Soundspear has released Supertube, a variable-gain compressor plug-in that uses a triode as an amplifier whose characteristics are fully customizable. Apart from typical settings, Supertube allows you to modify plate voltage, charge capacitor, transconductance, tube geometry, output impedance and grid resistor. What are they? How does they affect the sound?
In Supertube, your audio signal flows through a tube triode from its cathode to its plate (amplification). The same rectified signal is sent to the triode's grid for dynamically limiting the output gain (vari-mu compression). Hence, the amplification stage generates warm tube coloration, while the optional compression stage offers an organic tube compression.
Many tube intrinsic characteristics can be modified. No electrical background is required, as the effect of every of them can be easily heard by ear. Moreover, 13 presets are here to get you started.
- Plate voltage: Tube distortion comes from a non-linear relation between their input and their output. Increasing the tube's plate voltage will increase the plate load and make the non-linearities steeper as well as giving earlier distortion.
- Charge capacitor: Voltage in a tube can drop completely, causing blocking distortion. A bigger charging capacitor will increase drop recovery time which will make the distortion more noticeable. This setting also increases cathode bias to make voltage drops more frequents.
- Transconductance: Transconductance will increase the gain reduction caused by the grid, hence making the compression more violent.
- Tube Geometry: Various physical characteristics of the tube change the way it warms the sound: glass geometry, gas type, grid spires... This setting allows to blend between two tube blueprints that sound the radically different.
- Output Impedance: The grid stopper impedance increases grid gain excursion time, resulting in a sharper compression.
- Grid Resistor: The grid resistor alters globally how the grid will react to the input signal, scaling its attack with its release time and increasing the compression recovery.
Standard knobs allow you to modify the digital behavior of the plugin:
- Dry Wet allows you to blend the original signal with the one at the end of the processing chain.
- In Gain and Out Gain control respectively the input and the output gain.
- Threshold allows you to kick-off the compressor by making it react below a gain threshold value.
Intro Price: € 24.99 (Reg. € 34.99).