Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Tube vs. solid state

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Tube vs. solid state

Okay, so the next debate, or kind of thing to talk, about is this idea of tube versus solid state. And it's only relevant because of what we were just talking about, which is analog versus digital. Really, it comes down to using digital, and the fact that so many people have started to use it, because frankly, there's a lot of advantages to using it. Not only is it a lot more affordable, but it's incredibly flexible in terms of being able to record and manipulate and work with sound visually. So there is a lot of reasons that more and more people are using digital formats in the digital arena to work with sound.

Tube vs. solid state

Okay, so the next debate, or kind of thing to talk, about is this idea of tube versus solid state. And it's only relevant because of what we were just talking about, which is analog versus digital. Really, it comes down to using digital, and the fact that so many people have started to use it, because frankly, there's a lot of advantages to using it. Not only is it a lot more affordable, but it's incredibly flexible in terms of being able to record and manipulate and work with sound visually. So there is a lot of reasons that more and more people are using digital formats in the digital arena to work with sound.

And I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon. It's certainly have been around for a while. The fact that you are watching this means that there is someone else who is interested in it. So we know at least one more person is going to keep things going. You're carrying the flame, my friend. So it's this digital accuracy which tends to get thought of its coldness that kind of brings us to their discussion about tubes versus solid state. Now, if you go out and start buying some equipment preamps, different effects, guitar pedals, microphones, you'll find that some are tube microphones, or tube preamps, and then the others are solid state preamps, meaning that they don't have tubes.

That's basically the distinction. They are a circuit board, with a bunch of different devices on it, but not an actual tube. The reason that you see so many devices with tubes is an attempt to kind of warm up our signals before we commit them to the digital domain. So that's why tube microphones and tube preamps are really popular again. Now, back in the date, tube technology was around for a long time and up into the 60s and 70s and then solid state started to come around. And people really started to use that more because frankly, it operates at a much quieter noise level, in terms kind of the hissing, the buzzing you might get with your signals in your devices.

So the use of tubes was kind of on the decline, and people were really into solid state stuff because we were getting quieter better recordings. One of the reasons this was happening is because we are also still using tape recorders to do pretty much all the recording. And so we are able to get a lot of that warmth that we were seeking from tape recorders. But with the advent of digital and this new coldness, it became apparent that we needed to get some warmth back into some of these signals. We can use tubes and mics and preamps to add a little bit of distortion, or warmth, before we've committed to the digital domain, before that sound itself becomes analogue and then becomes sampled. But not all tubes are created equal, or at least not all tube devices are created equally.

So just because you buy the $100 tube preamp, there is no guarantee that that's actually going to sound better than the $100 solid state preamp. There's probably no guarantee that it's going to sound better than the $1,000 solid state preamp. So how much you spend can have an effect, but other things are just simple manufacturing and how you use tubes. So the tube isn't a magic bullet to warmth, but it does work pretty well in a lot of devices, but solid state devices, solid state preamps and effects and microphones all have tonal characteristics too, and they add to your sound, and you can use them to change and manipulate your sound and make decisions based on them to get the kind of sounds you're looking for.

So don't write solid state off as kind of being the same as digital. It's not. It's definitely got some imperfections that color sound, and it's also designed sometimes to color sound by the manufacturers. So think of solid state and tubes kind of as alternatives, not necessarily good and evil, or warm and cold, but different tools for different situations, or different things with different characteristics. So the point is that the tube is not necessarily your magic bullet to a warmer recording, but it's definitely something you can try and employ and use to get a little bit of that warmth.

And based on how you use it and how the device you have works, you can get some really great results, and it can actually have the effect that we're trying to achieve by adding quite a bit of warmth to your sound. It all depends on the device itself, and how you use it. But I want you to get out of this is that tubes and solid state devices are both good devices. And in most studios, you will find a big combination of both. It's not just tube preamps or just solid state preamps. Its different preamps picked because they know they have certain characteristics and have certain effects. So if you go into a lot of professionals studios, you'll find that they don't have just tube preamps or just solid state preamps; they'll have a combination of both, and based on what they are recording or what kind of sound they're going for, they'll pick which sort of device to use.

So hopefully what you'll get out of this is that the next time you're thinking about what gear to use, or what gear to buy, and someone says, "Well, tubes are warmer, man. Get the tubes," that could very well be true, just remember that not all tubes are created equal and that a lot of times a solid state device in the same price range are might also be able to add some warmth or coloration to your sound. So my advice to you would be the next time you have to pick out which piece of gear to use or what new piece of gear to buy, instead of just going straight for the tube because you want it to be warm or straight for the solid state because you want a really clean signal, try and set them up and turn them on and give them a listen and see what kind of qualities they have it.

As usual, the rule of thumb is to always trust your ears and take a listen to things before you use them, or buy them.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Audio Principles
Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 27140 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Digital Audio Principles.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.