14 Mar Glow Up: Vacuum Tube Speakers
You know the sound of vacuum tubes even if you never realized it. It’s in the smooth, soulful glow of Sam Cooke’s voice as he sings the opening bars of Bring It On Home To Me.
And in the soaring resonance of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar when he launches us into the stratosphere in All Along the Watchtower.
It’s the sound that made many of us fall in love with music for the first time.
Vacuum tubes, or valves for the Brits among us, have stood the test of time. Through the entirety of the digital revolution and the technological changes that came with it, musicians and audiophiles have found their way back to the warm, inviting sound of vacuum tubes because it does what a purely digital system has never been able to do. It makes music come to life.
The analog design of tubes are the source of their power. All sound is the result of continuous waves and vibration. In other words, sound is an analog signal and becomes distorted when it is converted to a digital format. The result of this distortion is why the sound from a pair of AirPods never quite lives up to the richness of a record being played over tube speakers. It’s why the most sought after and revered amps by professional musicians and sound enthusiasts are powered by tubes. Even science agrees.
It’s possible to have the precision of digital music without needing to sacrifice the soul of the sound itself. A good example of this is the Oliver Vacuum Tube Speaker. It can give the best of both worlds by using digital circuits to keep crisp clarity and tube speakers to make sure that analog music stays analog. Just like it was meant to be.