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Author Topic: your power amp: tube or solid state?  (Read 12744 times)

carlsaff

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your power amp: tube or solid state?
« on: August 30, 2005, 10:00:57 am »

Hello --

I got into a bit of a debate with an audiophile friend the other day. Well, not so much a debate, as much as a conversation about his impressions after purchasing an incredible new all-tube power amp. I haven't heard the beast yet, but he claims that while there is no obvious "euphonic," "tubey" aspect to the new power amp's sound, he also feels very strongly that soundstaging and detail are vastly superior when using this new all-tube design than with any of his (long, long list) of high-end solid state amps.

I've always assumed that I should stick with solid state amps for my mastering work (settling on a Bryston 4BST this year after using various Haflers), as I did not want any "euphonic" aspect of a tube amp to make material sound nicer in it's "untouched" form than it really is, and, therefore, steer me in the direction of not touching up what ought be touched up. However, this opinion could be shaped by my admitted lack of exposure to truly high-end tube amplifiers. Most of the ones I've heard have been moldy oldies that definitely were adding... *something* (usually good, but not always!).

I'm wondering what people here think about tubes vs. transistors in the realm of mastering power amps.

Thanks,
Carl

bblackwood

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2005, 10:16:01 am »

Pass Labs X250 here.
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Riccardo

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2005, 11:10:33 am »

Bryston SST here.

Jerry Tubb

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2005, 12:30:36 pm »

McIntosh MC 2500 Here ! (solid state)

While Tubes can be a beautiful thing, they tend to add a little color, IMO.
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Terra Nova Mastering
Celebrating 20 years of Mastering!

chrisj

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2005, 12:50:32 pm »

Personally, I am absolutely convinced that you can expand soundstage and depth quite dramatically by applying slew limiting and restrictions on the high and low frequency dynamics of the sound. It's similar to what happens when you hit tape, and for the same reasons- transformer stages, limitations on available energy.

Do that and you get a wonderful soundstage, which is not on the actual recording.

Not for me, thanks, I'd be more interested in minimizing the known problems with transistor circuits (like crossover distortion in Class AB circuits, ringing etc)

I can apply those characteristics digitally, thank you- did it to a very famous Telarc recording (their Firebird, old Soundstream recording) to show them what it would be like (waiting to see what they think of it- Telarc have been busy beavers lately, lot of work to do over there)

I would suggest whatever floats your boat for 'incredibly clean and pure transistor or FET power amp'. Brad, is that Pass Labs amp one of their SET-FET monsters? I'm thinking of making or getting something in the way of a Pass single-ended FET amp, since my big horns are reasonably efficient. What I have is the guts of an old Harman/Kardon, which is acceptable but really nothing that special, even all modded up.

robot gigante

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2005, 01:38:06 pm »

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Ed Littman

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2005, 05:05:45 pm »

Bryston 14b st

Ed
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Glenn Bucci

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2005, 06:13:49 pm »

Tubes add color, and at the mastering stage, I would not want that from the amp. I would want a clear clean transparent amp.
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dcollins

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2005, 06:21:30 pm »

Keef wrote on Tue, 30 August 2005 15:13

Tubes add color, and at the mastering stage, I would not want that from the amp. I would want a clear clean transparent amp.


The best ones are not "euphonic," and are clean clear and transparent!  Unfortunately there are so many designs that intentionally have very high coloration's, but it doesn't extend to all amps.

And, yes, you have to change the tubes periodically.

DC

Ed Littman

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2005, 06:41:00 pm »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 30 August 2005 18:21

The best ones are not "euphonic," and are clean clear and transparent!  DC


Yes, thats what i thought. without having the experience my self i was told by a few tube gurus that a well designed tube amp will not sound like "tubes" at all.
Ed
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dcollins

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2005, 07:32:27 pm »

Ed Littman wrote on Tue, 30 August 2005 15:41


Yes, thats what i thought. without having the experience my self i was told by a few tube gurus that a well designed tube amp will not sound like "tubes" at all.
Ed


Yet another example of contamination of the pro world from the audiophile, with their 3 Watt amps and "intentionally" crippled designs...

DC

Bob Olhsson

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2005, 09:58:47 pm »

The idea is to have the CD sound euphoric rather than the monitoring!

Some older speakers such as Altecs sounded much better with tube amps because they had been designed to be driven by a high impedance. Likewise some line stages sound much better driving the high impedance non-load of many tube amps.

Bob Boyd

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2005, 10:31:48 pm »

McIntosh MC252
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Bob Boyd
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Ronny

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2005, 02:01:19 am »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 30 August 2005 18:21

Keef wrote on Tue, 30 August 2005 15:13

Tubes add color, and at the mastering stage, I would not want that from the amp. I would want a clear clean transparent amp.


The best ones are not "euphonic," and are clean clear and transparent!  Unfortunately there are so many designs that intentionally have very high coloration's, but it doesn't extend to all amps.

And, yes, you have to change the tubes periodically.

DC



I think a lot of that comes from the guitar amp thing, tube amps versus solid state, "that tube sound", so they apply it to all power amps. It's been my experience that most tube power amps with the typical gain control and nothing else, are transparent when the tubes are maintained.


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tukul

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Re: your power amp: tube or solid state?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2005, 07:25:21 am »

Greetings,

Crown DC300A

Tukul.
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