Power Electronics / Power Management


Low-power modern vacuum tube

15 November 2017 Power Electronics / Power Management

RS Components has announced availability of a new miniaturised and high-performance vacuum tube technology. The Nutube vacuum tube device was developed by KORG, in cooperation with Noritake Itron Corp., and offers excellent reliability and efficiency while generating the same rich harmonics familiar to millions of tube amplifier users around the world.

The introduction of the Nutube to the RS product range aptly coincides with the 80-year anniversary of the company’s foundation, in 1937, as Radiospares, 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. 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, with 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 easily mounted directly on a high-density circuit board without using a socket.

Product quality has also been improved, as the real triode structure of the Nutube produces a warm real vacuum tube sound as well as delivering excellent linearity that is close to the performance of an ideal twin triode. Other characteristics of the Nutube include: 5 V operation, with a full operating voltage range from 5 to 80 V; a gain of 14 dB at Vcc of 12 V; low power consumption of 12 mW (0,7 V/17 mA) per channel; and an expected service life of 30 000 hours continuous operation under normal use.



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