Tube amplifiers can be very nice; I used tube power amplifiers for 30 years, including Harmon-Kardon Citation amplifiers, Eico, and others.
Tube power amps have a couple of inherent problems that have steered me away from using them in my own system in recent years. One excellent amplifier I use is the Musical Fidelity M3i integrated amplifier, which sells for $1500; highly recommended.
One major problem with tube power amps is that they all have relatively high output impedances. This makes them interact with the speaker in ways that are often undesirable. You have to be very careful in matching the amplifier to the speaker; much more so than with most solid-state amplifiers. Most tube amplifiers also do not have the quality of output transformers needed to deliver good-quality low bass; only the very expensive ones have decent bass.
Another problem is the unreliability of tubes, and the circuitry that they tend to damage when they short out. I am an experienced technician and engineer, so I have no problems doing the needed repairs, but it is a pain in the butt to have gear that dies inconveniently. Anyone who says this is not a problem has not owned or serviced as many tube amplifiers as I have.
I still use a tube preamp, an Audio Research LS-26, and the sound quality is unparalleled IMO, but it is quite reliable compared to tube power amplifiers. The only maintenance needed is to replace the tubes every 1000 hours or so as they get tired and start to mush up the sound quality.
It is next to impossible to shock yourself when adjusting the bias after tube replacement; the meter test leads are well insulated. Some amplifiers even have built-in self-adjusting bias circuits so this is not needed. Periodic tube replacement is definitely needed in order to maintain the best sound quality. Some models require it more often than others.
BTW; I do free repairs/upgrades on tube amps as a hobby (you must pay for the actual cost of parts, of course), FYI if you are in my area.
P.S.- The NAD C356BEE is another good one with a bit more power than the 326BEE. There is one for sale in the classified section.
Originally Posted by keyboardcat
It was a Jolida tube amp hooked up to mp3 player using Definitive Technology bookshelf speakers. It sounded OK on that. I heard a more powerful Jolida amp hooked up to 3,500 dollar Dali bookshelf speakers. It sounded a little different to me then the regular amps. I see what people mean on here when they say tube amps can get loud even if the tube amp doesn't have as many watts as a regular integrated amp. The sales person let me hear A 1,300 or 1500 dollar rega amp. I forget how much that it was. It sounded good. I was asked if I wanted to compare the other amps to NAD c326bee. I started to fall in love with the NAD c326bee again. Something about this amp amazes me. I am afraid that if I buy a tube amp, that I will not be knowledgeable with it. I am not the best when fixing electronics. The sales man said that you have to use a voltage meter when putting the tubes back in. What if I do it wrong and shock myself. I liked the Rega and Nad. I am still going to hear a Rotel sometime to help narrow my search down.