Can someone educate me on tube amps?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by EdNichols, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    I have not heard a tube amp but have read where people say they have a total different sound than solid state. What is your experience with them? Would a 100 WPC tube amp sound as loud as a 100 WPC SS? What are the drawbacks to tubes? Do they have to be replaced often? How does the price/performance compare to SS? What are some good brands? What about tube pre amps? How do they compare to SS?
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    Dynamics of Tubes tend to be much higher, with that said, at rated output, the 100watt tube will be most like be louder, especially during peaks.

    The drawbacks, are that they do have to be replaced, and eventually may not even be made anymore.

    How often, Hmmmm only when you think the sound is being hampered.

    The prices these days are way way up there compared to SS.
    I have not looked at tube audio for so long, I will let others respond on specifics.

    I do love the sound better myself, but can't afford it these days.
     
  3. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    I have always felt just the opposite.
    I feel tubes role-off far to much in dynamics,
    hence the fluid very warm sound.
    But then again my tube experience is limited.
    just my $.02
     
  4. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    I think tube amps have a much better midrange than SS. They really seem to reproduce the human voice better than SS IMO. As far as extension in highs and bass control that depends on how the amp was designed. I went from a SS amp rated at 200WPC to a tube amp rated at 45wpc and didn't miss those extra watts at all. In general Single Ended Triode(SET) amps have a more classic tube sound than push/pull tube amps. Tube amps seem to have a more dimensional sound than SS also IMO. Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Rogue Audio,Cary and VTL are quality amp makers. If cost is no object then Lamm, Thor, Nagra, Tenor, and Atma-Sphere are good choices.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    Jerry Klawiter....

    Hmm two different dynamics at work here. I was not really talking about the actual frequency response so much as raw output power during peaks. Peaks are peakier with them as a typical transient power peaks may be double on solid state, it is not uncommon for tubes to be 3x, or 4x or even higher in real world tests in those same audio peak passages.

    Often times what is perceived as high end roll off, is really slower rise and fall times, inheirent in tubes, this also helps give them that "warm" sound. It is a sound I prefer, but the price of admission is to high for me. :)
     
  6. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    but the price of admission is to high for me. :)

    How much are we talking here?
     
  7. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    Amps like Jolda,ASL,AES and Consonance can be had for less than $1500. Amps by Cary,CJ,Audio Research and VTL will start around $2500 unless you find one used.
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

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    In my setup being used for both HT and Music. I would need 7 amps / channels of amplification and if I do upgrade to that level, I would want 14 amps / channels of amplification so I could truly bi-amp all channels.. Well the price of admission is to high. Oh yeah, if I did that, I would probably add at least an additional sub too. Ouch.....
     

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