My recording career started with vacuum tube gear, and it’s a sound I still prefer. In this episode, I tell the story of my early experience with a homemade mixer using tube mic preamps, and my reluctant transition to solid-state audio equipment and my eventual return to tubes.
There may be many reasons why tubes sound different than transistors (solid-state), and I explore some of those differences. The biggest reason may be the distortion products that exist in all amplifiers, whether they are tube or solid-state, and why our ears prefer the even-order harmonic distortion of tubes.
But tubes are not the best choice for everything, and I explain why solid-state integrated circuit op amps are a good choice in some applications.
And tubes are not appropriate for digital electronics, even though the first digital computers used vacuum tubes. I tell the story of going inside a Univac tube computer while it was operating.
Recorded with an AEA R44CXE microphone through a D.W. Fearn VT-2 vacuum tube microphone preamplifer, a Merging Technologies Hapi converter, and recorded at 24 bit/96kHz PCM. The audio was processed through a D.W. Fearn VT-5 Equalizer and VT-7 Compressor.