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Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Hello   : ),

I am searching for one stereo or two mono tube amp/comp, to use with 2x JBL LSR305 monitors.
My location for search/buy is germany. I prefer looking for it on ebay (Because i don't know other platforms.)
I will have enough money in next Month(may) to buy it for up to 200€.

Would be nice if some of you who are experts.. on this topic could help me out.
I want to be able to make it sound "nicer", "warmer", and more dynamic (like inflated for example with an voxengo Elephant VST
 , which i'm using at this moment--> But i want Hardware (for sound quality and reliability...)

thanks  ::)

 

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #1
Quote
I want to be able to make it sound "nicer", "warmer", and more dynamic

A compressor, by definition, may only reduce dynamics but never increase.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression
 If you want to increase dynamics, you either want something other than compressor, or you're using your own definition of the word "dynamic".

Quote
i want Hardware (for sound quality and reliability...)

What makes you think that hardware would achieve better quality?

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #2
ok to break it down, i just want something to play with.
I want to see if hardware has better sound than software things. And as you might guess, i am not an expert or experienced.. on this topic .   : )

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #3
A tube amp isn't going to make it more dynamic.

However, if you use a single-ended triode amp that does not use feedback, they can sound 'dynamic' on account of the distortion they make.  But such an amplifier will be challenged to drive the speakers you have in mind, especially with your budget.

Pioneer made an expander unit back in the 1970s. You might look for one of those- they turn up on ebay on occasion.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #4
ok just in case i wrote it not clear:  i already own the two jbl monitors...
And so a tube amp just can add warm sound and distortion ? Is there a hearable difference to VST ?
Seems like i better stay with my jbls and my behringer equalizer..

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #5
Your speakers are active...  They already have a built-in amplifier.   You could use an "extra" amplifier in-line, but you'd want to attenuate the amp's output and you'd want an "artificial load", especially if you want to accentuate the "tube sound".

Quote
And so a tube amp just can add warm sound and distortion ?
A good amplifier (tube or solid state) won't have any sound of it's own...  It simply amplifies the signal with no audible distortion (assuming it's not over-driven), no audible frequency response deviation, and (hopefully) no audible noise.

Guitar amplifiers are an exception.   There are designed to have "pleasing distortion", especially when driven hard.   And, every guitar amp sounds different.    Of course, only the guitar is distorted...   The other instruments and vocals are usually "clean".

It is more-difficult and more-expensive to make a good tube amp.    It's cheap and easy to build a good solid state amp.  (Of course, higher power costs more.)   

Quote
Is there a hearable difference to VST ?
Sure...  Every VST will sound different and every tube amp that is not a "perfect" amplifier will sound different from any other "imperfect" amp.

BTW - Different people may have different definitions of "warm sound".

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #6
You could always try one of those inexpensive tube preamp/buffers to play with the "tube" sound.

Tube Buffer

Note that I just picked that one at random. It was the first thing that came up on a search. You'd want to research them amd read the reviews.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #7
Ok, so now i don't really know what I should think about this idea that i head.
It is kind of like, I want something that has some interesting characteristic sound (some effect box...)
but what it could be... Should I stay with VST plugins or is there any category of effects for me.

So as they are active it is clear that there should be no amplification.
I will look around and if there is something that interests me I 'm gonna post it, before i blame myself to much

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #8
Ok, so now i don't really know what I should think about this idea that i head.
It is kind of like, I want something that has some interesting characteristic sound (some effect box...)
but what it could be... Should I stay with VST plugins or is there any category of effects for me.

So as they are active it is clear that there should be no amplification.
I will look around and if there is something that interests me I 'm gonna post it, before i blame myself to much

The 'warmth' you are looking for in a tube amp is 2nd harmonic distortion, combined with a lack of higher ordered harmonics (the 5th and above). The most notorious for this are SET (single ended triode) amplifiers. The triodes themselves are quite linear, but run without feedback they can produce up to 10% THD at full power (although at full power, the higher ordered harmonics will cause it to sound harsher).

So what you might do is build or obtain a very small SET, perhaps one based on a 6SN7 or the like, IOW really low power. This you could then insert in series with your audio signal as a processor of sorts. I'm sure you could find a circuit over on DIYAudio.com.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #9
I have an ART PRO VLA II. I would recommend that. Depending on budget, some of the Manley compressors are also lovely.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #10
oh thanks, those look interesting. But you just made me realize that it would be dumb / idiotic if i would spend my money on such a device(more than 300€);
So i guess i'd rather spent my money on the things that i need and continue focusing on [emulated ? is it called that way? (VST) ] compressors / tube devices, than only have something to work on what i hear...
But what i think i could do is buy something cheap on ebay (like a preamp in used or new condition.), just to see what i get from it.
What do you think about the idea.
I mean i am just 21 years and don't have so much(money) that i could buy high end or studio grade equipment...

Someone may look on this page, they have comparison on the ART PRO VLA II, don't get to confused with the german article :D
https://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzelansicht/art-pro-vla-ii-test/2.html
I mean with that high ratio, the loudness dynamic (?)  gets so detailed, it is like stretched (Can be more heard that way?), I want this effect; Only problem on a budget (<200€ equal 242,95 $ - exchange rate from 29.04.2018)
But the main question is still would there be a difference for me between a "good" VST and a real device... (Or should i be spending money on hardware; I have beside that a  Behringer fbq3102-31 Band equalizer since ~7 years :D) ?

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #11
oh thanks, those look interesting. But you just made me realize that it would be dumb / idiotic if i would spend my money on such a device; especially on a "low budget" device, which would surely miss a lot of quality...
So i guess i'd rather spent my money on the things that i need and continue focusing on [emulated ? is it called that way? (VST) ] compressors / tube devices, than only have something to work on what i hear...
But what i think i could do is buy something cheap on ebay (like a preamp in used or new condition.), just to see what i get from it.
What do you think about the idea.
I mean i am just 21 years and don't have so much(money) that i could buy high end or studio grade equipment...
Hard to tell without knowing your true goals.
If it's just "to have something to play with" as you said earlier then it's certainly possible without spending any money at all — using DSP implemented in software (VST is one of the standards for interfacing with DSP code, but not the only, there's also LADSPA, etc.), maybe even trying developing your own DSP software if you come up with interesting ideas. There are infinite possibilities for playing without spending money.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #12
ah you want me to write my own code/dsp/vst. Why not sound interesting. I need just somebody who could help me with the first steps(what language, what program to write down the code, source for learning the language / the commands needed for that sound / audio topic...). I know little bit about programming, i once tried to learn C# some years ago(~14 y/o), but i couldn't concentrate on it, maybe because i had problems with development with my brain waves (to slow) as child(<4years old); So i quited it, even if it was  kind of easy and interesting... So first in which languae are most dsp / vst written, and how is something like the "Tube Sound" for foobar written (recomend it, sounds really nice..)

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #13
Some plugins are open source, so for those that you also like, you could look how they are done.
Language (for the actual DSP code) doesn't make a lot of difference as long as it is suitable for realtime tasks (predictable run time where you need it) and can meet acceptable performance.
From there you could search the web on stuff that's hard to understand, etc.…
Speaking of realtime programming, here's an overview of common problems/pitfalls: http://www.rossbencina.com/code/real-time-audio-programming-101-time-waits-for-nothing

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #14
ok i guess im gonna stay with VST stuff, and try not to do too much at once without knowing how they affect the sound.
Maybe i will post my dsp chain here, when i have time for taking screenshots of it.

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #15
Talking about doing audio dynamics processing -- there are several levels of quality.  It is easy to do a dynamic range expander (for example), or a AGC (compressor), but doing the gain control devices so that they sound good is an interesting challenge.  For example, almost every free 'plugin' that I have played with tends to have long attack times or have disappointing attack/decay characteristics in general.   One trick to getting good quality is the ABILITY to do a fast attack (both for compression and expansion) but without noise glitches (the worst kind of intermod) or general fuzziness coincident with HF material (more spread-out intermod.)  If you can figure out how to do a fast attack/decay (of course, you might want to vary the attack/decay times, or make them totally dynamic like some of my designs), then you are on your way to doing a really good compressor and/or expander.  There are other attributes to such a device depending on what you want it to do -- for example, do you want for it to sound the same with varying amounts of gain control, or do you want (for example) the compressor to produce more dense sound as you increase the amount of compression?
Iam starting to write some stuff on the forum on DSPrelated about doing audio processing.  I did one informal installment about 1wk ago, and I am going to take it farther about every week or two.  It will probably get far enough along in a month or two to have enough background for me to divulge a LOT of the 'magic' needed to make audio AGC (and expansion) work correctly.  IT IS NOT INTUITIVE.  As an example, I have a 60k source file containing C++ classes that just do the basic attack/decay operations, and I just came up with more good stuff that will add about 20k more lines.   Attack/decay is not just an analog of charging/discharging a capacitor with an RC delay -- if you try to do that with a fast attack/decay, it will sound terrible.   Part of the problem (and ONLY part of it) is the problem of the sample rate -- any time you do a nonlinear operation, you get sidebands that can easily wrap around because of aliasing.  It can get ugly very quickly, and sometimes when doing something new it is like being a detective trying to chase down all of the evil intermod products.  And, of course, even if you DO get rid of all of the intermod, then it has to sound good -- not every attack/decay profile sounds good...
Lots to learn but lots of fun.

John
Audio processing is VERY fun, and doing it correctly does require just a bit more than minimal DSP knowledge (I really mean it -- you don't have to be a DSP genius to do audio processing -- just know enough to be able to learn.).

Re: Searching for a tube amp / compressor

Reply #16
No i made my decision:
Software:
- Guitar Rig 5 VST ( stuff like compressor, fast comp. with makeup, Stereo tune, transient master (make quiet things louder?)...
- RC20 Retro color VST( this is just the cool sh*t  :D)
- Tube Sound Dsp
...
Hardware:
I wanna buy some cheap ebay thing to have fun with, nothing more than that.

I mean my problem is that my  mind/psyche is not capable at the moment to work with such complex and intense  think-heavy material/stuff

 
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