View Full Version : Vacuum tube sound cards?

December 29th, 2007, 03:51 AM
I'm looking for a vacuum tube sound card to prove to a friend that they do, in fact, exist. I found the AOpen motherboard that has a vacuum tube on it so that it can facilitate sound through the tube or through the DSP codec.

However, I can remember distinctly an edition of PC Magazine (or Maximum PC?) which reviewed a vacuum tube sound card (PCI, mi credas) and found it to be fantastic.

I've always adored the warm sound of a vacuum tube assembly instead of today's modern DSP/transistors. I'm not so much of an audiophile that I'd drop the megabucks on it now, but perhaps, when I have a job job, I would consider such a feat (or just build one myself and write my own driver for it! ha HA! my education actually going to use kaj magic of open source software!).

Gxis la,

Dark Hornet
December 29th, 2007, 04:46 AM
A co-worker pointed me to these sites...have fun!




December 29th, 2007, 08:42 AM
Nice find, interesting that its made to fit into a computer lol.

BTW Tubes have the "Warm" sound because they actually "smooth" the edge of the audio, the extreme example would be a square wave passing through an amplifier, a solid state (BJT Transistor) amplifier would accurately recreate the square wave. A tube amplifier would output a "smoothed square wave" where the exact point where the voltage drops off suddenly on the square wave is rounded a little rather than an almost instantaneous drop to 0. A good reference is ESP audio:


HEXFETS and MOSFETS are solid state semiconductors that are closely related to tubes in performance. They also "smooth" the edges, plus... they are darn cheap! I bought a couple 100 Watt MOSFETS (IRF 540's or one of the ones in that line...) for about $1.50 a piece, run them at about 50 watts per MOSFET (For reliability and heat management) and you have an incredibly nice amplifier!.

Currently working on a homebuilt guitar tube amplifier... had to stop once I went to college, but will start building it again in the summer!




December 29th, 2007, 10:27 AM

The pic with the tube visible amoungst the other components really looks more like an Aprils fool joke than not :D