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So what does really good tube distortion sound like?
Old 1 week ago
  #91
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Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I haven't really liked any of the Xcalibur clips, but the HG2 is interesting.
I'm going to try and process some mono files through both units today before I have to give the Xcalibur back. Vocal clips and bass especially.
Old 1 week ago
  #92
Eric Clapton, a Les Paul and a Marshall super lead 100, add Jack Bruce for spice.
Old 1 week ago
  #93
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Squawk's Avatar
Some more examples of the Xcalibur.

Bass clips = Two sets of files (roughly level matched each pair, but you'll want to adjust the player levels) - clip 2 has more aggressive settings.

Also another drum loop example, and piano/drums. For comparison, I also ran it through my Creamer+ in both pentode and triode modes.


EDIT: Moved files to "audio tests" forum to help keep this thread organized: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear...ion-tests.html

Last edited by Squawk; 1 week ago at 07:06 PM.. Reason: moved files
Old 1 week ago
  #94
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I agree with this. I am extremely partial to tube gear, and most of my tube preamps are on the super-clean side. I use them for classical music, that's how clean they are. Some can be overdriven by working the input against the output, but it's rarely a sound I go for.
As a designer of tube preamps I spend most of my time trying to make sure they do not produce a lot of distortion. Despite this I am continually asked to design a tube tone box to add that tube magic to tracks. I have almost completed another one that works by fitting variable attenuators before and after a tube stage so you can vary the drive but keep the gain the same. Feels like sacrilege doing it but the customer loves it.

Cheers

Ian
Old 1 week ago
  #95
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SEED78's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Feels like sacrilege doing it but the customer loves it.
If it feels like sacrilege Ian why not give it a wide sweet spot before obvious distortion happens? or add some functionality units like the HG2 have.

Personally I'd like a tube master bus line amp with a RCA/Gates/Langevin era sound, large tubes, big vintage transformers - not total distruction, just colour and tone magic.

I hear that your tube console has the BIG but clean tube sound nailed - been looking at your site for years.
Old 1 week ago
  #96
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Ooooops
Old 1 week ago
  #97
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bambamboom's Avatar
The AAE stuff mentioned previously is quite interesting:

Old 1 week ago
  #98
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Squawk's Avatar
Sonic Farm Xcalibur

For anyone that was following my comments and tests with the Xcalibur - I had a conversation yesterday with Boris at Sonic Farm, and gave them my impressions and a list of features and suggestions I'd like to see on the unit. He was very receptive, and listened intently (you can tell they are very passionate about their products).

First, I didn't realize that the unit I had wasn't a production unit. It's the 3rd prototype unit made, but that makes sense to me now.

Got a message back already today, and it sounds like Sonic Farm will be including some of my suggestions and feature requests, and providing me with a revised unit to evaluate once it's ready.

I won't mention all of the suggestions I made, in case they don't all make it in. However, they would increase the versatility of the unit, get more control over the saturation section and drive sensitivity, and a few other features that I think would make it really versatile. More suitable for mix/mastering, along the lines of the HG-2, while still being a great 2 channel tube preamp.

I really appreciate them letting me evaluate it this week, and was impressed that they really seemed to take my suggestions to heart. It just shows that they really listen and want to cater to the needs of their end users, and really take pride in what they design and build. Kudos to them. Very refreshing
Old 1 week ago
  #99
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
As a designer of tube preamps I spend most of my time trying to make sure they do not produce a lot of distortion. Despite this I am continually asked to design a tube tone box to add that tube magic to tracks. I have almost completed another one that works by fitting variable attenuators before and after a tube stage so you can vary the drive but keep the gain the same. Feels like sacrilege doing it but the customer loves it.

Cheers

Ian
Thats the thing that makes the TAB V78M "cool"... though I tend to run it clean.

On another note, one of my favorites for very continuously controllable tube saturation/distortion is the Dave Hill designed Summit TPA200B. The way that the 990 and tube gain stages are setup, it basically allows you to cream the tube stage by amping up the clean 990 stage that goes into it.
Old 1 week ago
  #100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk View Post
For anyone that was following my comments and tests with the Xcalibur - I had a conversation yesterday with Boris at Sonic Farm, and gave them my impressions and a list of features and suggestions I'd like to see on the unit. He was very receptive, and listened intently (you can tell they are very passionate about their products).
Thanks so much Squawk for all the time you spent demonstrating and comparing the unit(s)!

It'll be interesting to hear developments. I don't have any of their products, mainly because they're not readily available locally (U.K.) and I haven't heard anything yet that makes me feel I can't live without it or that I don't already have covered.....

I also think that there's a reason the HG-2 is 3U and sounds like it does.
Old 1 week ago
  #101
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Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Thanks so much Squawk for all the time you spent demonstrating and comparing the unit(s)!

It'll be interesting to hear developments. I don't have any of their products, mainly because they're not readily available locally (U.K.) and I haven't heard anything yet that makes me feel I can't live without it or that I don't already have covered.....

I also think that there's a reason the HG-2 is 3U and sounds like it does.
My pleasure! Funny enough, I just received a phone call from Zoran at Sonic Farm, who is the designer of the Xcalibur. Really nice guy. He called to discuss my notes and suggestions, and we talked for about half an hour about it. There is a revised 1U version coming out that already incorporates some of the changes, and then it sounds like the possibility of another version more geared to bus saturation, stems, and mastering (at least 2U). Some of the requests/suggestions I had made would most definitely require more space in the chassis!

That really impressed me that he took the time to call and discuss! Very cool company.
Old 1 week ago
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk View Post
My pleasure! Funny enough, I just received a phone call from Zoran at Sonic Farm, who is the designer of the Xcalibur. Really nice guy. He called to discuss my notes and suggestions, and we talked for about half an hour about it. There is a revised 1U version coming out that already incorporates some of the changes, and then it sounds like the possibility of another version more geared to bus saturation, stems, and mastering (at least 2U). Some of the requests/suggestions I had made would most definitely require more space in the chassis!

That really impressed me that he took the time to call and discuss! Very cool company.
Cool! It's great to have that personal touch. Please keep us posted.....
Old 1 week ago
  #103
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEED78 View Post
If it feels like sacrilege Ian why not give it a wide sweet spot before obvious distortion happens? or add some functionality units like the HG2 have.

Personally I'd like a tube master bus line amp with a RCA/Gates/Langevin era sound, large tubes, big vintage transformers - not total distruction, just colour and tone magic.

I hear that your tube console has the BIG but clean tube sound nailed - been looking at your site for years.
Maybe sacrilege is too strong a word but it certainly goes against the grain. The few times I have been persuaded to create a tube tone box I generally use an SRPP stage, which produces more distortion at a given level than most other topologies, but retains the mainly second harmonic distortion characteristic. Fortunately it does have a huge sweet spot. I am just putting the finishing touches to one for a customer; turned right down the distortion is 0.1% or less but that can be dialed up in 20 steps to about 2% before it starts to clip.

RCA style topology is the way to go. They used fixed gain stages with attenuators between. This means you can get almost any amount of clean gain BUT, by driving harder early and attenuating more afterwards you can add variable tube tone.

Glad you like my web site. I must get around to updating the blog. So many projects, so little time.

Cheers

Ian
Old 1 week ago
  #104
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SEED78's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Maybe sacrilege is too strong a word but it certainly goes against the grain. The few times I have been persuaded to create a tube tone box I generally use an SRPP stage, which produces more distortion at a given level than most other topologies, but retains the mainly second harmonic distortion characteristic. Fortunately it does have a huge sweet spot. I am just putting the finishing touches to one for a customer; turned right down the distortion is 0.1% or less but that can be dialed up in 20 steps to about 2% before it starts to clip.

RCA style topology is the way to go. They used fixed gain stages with attenuators between. This means you can get almost any amount of clean gain BUT, by driving harder early and attenuating more afterwards you can add variable tube tone.

Glad you like my web site. I must get around to updating the blog. So many projects, so little time.

Cheers

Ian
Sounds cool. feel free to PM me some pics and pricing info.
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