Attention: This product is no longer available for sale (see ordering information for details).
The ALTMANN "TUBE-O-LATOR" LACQUER
The Altmann Tube-o-lator lacquer is an overtone-filter coating-compound for plastic semiconductor packages.
This page deals with the Altmann "Tube-o-lator" lacquer, that will change the way, You understand audio electronics and the human hearing.
- Technical Data . . . or pdf file
- Process Information & Applications
- Application Instructions . . . or pdf file
- What makes a Sound ?
- How can we influence the overtone spectrum?
- How does the "Tube-o-lator" Lacquer work?
- Experiences with the "Tube-o-lator" Lacquer
- What's inside and how does it look ?
- Order information
The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer is a high performance overtone-filter coating-compound, designed for plastic encapsulated analog- and mixed-signal-semiconductors.
The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer is applied only on the top surface of plastic semiconductor packages of AD-converter-chips, DA-converter-chips, OP-amps and discrete transistors.
After application, the overtone spectrum of these active devices changes immediately and permanently.
The new sonic signature will be natural, full and tube-like.
The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer electromechanically balances the resonance-spectrum of the plastic chip package and semiconductor itself in such a way, that a natural sounding overtone- spectrum of the treated active device will be generated.
The lacquer is not applied to the leads and has no impact on the manufacturer's electrical specifications of the device.
The performance of the ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer has been successfully tested with AD- & DA-converters, operational amplifiers, discrete power transistors as well as integrated power-modules. Bipolar & MOSFET, SMD & through-hole technology.
Fast drying at room temperature.
No unpleasant fumes during coating and after further processing.
moisture and insulation resistance
class H, IPC-TM-650, TM 18.104.22.168.
1,0 x E13 Ohm, VDE 0303, part 3
method of application
curing conditions until tack free
complete curing (sonic character)
The Altmann “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer comes in a rugged 0,5ml recloseable process tube. Due to the small surfaces of most semiconductor packages, the content of a single tube will suffice for the sound-treatment of a complete hifi system (fe. including disc-player, DA-converter, preamplifier and main-amplifier).
Before application, the contents of the process-tube must be intermixed. Mixing can be done manually (ie. by shaking and hitting the tube on a table).
For OEM customers we recommend the use of an automated vortex mixer.
Please contact us for assistance.
high end consumer audio
high quality broadcast applications
CD & DVD mastering / premastering
Indication: The Altmann “Tube-o-lator" lacquer is specifically designed for plastic encapsulated semiconductors like AD- & DA-converters, operational-amplifiers, discrete transistors, power transistors as well as integrated power modules and voltage regulators.
Effect: After application of the “Tube-o-lator" lacquer, the indicated components will have a tube-like sonic character, best described as warm, full, natural and emotional sound. You will recognize, that you can easily listen to higher volume levels than before, because annoying frequencies will be filtered out of the signal.
Note: Only coat the top surface of the chip-package. Not the leads! If leads are accidentally coated, don't worry, the lacquer has perfect isolating properties after curing.
Attention: This coating is NOT designed to be used on loudspeakers or any components, not indicated.
If you need a superb resonance coating for your loudspeakers, visit Dieter Ennemoser's Site.
Do not swallow. Avoid eye- and skin-contact. Keep out of range of children. Protect from frost.
1) Disconnect all cables, including power, from the device you want to treat.
2) Open the case and locate the components you want to coat with the “Tube-o-lator" lacquer.
On a CD- DVD or SACD player you should coat the DA-converter chips, the Op-amps and maybe the voltage regulators.
On a Preamplifier you will coat Op-amps and discrete transistors.
3) Hit the process tube (the lacquer package) several times on the table and shake it. The ingrediences have to be thoroughly mixed before application. The contents must look homogeneously.
4) Open the tube and insert the applicator (Q-tip). Remove the applicator and gently push it on the surface of the semiconductor package you want to treat (see picture). You will see the “Tube-O-lator" lacquer evenly distribute on the top surface. The lacquer is black and has a metallic glare. Apply just as much lacquer that you get a homogeneous black surface and cannot see the device marking anymore.
Important: Always coat the complete top surface of a device. Do not partially coat a surface, else you may end up in a mess of non-correlated overtones, and the result will not sound as intended.
Attention: Experience has shown, that power transistors in certain circuit topologies CAN over-react to Altmann “Tube-o-lator" lacquer. Over-reaction will lead to a dumb sound (that will make you feel sick), because too many overtones are filtered. If you experience over-reaction of a device, remove the “Tube-o-lator" lacquer with a carpet knife after curing, or wipe away before curing. You shoud however, first treat your Sound Sources, like DA converter, Disc-player or phono-stage or preamp.
The "Tube-o-lator" lacquer is powerful stuff. It can make or break a sound. So only treat the output transistors of your Main-Amp only, if you really think it is required.
After treatment the sonic character changes immediately. In fact, it changes the very second you apply the “Tube-o-lator" lacquer. However, before curing the sound may be very soft. Full curing and achievement of the final sonic benefits will occur after 20 days of curing.
Happy listening !!!
There is a term in audio that is misunderstood.
The term is "harmonic distortion".
Every active component or circuitry generates distortion, a certain spectrum.
Most people think that distortion is bad, and would naturally prefer a product that has low distortion documented on the spec-sheet.
But distortion is not always bad:
If we were able to reproduce a recording without any distortion, just playing exactly whats documented on the CD, without adding or muting any portion, the sound would fill us with disgust. This sound would be unlistenable dead. It would make us sick.
In fact our hearing needs harmonic distortion. It is the spice of sound, the musical vitamins. Distortion makes a sound real and alive. But it must be the right kind of distortion.
This is the solution to the seeming paradox, that people keep on listening to tube-gear, although it is "so bad" and generates so much "distortion". They do not love their tubes in spite of distortion, they love them BECAUSE of the special distortion or spectrum the gear produces.
A good audio designer tries to make audio gear with a NATURAL REAL SPECTRUM.
But what is a natural real Spectrum?
It is the designers INTERPRETATION of the source, the recording.
In High-End we do not deal with audio reproduction. What we deal with is audio interpretation. This implies, that our gear is not just gear. A correctly designed audio system is a musical instrument able to interpret the recording according to the designers musical comprehension.
Whoever says that High-End deals with the most accurate reproduction, is indeed thinking an octave too low.
The Overtone-Spectrum that we need in order to feel an audio reproduction real sounding is NOT PRESENT ON THE RECORDING.
The amplitudes of the overtone-spectrum are far below the resolution of a CD, DVD or SACD. A new overtone spectrum is generated by the reproducing devices. Every active component adds overtones.
The problem is, that the newl generated overtones can sound bad. Especially the spectrum of mixed signal ICs (i.e. DA converter chips) sounds very bad, due to the digital switching inside the chip and due the plastic package material.
If fact, every plastic encapsulated semiconductor generates an unnatural harsh sounding overtone spectrum.
An excellent explanation of device generated overtones and their sound can be found at milbert's page.
We can influence the spectrum with the type of circuitry we use. This has been treated in Randy Slone's amplifier book.
We can also use different components. We can use tube circuitry, that may have a different (more natural sounding) overtone behaviour. We can use tubes for amplification, but we cannot do a DA-conversion with them.
We can also try to filter overtones with passive components.
However the best solution would be if we were able to correct the overtone spectrum of the active component itself. This is done with the "Tube-o-lator" lacquer and it can be directly monitored a) sonically and b) by appropriate measurement instruments (Audio Precision). It can be measured a decrease in odd, especially third and higher order harmonics.
The mechanism behind the filtering abilities of this specifically designed lacquer is of electrical or electromechanical nature. A capacitor may build up between the chip surface and the package surface. Or there may be a very small high-frequency package vibration or resonance that is changed by the coating compound.
We are not able to provide an accurate description why the "Tube-o-lator" stuff actually works. Maybe some of you guys out there will solve this mystery and tell us.
However, Dipl.- Phys. Holger Klein from Audio Technik, Hannover, came up with a novel explanation. He uses the dispersion theory (you may know from your own physics lessons). Read about it right here.
The Altmann "Tube-o-lator" lacquer is a strong medicine.
If you have a piece of equipment with a cold harsh sound, the "Tube-o-lator" lacquer will bring excellent results.
You should always start with the source: The Disc-player (CD, DVD, whatever), DA-converter or Phono-Stage should be treated first. A bad spectrum, generated at the source can contaminate a whole Hifi-System.
All Disc-players / DA-converters have a very bad overtone-spectrum, because of the digital switching processes.
You will recognize the improvement right from the start. The "Tube-o-lator" lacquer will make your Source sound natural. Voices will integrate and regain their energy. The sound will become more relaxed.
Wait about 20 days while monitoring the sound, until the lacquer is cured. You will then have a complete comprehension about what the "Tube-o-lator" lacquer does to the sound.
You will recognize, that you can listen to very high volume settings, without being tortured with annoying frequencies. It has also been observed, that listening to a treated device for about 15 minutes, can change subjective sound perception for a couple of hours.
If you do AB comparisons between a harsh sounding device and a "Tube-o-lator" treated device. There will be a definite sound difference right from the start. You will feel nervous when listening to the "harsh" device and you will relax when listening to the treated device. However, if you listened about 15 min. to the treated device and then switch back to the "harsh" device, it won't be as bad as before. Your sound perception has changed. When we recognized this strange phenomenon we coined the term "Ears been oiled".
The "Tube-o-lator" lacquer is especially recommended if you have revealing loudspeakers (ie. Cabasse, Lowther, etc).
It can also be a cure for those who reject any digital playback. With "Tube-o-lator" treated CD-players or DA converters the digital playback will sound much more like excellent analog playback.
Following is a chemical analysis and electromicroscopic picture of the Tube-o-lator lacquer. Both supplied by Audio Technik, Hannover.
Tube-o-lator lacquer consists of:
This is how it looks under an electron microscope:
Enjoy the Music - Audiolics Anonymous
Complete Lack of "grain" in the Sound compared to before...
There's a 300B growing in my DAC! ...
Altmann Micro Machines Tube-o-Lator Lacquer Accessory Review by Mike B.
Tube-O-Lator Lack Erfahrungen von Frank Koethe (german language)
Attention: This product is no longer available for sale.
It's application is limited exclusively to the Altmann Superlative DAC, the Altmann Attraction DAC, the Altmann BYOB amplifier and the Altmann Deliberate Creation ADC.
The Altmann "Tube-o-lator" lacquer is shipped in 0,5ml process-tubes incl. applicator and instructions.
One single tube is enough to treat a complete Hifi-System including Disc-player / DA-Converter, Pre-Amplifier & Main-Amplifier.
ALTMANN MICRO MACHINES ... Dipl.-Ing. Charles Altmann ... Am Muehlenbusch 57 ...42781 Haan ...Germany
phone +49-2129-54260 ... fax +49-2129-342555 ... email