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Are You Strictly Tubes or Solid State?


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Big tube fan but I do use ss for surround sound stuff and dvd playters, a cd player but I also have a tubed cd player.  Didn't start out my renewed interest in auido a dozen years or so now with tubes or vinyl in mind, but now I'm totally tubular and loving it.

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I sometimes wonder why my Denon 90 watt surround receiver does not sound as dynamic as my 2a3 3 watt single ended amp at sane listening levels. Of course the 2A3 amp has a huge power transformer with lots of capacitance and a large filter choke.Guess thats why.

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Tubes and vinyl thru my K-Horns! I've got SS stuff also, but I enjoy tubes the most. I hear a lot of people say that they are not happy with their foray into tubes, and end up back to SS. Many buy cheap Chinese amps and stuff them with cheap Russian tubes. Like anything else, you need to have quality equipment to get quality sound. Don't compare a McIntosh SS amp to a Chinese tube amp and expect to hear that tube magic!

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I started with SS amps with my Chorus IIs, but recently found a deal on an entry-level tube amp, so I thought I'd give it a shot to see if the hype was true - very happy I did. I really like the sound out of the tube amp. Especially with compressed files - which I try to avoid, but it's not a perfect world and I like recorded live shows/concerts. I think my system can show too many flaws of imperfect sources and the tube seems to smooth out harshness. My next amp will be a higher quality tube and I'm also starting to look into tube DACs, but I don't yet know where I stand on those - more "research" is required . . .

 

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1 hour ago, Oside said:

I started with SS amps with my Chorus IIs, but recently found a deal on an entry-level tube amp, so I thought I'd give it a shot to see if the hype was true - very happy I did. I really like the sound out of the tube amp. Especially with compressed files - which I try to avoid, but it's not a perfect world and I like recorded live shows/concerts. I think my system can show too many flaws of imperfect sources and the tube seems to smooth out harshness. My next amp will be a higher quality tube and I'm also starting to look into tube DACs, but I don't yet know where I stand on those - more "research" is required . . . 

 

Check out the DAC's from MHDT Labs.

 

 

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I have used both tube and solid state over the years but my current system is a tube  Conrad Johnson Classic 2SE pre and a pair of Quicksilver Mid Mono amps which are 40 watt PP amps that can run a number of different output tubes.   

 

I fortunately have had great luck with these pieces.  Aside from replacing tubes, i have had no issues.   The way these sound with my Heresy III is incredible.   

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Mostly tubes. Both vintage and modern. My main system is McIntosh with current issue Mc75 mono blocks and the C22 current issue preamp.  I do change it up from time to time and use my benchmark AHB2 amps running as mono blocks driven by my benchmark dac3 as a preamp and dac. H e to say until the benchmarks I never warmed to SS. These are amongst the very few ss amps that I could live with. The benchmarks are in rotation now and they are awesome. I’m sure I will say the same with the Mac gear when I roll that back into play!

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Both, depending on what's available for me to hear and afford, as well as where it makes the most sense.

 

It turns out that my analog equipment (preamp, amps, final stage of my analog M-D tuner) are mostly or predominently tube, while the digital stuff (CDP, TV) is all solid state.  Gets complicated -- the turntable power supply is SS.  The fundamentally analog Revox RTR is all SS.

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  • 4 weeks later...
6 hours ago, mr clean said:

I like the sound of tubes but SS sounds the way it was recorded. Thats what I'm after.

Not all recordings were accomplished in solid state... as a matter of fact there are a small handful of studios that use vintage tube gear to record.

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2 minutes ago, Schu said:

Not all recordings were accomplished in solid state... as a matter of fact there are a small handful of studios that use vintage tube gear to record.

There are far more than a small handful. Vintage tube mics and or mic PREs are highly desirable and sought after ($$$$). 

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  Microphone yes, vintage tube are expensive. The tube mic pres are used to add color to the signal. I did not see tube mic pres used on Music Row studios. Maybe after I went home.

  Just like guitar amps. My daughter’s 50 watt Marshall stack uses EL-34. I thought there were all 6L6.  When she played it rocked, crunched, and cranked. But is a musical instrument. Designed to be overloaded and distorted. 

  Power supply is the key. And the reason tube amps sound louder than solidstate is distortion. The 1% to 5% distortion added makes things sound louder. 

  I prefer an amp with a noise floor down around -130 dB. I had a Croft OTL that was around -110 dB. Massive negative feedback applied to lower output impedance.

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