Wave Arts has announced the release of Tube Saturator Vintage, a freeware tube saturation effect in VST, AU, and AAX plug-in formats for compatible digital audio workstations on PC and Mac.
Tube Saturator Vintage is essentially a re-release of the original Tube Saturator effect by Wave Arts. Tube Saturator evolved into Tube Saturator 2 which featured an optimized internal processing engine and a much more efficient set of algorithms which resulted in a lower CPU hit. However, according to Wave Arts, some users still preferred the sound of the original plugin, which is why the development team decided to re-release it as 100% freeware product.
The plugin is a detailed emulation of a dual 12AX7 triode preamp, paired up with a 3-band Baxandall type equalizer. The user interface features a drive knob, three equalizer knobs, on/off switches for the EQ module and “Fat” processing mode (which increase the gain and saturation amount by changing the bias circuit of the first preamp), an output volume knob, and a VU meter. It also includes a preset manager, undo functionality, and A/B testing buttons.
Most importantly, Tube Saturator Vintage sounds incredibly good. The resulting saturation is everything you’d expected to get from a tube amp, or, at least, as close as you can get to it in a software emulation. It sounds very similar to the excellent SGA1566 plugin by Shattered Glass Audio (also freeware), although the Wave Arts product seems to be a bit better optimized in terms of CPU usage.
Speaking of performance, due to the highly precise circuit simulation technology that was used in Tube Saturator Vintage, the resulting CPU hit rather high even on modern computers. During our test, Tube Saturator Vintage used around 20% of available resources on a single core of an i7 CPU. Turning off the EQ module reduced the overall CPU hit by around 9%. Please note that these tests were performed on a single CPU core. You will get better results if your DAW is optimized for taking advantage of multi-core processing.
To download the Tube Saturator Vintage installer for Windows, simply hit the download button on the product page linked below. Please note that you might have to choose the correct operating manually in some browsers. Once you install and launch the plugin for the first time, you’ll need to enter your name and email address in order to activate it. The activation process is very quick and doesn’t require email validation.
Tube Saturator Vintage is available for free download via Wave Arts (9.41 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plug-in formats for Windows & Mac OS).