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No TT or tubes, but can you fake it?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Has anyone written digital filters to approximate the sound of vinyl or tube amplifiers? Clearly from a digital processing standpoint, it would be fairly straightforward to add distortion and the roll offs that would appear to result in the characteristically warm sounds of analogue. I not sure that this is generally desirable, but it might be fun to play with.

--PAW
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by P_A_W View Post
Has anyone written digital filters to approximate the sound of vinyl or tube amplifiers? Clearly from a digital processing standpoint, it would be fairly straightforward to add distortion and the roll offs that would appear to result in the characteristically warm sounds of analogue. I not sure that this is generally desirable, but it might be fun to play with.

--PAW
Bob Carver has duplicated the sound of tube amps with by ear changes to his SS amps, without the use of digital technology.
post #3 of 8
Sort of. I've heard hi-rez needledrops that sound remarkably like vinyl. When I get a little more time and space, I intend to pick up a pro ADC so I can rip my favorite vinyl to 24/96 digital. I still love physically using vinyl, but it would be nice to have a digital backup of everything, too. Maybe I could figure out a way to get 24/96 digital in the car - that would be amazing.

As for faking tubes, well, in some applications. For audio, a big part of the "tube" sound is putting tubes onto output transformers. Solid state tends to have a low output impedance, so solid state amps tend not to need output transformers. However, if you put output transformers on solid state, I suspect you'd get more than a little of the tube sound. McIntosh built some solid state amps with output transformers - I haven't heard one, but would really like to.

In other applications, you can't quite mimic tubes. Guitar players love tubes because of the way they distort when overdriven. Solid state distorts in an entirely different way than tubes do and there's no way to mimic that, other than maybe sampling tube distortion and playing it back. Also, tubes are great for high power linear RF amps, used for radio broadcast. Tubes handle high voltages much better than solid state will.

But for audio applications, yes, I think you can get close to the tube sound with solid state. But why would you want to? You can have a much simpler circuit and if you use common tubes, they will always be available. Solid state chips go out of production after a few years then become impossible to find. If you have a problem with solid state a few years down the road, you'll never be able to fix it. But I can still get tubes and every part I may need for my Scott 350B FM tuner, which was made in 1961. That's a major reason I stick with tubes - I hate to throw out something because it cannot be repaired. For me, solid state gear is disposable. I won't spend much on it because it cannot be repaired, just sent to the landfill or cannibalized for parts. Tube gear, however, can be kept working for decades. That's where I'll put my money.
post #4 of 8
The use of jfets and mosfets (solid state devices) in solid state equipment can mimic the sound of triode tubes, especially if used in non-optimal configurations (single ended common-drain with capacitor-coupled feedback, for example).
post #5 of 8
I seem to remember a linux player called aqualung, that had a whole bunch of LADSPA plugins including some very entertaining tubifier/vinylizer plugins. The vinylizer plugin even had settings for amount of warp, year, wow, dirtiness, etc.
post #6 of 8
Look at Winamp's iZotope Ozone plugin. It's as close as I've found to a tube-like plugin.
post #7 of 8
Sure... as vst plugins for cubase or other compatible software. Hundreds of them.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
Bob Carver has duplicated the sound of tube amps with by ear changes to his SS amps, without the use of digital technology.

Yep, he made one of his $800.00 amps sound just like a $4,000.00 tube amp and the guinea pigs couldn't tell them apart in a DBT.
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