DiGiCo is launching the world’s first integrated remote digital tube mike preamp module, the D-TuBe. Valve/tube technology has long been considered an elegant means of reproducing music. Until now, the large dimensions of the traditional 19" rack mount valve/tube preamps have been a consideration, especially in the touring market where space is often at a premium.

"I would not say tubes sound better but they do color the sound of a vocal or a particular instrument and make it sound different," says DiGiCo’s James Gordon. "This is something that sound engineers like to experiment with, so they insert them into their systems to provide characteristics they can’t otherwise get from either analogue or digital mixing consoles."

The new DiGiCo D-TuBe presents a unique alternative to this traditional technology by making it part of a digital console. The D-TuBe was developed in conjunction with TL Audio and supplies no less than eight channels of tube preamp. It has been designed to fit neatly into existing DiGiCo systems by replacing the last input module on a stage rack and moving the output module along one. This keeps the full compliment of 56 inputs to the stage rack, with the last eight inputs now being TuBes.

"We’ve found that when engineers use our consoles they tend to use little or no outboard, as there is so much integrated and recalled within our system," says Gordon. "However, the common denominator that was always cropping up was the desire for the inclusion of a few channels of valve/tube technology to enhance and color specific instruments or vocals…so the D-TuBe is a logical addition to our product line adding just the right amount of color to the mix."

As the D-TuBe is able to slot into the Stage DiGiRACK, it has the shortest cable length between the mike and preamp possible, for better signal to noise ratio. It has the same facilities as its solid state counterpart, including analogue and digital gain controls with gain tracking. As the analogue gain is inserted before the D-TuBe it also acts as a drive control, and with digital gain after the D-TuBe a wide variation of colouration–or DiGistortion as DiGiCo likes to call it–is possible. And, as is standard on all DiGiCo products, these settings can be saved as part of the consoles snapshots and sessions.