This is considered a rare collectors item among audiophiles. 86 owner, Laurie just sent me images of it & it got burned in my memory. I started to hunt for credible data about this head unit but never got much; most of the info below was sourced from Ebay and several audio forums.
The Panasonic CQ-TX5500W or simply ”Bb tube” is an awesome combination of modern and retro. The head unit is out of production Up until today people are hunting for one of these and used examples are selling at least for 600 USD upto some 900 USD.
The most awesome feature about it is obviously the fact it comes with an actual vacuum tube. Those couple of analog dials bathed with amber lighting and the brushed metal knobs & fascia just add up to the nostalgic warmth and seduction. Its a definite collectors item.
It might lack the flexibility and features of more modern units but seems to be praised for its outstanding performance.
Here are some specs and facts:
- Unit Size: Double Din
- Features: MP3 CD, Preamp Stage Tube, Built-In 4 Channel Amplifier, Auxillary Input, CD Changer Controls, Remote Control.
- There are two variations of the model; the CQ-TX5500W and the CQ-TX5500D. The difference is that the CQ-TX5500D is designed for the Japanese market and will not pick up radio signals in other parts of the world.
Earlier this decade, Panasonic did release another retro styled model along with the Bb Tube; a slightly cheaper & less common one, the CQ-VX5500D: