It’s true, The Vacuum Tube Amplifier has been forgotten. We live in a world of wireless speakers and Bluetooth streaming, where integrated circuits, transistors and discrete components are crammed into boring, monochrome casings and then tagged as computers, speakers or amplifiers. When we glare at this wasteland of dull looking technology, we can feel a small bit of our hearts just wilting away… You feel the same way, you say?
Do you also feel the sharp pain in your chest?
Well, that’s probably because you smoke too much.
But in any case, before our lungs wither and our hearts give in, at Nuvitron, we are determined to make a difference. Indeed, we stand up in defiance of uninspiring, madeby-thedozen, italllooksthesame contemporary technology. We dare, in the late year 2017, to bring a gift to the world of high end audio and do what no other company ventures to do anymore. To bring life back to your music, to end the ignorance of those who think hifi is just wifi spelt poorly and to make your girlfriend show a slight, minimal interest in your guitar sound, we bring forth a new, vintage audio Vacuum Tube Amplifier design.
Why design a vacuum tube amp in 2017, you say?
Do you still need to ask?!… Didn’t think so.
Developing a Vacuum Tube Amplifier in 2017
Taking a vintage piece of technology and updating it to modern standards while maintaining its fascinating appearance is no easy feat. How do we do it, you want to know? For one, the process requires some godlike strength and intuition, that’s for sure. How exactly do we do it, you ask? Oh… Well… I supposed really messing with our thunder when you put it that way. First, let’s talk about the circuit. As you already know, although several companies continue to sell tube amplifiers, none of them actually come up with new designs.
Of course, you might see new models from time to time, but these products are based on old designs from the 1950s and the 1960s. Since no one is doing it anymore, we had to spend a long time studying and understanding everything about the tube amp circuit. Some of us got so close that they became tube amp whisperers, permanently enthralled by the fascinating red glow of the tube amp. Determined to make sense of their brave sacrifice, the rest of us that could carry on thought that we could design a mixed tech circuit for our Vacuum Tube Amp, using some modern age electronics and the classic vintage amplifiers.
To begin with, we chose a power supply that was based on modern topologies, which are known to be highly efficient, compound, robust and safe. Needless to say, these were far better than oldschool power supplies, which were designed with extremely bulky mains transformers. In addition to their awful size, weight and poor efficiency, the old transformers were made to work only with specific mains voltages and frequencies.
Because our products travel far and wide, we needed a universal power supply capable of operating anywhere in the world. Not to mention that the operating frequency of old transformers is very low, within the human hearing range. This means that we tend to perceive them as a source of noise or as a bothering “hum”, which is typically attenuated by using large filtering components that weigh down the whole setup even more.
When we replaced the old power supply with a modern, high frequency one, we greatly reduced the noise problem and we eliminated the need for strong filtering, while keeping the tube amplifier compact and light.
Then, we turned to the tube amplifier itself and chose a pure, class A amplifier that delivered practically no distortion.
To amplify the input signal to the desired voltage, we used a double triode tube (12AX7), which transmitted the signal through the power tubes (EL34) and into the audio transformers.
Although we tinkered with some of the old components, we wanted to maintain the hifi quality of the sound, as well as the low distortion, so we built the circuit using oldschool techniques. To manage the small footprint, we used SMD (or surfacemount device) components.
Finally, we had to deal with the fact that all tube amplifiers generate a lot of heat. For the sake of energy efficiency, we chose only components that could withstand the high temperatures.
We may have lost some people to the magical glow of the tube amps, but their sacrifice was not in vain. At the end of the day, we managed to put together oldschool technology with modern components for one of the best amplifiers in existence.
To listen to it is to delve into the warm and harmonious sound of high end audio. To gaze at its magnificent form is to briefly escape the world of dull electronics. To observe its function is to finally reconnect with the exciting way in which things actually work beneath the surface.
To buy it… is not your job. Isn’t your birthday coming up soon, anyway?
Better make sure your girlfriend stumbles across this link.