Acustica Audio Ruby review – VT-5 vacuum tube equalizer licensed by DW Fearn

Ruby by Acustica Audio –  VT-5 Vacuum tube equalizer  plugin made under DW Fearn license

Acustica Audio marks a new milestone in the world of ITB mixing plugins with Ruby –  an outstanding emulation of the famous VT-5  vacuum tube equalizer made in direct collaboration with Mr. Fearn, the inventor of the hardware version (priced +9000 usd). At this time, Ruby is priced 199 eur, since it’s still in presale period, but the price raise to 235 eur after the pre-sale period ends, so make sure to grab your copy here: http://www.acustica-audio.com/store/products/ruby

VT-5 is the stereo version of VT-4, a famous equalizer with passive LC circuitry and class-A triode vacuum tube stages for the input and output, input and output transformers made by Jensen, with also the tube circuitry  being mainly derived from the VT-1/VT-2 mic preamps, world renowed for their state-of-the-art sonic quality.

Ruby is based on Acustica’s latest Core 11 technology, with the added advantage of using High Efficiency Symmetric & Asymmetric Saturation Modeling (SASM), a new high performance saturation/harmonic distortion modeling algorithm characterized by a much lower number of digital artifacts. Since we demoed and (ab)used each and every plugin made by Acustica Audio, after the release of Crimson ( and Diamond Lift we expected anything else but another eq plugin. That was until we actually inserted it in a project and mess around it for a couple of minutes – we were completely blown away by how  the boost & cut in the same frequency range pultec-inspired technique sounded on this beauty – instant gratification in the low end zone!

The Mid-Cut control starts with a low Q on discrete cuts, but the Q becomes sharper in direct relation with the amount of db that are cut,  and affects the selected frequency more narrowly. The higher settings would be recommended for a much clinical approach, for example, whan you want to null out undesired resonanting frequencies. The High Cut control does a wonderful job on diminuating digital harshness or noise, with its highest setting at 28 kHz  being a God’s send for digital recordings, since attenuation around this area may help avoid effects associated with anti-aliasing filters in A-D converters.

We were already amazed on how unbelievable good Acustica plugins could sound, but this particular plugin made us curious on the hardware itself – until we could add that to our tools, we are more than happy and almost feel like cheating when using the Ruby “Digital version” of the famous VT-5. Try out the 30 days demo trial available on Acustica’s website and prepare your wallet – more than probably, you won’t wait for the trial to expire until you would have add Ruby to your favorite mixing or mastering plugins.

As all of Acustica’s manuals, Ruby’s was a delight to read, especially since it was fallowed by watching this presentation of the hardware version by Mr. Fearm himself :