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query on tube system (1 Viewer)

Aris Aquino

Jun 5, 2002
I'm venturing towards tube system for music and surround sound, hopefully some of you folks have done this. Probably, you guys can share some info to this query. Nowadays, i've seen mostly solid state setups but nothing on tubes except those hi-end ones which is obviously is not for budget conscious like me. Can you combine these two technology like a ss receiver and hook up a tube amp to power the 2 mains? just a thought. Anyways thnx for any info you can share.

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Generally, you dont find tube amps in a HT/movie setup.

One of the important things in a HT system is that all 5 speakers sound as close to identical as possible. Putting on a tube amp on just the L/R would work for 2-channel music, but might sound funny for a 5.1 system.

(and if anything, the center speaker is making sound 100% of the time, the L/R speakers fill in about 50% of the time - so a tube amp on the L/R is kind of over-kill for movies)

People who are really into music tend to have a separate 2-channel system with their better equipment. The HT system can be a more integrated AV receiver with less-accurate speakers in another room.

Hope this helps.

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Jan 18, 1999

As Bob mentioned, tube systems are not overly common for HT systems- as I don't think lossy compression systems like Dolby Digital or even DTS could be considered overly hi-fi or qualifying for audiophile status... it's like spending $25,000 on a stereo system to play back MP3s.

More to the point, as you mentioned, tube based systems are quite expensive-- which is why there aren't really designed with "budget concious" consumers in mind. To be blunt, if you are budget concious, tubes are probably not the way to go, as cheapo gimmicky tube systems are horrible, and to really get into appreciation of this electronic methodology, your pocketbook better be resonably plump.

You can use your SS receiver as a preamp and run tube amplifiers (or even better, just buy a dedicated Preamp unit-- the Outlaw 950 is the budget entry for this device at $900, The Lexicon MC is a popular unit at $4000ish, and the Krell HT Ref stuff is also nice at the $5000-$10,000 price point)--- I would say if you are serious about audio fidelity enough to consider tube systems, then a standard receiver preamp stage will not satisfy you (and again, it's pointless to go for such esoteric amplification and leave such a weak link in your decoding chain).

I'm sure with a websearch you can find some extensive audiophile dedicated Tube discussions-- but I think it's simply unrealistic to expect to do it on a solid state budget.


Bruce Chang

Second Unit
May 10, 2002
I'd say go for it, I'm using the jolida 302a for my main speakers PSB goldi's for 2 channel music and for movies. The jolida 302a can be found for $400 and it's a great entry level tube amp. I a/b some expensivve more expensive tube amps at Stereo Unlimited in walnut creek and only heard a slight difference in sound.

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