Tube Vs. Solid State

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

  1. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Attractive distortion. Not low order, high order, harmonic, non-harmonic, intermodulation, temporal, mental, imaginary, or drug induced distortion in particular ... but the accumulation of and resulting signal waveform convolutions created by the stacking of all distortion products. Very different in different platforms. Maybe the DSP guys could offer some interesting thoughts, too. I'll bet there's even an analogy to be made between how we create a 3D movie image and a 3D audio image where the human brain performs the function of the 3D glasses in the audio case and distortion creates the blurred image.

    Food for thought........

    Question: AC or DC heater filament current?

    An objective answer: Use DC to avoid sending a waveform into the filament and eliminate IMD and mains hum.

    A subjective answer: (See Craig Uthus) "AC provides a perfect electron cloud inside the output tube ... creating an incredibly transparent and deep soundstage." [Note: he does this with painstaking care using a 46 kHz sine wave generator, isolation transformers, in the drive circuit that I'm sure he developed objectively. :) ]

    Yes, I do think the AC heated DHTs do exhibit these attractive qualities to a greater degree than their DC based counterparts... in my limited experience.

    OK, it's all bullshit... but you asked for ideas. :) Also, where's @peef ? Curious if he'd jump in.

    Baz.
     
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  2. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    I dunno. Phase shift at the high end with output transformers? Or why do passive and active RIAA circuits sound different in terms of staging? At some point I don't care. Do we really need to know why Mjolnir emits less graviton particles to Thor than to other people? These kinds of discussions have been going on and on and in circles ever since the transistor was invented.
     
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  3. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    You can find your perfectly ideal personal headphone amplifier, but the problem is that it's going to be made out of radioactive unobtainium. There are always tradeoff, especially with headphones. The final answer is probably going to lie in total system synergy in order to give and take along the way from end to end. Every bit plays a role.

    PS - T3 tinny treble? :p Only ever heard that with the Amperex 7062 installed.
     
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  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Yes, Craig prefers tubes. He thinks the BW sucks when compared to good tube amps. He is working on another SS design which is more neutral sounding because he is butthurt that some people don't like its intentional organic tuning.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
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  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Step 1: Test out and compare a few solid state amps that are "objectively transparent, inaudible in and of itself or compared to other objective transparent amps" wherever someone sets their goal posts for that.
    Step 2: Determine these amps all sound slightly different, verified through blind tests. Same headphones, source, music, etc. Only variable is amp.
    Step 3: Keep repeating over and over and over and over with more and more amps than you can remember. Same results. Different in and outside of blind tests.
    Step 4: Realize that so long as something is not objectively totally broken, just go with whatever sound best to you and makes you most happy.
    Step adding fuel to fire: Tube amps sound better.
     
  6. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    My random thoughts:

    So I have been recorded I don't know how many times singing and rapping etc etc and we always need to let the mic pre's warm up which have tubes in them (Im a nobody and havent recorded in a while). So my vocals are brought to life with tubes. They sound less flat and more like real life with tubes. Not only does my voice pop more but it has more body and tone. The mics we sing in have tubes as well which is really where Mullards became so popular. Tubes give pleasant distortion but sound like real life.

    Then!!!! we take recordings that were made with tubes throughout the whole process and play it with gear using even MOAR TUBES. You would think that by the time I play the recording it would sound like a syrupy mess but I must say that tubes for amps etc make the music sound realistic and natural a lot of times. I personally like solid state a lot but can relate to the compression that is mentioned here, a lot of the hashy trebles, etc etc.

    Is it that some SS gear sterilizes the naturalness of real music? If it does then how? I mean the recordings we listen to are made with tube warmth.

    However studio monitoring, mixing, and mastering gear is mostly Solid state. In the studios I have been in I have never felt the playback to sound sterile or unnatural after the final mix. I HIGHLY doubt that those that are against solid state in this thread would go into a professional studio and say that the final mixes (played from monitors) sound sterile or flat because they are not using a tube amp.

    Some of the problem has to do with the disconnect between Audiophiles and Professionals but really don't fully understand all of this right now. I can appreciate what both offer which is why I have a tube amp and a solid state amp.
     
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  7. shipsupt

    shipsupt Head flea in the market - Admin

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    Seems like it would be easier to skip to step 4?
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Sure, if you believe me. ;)
     
  9. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    What I want to know is how Tim Paravinci got his EAR 324 SS phono stage to sound like a very good tube setup. It sounds incredible.
     
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  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I think there's a certain expectation bias bred from exposure as well. The preference may not necessarily be for what is "best", but what is most familiar.
     
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  11. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    That's very true
     
  12. peef

    peef Acquaintance

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    Hi there!

    I introduced myself back on CS, but just for good measure. I am one of those odd people who likes tubes and solid state, dynamics and Stax, sometimes even planars. I've built a few amps, but find critical listening tedious, so don't do much of it-- the hobby should be fun. Lately I've been working on a "solid state triode" type deal with @dsavitsk. The idea is that wrapping a transistor in a local feedback loop gives it triode-like curves (even though feedback usually sounds terrible :)).

    A hunch. Single ended tube amps run much closer to constant transconductance, meaning output impedance is more or less constant for all signal amplitudes. This isn't the case in class AB, and especially not with vanilla complementary output stages. Maybe this comes off as less resolving? The distortion changes abruptly when a certain level is exceeded, so that could have a masking effect. Someone should make a high voltage single feed BJT or VFET.

    Peufeu wrote a really interesting series of articles on memory distortion, which is practically exclusive to solid state circuits. The idea is that running transistors under constant dissipation (so, constant temperature) linearizes them. It sounds nice.
     
  13. tomchr

    tomchr MOT - Neurochrome

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    Just in the interest of full disclosure: I don't know who NwAvGuy is. I'm not NwAvGuy. I have no interest in becoming NwAvGuy because I don't agree his approach. He took some measurements under some (undisclosed) conditions, compared with other amps (presumably measured under the same conditions) and distilled it to a thumbs up/down scale. I'm not impressed.

    I do my best to speak neutrally or positively about other products and keep my criticism as science/engineering/fact based as possible. I have no interest in taking a public dump on any product or person as that reflects poorly on me.

    In some cases I even help my competitors. On DIY Audio I have provided quite a bit of customer service to help out George Anderson (Tubelab) when he was going through a rough patch in life dealing with illness and death in the family. I know what it's like to run a small business and I want him to succeed. There's more than enough room in the market for both of us.

    Tom
     
  14. murray

    murray Friend

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    Heh, my project for 2017 *was* going to be to build a SET amplifier (to finally find out what the tube magic really sounds like).
    Now I'm not so sure... because of this forum I have found @tomchr's Modulus-86 amazing amplifier that comes in at the other end of the spectrum. i.e. solid state, vanishingly small distortion, guaranteed performance, which will cost less to build. So now I'm on Christmas break reading through several hundred pages of threads on DIY Audio. I can only do one next year (time and money budgets), so the vacillation begins...
    I think my dilemma sums up the title of this thread. ps. The amp will be for speakers; I only need 1 good Watt plus headroom.
    While this forum provides many helpful answers, it also delivers up many new choices and paths to follow.
    Happy New Year to all.
     
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  15. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    That makes you odd? Enjoying the best of what you can get your hands on just sounds sensible...
     
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  16. tomchr

    tomchr MOT - Neurochrome

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    If you do end up pursuing the SET and would like a budget conscious solution, I suggest having a look at my Novar Spud. You will not get bling tubes but you will get good SET sound regardless. It's not quite up there with the DG300B, but for about 20 % of the build budget of a DG300B it really does hold its own.
    Should you decide to take the solid state, no-distortion route, the Modulus-86 is where it's at. Or Modulus-286 if you don't mind an SMD build.

    Tom
     
  17. murray

    murray Friend

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    Thanks, I hadn't seen the Novar Spud. Another one to follow up. I had been considering a Bottlhead. The thing is that I have zero opportunity to hear the "magic tube sound" and would need to build an example. The closest I have got is a Pass Zen single ended Mosfet a few years ago. But that was still SS. My old faithful Musical Fidelity B1 (designed by Tim de Paravicini) is a mixed bag that has a definite flavour of distortions.
     
  18. murray

    murray Friend

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    Hey @tomchr, thanks. I have had a look and it might just be feasible to build both a Novar Spud and a Modulus 86 for the budget of a larger SET amp like the Stereomour. Time budget will be greater, of course, so maybe just on breadboards at first. But then I can then get a better hands-on feel for the 2 ends of the spectrum. "At the end of the day music will be the winner".
     
  19. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT: Sonarworks

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    What are you looking to drive with your amps?
     
  20. murray

    murray Friend

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    My speakers are AR M2 sealed box 2-ways. I have had these since the 1990's. I would also like to hear SET driving headphones to compare to my DIY SS amplifiers. I think, for me, the time has come to stop trying to understand what these things sound like from reading words on the 'web.
     
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