Tube Vs. Solid State

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by shaizada, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I'll probably need to replace my NOS mullard rectifier tubes in a couple decades.

    Curious about those blue mercury tubes too...
     
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Trying to be a cheap bastid and worrying about costs while playing with the big league gear is a surefire way to not enjoy the gear...
     
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  3. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    It gonna be quite a while (a few years) until i can even hope to afford these amps. But honestly, i just want fewer tubes to worry about. If ordering one of these amps with a ss rectifier is not detrimental to SQ, I'd go for it. Also its good to have an understanding of how expensive stuff are better than cheap stuff, since most aren't.
     
  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    *shrug* the landscape is going to be different in a couple years anyways. Get something that you can enjoy and not worry about pinching pennies if cost is that much of a concern.
     
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  5. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Still on my trusty Vali 2 right now. I'm actually most interested in the Cavalli Liquid Crimson. I have a hunch hybrids might surpass transformer-coupled designs in the next few years. Until then, I'll try my best to attend a meet and get to hear quality SET.
     
  6. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I'm still throwing the idea around to get back into a power tube amp. The 300B and 845 SET designs, described by many to have the luscious midrange in the former, and tighter bass but still beautiful midrange in the latter are very appealing.

    My speakers are 90 db and 4 ohms. The power amp is a Pass Labs XA30.5. While I don't listen loud, every once in awhile I can see the bias needle move out of Class A which means that the speakers are pulling at least 60 watts.

    Many designs of SET are lower watts (<10). The highest I've seen is a parallel 845 SE monoblock design in the 50 watt range. This is a concern but it may be misplaced.

    That said, I've read plenty of posts of users say that, to paraphrase, "don't let the low watts fool you. This amp handled better than my 250w SS." So is it that the transformers need to be really high quality and the watts don't matter as much? Are these two tubes in a single-ended design just not going to work well with my speakers?

    I'm a little lost in what I should be looking for exactly in a power amp tube design.
     
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  7. JeffYoung

    JeffYoung Friend

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    I think some of this has to do with how the different technologies clip. A solid-state design usually cuts the top of the wave off flat, which makes the two corners sound like high-frequency hash to the ears. A tube design rolls the top off so that it still has a similar shape, but is lower.

    But I think they only way you're going to know whether or not 10 or 15 watts is sufficient for you is to try one. Can you borrow one from somewhere?
     
  8. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    @msommers

    It comes down to how efficient your speakers are, doesn't it? At 90dB your speakers should do okay, but not ideal, with 10 watts. If I were to get an amp, I personally would want more than 10 watts even though my speakers are 96dB efficient. After doing some research, I do not think a SET amp is a must. A well designed and implemented push/pull design would be better than just fine and there is no reason it could not sound as good as SET.

    Have you looked at the Don Sachs amp? It is supposed to have great synergy with his preamp.
     
  9. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    ''Watts don't matter! '' - what a load of BS!
    Clipping is low fi, solid state or tube. No miracle transformer is going to change that.
    However, up to the point where quality SET can deliver the juice, it's just better. (caveat: no personal exp with epic japs gear)
    For lazy bass drivers solid state will be better. Can you bi-amp your speakers?
     
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  10. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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  11. Comzee

    Comzee Acquaintance

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  12. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Did you read the articles or just skim? Did you read the three paragraphs right after those generalizations?
     
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  13. JeffYoung

    JeffYoung Friend

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    You also still have to make the choice between SE (F3, J2, etc.) and PP (F5, M2, F7, etc.) with Firstwatt amps.
     
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  14. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Anyone have experience with the Ampandsound Casablanca monos? I can't find anything except a useless video from New Record Day.
     
  15. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Actually, I think @bazelio heard them at a show. I warn you, you may not like what he says... lol (show conditions, unfamiliar system, unfamiliar music, shitty room setup...blah blah blah)
     
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  16. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Bob's M-125 Monoblocks are another on my radar!
     
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  17. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    The Ampsandsound room at LAAS was my run away winner for worst sounding suite at the show. Sure the suites can present acoustic challenges, but some did sound very good. And it was just myself and Brench Daddy in the Ampsandsound suite at the time.
     
  18. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Well after tons of research and weighing the value card, I put down a deposit for a Don Sachs Kootenay KT88 power amp. Was also looking at a custom build from Aric Audio but I like Dons choice with included tubes and transformers.

    Aric’s new flagship preamp based heavily off The Dude looks fucking incredible. Aric’s builds all look solid, the wiring is fantastic.

    Haven’t heard any of these before, really taking a risk here. But will compare with my Pass XA30.5 when the new power amp arrives in...3 months... :(
     
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  19. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    What a nice and informative thread!.

    I was googling the transient performance of tube amplifiers compared to solid state ones and found this thread. The common notion is SS amplifiers are faster with better transients and "PRaT".

    I didn't find anything in this thread that confirm or contradict this notion. I would like to know your experience guys about this matter as I still don't have all-tube amplifier yet (I am thinking to buy one but I am concerned about this).

    I know it all depends on design and implementation but I just want to know the general transients expectation of all-tube amplifiers whether they're SET, PP, OTL or not.
     
  20. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    It is best to first agree on what 'transient performance and fastness' means.

    In nature fast means high bandwidth. To reproduce or amplify a signal transient correctly the system has to be fast enough, ie wide enough bandwidth. Anything with OPTs will be problematic past 100kHz, while transistor amplifiers have no problem with several MHz bandwidth. Another matter is does it offer benefit to our hearing.

    The other aspect to transients is magnitude ie dynamic performance.
    Here, strong power supply, high output damping (low source resistance) and system that does not ring (overshoot) has what it takes to do it dynamically. Tubes will have disadvantage in damping factor.
    edit: there is, at least subjectively, a proportionality factor. Some amplifiers sound compressed either towards loudness or are dull (lack explosiveness). Tubes tend to be better, but also class-A transistors do usually great.
    From class-D Hypex Ncore stuff, ime is pretty good at the proportionality aspect. Schiit Aegir Continuity supposedly is excellent (I have not heard one yet).

    Third aspect is phase and fr response. Highly coherent system (proportions of fundamentals to harmonics is right without phase issues) adds to the perception of 'quality transient' and problems here would show up in phase response measurement. This applies more to speakers than amplifiers.

    Subjectively, there is more.
    Good capabilities in soundstage performance, plankton and micro dynamics will make the transients more meaty and alive.
    Here quality tube amplifiers will more often than not kill most transistor amplifiers.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020

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