Tube Vs. Solid State

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by shaizada, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    I just created this thread because I've NEVER had the first post of any new sub-forum section ever! One crossed out of the bucket list ;)

    FIRST THREAD EVER GUYS!

    Ok let me get some of the noise down and increase the signal as I'm actually interested in this topic.

    What kind of amplification do you have a preference for and why?

    I like both. In fact, I like to have tube amplification that is not tubey sounding. I like it clean, clear (something solid state tends to do well with) with analog warmth (something solid state TENDS to struggle with).

    I own both kinds of amps, though I listen MOSTLY to tube mono blocks.

    Ok spill your guts out....
     
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  2. Rex Aeterna

    Rex Aeterna Friend

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    i love both. i also love pro or consumer stuff and everything in between. it's just music for me.
     
  3. eastboundofnowhere

    eastboundofnowhere Facebook Friend

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    The way that you described the differences between tube and solid state pretty much nailed my preference as well. Unfortunately, at my budget level I usually find myself having to compromise and make a choice and I do prefer that tone, and for me a touch of warmth, be present first vs clarity and cleanliness. Fortunately, for music listening I tend to spin vinyl far more often which does alleviate the problem to some degree.

    Also, tubes get hot in the summer and I can't leave them running for extremely long periods of time. I say tubes with my vinyl rig and solid state for casual listening, movies, and video games….at least that's the plan once I purge everything and actually put together two well thought out systems.

    Keep in mind I don't have the experience that a lot of people on this board have so don't post often. Don't want to clutter things up with garbage. For example I once told someone that I like the garage polaris more than the asgard 2 only to realize the asgard was more revealing and my source was the problem later on.
     
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  4. Malabargold

    Malabargold Flipper

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    I've always heard that tubes are better at amplifying voltage while solid state is better at amplifying current. So speaking very generally it would be most efficient to use a solid state based design in a power amp and then use a tube preamp in order to keep some tube flavor within the circuit.

    As far as source and pre amp go I easily prefer tube although I have yet to hear a high end tube power amp.
     
  5. msommers

    msommers Friend

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    My preference is a tube pre and a SS power amp.

    Magnum Dynalab makes an incredible unit. Heard it with some Totem Metal speakers listening to Angel by Massive Attack....my body was assaulted with sound waves from that bass and still didn't sound bright.

    Still think about that amp, so damn nice.

    My limited experience has been that the tube takes the edge off and less analytical while the SS keeps the bass tight as hell. I'm sure YMMV.
     
  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Let's use a SMPS to power a transformer coupled tube amp and get the best of all three worlds. I mean... this is just like putting lego blocks together right? o_O
     
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  7. dmckean44

    dmckean44 Friend

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    I want to hear an amp that directly couples tubes to output transistors.
     
  8. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    I thought I was a solid state person.

    ... Then I got the Vali 2.
     
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  9. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

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    As the amps get better, the differences are less distinguishable. After all, the end goal is the same...
     
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  10. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    I started to rebel against the flavor of the month sounds when they started to reach hard for detail, at the expense of emotion, but I like tubes that are neutral and not tubey, and solid state that is a bit warm. Harder way to get to that combination, normally is tubey tubes and dry solid state.
     
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  11. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    If you define "better" as a set number of qualities the reasoning becomes a bit circular... And I know many TOTL amps that sound completely different. To me "better" is really only valid in the context of personal taste and system synergy.
     
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  12. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    This is very simple. Tubes sound better than SS. However, the efficiency / power requirements of the transducer dictate the type of amp: SET, push-pull tube, Class A SS, Class AB SS. Or vice-versa.
     
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  13. trung225

    trung225 Almost "Made"

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    Actually, I don't think so. Last week, I attended a "Audio Workshop", in which we compared some really good amplifiers, Jeff Rowland 501 (class D), Mark Levinson No.434 (class A/B), Devialet 400 (hybrid class A/D) and NAT Transmitter (class A Tube). And the sound difference between them is definitely not subtle at all. Source is Oracle CD1000 transport, Pre-Amplifier is Audio Note L5 Mentor Silver Signature and Speakers are YG Acoustics ANAT Refeerence II Professional.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  14. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    Albert Einstein once said that "A thing should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." This might be an example of the latter.
     
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  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    I like this new two channel section.

    I wish I heard enough tube gear to form an opinion. One thing I would like to see more is headphone/speaker measurements through different amps. I believe on Changstar, Ultrabike did measurements comparing the HD600 on the Schiit Valhalla and a SS amp that showed a clear difference in FR. Tubes also seem to have the biggest effect at the electromechanical interface; which means drivers, vinyl cartridges, microphones and guitars. For this reason I would prefer not to get a Vali 2 and would rather go for a 'reverse Vali'.

    However I also think that people put way too much emphasis on the contribution of tubes and that 'tube sound' should actually be 'transformer sound'.
     
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  16. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    Tubes tend to be less compressed and reproduce treble with a more correct timbre, which I find more sensitive to on headphones due to the ear distance; most class AB SS headphone amps I've heard has been steely with the negative feedback steel ultra detectable due to headphones being closer to your ear, all the current amps have weird glare (the best/most softened was the AGD Master 9 and still "off"), and the Class A MOSFET imparts a certain softness despite correct volume dynamics. MOSFET lacks the proper snare and cymbal "bite" you get with the transients in real life from real instruments. That being said, I don't want to knock against really well done SS amps, even op-amp based ones; best treble I've heard from a SS headamp was the Black Widow 2 despite the bloom and some of the least compressed stuff I've heard has been based on class-A ,op amp-based circuitry with transformer coupled outputs. Chi-fi, cheap name brand receivers, flavor of the month personal audio garbage, and "audio objectivist" who tune by poorly done measurements alone give all this SS stuff a bad name. Also people are hearing a lot of these modern amps through horrible Sabre DACs like the Moon Neo stuff.

    Tubes tend to be worse at bass/low end timbre though, especially all the cheap OTL shit. Then you have the alternate tendency for many tube amps to be unnaturally forward or have weird grain going on in the upper-mids to low treble areas, often due to cheap tubes or whatever the hell the Valhalla 2 does but the Valhalla 2 is not even close to the worst OTL grain offender; the MicroZOTL is the Valhalla 2 but infinitely worse, uber compressed, and uber forward to where the black driver HD 650 is thin and super forward. I haven't heard an "endgame" triode-based otc headphone amp like the Studio yet but the speaker stuff I've heard has been great.

    Good amps are good amps. I hate steel/glare/thinness but can tolerate some forwardness and bloom. When I am rather congested, my tubey bloom tolerance is higher as long as the amp isn't hazy.
     
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  17. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Oh there is definitely a tube sound. Otherwise Doug's SS transformer gain designs would sound like tubes. For OTLs, may as well throw in a cap sound. Also, different tubes sound different. Some suck more than others. There's a reason why Schiit used the 6SN7 for their preamps, but the not 6922 or 12A_7. Thr latter tube I think sounds like shit, but does come in useful in many situations.
     
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  18. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Garage1217 Project Sunrise III
    Garage1217 Project Horizon III
    Both connect plate of voltage gain tube directly (through a resistor) to gate of mosfet output transistor run class A.
     
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  19. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday! - Friend

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    For a lot of people starting out, the issue is more about finding what you like (which will be key to which will be better for you). I've been around the block with a bunch of stuff, and I've more or less figured out what I want, namely: solid state tone minus the solid state top end nasties, and maximal dynamics and resolution. I've found even the best solid state amps to fall short in terms of staging and spatial cues compared to good tube amps, and really can't go back to them.
     
  20. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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