[sdiy] Re: [AH] Vacuum Tube Motherboard

Batz Goodfortune batzman at all-electric.com
Thu Jun 6 17:04:42 CEST 2002

Y-ellow all.
         And I see we're x-posted to AH. Morning AH people.

At 12:56 AM 6/5/02 -0700, metasonix at earthlink.net wrote:
> >Tube output from your PC! Yes, it's true! Well, maybe. Several comments on
> >Slashdot suggest it's a hoax. Interesting if it's for real... uses a single
> >dual-triode tube...http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MzAy
>You gentlemen would be very surprised to learn
>how big tube audio is in Asia. AOpen is in Taiwan.

This looks interesting but is would seem to me to be more of a novelty to 
me. Even if the sound is kick ass. Which I'm sure it would be. The simple 
reason is this. "What do you do when you upgrade to an Itanium or 
something?" There's a good chance you'll lose your valves in the process. A 
far better solution seems to me, would be to have an outboard valve pre-amp 
array. Then when your mo-bo becomes redundant, your valve sound remains. 
And if you manage many audio capable machines, as is increasingly necessary 
these days, then it doesn't make terribly good economic sense. Or at least 
have some kind of sound card that has the valves on it (Somehow?) so that 
you can change the Mo-bo underneath it.

But speaking of valves. I just took delivery of one of Eric's Metasonix 
TM-1 modules. Honestly you gotta hear this thing. It processes noises like 
nothing I've heard before. I wanted something that was unique for doing 
folly sound effects in my animations and this is just the ticket. And more. 
You couldn't emulate the things this processor does. It made me think 
seriously about a wall full of modules just so I can have this as the 
centre piece.

It's a bit hard to tame at first, it can get way out of control but that's 
it's charm so to speak. The fact that it can warp a sound way out of 
proportion is exactly what I was after. It's basically a ring mod on the 
end of a unique device of Eric's own creation that pulses in harmony with 
the incoming signal. This can range from hardly noticable to seriously 
bent. All the way out to total runaway. And if you crank the preamp, you 
get tube distortion on top.

I kinda expected it to be guitar oriented but your average guitarist 
wouldn't get it. This is module material. It would be a waste on a guitar. 
At first I was putting it on the end of things. Then I got the idea of 
putting it into the loop of a DDL. Tweaked really subtle with a long delay. 
Each repeat becomes more and more twisted and messes with the source. The 
next thing I gotta try is patching it in before the filters on my SH5. :)

Eric, you must have been totally inspired to come up with this. This is a 
unique edge. If you want totally warped valve stuff, this is where you'll 
find it. And I haven't even got to the sound effects I originally envisaged 
with it. It's just too much fun. I'm kinda reluctant to mention it because 
then everyone will have one and it won't be so unique but on the other 
hand, Eric needs all the encouragement we can give him to see what else he 
can squeeze out of a bunch of valves. Bravo.

I can't get over the feel of the knobs too BTW. Where 'n' hell do you get 
those? :)

Anyway, enough of my waxing hysterical, but you should hear this thing. It 
totally kicks ass.

When I'm suitably inspired enough to crank out my valve bits again, I'm 
planning a bank of maybe 8 or so valve pre-amps with a view to processing 
all my analogue sources. And a pair on the output of my rack mixer. I must 
admit that I don't find working with valves trivial. The one pre-amp I did 
build was an effort. Mainly in that obtaining the parts is difficult in my 
current situation. But well worth it in the long run. And, I feel a far 
better solution to buying motherboards with valves on-board. Cute though 
that is.

Be absolutely Icebox.

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