If you are a “believer” in the attributes of “valve sound” [eeDesign News is taking no sides in that discussion!] the Nutube offers an updated means of incorporating vacuum tube technology into a design. Korg partners with Noritake Itron to apply the production process and geometry long-established in vacuum fluorescent displays (VFDs) to the basic principles of a valve amplification device – in this case, a triode. The product promises reliability and efficiency while generating the same rich harmonics familiar to millions of tube amplifiers.
The introduction of the Nutube to the RS product range coincides with the 80-year anniversary of RS’s foundation, in 1937, as Radiospares Limited, selling elementary vacuum-tube-based components. The Nutube is an exemplar of the progress made in this type of technology over the decades.
The Nutube is similar to a conventional vacuum tube: it has an anode grid filament structure and operates in exactly the same way as a triode vacuum tube. In fact, it also offers twin triodes in a single package as a modern alternative to the classic 12AX7 twin-triode vacuum tube used in many amplifier applications. The Nutube is also similar to a vacuum tube in the way it creates the same characteristic rich overtones. Vacuum tubes are noted for producing predominantly second-harmonic signal content. However, Korg has applied vacuum fluorescent display technology to the development and has devised a structure that achieves a wide variety of operational and functional improvements compared with conventional vacuum tubes.
A key feature of the Nutube is its size, as it is less than 30% of the volume of a conventional vacuum tube. This also means a substantial power saving, largely in the filament or heater currentwith the device requiring less than 2% of the electrical power of a conventional tube, as well as enabling efficient and simple battery operation. The device’s small size and low thermal output also allows it to be