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ka7niq

Tube Sound From Your Solid State Amp ?

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I have read that when you get into the higher end / high dollar amplifiers the sound differences between tube and SS lessen quite a bit. I don't have any experience with really "high end" amps but was surprised by how close the Carver Lightstar and Bob Carver's little 20 watt VTA-20 EL-84 tube amp sounded to each other. Also really surprised he's not still selling those little tube amps, they sound great with Klipsch speakers. There is rumor on the Carver forum of a little 50x2 dual KT-88 tube amp in the works though, can't wait to check that out.

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5 minutes ago, jjptkd said:

I have read that when you get into the higher end / high dollar amplifiers the sound differences between tube and SS lessen quite a bit. I don't have any experience with really "high end" amps but was surprised by how close the Carver Lightstar and Bob Carver's little 20 watt VTA-20 EL-84 tube amp sounded to each other. Also really surprised he's not still selling those little tube amps, they sound great with Klipsch speakers. There is rumor on the Carver forum of a little 50x2 dual KT-88 tube amp in the works though, can't wait to check that out.

Here is the problem, Bob can make his transistor amps sound like ANY amp, tube or solid state, but only on one speaker/wire combination.

Jim Croft who used to own Definitive audio designed the OLD Lightstar amps, I am unfamiliar with the newer stuff.

Here is a tube amp some are using, that is inexpensive and American Made !!!!!! https://carvinaudio.com/products/ts100

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1 hour ago, ka7niq said:

The guitar amplifier guys are using computer modeled solid state amps and DSP to emulate a Tube Sound. 

and using Pro Tools for folks that can't sing.

Want tub sound buy tubes (as was stated ^^^^)

I would think an amp designer would want his amp to sound like eh, HIS amp.

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22 minutes ago, USNRET said:

I would think an amp designer would want his amp to sound like eh, HIS amp.

 

Mr. Carver "voices" all of his own amps himself, the duplicating of the sound of the ultra high end amp at the time was to prove a point, which he did quite well. He "copied" the sound of an ultra high amp costing something like $10k in the '80's that could only "sound that good" because of all the expensive parts that went into it. Well, no, that proved to not be the case as his little few hundred dollar amp with radioshack parts and lamp cord would prove unequivocally in multiple double blind test with all the golden ear doubters at the time , quite the David vs Goliath story and shocked a lot of people, from what I understand of the story anyway.

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14 minutes ago, USNRET said:

and using Pro Tools for folks that can't sing.

Want tub sound buy tubes (as was stated ^^^^)

I would think an amp designer would want his amp to sound like eh, HIS amp.

Gee, so by your Logic, God help those of us who use Equalization or Tone Controls on our systems.

Guess what, when I buy any amp, it is no longer the designers amp, it is MY Amp, and I will make it sound like I want it to.

One day, in the not too far future, DSP and computer modeling will make it possible for you to make your amp sound however you want :) 

It is already happening to the most hard core tube lovers, guitar players! 

The guitar player forums have plenty of threads on this subject

Solid state amps are generally more dependable, since they utilize transistors in place of tubes. Back in the early days of solid state amps many musicians would say they lack the warm, responsive tones of tube amps, but with all the years of tube emulation circuits this is said much less and sometimes the tone is preferred creating new tones in new genres of music. 

 

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57 minutes ago, USNRET said:


Want tub sound buy tubes (as was stated ^^^^)

I would think an amp designer would want his amp to sound like eh, HIS amp.

Going for that "tub" sound is a lofty goal. Even my singing sounds good in the tub.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist!

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2 minutes ago, MookieStl said:

Going for that "tub" sound is a lofty goal. Even my singing sounds good in the tub.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist!

ROTFLMAO

I caught that too

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55 minutes ago, ka7niq said:

Gee, so by your Logic, God help those of us who use Equalization or Tone Controls on our systems.

I don't think he said that.

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1 hour ago, ka7niq said:

One day, in the not too far future, DSP and computer modeling will make it possible for you to make your amp sound however you want

 

We can only hope so. But I really doubt DSP and computer modeling will "emulate" the actual sound of directly heated low watt single ended triode tube anytime soon.

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8 hours ago, wdecho said:

Not to belittle Bob for he is a giant in amplifier design but he only duplicated the sound of one tube amplifier probably a push pull one. Not all tube amplifiers sound the same. There is plenty of information on how he did this challenge on the web. Duplicating the sound of a single ended triode with SS is much harder to pull off. Most all SS amps are trying to duplicate the sound of a tube amplifier with much more power. Some do a better job than others. With our efficient speakers one can achieve excellent sound using a modest priced tube amplifier vs a SS amplifier that will cost much more to sound as good. Those that have those conventional 85db speakers are the ones that need to spend much more money for a SS amplifier that will sound as good as a modest priced tube amplifier using our speakers. This debate has been going on since the introduction of sand devices and will continue far into the future. Nelson Pass from all accounts designed a SS amplifier that sounds very much like a single ended triode (SE 300B) using a special one of kind transistor that has curves that resemble a triode tube. Most all transistors have curves that resemble a pentode tube though there are some newer ones that are showing promise appearing on the market for other fields and not specifically designed for audio. 

Whoops, I forgot to attach the article.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

 

There was an alternative viewpoint in that same edition.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/684awsi/index.html

 

 

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--- sonically, the single ended 2a3 can't be far behind. (then why are mine for sale?!) Even in PP configuration the 2a3 is a fine sounding tube. 

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3 hours ago, mike stehr said:

 But I really doubt DSP and computer modeling will "emulate" the actual sound of directly heated low watt single ended triode tube anytime soon.

 

Well, I certainly hope not.

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1 hour ago, wdecho said:

Most high end reviewers compare amps they are testing to the standard in audio reproduction the SE 300B

I have never heard the SE 300B referred to as the "standard in audio reproduction."  I think it should be, nut usually the standard they refer to in connection with audio is the Williamson Amp, and his criteria.

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59 minutes ago, dwilawyer said:

I have never heard the SE 300B referred to as the "standard in audio reproduction."  I think it should be, nut usually the standard they refer to in connection with audio is the Williamson Amp, and his criteria.

Here is whats coming, and is already being used in Pro Sound. One day, we will have transistor amplifiers, that will have the DSP powered emulation, where one can dial up the sound of several Tube Amplifiers.

 

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On 12/23/2017 at 11:01 AM, ka7niq said:

..................................

To make your solid state amp sound more tube like, here is what you do, buy some 20 to 25 watt resistors like these http://www.electronicsurplus.com/vishay-dale-electronics-cpwn20-3-resistor-power-0-3-ohm-20w, then place only one resistor in series with one of your speaker terminals. Bob suggested buying 3 of these resistors (6 total) starting at 1/4 ohm, 1/2 ohm, and 1 ohm.

The more resistance you use, the more tube like your amp will become, however, past 1 ohm on most speakers, the bass will get sloppy past 1 ohm. The resistors can be inductive or non inductive, feel free to experiment with both kinds. 

 

This is a quick and dirty little trick that will change your sound, give it a try. 

 

 

But why would I ever consider such a thing?  I have had tube monoblocks and truth was not in them.  The sound of an amp with a high damping factor (bass control, clarity) is what I like.  I do not like the soft, fuzzy, limp tube sound. 

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16 minutes ago, JohnA said:

 

But why would I ever consider such a thing?  I have had tube monoblocks and truth was not in them.  The sound of an amp with a high damping factor (bass control, clarity) is what I like.  I do not like the soft, fuzzy, limp tube sound. 

The resistors DO effect the damping factor of a solid state amplifier, and if you use too much resistance, damping factor goes to crap, and you get that fuzzy soft limp sound.

If you like what you have now, go with what ya got :) 

BTW, my friend with the VMPS RM 40's could not remember how much putty to use on them, he tunes with a bass CD and a SPL meter.

 

 

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10 hours ago, JohnA said:

 

But why would I ever consider such a thing?  I have had tube monoblocks and truth was not in them.  The sound of an amp with a high damping factor (bass control, clarity) is what I like.  I do not like the soft, fuzzy, limp tube sound. 

Not all tube amps offer a "soft, fuzzy, limp" sound.  As to truth in musical reproduction, everyone has a different criterion and will try to select equipment to meet their expectations.  It's like the issue of remastering or demastering recordings to make them sound "as they should" vs. using some type of tone control or tone shaping to create a more pleasing effect.   My definition of how a recording should sound is strictly personal.  This is a debate which has no answers....  

 

I'll add that the last SS amp I heard which seemed fairly decent was a Rowland Model 1 right after it came out on the market.

 

 

Maynard

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One take on this could be if it were so easy to duplicate "tube" sound via solid state why is Bob Carver now only making tube amplifiers instead of cheaper, more reliable solid state amps that just sound exactly like tube amps? My guess is there will always be something missing in solid state that just can't be captured for good or bad. The best part of all of this is that we, the consumer, get an endless buffet of choices on both sides of the aisle while the geniuses at play try and perfect their craft.  

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48 minutes ago, jjptkd said:

One take on this could be if it were so easy to duplicate "tube" sound via solid state why is Bob Carver now only making tube amplifiers instead of cheaper, more reliable solid state amps that just sound exactly like tube amps? My guess is there will always be something missing in solid state that just can't be captured for good or bad. The best part of all of this is that we, the consumer, get an endless buffet of choices on both sides of the aisle while the geniuses at play try and perfect their craft.  

Bob is capable of making a solid state amp sound exactly like a tube amp. I heard it for myself at his house. 

However,  this is not possible to do in a production amplifier, because there are too many variables for it to work.

 

The resistor trick Bob taught me I posted at the start of this thread sometimes works better then one would think. And, the more terrible sounding the solid state amp is, the better it works! Phase Linear 400's were never known for sound quality, and the resistor literally transforms them.

 

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