Proudly made in the USA by our engineers here on the Kansas plains.
You can emulate the sound of any classic preamplifier in the past, or create your own unique sounds. The Universal Preamplifier gives you three modes of operation:
Other standard features include:
Top professionals know that a tube preamplifier has pleasant-sounding nonlinearities that can cover up the unpleasant nonlinearities of some solid state equipment or digital recordings, enhancing the sound in the process. The ear perceives the even order distortion of tubes the same as it perceives the natural harmonics of a musical instrument, thus it can make a recording sound “richer” or “more musical.” Of course, this must be done subtlely because high distortion sounds horrible regardless.
Studies made over the last several decades indicate that the brain uses a different method of perceiving recorded music than it does to perceive live music. Recorded music is a different experience than live music. One aspect of this is that in certain instances, the characteristics of an audio system’s distortion can affect the listeners’ perception of frequency balance, creating the impression of increased treble, reduced treble, increased bass, reduced bass and so on, in ways no equalizer ever could. Also, the characteristics of an audio system’s distortion can affect the listeners’ perception of dynamics, creating the impression of compression even when none is used! Subtle manipulation of distortion is the secret tool of choice for top recording engineers to achieve the same end result that otherwise would have to be done with EQ or compression, without the adverse aspects of those processors.
The difference between using a standard microphone preamplifier or a Vocalion for recording your vocals is like the difference between a good photograph taken at a portrait studio and a portrait painted by a renowned artist. The photograph may be excellent, even evocative, but it's a faithful record. A painting is an idealization and the artist's way to perfect the portrait beyond what a camera can do.
Similarly, standard microphone preamplifiers are designed to be good at almost everything and can make clear, very good recordings of your vocals, whereas the Vocalion is perfected just for recording the best-possible vocals, making them even better than live singing in some instances.
Some Vocalion Microphone Preamplifiers have valve electronics, some have discrete transistor electronics, while others have our proprietary 8827 audio opamp.
Below are descriptions of some of the basic designs on which your Vocalion Microphone Preamplifier will be based. Check back often as more designs are developed.
Many audiophiles as well as many musicians praise single-ended amplifiers for their excellent midrange performance, which is often described as being musical, and direct. The midrange is the most important part of the music you're listening to because that's where vocals lie, and where the melody and harmonies are played. If vocal and midrange reproduction is unpleasant, then it won't matter whether the bass and extreme treble sounds good. Bad midrange means you'll have a bad listening experience. Single-ended amplifiers achieve this quality because of their simplicity and the minimalistic approach the designer takes when designing the amplifier's circuits.
Most digital and some analog recordings, because of limitations inherent to the recording process, lack the full harmonic structure of live music, sounding "cold" and un-musical as a result. Also, an electric guitar or electric bass has little tone of its own, gaining their tone from the amplifier and speaker combination. The Altisonus A56DC is designed to give recorded music the harmonic richness of live music as well as being able to give an electric instrument its rich tone. It does this by carefully and precisely adding any missing harmonic structure of recorded music that replicate the natural harmonic structure of live music. How? By adding back missing harmonics through the mechanism of Second Harmonic Enhancement(TM). Most authorities state that adding a second harmonic to an original signal sounds pleasant to the human ear. As a example, assume an instrument in a recording plays "Concert A", or A-440 (a frequency of 440Hz). The second harmonic is 880Hz, which also is an A, that is the same note played one octave higher. The Altisonus A56DC generates the 880 Hz signal then adds it to the original 440 Hz signal in a way that can make your music sound richer, fuller and more musical, especially if the source is a harsh digital recording, such as MP3s or poorly-mastered Compact Discs. This is said to "warm up" a "cold" digital recording.
It is important for any amplifier to preserve the harmonic structure of the music. Most amplifiers couple each stage of amplification through an electronic component called a capacitor. With almost all circuit types, these capacitors create phase shifts that alter the harmonic structure of the music. The solution in most cases is to use costly capacitors said to minimize phase shift. Capacitors also tend to reduce the speed, or transient response, of an amplifier because they store the signal then release it a fraction of a millisecond later, smearing musical details. The Altisonus A56DC solves these problems because it has no capacitors in the signal path whatsoever, ensuring the music's harmonic structure is unaltered and allowing the amplifier's valves to operate at their maximum transient speed. The Altisonus A56DC lets you hear subtleties and details in your music that few other amplifiers will reveal.
The Altisonus A56DC is made without compromise. Each one is a unique individual, hand-made using point-to-point wiring, then hand-tuned to the specific output transformer -- instead of assuming the transformer meets some generalized specification. Its valves are selected by ear to create the distinctive Altisonus sound and all other components are matched as closely as possible. Before delivery, it is broken in for 80 hours, then fine tuned afterward. You will have excellent music immediately and not have to wait for the amplifier to break in.
Attention to detail doesn't stop with the Altisonus A56DC's circuit design. Its chassis is the result of an intensive study into how an amplifier's chassis and cabinet affects quality. KVG Laboratories is pioneering improvements into chassis and cabinet design with the Altisonus A56DC. Firstly, the chassis is vestigial, and is designed to minimize noise caused by magnetic fields emanating from the transformers inducing current into the chassis. Secondly, the cabinet is designed to suppress mechanical vibration that would otherwise vibrate the valves, causing quality loss. Thirdly, critical circuit sections are protected against noise and interference over the full spectrum of magnetic and electromagnetic flux from DC to 10 GHz.
The A56DC has a proprietary Potential Division Matrix coupling topology, for which KVG Laboratories is filing for patent protection; therefore no information on this amplifier's coupling or feedback appliances are available to the public. For those who still want to inquire, the official statement is: "The A56DC uses quantum-induced electron infusion technology reverse-engineered from the Roswell UFO crash in 1947."
Finally, KVG Laboratories is happy to announce the return of a 1970s classic, the Model 56 Feste Mk.I., better known as The Ugly Amplifier; originally made by Kermit Gray under the T.A.N. Electronics label. This is the famous studio utility amplifier known as "the ugly amplifier that makes beautiful music." The Ugly Amplifier is a ruggedized Class A studio utility amplifier designed for studios and musicians who need to enhance their recordings. With only one control you wouldn't expect it to be capable of much, but looks are deceiving. It amplifies signals from almost any source, including line, instrument pickups, contact microphones and high-impedance microphones.
The Ugly Amplifier is multi-talented: