Originally Posted by brucest
Today we have high end solid state amps way in the megabuck range and very good cheaper solid state. I'd think it would be very revealing as to what the null of such would be. Each is clearly intended to be flat.
Not only that even reasonably priced SS amps can be very linear, have a lot of reactive load handling power, and work well with very low impedance loads.
You don't have to do null testing, all you need to do is make proper use of modern test equpment.
For practical purposes, the choice of a tube amp doesn't reveal very useful information. We know that some people like tube sound and a likely explanation is that its the "defects" in reproduction that is attractive. Without denigrating that, I'd be interested in what differences if any would be revealed by nulling equipment with the same design goals: i.e. very low distortion and ruler flat response.
Hats off to John Atkinson as a leading collector of information relating to this by the means I described above. IME the most audible undesirable property of tubed amps is their relatively high source impedance.
The megabuck justification is that there are differences that would generally be perceived as better and than they can only be achieved by megabuck type build.
Furthermore such differences, if they existed would have to be unmeasurable using modern test equipment, including nulling. It is well known that all instances of non-measurable "audible" differences are vaporized by DBTs. They were artifacts of sighted evaluations all along.
If in fact, less costly equipment can be nulled with inexpensive mods, then the megabuck hypothesis is out the window, and what we know is that such differences which may in fact be heard by some, are a matter of taste or confirmation bias (i.e. I can distinguish the megabuck sound and therefore it must be better.) Or not. In other words, IMO the most important question is whether any differences can be attributed to the high cost build.
I experienced one of the best examples of differences due to a high cost build that I ever have when I had a Threshold SA 4E in my possession to test a couple of years back. The amp was far better than it seemed in basic testing if you did some non-traditional but fairly conventional testing. When operating at low frequencies (< 100 Hz) and with low impedance loads (< 4 ohms) it would put out as much power as you could suck power from the wall to support. At 1 KHz and an 8 ohm load it looked like a fairly conventional 125 wpc power amp. Its output under non-traditional conditions was like an order of magnitude greater.
Pick the right Martin Logan speaker or a certain legacy Infiinity speaker and this puppy would probably be the death of a great many very fine modern power amps. With normal (well-designed) speakers you would be looking at a null test. What matters to you?Edited by arnyk - 2/5/13 at 7:31am