does a tube pre do what i hope it does? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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i talked to a salesman at a stereo shop and he was explaining to me that an amp whether it's transistor or tube, needs to mimic the sound wave attack and decay as close as possible and that solid states, generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."
He was not trying to sell me anything, just explaining it to me.
with that being said, i know there are gaps in digital music and i'm curious if a tube preamp's excessive decay could fill in these gaps of information, making it more musical.here is a picture of how he explained what makes an amp more musical


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post #2 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 06:02 PM
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That's a new one on me. The high end audiophiles are constantly looking for ways in which their preferences can be backed up by some kind of science. This science, however, is mumbo jumbo. What tubes do is add harmonic distortion to the playback. Some people like the sound it causes and some do not. Musicality is in the music, not the equipment that plays it.
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post #3 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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well i really like the thiel speakers i heard but i'm really not wanting to spend any money on a system if i can't get emotionally involved with it. i listen to my car stereo or even my low end headphones and they while they don't seduce me, i feel in sync with them. with my 2.0 system i have now, it sounds great, but i never listen to it. $4500 in equipment
so i'm looking for ways to make the system sing to me.
i like my speakers but it's a love/hate relationship for me. they are too forward and it's that simple i've tried toeing them in and changing the distances they are apart from each other but they always fatigue my ears. even at low levels. the imaging also seams to break up a lot. i heard left more sometimes and right more other. it seams like a mess of sound sometimes. i'm sure room acoustics play a role in that though.

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post #4 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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will the harmonic distortion of a tube amp give me any of the seducing sound that a tube amp will?

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post #5 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 07:04 PM
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i heard but i'm really not wanting to spend any money on a system if i can't get emotionally involved with it.

What utter and absolute rubbish. If you need the system to get involved in the music - you simply haven't got the foggiest notion about the music. Either music involves you or not, I can listen to Brahms sextetts on a boombox and get involved, i can listen to Hendrix Machinegun on a crappy cassette deck and get involved.
I do not deny that I prefer to listen to music on a system that reproduces the sound as close to the signal on the mastering disc or tape as possible, that it might help to discern the finer aspects of a solo or a riff.
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needs to mimic the sound wave attack and decay as close as possible and that solid states, generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."

That rubbish is a new claim I have not heard before from "audio philes" (I think that label should become a swearword consifdering the nonsense that tribe perpetuates)

An amp does not "mimic", and amp should be able to handle transients, attack and decay as close to the original as possible, and it takes a really badly designed amp not to do that. That salesmen has a few gaps in his brain he really needs to fill up.
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post #6 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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first off, why the hell would i listen to music i don't "have the foggiest notion about?" makes no sense. second, i said i get involved in the music when i'm in my car or with my headphones so why would i listen to different music through my home theater.

I'm glad you haven't heard this from any "audio-philes." Wouldn't a sound engineer be more someone you should trust?

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post #7 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

will the harmonic distortion of a tube amp give me any of the seducing sound that a tube amp will?
edit Will the harmonic distortion of a tube *pre-amp...

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post #8 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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and what he showed me made sense. maybe it's not true but to me it made sense. so it had me worried that if i did get my speakers sounding right then i was curious if i could make it sound better by getting a tube preamp.
How is it not feasible that my brain is so confused and irritated by an unstable image and piercing dynamics that i can't get into my music?

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post #9 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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he probably knew my problem was horrible acoustics in my room and decided to manipulate the situation by making me think it was because of my gear so i would buy new gear. wouldn't be surprised because during his iteration of how lower end gear does this or that he kept mentioning that higher end, more expensive gear is what gives you this magical feeling of coherence and involvement.

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post #10 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

will the harmonic distortion of a tube [pre-]amp give me any of the seducing sound that a tube amp will?

“Our extensive checking has indicated only two areas where vacuum-tube circuitry makes a definite audible difference in the sound quality: microphone preamplifiers and power amplifiers driving speakers or disc cutters. Both are applications where there is a mechanical-electrical interface.”
-taken from Tubes vs Transistors: Is there an audible difference? by Russell O. Hamm, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, May 1973
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post #11 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 09:15 PM
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Hi Bthrb4u,
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Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i talked to a salesman at a stereo shop and he was explaining to me that an amp whether it's transistor or tube, needs to mimic the sound wave attack and decay as close as possible and that solid states, generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."

As others have said, this simply is not true. Solid-state does not "decay too fast", There is no "gap", and your brain does not "fill anything in". If he wasn't trying to sell you something, then he was just practicing for when he does.

You don't mention the system that you have now, but I would suspect that it is perfectly adequate. Many here will tell you that your room and your speakers are the things that affect how you hear your music the most. I would agree. I suspect that you already have quality speakers, so maybe room-treatments is where you should concentrate.

Many people like the sound of tubes, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if your goal is to hear your music as close to the original performance as possible, then you should avoid tubes.
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post #12 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.
i suppose all this has derived from when i heard the b&w cm9 speaker. for some reason the speaker gave me chills. i'm looking for that seduction from a speaker that is more tonally accurate and has a bigger, less compressed presentation

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post #13 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 09:57 PM
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that seduction from a speaker that is more tonally accurate and has a bigger, less compressed presentation
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generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."


Hmmm.....so, you like uncompressed speakers which lets say would equate to a fast response as to attack and decay. That shows you having more sense than this so called "salesman", which I equate to a moron.

My advise: do not frequent this store any further.
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post #14 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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out of curiousity and do to ignorance, how do fast response to attack and decay equate to an uncompressed or compressed speaker?

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post #15 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 10:56 PM
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Not knowing what exactly you meant by a "un/compressed speaker" I took it that uncompressed equates to a speaker that reacts fast to the incoming electrical signal, without much lag responding to the incoming signal and a fast decay once the signal ends. Check out waterfall decay curves.

A fast response would let you hear details that would be masked by a speaker with slower response, i.e. precision in the bass region
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post #16 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i talked to a salesman at a stereo shop and he was explaining to me that an amp whether it's transistor or tube, needs to mimic the sound wave attack and decay as close as possible and that solid states, generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."

A perfect amplifier would follow the recorded signal perfectly including the exact attack and decay of every waveform - so the faster the response an amp (or preamp), the more accurate the reproduction would be. This can be measured and it can be proven that tube amps add non-linear components to their output and don't follow the original signal as well as solid state amps.

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i know there are gaps in digital music and i'm curious if a tube preamp's excessive decay could fill in these gaps of information, making it more musical

No, there are not gaps in digitally recorded music. There is only digital noise which is the high frequency harmonics of the sampling frequency - the sharp corners of the "digital stair steps" output by the digital section of a digital music player. These are filtered out by a filter so that your amp doesn't try to reproduce them, but even if they weren't they above the range of human hearing.

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post #17 of 54 Old 10-25-2013, 11:56 PM
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OP-by all means follow the salesman's guidance. With all sorts of products that is your best way of learning about how things really work. rolleyes.gif

What's that HTIB sub doing in your system? How can that "sing" to you? Spend your money on better speakers and subs instead of being sold on silly preamps.

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #18 of 54 Old 10-26-2013, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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the sub is only for home theater and some genre's of music.

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post #19 of 54 Old 10-26-2013, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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i felt that uncompressed was a good way of complimenting a speaker that was more detailed and had larger, more airy sound compared to another speaker

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post #20 of 54 Old 10-26-2013, 10:46 AM
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The way your system in set up is major problem. Speakers are too close to the wall and no equipment should be between them. Also use the equilateral triangle as basis for you setup. Also try one of the recommended cd's for evaluating your equipment. I thought I did not like a particular set of speakers with the cds I brought for demo. The sound was way to bright and fatiguing. The seller put on one of his cds and the difference was night and day. I instantly heard sound and imagery like never before. I bought them in a heart beat. Just for kicks move your gear to a different room where you can really move those speakers and listening spot around and you will notice a huge difference and possibly have a new outlook on your gear and save money hopefully. No equipment upgrade will do the magic you expect if you do not follow the basics. Good luck.
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post #21 of 54 Old 10-26-2013, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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they are front ported speakers and there is no wall any where near the left speaker and there is a desk about 3.5 feet from the right but it has no backing and the wall behind it is 5 feet away from the speaker.
No equipment between my speakers?!!!! how am i going to use them for home theater?

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post #22 of 54 Old 10-26-2013, 04:53 PM
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Pull your speakers out about 2' in front of your display. Also the equilateral triangle would be the distance between your speakers and your listening seat should be equal distances. Make sure your tweeters are at ear level. These are just the basics of proper setup. It looks like your area is very mismatched for proper sound. Move your audio equip into a room where you can have equal distances from a back wall and side walls to hear the improvements. Don't be afraid to pull your speakers way from the front wall. This might not have waf, but it will allow you to hear what your system is capable of with a few free tweeks. This might make you rethink your layout to improve sound and imagery. Also what is your source?
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post #23 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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peachtree audio dac*it. personally i feel it has a great filter and it reduces jitter down to 2ms without asynchronous .
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post #24 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 12:29 PM
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2ms. LOL.
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post #25 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 03:24 PM
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I think you need to find a new salesman before he takes all your money..

But some people just love giving money to people who talk mumbo jumbo and call it audio.

I just bought a new USB stick that has a tube attached to it. This way my music will be "warmer" smile.gif YEah-I have some ocean front property in Kansas I think somebody should invest in.

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post #26 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i talked to a salesman at a stereo shop and he was explaining to me that an amp whether it's transistor or tube, needs to mimic the sound wave attack and decay as close as possible

So far, so good.
Quote:
and that solid states, generally decay too fast and your brain is left filling in the gap making it less "musical."

Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Bzzzt!
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He was not trying to sell me anything, just explaining it to me.

He's selling you a line of BS. I've got nothing against tubed preamps, and indeed I have a Conrad Johnson that I sometimes trot out to digitize LPs.
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with that being said, i know there are gaps in digital music

Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Bzzzt!

Yet another audiophile myth!
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and i'm curious if a tube preamp's excessive decay could fill in these gaps of information, making it more musical.here is a picture of how he explained what makes an amp more musical

Tube preamps don't have any excessive decay. Digital music has no gaps. The best tubed amps and preamps are indistinguishable from their solid state equivalents. A tubed preamp is more likely to sound like SS than a tubed amp, but it can happen either way.
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post #27 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

will the harmonic distortion of a tube amp give me any of the seducing sound that a tube amp will?
edit Will the harmonic distortion of a tube *pre-amp...

A lot of good tubed preamps have less nonlinear distortion than can be heard, my Conrad Johnson, for example.
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post #28 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

peachtree audio dac*it. personally i feel it has a great filter and it reduces jitter down to 2ms without asynchronous .
my gear is in my signature under
"gear and more gear...my gear!"

Unfortunately digital jitter isn't audible.
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post #29 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u
Quote:
peachtree audio dac*it. personally i feel it has a great filter and it reduces jitter down to 2ms without asynchronous .

Unfortunately digital jitter isn't audible.
2 ms of digital jitter sure the hell is!

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post #30 of 54 Old 10-27-2013, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

peachtree audio dac*it. personally i feel it has a great filter and it reduces jitter down to 2ms without asynchronous .
my gear is in my signature under
"gear and more gear...my gear!"

You need to look at your appalling room setup/speaker placement first before worrying about all the BS and cr@p hi-fi salesmen want to sell you.
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