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PAiA TubeHead
Overall Rating
Submitted: April 28th, 2002
by gothicindustial
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Sound Quality
I use the Tubehead with my synth studio (at present: Access Virus KB, Waldorf Pulse, Akai Ax-60, Novation Bass Station, Emu ESI-2000). It sounds great. I mainly use it for tube overdrive on my Akai Ax-60. As an overdrive/distortion, it is the best I have ever touched and I couldn't be happier with it. The tubehead is great for adding clarity and warmth to sounds, too. It makes string pads on my Virus shine with beauty, AND it makes them sound more analog. I would like to get another one so I can dedicate one to distortion and one to warming up the whole mix, but then again I wouldn't want to be bothered building it again.
Reliability/Durability
Well, I built it myself as a rookie. I plugged it in, and smoke started coming out of it. Not good. I sent it in for service, and they replaced the chip I fried. Unfortunately, the tech didn't replace some of the screws tightly enough. When I got it home, it worked at first, but then the loose screw managed to get inbetween the circuitboard and the metal case, causing a bridge and frying it again. Paia sent me a new chip and power supply and I repaired it myself, but I would not dream of taking it on the road. However, it works very well in my studio now.
Price/Value
General Comments
This box has some ups and downs, with the biggest downer being that you have to build it yourself. I consider myself a musician, not an engineer, and I would rather spend my time playing keys, sequencing, or mixing than soldering chips onto circuit boards. I absolutely live to overdrive this thing with unison leads from my Akai. I don't know how I got by without that killer pair. I think I would like to pick up an ART Tube Preamp System in addition to the Tubehead. Its a slightly more complex tube preamp that would work a little bit better for warming up finished mixed, as phase cancellation is less of a potential problem.
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