ADSR offers the Valves (€59 value) plugin by AudioThing for free with any purchase. The offer is available until March 31st and can be redeemed by simply clicking the free add-on checkbox at checkout.
Valves by AudioThing is a vintage tube emulation plugin that helps you get that bluesy triode sound, high-gain pentode sound, and most things in between.
Tube emulation plugins are not hard to come by; many developers have had a go in this area, so you aren’t short of options. There’s the free Wavearts Tube Saturator Vintage plugin, budget-friendly Klanghelm SDEE2, to the more expensive Slate Digital Virtual Tubes. But, while I haven’t used all of them, Valves makes a better first impression than some with its lovely GUI.
What I like about the GUI isn’t that it has a nice tube graphic that lights up with any incoming signal; it’s that each of the four sections is clearly defined. The four sections are Valve, Cabinet/EQ, Filter, and Master; each of the first three can be bypassed by turning them off.
The Valve section has a triode/pentode switch and drive, bass, tone knobs. When set to triode, you probably get a bit less linear frequency response and more distortion or a more typical tube sound. In pentode mode, you get a bit more power and a bit more accuracy, but these are generalizations, and other settings will play their part.
The plugin offers up to 16X oversampling that adds a little more precision when needed. As expected, oversampling will increase the CPU hit slightly.
The filter section is based on a classic multi-mode ladder filter with two or four pole options. Filter modes include low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch, but what I like most is that it has a pre/post switch to position it in your chain.
With the Cabinet/EQ section, you can emulate various guitar amp types, and it has simple bass/treble controls. Amp types include names like Deluxed and Oranged, telling you in a not so subtle way what sound to expect.
The plugin comes with 35 presets and a resizable window. I know a resizable window is hardly a glamorous feature, but it saves any frustration if you’re working with a single screen.
I like the amount of tweaking you can do with the Valves plugin. It’s easy to get carried away with tube emulation, lose too much top-end detail, and turn your sound to mud. Although, you might want to do that, in which case, carry on. But, the Valves plugin is pretty flexible, allowing for enough manipulation to find the tone you are after.
Valves is available for macOS and Windows, VST2, AU, and AAX plugin formats. Only 64-bit plugin hosts are supported. Get it for free with any purchase at ADSR this month.
More info: AudioThing Valves (FREE @ ADSR until March 31st, 2021)