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kevinmi

Is it even worth it? Should I pull the plug?

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Now that I've got your attention, let me tell you my story. I'm into tubes. This last month I've purchased 6 vintage tubes. And a tube tester. I already have two other testers. I put in my new tubes, hoping for the glorious sound I hope to achieve. Not sure I like the sound. My tube pre quits two weeks after I put new tubes in it. I replace the tubes with the ones I took out, change the blown fuse, and nothing. Now I have to send the pre in for repairs. Last year I had a tube short out and take out my amp. I was able to repair it myself.

   Here's the dilemma--I love the sound of my tube system, but I'm thinking that the constant cost of upkeep may not be worth the aggravation. I'm getting older, my ears aren't getting better. Technology is going forward.  Is it time to cut my losses and go back to solid state? Would I find the same satisfaction as I do with tubes? Would I be trading convenience for sound quality?

   I know there are people on here who have gone from tubes back to solid state and never looked back. Obviously there are people like me who have gone from solid state to tubes. I'm looking for advice from people who have been in my predicament.

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Been there, done with that. Perhaps it is mantra but some folks seem to have ‘bad’ tube luck. Anyway I went with high end solid state. I use an Accuphase E530 integrated amp. Never looked back. The unit has required 1 service in 12 years of pretty much daily usage. 

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I think it's MORE 'obvious' that folks have moved from tubes to Solid State than the reverse...

If you're asking the question, it's probably time for you to move on (back to SS)

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I've had to have my 2a3 amps repaired once in over 10 years. My tube preamp has over 15 years. I've changed the tubes on the pre, but ther are only 2, a rectifier and single 6dj8 or equiv.

 

I could sell off the power amps any time, as the ss amps are fine with me.

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still kicking myself in the butt from a regret of a few years ago. I was packing up to leave California and my brother tells me of an elderly gentleman in his bible study. the guy's wife's late husband had some audio gear. it had been stored in the garage for over 30 years. there were two Macintosh mc 225 ... the guy mentioned that he was going to just toss them. my brother told him not to because they're worth money.  I said I'll give him $600 and the guy yelled excitedly "SOLD."  But, I later got lazy and didn't want to deal with getting them restored and I passed. Stupid stupid stupid ... checked with a forum guy who said after restoration they'd be worth $3500. 

put that in the category of the 76 Fender Telecaster Thinline Semi-Hollowbody that I got rid of ... and now regret it. 

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I think a better question would be if there is tube equipment which approaches SS reliability.  The answer is a definite “yes.”  It is possible for output tubes to last 15k or more hours, and small signal tubes well beyond that.  Even Carver guaranteed the tubes in some of his amps for 5 years.

 

 

Maynard

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I will soon have a an all tube system and an all SS system. I do like to listen to different equipment/speaker combo's. So I say get one of each! I will say the older Mcintosh 2105 I have comes pretty darn close to what my tube amp sounds like to my ears. I plan to listen to the all tube system in the winter months and the all SS system in the summer months.

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I just installed a Pioneer Elite receiver I purchased last year for a future project. It has class D amplification. After hours of going through the menu and bypassing all the stuff I don't need so I can listen in direct stereo mode, I have to say I'm not impressed. It sounds OK I guess, and has tons of tuning capabilities, but the heart of the music is missing. I'll be living with this setup for a couple months, so maybe it'll grow on me. I know there are probably better sounding ss equipment, so I'm still keeping an open mind. I had a McIntosh SS system before I went to tubes, and I would expect that caliber of equipment to sound a lot better to the receiver I'm using.

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5 hours ago, rockhound said:

I will soon have a an all tube system and an all SS system. I do like to listen to different equipment/speaker combo's. So I say get one of each! I will say the older Mcintosh 2105 I have comes pretty darn close to what my tube amp sounds like to my ears. I plan to listen to the all tube system in the winter months and the all SS system in the summer months.

I had a 2125 before I went to tubes!

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5 hours ago, tube fanatic said:

I think a better question would be if there is tube equipment which approaches SS reliability.  The answer is a definite “yes.”  It is possible for output tubes to last 15k or more hours, and small signal tubes well beyond that.  Even Carver guaranteed the tubes in some of his amps for 5 years.

 

 

Maynard

I agree with you. My problem isn't with tubes lasting as much as me always tube rolling, always looking for the next best sounding tube. It's getting harder to find good quality vintage tubes.

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This reminds me of back in the day when I had an affinity for old cars.  1954-1960.  Sooooo cool!  The body styles, with wings and fins, did it for me.  After I owned them for a few years, I realized it was true what I had heard people say many times:  "They don't build them like they used to."   All I can say in reply is, "Thank God!"  Those old pieces of shite are long-gone and somebody else's PITA.  I hope they enjoy every minute of their ownership.

 

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On 1/31/2021 at 5:35 PM, kevinmi said:

 Obviously there are people like me who have gone from solid state to tubes. I'm looking for advice from people who have been in my predicament.

get your tube gear properly repaired ,  and dont look back ,  I can live with anything but crappy sound and  your Pioneer Elite is the perfect example ,it sounds terrible--  you can tell the difference ,  well that's all you need to know ----

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39 minutes ago, RandyH000 said:

 I can live with anything but crappy sound and  your Pioneer Elite is the perfect example ,it sounds terrible--  you can tell the difference ,  well that's all you need to know ----

 

Randy, Randy... for you that may be true, but for someone else, with the same or different speakers, it may be the best thing they have ever heard. 

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Pro tubes

Even order harmonics

Clip gently

Less components touching the signal

Easy to roll tubes for new sound

 

Solid State

Stable system

Spec out better than tubes on bench

If it works for 30 days it should run trouble free for years, if quality components and mfg

 

Go solid state and get an equalizer, lots of old ones for sale on e-bay

or one of the newer digital ones from DBX or other.

 

Which speakers are you running and what is your budget ?

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7 hours ago, rockhound said:

I will soon have a an all tube system and an all SS system. I do like to listen to different equipment/speaker combo's. So I say get one of each! I will say the older Mcintosh 2105 I have comes pretty darn close to what my tube amp sounds like to my ears. I plan to listen to the all tube system in the winter months and the all SS system in the summer months.


Yes Sir. I enjoy a small arsenal of diverse amps, SS and tubes (single ended only) Class D (yes in the SS category). Go full tubes, go full SS or mix and match. 

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40 minutes ago, Marvel said:

 

Randy, Randy... for you that may be true, but for someone else, with the same or different speakers, it may be the best thing they have ever heard. 

Bruce , if the OP is saying a Pioneer Elite sounds terrible , and his tubes sound whole lot better ,   then  his amp-preamp is definitely worth fixing

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OP may have landed at a point where can have the opportunity to explore more SS. 

The opportunity, some would say the luxury of looking at, and possibly listening to the audio equipment that is touted to have 

"tube like sound."

An older Nak AV500 receiver was said to sound like seperates and did to me.

Marantz just one of the brands many have said is warm and/or tubelike. Some of the phono sections are really nice.

Please enjoy your time in this short timeframe dilemma.

 

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My Sunfire amp has a choice of two outputs for stereo.  One is the straight ss amp out, and the other is said to give a more tube like sound by modifying the zero ohm output to yield a one ohm output.  They called it current source while the zero ohm was called voltage source.  Something like that may be worth checking out.

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Thanks for all the good comments so far, keep them coming. Here's some answers to questions and/or comments some have made. I am planning on getting my preamp repaired. It's a $5000.00 piece of equipment, so that's a no brainer. My speakers are fully modded K-Horns. The only thing stock is the bass bins, and those have been enclosed.

  Someone asked about my budget, which is a really good question, and one that drives a lot of my concerns. I can afford decent equipment, but I don't know how much I'd have to spend on solid state stuff to get a satisfactory sound. I used to have a McIntosh SS system before I got into tubes. I like the tube sound better, but I miss the convenience. There is new technology that I've not owned, like the chip amps. And I've never done streaming music.

   Here is my plan (today, it may change tomorrow}, I'm going to run two different systems, one tubes and analog: LP's, RTR, Cassette, plus a cd player .My other system will be solid state, and I'll venture into trying active crossovers, digital streaming, etc. I'm in the process of building another pair of modded K-Horns, so I will have similar speakers in both setups. I have another setup right now with a ss pre and a tube amp running a pair of Frazier Model 7's just to confuse me more...

   And Jeff Mattews, I just sold all three of my Corvettes this last Summer. I recently retired, and came to the conclusion that working on old cars isn't a hobby I want to pursue in my leisure!

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If you can do both a ss system and a tube system I say go for it. I have both and love it. Keeps me on my toes.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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