The color of IGS Tubecore 3U (Blind Test)

I’ve been working a lot with my IGS Tubecore Mastering Edition lately and I’ve been so satisfied I’ve been almost strapping it on every master bus, on every production. I love the sound of it and the features dry/wet and mid/side really make it a game changer. It’s such a WARM piece of gear that my cat also loves to sleep upon it.

I’ve wanted to investigate a little deeper on the actual color that it gives the instruments, so I made a test.

1) I’ve recorded a 16bar piece of metal song with 9 tracks:

• Drums
• Bass / Bass Dist
• Guitars / Double Gtrs
• Vocals / Add Vocals
• Reverb/Fx for Vocals

2) I’ve mixed roughly the song

3) I’ve “reamped” each single track thru the Tubecore with no gain reduction. Gain at 13, output at 9.5
That’s a small amount of gain, btw. Halfway the total gain available on this monster. We’re not going for massive distructive gain differences.

4) I’ve re-reamped each already reamped track thru the Tubecore again, this time with gain at 11, output at 9.5

5) I’ve matched each reamped and 2x reamped track’s RMS to the originals

6) I’ve mastered the 3 versions (1st version with no tubecore, second with tubecore on each track, second with 2x tubecore on each track) and bounced the 3 wave files  A, H, Z.

7) I’ve strapped an additional tubecore with compression on (30att, 0.1rel, 1db GR) on each of these 3 wave files, generating 3 more versions (1: no mixbus comp, 2: mixbus comp) This one’s just a slight difference btw.

My aim here is to listen purely to the color of the unit itself, of the tube gain.
So the result are 6 files, where we have 3 letters and 2 numbers.
Each letter corresponds one of the 3 versions (dry / 1x TC / 2x TC) while the numbers will be 1: with no additional tubecore bus compressor, 2: with additional tubecore bus compression.

Here they are.
What’s your favorite?


A2 (same take as A1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)


H2 (same take as H1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)


Z2 (same take as Z1 + additional Tubecore on the master bus, 1db GR)

I’ll unveil the results next week or so!


Author: Enrico Tiberi

Musician, music producer, mixing engineer.

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