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The Best TUBE (only please) D/A converter? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 18th September 2016
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The Best TUBE (only please) D/A converter?

The Best High-end TUBE based D/A converter? (Edit: Or possibly diode (good transient repsonse/wide frequency response for bitstream)
Old 18th September 2016
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There is only one that i know of actually
Old 18th September 2016
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There is only JCF.
Old 19th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC View Post
There is only JCF.
Then I'm sure its the best.
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Then I'm sure its the best.
And the worst
Old 20th September 2016
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Originally Posted by t-bone View Post
And the worst
Old 20th September 2016
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Manley made one in the 90s. Why do you need it to be tube? Don't you want it to be accurate and reliable?
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Manley made one in the 90s. Why do you need it to be tube? Don't you want it to be accurate and reliable?
Do you feel that tube electronics are not accurate or reliable?
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
Do you feel that tube electronics are not accurate or reliable?
Well, they are until they aren't. Tubes go bad eventually, and constant adjustment to make sure your stereo balance is correct is needed. Ask yourself why mastering guys tend to use solid state amps?
Old 20th September 2016
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Let me put it this way: I use a tube compressor on my stereo bus. I always have to run a tone before a mix and balance it. And when one tube goes bad, you swap the pair, and hope the output is similar to the last pair. Unless I'm using it for my listening enjoyment, I'll take a Solid state DAC please.
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Well, they are until they aren't. Tubes go bad eventually, and constant adjustment to make sure your stereo balance is correct is needed. Ask yourself why mastering guys tend to use solid state amps?
I guess that's also why converters with tubes are so uncommon. Good thinking. I was really thinking of mono devices when I asked the question, not devices that require close L/R matching.
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Well, they are until they aren't. Tubes go bad eventually, and constant adjustment to make sure your stereo balance is correct is needed. Ask yourself why mastering guys tend to use solid state amps?
Ill ask Brian Lucey
Old 20th September 2016
  #13
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Why would one use a tube DAC anyway? Wouldn't that give a false impression of what your transients are doing in your mixes? Sincere question.
Old 20th September 2016
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Since tubes are always deforming transients...? Afaik tubes can be extremly fast. The bigger problem are the transformers that are needed in most tube circuits I think.
On topic:
http://www.lampizator.eu/Fikus/DAC_GOLDEN_GATE.html
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Since tubes are always deforming transients...? Afaik tubes can be extremly fast. The bigger problem are the transformers that are needed in most tube circuits I think.
On topic:
DAC GOLDEN GATE

No. "Deform" is not the right term. Tubes do "soften" transients however, IME. I have not heard a piece of tube gear that does not have this softening quality to some extent. I would not want this for my monitoring chain. How would you know when your snare or mandolin has the right amount of transient detail vs being too poky for example?
Old 20th September 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Why would one use a tube DAC anyway? Wouldn't that give a false impression of what your transients are doing in your mixes? Sincere question.
Ah, well in this instance it is a multitrack DAC, 8 channel I think.. So its application intended more for mixing down playback, than accurate monitoring.. If you think about it like that, it makes sense, kinda like all those old pro multitrack tape machines back yonder full of transformers and discrete amp blocks (ampex/3M/MCI etc), sure theyve got gobs of colour, but its not a 2 track critical monitoring thing...
Funny though saying that, I bet that JCF tube converter sounds more accurate and just better than most IC based on the market.. the guy who makes em really knows what the "*^% he's doing, I'd even not be suprised if he knows things most of the other don't.
Old 20th September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PartHunter View Post
Ah, well in this instance it is a multitrack DAC, 8 channel I think.. So its application intended more for mixing down playback, than accurate monitoring.. If you think about it like that, it makes sense, kinda like all those old pro multitrack tape machines back yonder full of transformers and discrete amp blocks (ampex/3M/MCI etc), sure theyve got gobs of colour, but its not a 2 track critical monitoring thing...
Funny though saying that, I bet that JCF tube converter sounds more accurate and just better than most IC based on the market.. the guy who makes em really knows what the "*^% he's doing, I'd even not be suprised if he knows things most of the other don't.


Yes that makes perfect sense if it's an 8 channel DAC. I'm sure that the jcf sounds phenomenal.
Old 21st September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
No. "Deform" is not the right term. Tubes do "soften" transients however, IME. I have not heard a piece of tube gear that does not have this softening quality to some extent. I would not want this for my monitoring chain. How would you know when your snare or mandolin has the right amount of transient detail vs being too poky for example?
Because your speakers, room and ear can handle the transient without "softening"...? As I said that softening effect is afaik not the fault of the tubes as more of the circuit around. A lot of people seem to love this blurry "tube sound", but not all tube gear has to sound like that.
For me it sounds like a theoretical discussion as I heard quite some solid state gear that alters the transient too (and adds other artefacts that I do not want in my monitoring chain too. So its always a trade off between artefacts and one should search for the ones that means the least individual compromise.
Old 21st September 2016
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A 'real' tube DAC would look something like this but hundreds of times bigger...



It would bump up your electricity bills by quite a bit.
Old 21st September 2016
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Tube gear passes the leading edge transient. Talk to some old time gear designers. They laugh everytime the read how tube change the transient. Only in a bad design would this really happen. Come to think of it, there is a lot of bad, cheap tube equipment out there that does this, so I think that is what a lot of people have been exposed to and where this confusion comes from.
Old 21st September 2016
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tubes don't change transients, they do however change harmonics. worrying about tubes changing transients in a converter is pointless, because the actual format changes transients a great deal, as is widely known. i'd love to see more tube converters, but the price will be hiiiigh, i suppose.
Old 21st September 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Tube gear passes the leading edge transient. Talk to some old time gear designers. They laugh everytime the read how tube change the transient. Only in a bad design would this really happen. Come to think of it, there is a lot of bad, cheap tube equipment out there that does this, so I think that is what a lot of people have been exposed to and where this confusion comes from.

I hear what you are saying and perhaps should not have used that terminology, e.g. "softening transients". That's just the way my ears hear it. Even on high end Tube gear. I even hear this effect on your recordings using your Langevin/Electrodyne pres you've posted. It's a beautiful thing, no doubt. I did not mean to imply otherwise. My point was that if I had a DAC which did this (for monitoring) what happens when you mix a tune but the listener is hearing your material on cheap converters instead of a similar tube converter like yours, as most do? What happens when they apply the smiley curve on their MP3 players lifting the top end as a result?





Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
tubes don't change transients, they do however change harmonics. worrying about tubes changing transients in a converter is pointless, because the actual format changes transients a great deal, as is widely known. i'd love to see more tube converters, but the price will be hiiiigh, i suppose.

Thanks for this clarification. Perhaps this is a more technical way to describe the effect I hear. Having this harmonic change (only in your monitoring chain) means you aren't really hearing the frequencies the music is emitting properly. Am I wrong about this?
Old 22nd September 2016
  #23
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it means you may hear things in a different light.......

like those colour enhancing filters on digital photos that we are all so fond of using.

Convertors are the one place you really do want a wire with gain setup.

If one wants to colour things up a bit, then just buy a bunch of line level transformers and wire things up.
http://www.lundahl.se/wp-content/upl...heets/1540.pdf
http://www.lundahl.se/wp-content/upl...heets/1524.pdf

I was going to do this myself a wile back to sit between the SSL and AVID convertors. didn't get round to it, then did a major upgrade with 46 channels of outboard.....didn't feel the need after that.

But I think its a great DIY project to do on ones own
Old 23rd September 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Why would one use a tube DAC anyway? Wouldn't that give a false impression of what your transients are doing in your mixes? Sincere question.
well if it is just the line stage, yes it can do that. but if the Ito V stage ( the passive rc circuit after the DAC ic) is replaced by a tube it has a superior sound that you can never get out of ic's or DOA with transformers.

I wished I didn't run low of cash 3 years ago, because I sold it. I would let you borrow it. However, after I'm finished with the pile of projects I'm doing, I'll go back a make a few and lend you one just to see how you think about it.
Old 23rd September 2016
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Old 23rd September 2016
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Originally Posted by drtechno View Post
well if it is just the line stage, yes it can do that. but if the Ito V stage ( the passive rc circuit after the DAC ic) is replaced by a tube it has a superior sound that you can never get out of ic's or DOA with transformers.

I wished I didn't run low of cash 3 years ago, because I sold it. I would let you borrow it. However, after I'm finished with the pile of projects I'm doing, I'll go back a make a few and lend you one just to see how you think about it.


I think there may be a misunderstanding of my question in this thread. Just for clarification, I totally and completely agree with you all about tubes having a hifi sound that can rival and even surpass IC and SS gear in some ways. My experience is that the higher end tube gear is more clean sounding than the mid level stuff. So when I reach for tube gear, I'm usually reaching for mid level because I want color and character. I can get clean and clear all day long from many of the fantastic SS gear being made nowadays.


My first post was only referring to a DAC for monitoring. In other words a DAC that has no affect on the actual source material. I see it kind of like using a set of speakers that make everything sound good. Why would I want that for my monitoring chain? I want something flat. I want something that tells me what's going on without adding anything to what's already there.


When I made my first post I did not realize this was an 8 channel DAC for summing/mixing. If I'm summing, going through the tube DAC then into a console then that sounds reasonable, especially if my console doesn't have a unique sonic character. However, I'll gladly take you up on lending me some tube converters or any other tube gear you'd like me to hear.
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