Tube v. Solid State v. Hybrid - AVS Forum

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Jefrpol's Avatar Jefrpol
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07-12-2007 | Posts: 13
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I'm replacing my bedroom system as, after 15 years, nothing works (completely) other than my speakers. I'm intending to use a media server as the primary (and likely only) source component to an external dac to an integrated amp. I have a pair of DCM TF-600s that I greatly enjoy and have no desire to replace (although I am considering adding a subwoofer). I listen mostly to hard rock/metal. I've been reading about a number of integrated amps online and (to get to the point) I was looking for advice as to which, tubes or solid state or a hybrid amp, would make the most sense, musically. Any advice/comments appreciated.
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
04:39 PM Liked: 11
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I would go with the solid state since there is less maintenance, less distortion, less expensive, and more extended bass.
Richard
RabPaul's Avatar RabPaul
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07-13-2007 | Posts: 38
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Hard Rock/Metal?
Solid State is the way to go for sure.
swwg's Avatar swwg
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I have owned both and I would add one vote to solid state.
speeeedy's Avatar speeeedy
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Ss
Jefrpol's Avatar Jefrpol
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Solid state is oblviously the consensus pick. I might still try a hybrid as it is solid state in the amplifier section. I'd be curious to see of I get the best of both worlds or an unenjoyable mixture of characteristics.
Iostream's Avatar Iostream
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One option to consider (depending on your budget) is a hybrid or tube dac. I use a Musical Fidelity X-DACv8 with my Squeezebox 3 and love it. With the MF, you can choose tube or solid state on the fly (it basically has a tube buffer which can be bypassed). Excellent sounding DAC .
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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There is no best of both worlds. The hybrid is not solid state in its entirety and is deficient- it's still tubes. If you want the best go all the way and get solid state. Tubes are not inherently superior to transistors in audio applications. For some reason you feel that tubes are in some unexplained way superior to transistors and this is a gross error on your part.
Oh another thing--don't listen to anything that tube manufacturers and their writers say.
Richard
swwg's Avatar swwg
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People love the good ole sound. There is no engineering basis to the claim that tube sounded better. Solid state is the most significant invention in amplification, and the enormous amount of research in this area supports the claim that solid state is best.
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swwg View Post

People love the good ole sound. There is no engineering basis to the claim that tube sounded better. Solid state is the most significant invention in amplification, and the enormous amount of research in this area supports the claim that solid state is best.

You obviously know what you are talking about and have not been influenced by the vacuum tube interests.
Richard
Chu Gai's Avatar Chu Gai
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There's lots of ways to play this. One interesting way is to get a nice solid state integrated amp. Inexpensive and very competent ones can be had from Yamaha, Onkyo, and Teac just to name a few. Then, you can spring for something like the Behringer Ultra Q, available locally at your Guitar Center (check the web or yellow pages) or from Musician's friend. The Ultra Q has a few interesting features such as complete bypass, dial in the amount of tubiness you want, some nice equalization, and it's not too much over $100. If you don't like it, you'll find you can get a ready refund of your monies.
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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Sounds interesting but I would be satisfied with the sound from a quality preamplifier-power amplifier or quality integrated amplifier and would not want to add additional electronics in the signal path especially in a higher quality audio music system.
Richard
mgpt6's Avatar mgpt6
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My vote is for tubes.When I went from Kenwood then Sony stereo solid state receivers to a Jolida 502a 60w tube amp, the change was amazing. Have had the tube amp for 10 years, have just had to replace the 6550c power tubes every 2-3 years. I have a Denon 110w HT receiver that powers the center and surround channels and use the Jolida for left and right channels from the pre-out on the Denon. I wish I had the space to add another tube amp for the center channel when watching TV or watching/listening to DVD. I have a second CD player (Jolida with tube output stage) and turntable with solid state phono pre -amp going into Jolida for 2 channel stereo listening. 10 years ago they didnt have good tube phono pre-amps for under $400 which they have now. Glad I went for tubes.
EC's Avatar EC
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I have owned all three SS (pre and power), tubes (power), hybrid (pre).

For practical purposes: I would agree with Doxytuner and go SS

Quote:


I would go with the solid state since there is less maintenance, less distortion, less expensive, and more extended bass.
Richard

and in many ways safety

I would not go hybrid. Go full tube or full SS

I would choose tube if you wanted a "cool" (unique and visual not functional) factor in your bedroom. I would go with one of the cheaper small tube amps like Antique Sound Labs or Jolida

For the record, I use a SS amp in my bedroom albeit a Sonic T amp.
rocky1's Avatar rocky1
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on the subject of tube amps,how are they for HT.I recently got a tube cd player and love it.So are tube amps any good for HT.
EC's Avatar EC
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07-14-2007 | Posts: 3,059
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky1 View Post

on the subject of tube amps,how are they for HT.I recently got a tube cd player and love it.So are tube amps any good for HT.

I would not use tube amplification in a HT (5.1) for these reasons:

- cost: you can get SS amps much cheaper from the get go and the long term cost will be lower (ie no need for tube replacement)
- Power: tube amps usually are not as powerful, yes you can get powerful tube amps but see above. You really need the power for dynamic range IMHO. Of course this depends on the efficiency of the speakers and the size of the room. But if you have a small room see below
- heat: there is enough heat provided by other equipment and especially projectors. no need to add more heat and lots of it
- light output: most of my power amps are at the front near the speakers. I have a bat cave and do not want any light from sources other than the PJ. I tape the LEDs on my power amps. Not so easy to do with tubes. Some people like the glow of the tubes but that's for audio only not good for video
- safety: hot power amps + possibly open cages + dark room = bad combination
Tom Brennan's Avatar Tom Brennan
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07-15-2007 | Posts: 1,953
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I like tubes. I like conventional SS. I like Tri-Paths too. I've heard all three types sound good and all three types sound bad.

I use all three types. My HT is conventional SS. I have two hi-fis using tubes and another hi-fi that's bi-amped (REAL bi-amping) with conventional SS (QSC) on the woofers and a Teac Tri-Path on the treble.

Go out and do some listening and get what sounds best to you, don't worry about the notions of others.
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

I like tubes. I like conventional SS. I like Tri-Paths too. I've heard all three types sound good and all three types sound bad.

I use all three types. My HT is conventional SS. I have two hi-fis using tubes and another hi-fi that's bi-amped (REAL bi-amping) with conventional SS (QSC) on the woofers and a Teac Tri-Path on the treble.

Go out and do some listening and get what sounds best to you, don't worry about the notions of others.

Throughout the years I never bothered to listen to quality electronics(power amplifier, preamplifier, etc.) but I did very detailed and extensive research before purchasing anything. The only quality component I would listen to were loudspeakers with my own recordings. It was always my feelings that a quality electronic component would have an insignificant affect on the sound. Having been in high end audio for many year, it worked for me. I went with solid state since it does not require persistent maintenance, has less distortion, cost less, and has more extended bass. There may be those who do not share my views and I respect their opinions.
Richard
Tom Brennan's Avatar Tom Brennan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doxytuner View Post

Throughout the years I never bothered to listen to quality electronics(power amplifier, preamplifier, etc.) but I did very detailed and extensive research before purchasing anything. The only quality component I would listen to were loudspeakers with my own recordings. It was always my feelings that a quality electronic component would have an insignificant affect on the sound. Having been in high end audio for many year, it worked for me. I went with solid state since it does not require persistent maintenance, has less distortion, cost less, and has more extended bass. There may be those who do not share my views and I respect their opinions.
Richard


One cannot argue preference. And I'm in agreement with you that the transducers, speakers and phono cartridges, have by far the greatest effect on the sound. But I think your views that tubes need persistent maintainence and have less extended bass are objectively inaccurate or at least not true in all cases.

I have a Fisher 500B tube receiver which still meets specs with many original tubes. This unit has had about $200 in maintainence costs, hardly persistent given that it's 45 years old. But Fisher was built very well and very conservatively.

More importantly the thing sounds gorgeous. But that's subjective. But I must wonder if anyone will lust after my QSC or Denon stuff 45 years from now.

Regards
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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My experience is limited with tube equipment-McIntosh MR 71 Tuner- which I sold to a dealer for double what I paid for it new. I've read many articles in which it was uneqivocally stated that tubed amplifiers have less bass. I looked up in my audio reference for help and it states the following: "Note that tubed amplifiers don't increase their power outputs as the load impedance drops, as do solid state units. The output transformer acts as a current source rather than as a voltage source, decreasing the available output voltage when the load impedance drops. This is one of the reasons why tubed amplifiers have less tight and extended bass than solid state power amplifiers." ( I understand the gist of this but not 100%). Also in the same book it mentions that tubes require monthly biasing to maintain performance. (Since I was never involved with biasing, I can only rely on this writer who is an authority on audio.)
Richard
Tom Brennan's Avatar Tom Brennan
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Richard----Yes, there's an interaction with speaker impedance and tube amps, no doubt. This is especially true it seems of SET amplifiers, some of which sound kind'a tubby to me. But when properly matched no problem. I use 16 ohm speakers that were designed around tube gear with my tube stuff. I can't speak about other speakers (pun intended).

Biasing need not be done on a monthly basis for excellent performence. Like with most things in audio you accept your tradeoffs and indulge your preferences.
doxytuner's Avatar doxytuner
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Tom--I enjoyed our chat-it was informative.
Richard
Tom Brennan's Avatar Tom Brennan
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post #23 of 23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doxytuner View Post

Tom--I enjoyed our chat-it was informative.
Richard

As did I. Thank You.
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