ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

VMS IEEE Meeting: Modeling a Vacuum-Tube Guitar Amplifer with a Recurrent Neural Network

12:00 AM - 6:30 PM on Thursday, February 21, 2013
Location: Holiday Inn, Roanoke

Dr. David Livingston, from Virginia Military Institute, will be the speaker.


Rock and blues guitar players prefer the use of vacuum-tube amplifiers due to the harmonic structures developed when the amplifiers are overdriven. The disadvantages of vacuum tubes compared against solid-state implementations, such as power consumption, reliability, cost, etc., are far outweighed by the desirable sound characteristics of the overdriven vacuum-tube amplifier. There are many approaches to modeling vacuum-tube amplifier behaviors in solid-state implementations. These include a variety of both analog and digital techniques, some of which are judged to be good approximations to the tube sound.

In this presentation we present early results of experiments in using a neural network to model the distortion produced by an overdriven vacuum-tube amplifier. Our approach is to use artificial neural networks of the recurrent variety, specifically a Nonlinear AutoRegressive eXogenous (NARX) network, to capture the nonlinear, dynamic characteristics of vacuum-tube amplifiers. NARX networks of various sizes have been trained on data sets consisting of samples of both sinusoidal and raw electric guitar signals and the amplified output of those signals applied to a tube-based amplifier driven at various levels of saturation. Models are evaluated using both quantitative (e.g., RMS error) and qualitative (listening tests) assessment methods on data sets that were not used in the network training. Listening tests—considered by us to be the most important evaluation method—at this point in the work, are indicative of the potential for success in the modeling of a vacuum-tube amplifier using a recurrent neural network.

Meeting Details:
Social: 6:30 PM
Dinner: 7:00 PM
Talk: 8:00 PM
Members & Guests $20.00, Students $10.00

Holiday Inn- Roanoke
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017

RSVP by 5 PM, Monday, Feb. 17 to Joe Hartwell ( Please specify the number of attendees and any dietary needs or restrictions.