what does a Rectifier tube do?

I have an Air Tight Atm1 amp which uses 2 5ar4 Rectifier tubes. The manufacturer calls it Mullard Rectification. My question is what is Rectification? I ask becuase AirTight makes ATM3s which use the same tubes (EL34) but do not use 5ar4s for Rectification. Would that mean there is a different sound even though both amps use the same Output tube?
A rectifier tube (diode) changes alternating current into little lumps of direct current. See


I remain,
A rectifier turns alternating current and turns it into direct current. I don't know this from my own experience, but I've heard it said that the type of rectifier used does have an effect on the sound.
To answer the question: A rectifier (or rectification) is anything that allows something to flow in one direction without hindrance, but not the other. Its possible for a loudspeaker's port to start acting as a rectifier: air doesn't flow out as easily as it does in, or vice versa. I believe its called a full-wave bridge rectifier that's used in solid-state to convert AC (alternating current) into DC (direct current).
I've no clue about Mullard rectification but I have two assumptions that the second diode tube either rectifies a phase inversed signal or the split-phase signal(where one phase is lagging bihind another by 1/2period making a twice as freequet "lumps" that are much easier to smooth up with capacitors that have proper time delay. Inverting phases as well as splitting phases can be done using a transformer.
thanks for the input so far.....the AirTight 1 (which I really think is the best tube amp Ive heard) uses 2 5ar4 rectifiers.....the AirTight 3 which is an amp Ive have always lusted after uses the same output tubes (el34) and input tubes, but does not use 5ar4 rectifiers. Each amp uses same transformers, point to point wiring and exact parts, Would the amps sound the same or in what way would the Atm1 differ sonically vs the Atm3 because of the lack of the rectification?
you might want to try searching on Audioasylum, either under General or Tube Asylum.

I recall reading some interesting stuff there re: tube rectification and it's effects on tube "bias" setting (fluctuation more likely with tube rectification)Some dude had modified am amp to enable him to plug in a solid state rectification device into the tube sockets...
Also, from my own experience (manufacturer hype) AudioPrism Debut I used to own had pretty good bass for an EL-34 based amp, due, in part (according to manufacturer) to the solid state rectification (no tubes used for this purpose).

Then again, I just compared a Tube Rectified Cary to a SS rectified Rogue, and the Cary had stronger bass (but the tubes did fluctuate a bit, however the audible effects of tubes fluctuating by 2-3% are unknown to me).

Anyway, I really don't know. But (this sounds silly) in my experience, the more tubes used for ANY purpose, the better the sound(and the worse off your wallet will be).
good luck.
All AC powered audio gear uses rectifiers. They change AC from your wall socket into the DC required to run electronics.

The "rectifier" is built from diodes. The diodes may be either solid state or tube (btw Mullard is a tube brand).

There are different types of rectifier circuits. Most are what are called "full wave" and utilize both the positive and negative going parts of the AC waveform to generate pulsating DC at twice the line frequency. This is easier to filter.

Almost all modern gear uses solid state rectification. It generates little heat and most of all has relatively low voltage drop.

Tube rectification is bulky, requires a larger power transformer (filament voltage) and most of all has relatively high voltage drop.

What this means is that tube rectifiers will tend to gently compress the music. As the current demands of the amp increase with volume, the voltage output of the tube rectifier tends to sag a bit, thus producing compression.

BTW, this effect is very noticable in tube guitar amps (my other avocation), and can affect playing style. Some guitar amps even allow the player to switch between solid state and tube rectifiers to exploit this effect.

I think that tube rectifiers are a potential source of dynamic coloration in hifi gear.
A 'rectifier' is what you get after you eata da spicy meataballs. (C'mon audiogon, can't you let at least one low-brow joke through?)
Many experienced tubophile listeners prefer tube rectification. I've never done adirect comparison. In order to do so you'd have to have identical amps (or the same one modified). I have done comparisons with replacing cheap ss rectification with HEXFREDs and the difference is not subtle for not alot of $.