robert_kc Posted November 8, 2018 Share Posted November 8, 2018 Let’s dissect the claim that all amps sound the same. Is someone asserting that ALL amps sound the same, including tube amps and solid state? Is someone asserting that all solid-state amps sound the same, or only all “modern” solid-state amps? Is someone asserting that all modern solid-state amps sound the same, or only solid-state amps bought at a “big box” store? I’m not an expert on amp design – so perhaps someone more knowledgeable can jump in – but my understanding is that not all modern solid-state amps are designed or built the same. Is someone asserting that all modern solid-state amps sound the same, regardless of Class A, Class AB, Class D, output transformers (e.g., some McIntosh) or not, type of feedback, design of power supply, quality of components, etc.? The average consumer will undoubtedly buy an AVR from a big-box store and be content. That makes sense. Someone who watches Hollywood movies, and/or listens to electronic music, and/or listens to poor-quality recordings, will likely be content with an AVR from a big-box store. Someone who listens to music only in the background will likely be content with an AVR from a big-box store. For the newbie, listen for yourself and decide for yourself. If you want an AVR that’s totally cool. A good friend of mine needed a new receiver and Blu-ray player. Stereo (maybe a subwoofer later). Movies and music. Limited budget for this expenditure. He had been satisfied with his old Onkyo stereo receiver. I coached him to buy a new “open box” Onkyo TX-8270 for $300 (free shipping). This is a state-of-the-art 2.1 network AVR with 4K HDMI switching. I’m glad he’s satisfied with his purchase. At the same time, when he and his wife come to my home, they comment on how much they like the sound of my tube amps when listening to classical music. If a newbie listens to music that involves natural instruments (e.g., classical, and some big-band, folk, jazz, etc), and you intend to engage in serious listening, and you intend to buy high-end Klipsch speakers, then I suggest that you listen to high-quality recordings via Klipsch speakers driven by tube amps. And if possible, listen to different tube amps, with different output tubes. And if possible, when auditioning equipment, listen to your favorite music for a long period of time, in a relaxed environment. If after an hour of listening you have no listener fatigue, and you’ve completely forgotten about the equipment test because you’re totally mesmerized by the music, and you have a huge smile on your face – you’ve probably found the right equipment for you. If a newbie has heard tube amps, and is intrigued, the good news is that the newbie can experiment, and it won’t necessarily cost them a lot of money. Unlike an AVR, vintage tube amps have established resale value. In other words, you could buy a vintage tube amp, and if you decide to sell you will probably recoup your investment by selling on eBay. I am certain that my hi-fi systems are not the best in the world. With that said, every time someone comes to my home they comment about the excellent sound quality of my hi-fi systems, and they ask if the sound quality is because of hi-res recordings, or tube amps, or the speakers. My answer is “yes”. Regarding the proposed $10k amp test - I’ve conducted my own version countless times. I have 5 hi-fi systems. Four are equipped with multiple amps. For example, here’s the equipment in my TV room. My modern solid-state NAD C375BEE amp sounds good. For serious listening to classical music and opera, I find the tube amps more musically engaging – more enjoyable – more like what I remember hearing in the symphony hall. I’ve switched between these amps countless times, and I always prefer the tube amps for classical music. Which amp I prefer depends on the recording. (Is someone going to mail me a check for $10k? ☺️ ) Same situation and results in my office system and living room system – each has multiple amps (including one solid-state amp and multiple tube amps). In my basement system I’ve gotten rid of the solid-state amps and have only tube amps. I mostly use the solid-state amps for summertime, Hollywood movies, and background listening. Could I live with one of my solid-state amps if I had to? Yes. But I’m a hobbyist, and I enjoy being able to listen to different amps – specifically tube amps. And when I settle in on a cold winter day to listen to classical music, it’s going to be via one of my tube amps. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.