Guavatone Design Philosophy

We come from a session recording engineers’ perspective.  We like big ole Bakelite knobs, Fighter jet switches, Painton Faders,  and nice round jewel-like radiating pilot lights. At the same time we want things to interface easily and endure abuse of each session from beginning to end, and then some.  The Orange 86 automatic DI should be a welcomed feature by tracking engineers.  We also like open designs that put the builder in the driver’s seat so they can be tailored to specific needs.  This may give the appearance of complexity, but if one follows the basic design, it shown‘ the too difficult.   While we could simply clone a design, we prefer to slightly modify a design to improve sonics, reliability and overall specs.  Certain components just were not available in the 60’s while others were prohibitively expensive or large.  Morgan Jones and other’s have really done some interesting work with incorporating solid state components into tube designs.  There is a time and place for nostalgia, and when you’re in the middle of a session, the last thing you need is to loose a good take, on account of warm and fuzzy feelings for tube rectifiers.  People use terminology like “sag”, however this is mostly for power amp designs and we do not think low power studio gear pulls enough current to create a worthwhile amount of said “sag”.
That being said, at the same time, it’s also foolish as a designer to assume only one way of doing things.  We learned this while working on a differential topology, where a Solid State Current Sink just made sense and sounded terrific.  We used to think solid state tube hybrids looked silly, until working on a transformer coupled differential output stage. The following Morgan Jones quote illustrates a good argument for hybrids;
“The differential pair demonstrated the need for CCSs... Unlike the original valve designers, we are in the fortunate position of
being able to use transistors, and even op-amps, if we consider them to be necessary. This is a perfect example of where a transistor or two can be very helpful.” Valve Amplifiers, 4th Edition
Getting to the point, if there would be a benefit of tube rectification and regulation that outweighed the negatives, it would behoove the designer to opt for the better solution and not a solution based on preconceived non-empirical bias.  It is our understanding that audio electronic design is a game of trade-offs. We could have a perfect capacitor, but how large would it be or cost for that matter? We could design design a current source power supply, but how much heat would it generate? It would also max out at a small amount of current.  We hope you enjoy learning about this stuff and in the process make very cool and useful devices for capturing moments in time and space.