Best modern SPICE simulation software with extras and why?

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Goblin

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Hey guys, hope everyone is safe and doing fine.

I've used a bunch of sims, but settled on KiCad after a while. The reason is, I can do everything I do in LTspice, but if I desire to, I can work on that same file inside the same software and send it to a PCB fab and have it made. It's more advanced, you can see the 3D render, libraries are easier to install, etc. It's more advanced modern and at the same time not harder nor complicated to use. That's how I see that KiCad it's the best for me.

Usually I stick with one software and just really learn how to use it as deep as I can go, so I want to specialize in only one, and I don't have the knowledge or experience to make this evaluation.

I tried Eagle as well, and I heard good things about Micro-Cap, which is now free and costed 4.500$. I tried a few others but settled on KiCad.

I'm new at this (few years experience on and off), so I ask, bearing all the pluses in mind (been able to make an advanced PCB out of your schematics, able to make simulations, complete libraries, 3D view etc)

What's the best SPICE simulation software in your opinion and why? (Must be free)
 
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Bo Deadly

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It's not terribly common for LTSpice symbols to match up with a real part like you would need to use in a schematic capture / PCB layout program. There are all-in-one solutions. I've never used them because I don't do this stuff professionally so I cannot justify the cost. And I haven't done any builds in a while. I'm supposed to be writing code right now ...
 

Goblin

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You're right. I'm weighting the pros and cons of LTspice and KiCad because I want to use only one software, but looks like each one has it's own advantages so I may end up using both.
 

Chrisfromthepast

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You're right. I'm weighting the pros and cons of LTspice and KiCad because I want to use only one software, but looks like each one has it's own advantages so I may end up using both.
Im not particularly adept at building spice models, and Im honestly not much of a simulator, but my 2 cents is coming anyhow...
LT spice relies on netlists for the schematic and spice models to fill in each component with real world parameters. Spice models are a whole distinct conversation...some manufacturers have models readily available.
You can generate a spice friendly net list from your kicad schematic that will work well with your spice program of choice. And that is a really effective sort of integration.
Kicad is even cooler than that though.
If you are really diligent with your library organization, that is...
You have the opportunity to link a spice model with your symbol in your schematic. If you link everything together correctly, Kicad promises that you can simulate right in the schematic capture software.
I only really simulate snippets of circuits as a sanity check. Sometimes thats fastest with this neat little tool:
 
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abbey road d enfer

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There is not one simulation software that will do well all circuits. LTspice is my go-to, but I use TINA sometimes, and if I did RF, I would use a simulator based on s-parameters.
I find KiCad somewhat quirky, but it's because I'm just an old geezer.
The idea of an all-in-one package seems doomed to me.
You can't realistically hope a single multi-purpose package to be the best performer in all departments.
Dealing with several differents GUI/HUI/workflow is not so difficult.
 

Dualflip

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Most accurate is Genesys, ADS or MWO, but that is overkill for audio and definitely not free. As for the 'best' Orcad seems to be a good candidate. However, IMHO I love MultiSim. All of them, not free.

If it must be free, LTSpice or TIna
 
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Goblin

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Hey, thanks guys for the bunch of suggestions, I can reassure you they are of great help.

I fell ill this week and couldn't advance much in the spice field, but;

What I found, so far, is as different DAW's or different Reel to Reel Tape Recorders all have their benefits and their down falls so to speak the same happens with spice softwares.

Atm I'm focusing on KiCad and LTspice, will surely check out the other spice simulators.

Falstad looks really cool and really educating. Fast hands on approach. Have to check out the others.

I wouldn't mind paying for a really good and effective spice software, but my conditions atm don't permit me so. I have to lightly go over this subject so people don't think I'm half-assing my projects. Untasteful but needed thing to bring to attention. Hopefully in a near future or the circumstances change or the locals of this page will know so I don't have to go over it every time.

Pertaining to my studies, I checked out all the books suggested, and the best way to go for me at this times is use as the main book "Small Signal Audio Design" by Douglas Self, and on the side, reading the same chapter in "TAOE" and general Internet Research and Studies. I tried the other books but the math was overwhelming at this stage. My stamina is not good as it was 2 years ago. Though I'm planning in a near future getting a tutor so I can get to that level of math so to really understand what's happening inside those components, or I'll take some other advanced math moocs. I went the Arts way in College and so far it has payed off. No stress. I want to clone classic gear. But that will help me as well. And instinctively I want to know how those work in nature, so to speak. At the molecular level how they behave and the charts and equations of their functioning. None the less I'm reading as well the Sedra book and skipping all the math. I'll come back to it when I can reach those equations and really dig on it. So far is going really good, extremely interesting and immersive, really smooth and enjoyable. Most of the stuff at the 3erd read, at the 3rd time I go over it, I understand it up to the point where I can explain it. Super happy about it. I brushed up on my Basic EE and Basic Circuit Analysis and off I go. Everyone is welcome to leave their suggestions tips and thoughts in my post about it:


Thanks again guys, appreciate it.
 
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Winston OBoogie

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I'm limping along on an old MacBook Pro and have been using Easy EDA of late. The simulation stuff uses their servers so you need to be logged on, but it works and there's lots of extra stuff and features that goes along with it. And it's free of course.

However, I'm not sure as yet which sim package actually sounds the best...
 

Goblin

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Oct 17, 2018
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Thanks Winston, will try it out for sure. I always have fun trying out new software and that one sounds like it has quite a few extra tools. Can't wait to check it out!
 

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