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Re: Tubes in Pre-amps: your expertise and honest opinion.

On 2-Jan-07, at 8:31 AM, margaret noble wrote:

> Hello List,
> I recently purchased a cheap tube pre-amp by Art for
> my autoharp. I couldn't believe because it seemed to
> sound as good as if not better then my Presonus
> pre-amp (which has no tube).

> Now, i have heard it to be widely accepted that many
> prefer tubes because they create a warmer sound. So i
> read a bit to see if i could understand why?

The Presonus is very good. I bought one many years ago, based on  
recommendations from colleges and reviews. I still don't feel any  
need to get something more modern, tubes or not. The Presonus sounds  
so good in pair with my AKG C 414 B-TL2 (the only better set-up I've  
tried was two borrowed Neuman U-69). I've used the Presonus at live  
concerts as well, playing sax close mic through it.

Speaking about recording I have ran into two particular situations  
where a pre amp, as the Presonus, does not give me the best result.  
The first is when sampling analog synthesizers (to build sample  
instrument packages for sampler playback), where I found out that you  
achieve a more true sound by plugging the analog synth output  
directly into the recorder (computer audio interface). The other  
situation is when recording electric guitar for the purpose of sound  
design libraries that will ship to computer aided producers. These  
people tend to use software (Guitar Amp Pro, NI's Guitar Rack etc  
etc) to emulate amp and speaker cabinet, usually a real loudspeaker's  
sonic character caught as impulse response and applied to the sound I  
deliver. What I do then is to use a 50w tube amp top,  Sovtek mig-60  
(12AX7A tubes, similar in sound the Marshall Plexi) but recording  
directly from the line output instead of sticking a mic to the cab.  
By this method I get the harmonic overtone distortion added by the  
preamp tubes (making even clean sound more "musical") so the user of  
the sample library can run this recording through the power amp and  
speaker cabinet impulse response software of his own choice. This  
little 12AX roundtrip does a lot to the sound.

> how would i know technically (besides listening) if i
> have a SE tube or a PP tube from specs in my manual
> that read "Tube Type: 12AX7A hand selected"?

I don't dare even trying to answer that. I always listen and fell  
fully confident with making my decision based on how different gear  
sounds. But there are also other aspects on gear, besides how it  
sounds. Even though I love the tube sound of my Sovtek I prefer to  
use a little solid state combo, Gallien-Krüger with two 10" speakers,  
when I play electric guitar live, simply because its faster response  

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
www.looproom.com (international)
http://tinyurl.com/fauvm (podcast)