Solid State, or Tube?
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Author:  Edward Ng [ Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Solid State, or Tube?

Pick one!

Author:  sbabb [ Thu Feb 19, 2004 9:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

I had to vote "other" because you didn't include "both" as a choice.

For creating music, I like tubes. All the fuzz boxes and processors in the world still don't quite match the tube grunge on Jon Lord's B3 work with Deep Purple. There's also got to be a higher reason that Jimi Hendrix' middle name was "Marshall." And transistors would never put that same "supercharged V8" punch into Yes virtuoso Chris Squire's bass that tubes do.

But for reproducing music, I like the sterile cleanness of solid state equipment. I want it played back the way it was recorded, without my sound system trying to be another "instrument" in the band. (OK, I also like solid state for creating music, too, but when I want really beefy grunge, it's gotta be tubes.)


Author:  sthayashi [ Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

Or you could be like Van Halen, where he uses tubes to get his sound, and solid state to get his sound loud.

I put down solid state because that's what I listen to. All my guitar/keyboard amps are solid state too, because I was/am too poor to afford tubes.

Author:  SometimesWarrior [ Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:55 pm ]
Post subject: 

What sbabb said. I voted solid state. It seems a bit silly to purposely distort music during playback.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:59 am ]
Post subject: 

SometimesWarrior wrote:
What sbabb said. I voted solid state. It seems a bit silly to purposely distort music during playback.

But you are distorting the sound by using solid state equiptment. It's a different type of distortion than what tubes give you, it's actually more dissonant and annoying thatn tube distortion.

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Fri Feb 20, 2004 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Both...


First of all, I want to dispell the erroneous notion that solid state doesn't distort, or that it is by definition, better than tubed amps. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Ralf says, tube distortion tends to sound better than solid state distortion. But either can/will distort, and that certainly doesn't make one *always* better than the other.

Actually, I think that there are other important aspects to the design of an amp circuit that make it sound better, and these can be aspects that can be applied to either tubed or solid state amps.

One aspect is simplicity: low feedback, Class A or high-bias A/B operation

High quality, low noise *power supply* -- this is absolutely key! Because an amp is essentially a power supply that is modulated by the input signal! :shock:

I own and listen to great examples of both:

Audible Illusions Modulus 2c preamp -- simply the best that I have ever heard. It has a single stage line amp, with a stunningly good single stage phono amp -- four 6DJ8/4922 tubes run as high gain triodes, or at least they are Class A triodes, AFAIK.

B&K ST-140 power amp (the 105watt/ch version). I suspect the bias current is set fairly high on mine. It has three gain stages per channel (AFAIK), and none of them are driven with parallel transistors.

Mmmm...good. 8)

Author:  sthayashi [ Fri Feb 20, 2004 10:10 am ]
Post subject: 

I remember a bit of a discussion I had with a friend once.

What I called crisp, he called tinny. What he called warm, I called muddy/muddled.

I believe there's a lot to be learned from that (and we we just talking speakers too 8) )

Author:  Edward Ng [ Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:02 am ]
Post subject: 

This is the reason why I put it as I did, "Which, 'style,' of sound do you prefer?" Knowing that because of the way amplification equipment works, both technologies, "distort," the signal their own particular ways.

In an ideal situation, your preamp and amp (or your integrated) have zero distortion, but the closer you get to zero distortion, the higher the cost of the equipment (only a generalization; there are bound to be, "giant killers," or exceptions to this rule, and it varies anyway).

I do agree on the comment by Mr. Neil Blanchard in regards to the power supply and also on operation classification. My dad uses an interesting (what I consider hybrid) design power amp, the PS Audio HCA-2 power amp.


Author:  HammerSandwich [ Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

My Pass Aleph 3 is clearly solid-state, but the implementation is tube-like enough that I really need another category. My experience indicates that bad SS amps suffer the bright, relentless nature that tube lovers hate while bad tube amps simply don't control the speaker properly. The best SS and tube amps are converging to a more similar sound with subtler differences than they had 10+ years ago. And, FWIW, my preamp is a Melos SHA-1 hybrid...

Author:  luap [ Mon Feb 23, 2004 7:27 am ]
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i voted other. i use an arc vt 60 power amp, a very good quality solid state pre amp, very good cd playback, and very good speakers.
thanks to good impedance matching between all components, and arc's
excellant tube amp design, i hear pretty much what the artist and the producer put on the cd.

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