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Tubes are back & custom XPCs crop up

Tubes are back & custom XPCs crop up

The sound of music to your ears or potentially an awful, unbalanced racket?

Shuttle has developed a prototype amp, based on good ol' vacuum tubes in association with ESTI to match it's new SG33G5M XPC. It's based on the Intel G33 chipset and includes integrated WiFi, front mounted VFD, remote control, HDMI and 7.1 channel DTS and Dolby surround sound.

Coined as its DVO, Digital Video Opera range, Shuttle intends to (re)take the HTPC space by storm (again). Specifically designed for Vista MCE, the unit has gold coloured plastic instead of the usual silver and in all honesty definitely looks very special.

Where the actual combination will come to market and what price it will be, who knows. Let alone if serious audio enthusiasts will be torn away from their separates to use on-board sound and video. While it looks good, it's yet another mountain Shuttle has to climb if it intends to make a return on the investment placed.

In, yet more Shuttle news, the company expects to finally offer custom chassis and motherboard configurations to those that wanted a certain board (cheap/expensive or with certain features) in a chassis that suits them (size, price, etc). If all goes well, we can expect it as soon as this September in a few regions initially.

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18 Comments

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wafflesomd 7th June 2007, 02:41 Quote
What a waste of a good amp.
nakchak 7th June 2007, 03:11 Quote
will look sweet with the tubes glowing, but the psu for the amp alone will have to be a monster.
the heater coils require multiple amps >6 at relativly weird (for transitor based electronics) voltages.
if its a class A amp then it will be relativly low wattage as well (probably arround 30W), but will radiate roughly a degree c per watt

and any audiophile worth there salt wouldnt even consider running audio lines that close to large amounts of RF noise generated by a pc
i also doubt the speaker hookups and interconnects would be of sufficient quality to produce a noticeable difference from a bog standard n.1 setup

it also doesnt look like it would offer anything more than stereo output, typically a valve or 2 per channel

still will look nice on display, but money would probably be better spent on a pro quality sound card and high quality inter connects to existing gear if audio quality is your priority....
JaredC01 7th June 2007, 07:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nakchak
will look sweet with the tubes glowing, but the psu for the amp alone will have to be a monster.
the heater coils require multiple amps >6 at relativly weird (for transitor based electronics) voltages.
if its a class A amp then it will be relativly low wattage as well (probably arround 30W), but will radiate roughly a degree c per watt

and any audiophile worth there salt wouldnt even consider running audio lines that close to large amounts of RF noise generated by a pc
i also doubt the speaker hookups and interconnects would be of sufficient quality to produce a noticeable difference from a bog standard n.1 setup

it also doesnt look like it would offer anything more than stereo output, typically a valve or 2 per channel

still will look nice on display, but money would probably be better spent on a pro quality sound card and high quality inter connects to existing gear if audio quality is your priority....
If you look closely at the power tubes, you'll notice they're EL34's. They put out roughly 25 to 30 watts a piece, so you're looking at a ~100 watt tube amp. Assuming it's a stereo output, that's ~50 watts per channel. Also, it looks like it might be a class A/B.

Most studio environments are run using computers these days, so audio lines are constantly run close to a PC of one sort or another. It doesn't seem to adversly affect recordings.

I agree with you on it being no more than a stereo setup, though tube setups are better for music listening than for surround sound, and most music you'll hear is only stereo (with some exceptions of course). I see no problem with it only being stereo.
Wolfe 7th June 2007, 08:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaredC01
Most studio environments are run using computers these days, so audio lines are constantly run close to a PC of one sort or another. It doesn't seem to adversly affect recordings.

Uh... If you look at high end recording setups, pretty much every one available puts the analog and A\D converters in an external box, connected either through firewire/USB, or a proprietary cable and a PCI card.

As for tubes, well, Meh.

They're a lot of really bad tube amp designs out there, and considering how different using tubes is compared to transistors (current vs. voltage amplification), I'm a little dubious about the Quality.
./^\.Ace./^\. 7th June 2007, 14:52 Quote
At my house I have over 5000 tubes, no lie :D I guess i could mod a PC to use a few of them Hey if they worked for guitar amps then why not a PC :D
JaredC01 8th June 2007, 00:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfe
Uh... If you look at high end recording setups, pretty much every one available puts the analog and A\D converters in an external box, connected either through firewire/USB, or a proprietary cable and a PCI card.

As for tubes, well, Meh.

They're a lot of really bad tube amp designs out there, and considering how different using tubes is compared to transistors (current vs. voltage amplification), I'm a little dubious about the Quality.
There are thousdans upon thousands of home studios and semi-pro studios that don't isolate their computers or audio equipment. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that MANY of them have their interfaces and audio equipment in the same rack as their rackmount PC.
Wolfe 8th June 2007, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaredC01
There are thousdans upon thousands of home studios and semi-pro studios that don't isolate their computers or audio equipment. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that MANY of them have their interfaces and audio equipment in the same rack as their rackmount PC.

FYI - Metal Box = Isolation.

ADC & DAC on a PCI card inside the computer - Not Isolated.
ADC & DAC in a different metal box than the computer - Isolated.
./^\.Ace./^\. 8th June 2007, 21:13 Quote
Honestly it would only take like 15min of reserch to fine with transistors I could replace with a tubes just so my PC looks cooler and the tubes are actually being used
GoodBytes 8th June 2007, 21:55 Quote
It would be AWESOME if we have computer sound cards with vacuum tubes. Of course they must allow the user to change them, as they have a life span.
But then some sort of cooling would be required for the sound card, as I'm sure these tubes produce heat. Now sure it will take some room in the computer, even disable 2 or 3 PCI or PCIe sockets. Even better is if they create smaller versions of it.
Neogumbercules 9th June 2007, 07:38 Quote
ITS A SERIES OF TUBES!
./^\.Ace./^\. 9th June 2007, 23:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
It would be AWESOME if we have computer sound cards with vacuum tubes. Of course they must allow the user to change them, as they have a life span.
But then some sort of cooling would be required for the sound card, as I'm sure these tubes produce heat. Now sure it will take some room in the computer, even disable 2 or 3 PCI or PCIe sockets. Even better is if they create smaller versions of it.
Well Tubes already go in sockets, so replacing them is no issue. As for the cooling just make sure the tubes are ether outside the case or get a 120mm fan in front and one in back. Also they did come up with smaller versions of tubes :( they're called transistors and that is what you want to replace with the bigger and hotter tubes. Tubes only add a bit of wormth to the base anyways, there are easyer ways to do that with software or better hardware but it doesn't come out as good as tubes. So yes you could mod a sound card but is it really worth it for a little bit of base sound :?
GoodBytes 10th June 2007, 08:35 Quote
It was just a small suggestion for music enthusiast. By smaller Tubes I didn't mean THAT small.
Jipa 10th June 2007, 09:46 Quote
Why can't they already ditch the damn tubes and concentrate in sound quality :D Seriously... Only some twister perverts buy tube-amps because they "sound smoother" AKA. the frequency response isn't flat and there's all sorts of distortions in the sound. Frankly these are the exact FEATURES that modern solid-state amp-designs try to get rid of. I don't see the point TBH. Also tubes can break down for no apparent reason, and it's considered rather normal...
Krikkit 10th June 2007, 10:53 Quote
God dammit, I knew this'd turn into an argument of digital vs. analogue, again.

FYI "Ace", all you'd have to do with an internal sound card to eliminate all of the noise from inside the PC (at least the stuff you can get rid of), would be to build a faraday cage around it. Problem solved.
Glider 10th June 2007, 11:03 Quote
Will Jipa, as a Bass player, I must say that modern amps produce nice quality sound, but the human hearing isn't perfect and it certainly doesn't like perfect tunes (certainly not when going into high or low frequencies).

Just to say, music is more then playing the perfect sound. Sometimes it's required, but sometimes the 'warmer' effect of tube amps add nicely to the tunes.
./^\.Ace./^\. 11th June 2007, 02:18 Quote
I found the tubes I was looking for. If you look in the pic on the thread, the little ones in front, I have original ones made by GE before wwII and they work better then any of the ones made today but that are rare so I don't want to use them. They also cast a lot.
Jipa 11th June 2007, 06:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider
Will Jipa, as a Bass player, I must say that modern amps produce nice quality sound, but the human hearing isn't perfect and it certainly doesn't like perfect tunes (certainly not when going into high or low frequencies).

Just to say, music is more then playing the perfect sound. Sometimes it's required, but sometimes the 'warmer' effect of tube amps add nicely to the tunes.

I guess there's the difference between Hifist and a.. well.. soundist. Searching for the neutral equipments compared to searching for the good "sound".
DougEdey 11th June 2007, 07:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jipa
I guess there's the difference between Hifist and a.. well.. soundist. Searching for the neutral equipments compared to searching for the good "sound".

It's called "Personal Opinion" :p
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