Italian plug-in maker Overloud announced the release of Sculptube, a virtual tube processor designed to create “authentic tube colouration”. Intended for mixing and mastering applications, Sculptube can deliver three types of analogue tube tones. It can be used for “warming up” audio with subtle distortion and colouration, overdriving the input for typical valve distortion, and as an exciter which enhances top frequencies with natural harmonics.
Among the processor’s other virtues are triode and pentode simulation, tube bias control, built-in EQ and parallel processing, and low CPU use. Usability-wise, it benefits from multi-level undo and redo, A/B comparisons, scribble strips (for taking notes anywhere on the panel), and meter calibration (for calibrating the VU meters at 4 sensibilities).
Additionally, there are three tube bias types and tube distortion configurations. The bias setting affects the amount of current travelling through the tubes, which can be low, medium, or high. This makes for an audible difference in sound – at low current, the sound is thinner; at medium, distortion is minimized; at high, the tone becomes saturated with tube harmonics. The three tube distortion settings are Triode, Pentode, and Special, each with its own unique flavor.
Overall, it’s nice to see Overloud bring the expertise in tube modeling gained from work on its guitar amp simulation software to a full-fledged mixing and mastering processor. Tube distortion is being well-preserved in the digital realm and will likely never go out of style.
Price and availability
Sculptube is available now in VST, AU, AAX, and standalone formats for Windows and Mac computers at an introductory price of 89 USD (75 EUR / 67 GBP) with VAT. After the introductory period ends, the price will be 139 USD (117 EUR / 104 GBP) with VAT. A free demo is available for download.