the BIT88 since it has only two inputs, which is another problem of the BIT88. (For those who want to enjoy 5.1 surround sound will have to get two BIT88's, which is not the most sensible investment.After installing everything I proceeded to play some classical music. This is a CD I take around normally when I hunt for speakers. After listening to the CD for a while, I was impressed, but not as much as before. Not that it sounded bad; however I preferred the sound without the BIT88. Now this could be just my taste and believe me, tastes in music can vary from every individual greatly. Something I found out is that the BIT88 needs to be kept turned on all the time, so that the vacuum tube is kept heated constantly. This could be the reason why I was not too impressed with the sound of classical music.Next we tried out the BIT88 again on our PC, this time to test the gaming performance. We loaded up NFS5 and for some reason or the other I was hearing more background noises than I have ever heard from this game in the normal setup. Even the 3D surround sound effect was simply fantastic. Actually now that I tested it out, I'd rather have the BIT88 used mainly for gaming, since the sound enhancement is so amazing. What makes me respect the BIT88 so much is that, it was able to do all this with only a mere 3 piece speaker system. One can wonder how it'll be in a 5 piece speaker setup.