Samsung Premium Sound 2013: Soundbar and HTIB with Vacuum Tubes - AVS Forum
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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There were a number of audio-related items on display along with all the great HDTV sets at Samsung's recent NYC press event. Two stood out with their premium pricing and their orange glow. Samsung intends to bring analog warmth to its premium home theater sound products by including "valve" preamps—also known as vacuum tubes. The "tube" lineup on display included the HW-F750 soundbar and the HT-F6500 Blu-ray home theater in a box.


Ladies and gentlemen, presenting "vacuum tubes" - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

Samsung's engineers sought a natural-sounding solution to some of the problems created by audio compression. Their answer was to place analog vacuum tubes in the signal path, in the hopes of "smoothing" sometimes-harsh sounding compressed digital tracks. The tubes have an unmistakable retro-tech look to them, although the orange glow seems to be just an effect coming from an orange LED behind the tubes. The glass housing that holds the tubes was warm to the touch, so they must be doing something, but they do not run hot enough to emit a glow on their own.

The HW-F750 is a decidedly premium-priced 2.1 audio soundbar; with an MSRP of $995, it can cost as much as a television. The main unit measures 37"x4"x2", with a very minimalist look to the whole unit, except for the vacuum tubes. Thankfully, it does include a wireless subwoofer, to help justify the premium price. Total system power is 310 watts; connectivity options include Bluetooth, Sound Share, HDMI, USB, and Optical. Audio processing capabilities include Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. Unfortunately, there was no way to tell how it sounds in a real-life setting. It looks expensive, but then again it is expensive. Samsung's latest, greatest soundbar is already available.


The world's first-ever soundbar with vacuum tubes built-in - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

HTIB systems are losing popularity to soundbars, but they still appeal to budget-conscious shoppers. Every product category has to have its "top model," for Samsung that is the HT-F6500 5.1 channel Blu-ray home theater system. With an MSRP of $699, this flagship HTIB claims 1000 watts of total system power, 5.1 DTS and Dolby decoding, 2D and 3D playback, a 5.1 speaker system, and of course vacuum tubes.


Honestly, if you are going to buy a HTIB, you may as well go all-out - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

There was an unexpected debut at Samsung's HDTV line show, a dance floor-ready DJ rig with dual subwoofers and a built-in light show. Rapper Flo Rida had the honor of appearing on stage with that new 2.2 channel MX-FS9000 GigaSound system, boasting 2560 watts of power with an MSRP of $1499. Unfortunately, the company reps on hand were not willing to "pump up the volume" on my behalf, nor for any other member of the press; its capabilities shall remain a mystery for now. I know one thing; these DJ systems are not for home theater use, not unless there is some way to turn off the disco lights. Then again, some part of me really wants the system to sound good, despite the comical appearance. Those are compression driver tweeters, six inch mid/woofers and 15" subs, all in one tight package. I know a system like that can sound good, but does it? It would be fun to find out.


If it sounds the way it looks, is that a good thing? video ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Goodbye Eli, hello Flo Rida and the FS9000 - video ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Requests to "pump up the volume" were politely denied - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

Find out more about Mark Henninger at www.imagicdigital.com
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:56 PM
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I wonder if the HW-F750 soundbar and the HT-F6500 HTIB and their other tube augmented products use the tubes in a full voltage triode circuit rather than a low voltage "starved plate " tube buffer design?

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Old 03-28-2013, 03:54 PM
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The Tubes are a gimmick. I've got the HT-D6730w, which was last year's model. This year they have basically the exact same set, with the tubes added. They sound identical to me, with the added bonus of having one more thing to break. Don't get me wrong, for a stylish, decent sounding HTIB, this is about your best bet short of an actual receiver and speaker set-up... that's why I got mine.. but I listened to the new model which basically has different dust caps over the cones and these tubes added.. and I sure didn't hear a difference. Still, not bad sounding for an HTIB...but don't kid yourself in thinking the tubes are doing anything other then look pretty(which I don't even agree with) and I wouldn't pay full retail. (Got mine due to an employee error on an open box item for under 350.....worth it for that price!) I'm sure proper tube amps do make a warmer sound in better systems...but not in this one.

What I have:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-HT-D6730W-Theater-System/dp/B004OCN6ZG

New model with tubes:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-HT-E6730W-Channel-1330-Watt-Blu-Ray/dp/B007581VWG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1364508271&sr=1-1&keywords=HT-E6730W


They changed the dust caps and added these tubes with lights behind them. I've had mine for almost a year and listened to the new ones for about an hour in store as I considered exchanging mine for the new ones (long story).. In the end, they sound identical to me, it's just one more thing to break, and I don't personally like the look of the tubes. Has anyone else listened to both and agree or disagree?

As for the DJ system, I could see this in a small family basement for the kids to sing karoake with.... would be sweet in that environment, but unless you can turn the colored lights off, I don't see it be used much anywhere else. Curious how it sounds though.

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Old 03-28-2013, 04:08 PM
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From everything I've read, the tubes don't do anything to improve the sound of these things. It is a gimmick.



FWIW, if anyone is interested in getting last years model, BB has been closing these things out.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:05 PM
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Samsung is a marketing genius.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:33 PM
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What a joke
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:04 PM
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Wouldn't it be a hoot if you took this apart and the only thing working in the tubes was the filaments. I mean they aren't actually in the audio circuit at all. Just the filaments being lit up for show and a class D amp doing the heavy lifting.

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Old 03-28-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awblackmon View Post

Wouldn't it be a hoot if you took this apart and the only thing working in the tubes was the filaments. I mean they aren't actually in the audio circuit at all. Just the filaments being lit up for show and a class D amp doing the heavy lifting.

They claim it goes through the tubes then into a digital amp, but I hear what you're saying and wouldn't be at all surprised. I've had mine (without tubes) for almost a year and listened to these (with tubes) for quite a while, and I sure couldn't hear a difference.

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Old 03-28-2013, 09:22 PM
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Some of the "starved plate" low voltage tube buffer designs are operated in parallel with the chip op amps and add little to the sound they run the tubes at 12V that's what I would expect here .Some of the the vintage triode tubes ran 270-300 volts on the plates .
then there are other ones that only light the the filaments and ad an LED.

With 5.1 or MTS I don't really know that tubes in the gain stages would enhance a heavily processed digital soundtrack anyway .

I did see one sound bar with the tubes in it at BB it was a nice looking unit ,sound was not bad at all but could probably be better with a Sub Woofer.
Seems like everybody is putting the pointy speaker dust caps on their stuff these days. In the past it was only the Seas drivers
(which are pretty good) that had the pointy centers .

Sony sourced the drivers on their multi thousand $$ TOTL speakers for years from Scanspeak and Seas.

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Old 03-30-2013, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awblackmon View Post

Wouldn't it be a hoot if you took this apart and the only thing working in the tubes was the filaments. I mean they aren't actually in the audio circuit at all. Just the filaments being lit up for show and a class D amp doing the heavy lifting.

I'm thinking about the same thing. As someone who have witnessed multitudes of "tube glow", these tubes look too amber (LED looking). I'm basing it on what I've seen at CES with my own eyes, not the photos above.

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Old 04-01-2013, 08:15 PM
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I have the Samsung speaker dock with tubes (DA-E750). It sounds pretty darn good for a dock. Not sure how much the tubes have to do with it though. They sure make it look cool though. smile.gif
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:09 PM
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I agree, the tube dock sounds pretty good and their HTiB also sound very good for 2-ch music for HTiB standard.

PS: anybody know where I can buy fake-tube amp? Radio Shack used to sell them for about $40 but not anymore. I want to use them for decoration.

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:16 PM
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Mayne go to amazon and look at "Pyle tube amps" i think they even have a " pseudo tube receiver "

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
"The wireless music box has no commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:41 PM
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This is why I absolutely love this site. 2 replies from people who have demoed both setups and can give first hand reviews. Love AVS!

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