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Author Topic: Phædrus "VF14M" Soldi State Tube Emulation  (Read 749 times)


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  • Real Full Name: John Raham
Phædrus "VF14M" Soldi State Tube Emulation
« on: August 15, 2023, 03:55:26 PM »

Tried to split the topic up into the two separate discussions, but only succeeded halfway.

Dan Boner had originally posted this:

It is very obvious that the Phædrus does not have the thunderous and impactful low end of a VF14. That lower octave, subharmonic is missing. And the upper midrange of the Phædrus is more prominent, somewhat pinched, and overall it doesn't compress like the VF14. It works, but it's not the same, and it doesn't sound quite as good.

The Phædrus is, however, making my U47 operational in a pinch. For that it is a good option. I'm pairing it with the M7 capsule as the lesser bass actually helps it match my K47/VF14 a bit, with some added upper mids from the Phædrus.

I must brag again on John Peluso's reskin. I do not know how it compares to what an original M7 PVC in 1959 "would have" sounded like, but it sounds just wonderful to me.

Dan Boner
Professor/Program Director
Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies
East Tennessee State University

To which John responded:

I feel similarly about my Grove Hill VF14ME.  Great in a pinch or for troubleshooting.  Direct drop in substitute.  But man, there's just nothing like a VF14...



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Re: Phædrus "VF14M" Report
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2023, 10:53:02 PM »

I am leaving aside the sonic merits or demerits of substituting a genuine Telefunken VF14 tube with a transistorized solid state device that the manufacture claims performs not just like a tube, but like a premium-version of the VF14M.

I am also leaving aside Phaedrus' silly, unsubstantiated (and entirely impossible to prove) claim that virtually no original VF14/VF14M is capable anymore of performing to spec*.  But I have two reservations how Phaedrus markets its "VF14M Electronic Tube":

1. If Telefunken or Neumann would have had more foresight, "VF14" would still be trademarked. The defense of the trademark would have shut down any company deriving financial gain from using it. As is, anyone can without penalty or fear of a lawsuit freely use a term that is synonymous with audio excellence, uniquely tied to the original Telefunken tube company.

2. The "VF14M Electronic Tube" made by Phaedrus is neither a VF14 (see above) nor an electronic tube, which is still defined as a 'vacuum tube facilitating thermionic emissions'. Simulating certain performance parameters of a vacuum tube by putting a bunch of transistors under a VF14-looking hood does not pass my smell test. 

The appropriation or the misuse of names and symbols of famous brands that are no longer protected bugs the hell out of me. Not so much because it's just low to grab someone else's famous name to make a bigger buck, but because the historical knowledge of who created which superb audio machinery in the first place fades with generation after generation, to the point that name plates disappear in a fog of confusion:

From Mullard to Telefunken, from Tung-Sol to Genalex, tube and other audio manufacturers are grabbing expired trademarks or buy up names and their logos from holding companies without ever feeling the need to disclose to the buying public the disconnect between the original and their copies.

* It takes balls to make that claim. I have installed countless old, used, sealed, Neumann spec'd VF14, with and without the "M" stamp, and the vast majority of them performs within Neumann's noise and microphonic specs. 
But how would a penny-poor owner of a U47 copy know this? So he buys the promise...

Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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