Do you prefer SS or tube? Why? - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    To the OP:

    Generally I prefer tubes. Its easier to get them to sound like real music. With any amplifier its all about the distortion the amp makes and often more importantly what distortion the amp doesn't make. Tubes generally make less higher ordered harmonic distortion and this is why tubes are still around decades on after being declared obsolete.

    Transistors tend to be overall lower distortion but the distortion they do make is mostly higher ordered. The problem here is that the ear uses higher ordered harmonics to sense sound pressure (IOW the fundamental is not used). This is probably because pure sine waves don't exist in nature. In addition, the ear converts all forms of distortion into some sort of tonality. So when the higher orders are present the ear hears it as brightness and hardness, even though the actual measured levels can be quite low (0.005%). This is simply because the ear has to function over a 120db range and has to be able to ascertain the loudness of sounds over that entire range.

    Add on to that the Fletcher-Muson curve and you have a problem. That curve exists because our ears are tuned to be the most sensitive at birdsong frequencies. Birds are the first warning indication of a predator in the vicinity; if you can't hear them you could be dead very soon! So the ear is more sensitive at 5-7KHz which also happens to be an area rich in instrument harmonics. Its easy to see why tubes are still around- they mess with and generate less of these harmonics (5th and above).

    To be clear, brightness is a coloration every bit much as the coloration of the 2nd harmonic that many (but not all) tube amps exhibit.

    So the way I see it is its fine if a very good hifi is what you want your system to sound like, but I want it to sound real. To cross that line, you can't have the equipment making things brighter and harsher than real life. So I stay away from transistors since their introduction in the system means it will never sound real, although it might sound very good.

    IMO/IME if the spec sheets had a weighting system where the lower orders were weighted less and the higher orders more (say a 1 for the 2nd harmonic, the 7th might get a 1000) then they might be useful. If we had such a weighting system it would be easier to tell how an amplifier sounds just be looking at the spec sheet. Its obvious that such is the last thing the industry wants, so don't expect any changes in that regard in the next half century or so. FWIW, we've known that the ear has these peculiar sensitivities to harmonics and also converts these distortions to tonality for a very long time- since the 1930s at least (see the Radiotron Designer's Handbook, volume 3). Despite that, we continue to design stuff to look good on paper rather than design to meet human hearing-perceptual rules.

    But people have figured it out and you don't have to know anything at all about the technical side. All that you need to know is that tubes are still here! They were declared obsolete in the early 1960s which means that they have been 'obsolete' longer than when they were the only game in town. But some how they persist. Usually when a superior technology comes along, the prior art disappears and becomes a thing of collectors and junk shops like buggy whips. That hasn't happened with tubes which says that they aren't actually 'obsolete' at all- the reality is that if you want to make the best sounding music, tubes are your number 1 goto.

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  3. #52
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Ralph ,

    You left out no output transformers and the necessity for high impedance speakers

  4. #53
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    The science tells us how to match the load to the amplifier and this also determines what we will hear. Unfortunately all of it is wrong vs “real” , to some degree, hence why there’s Tubes and SS ..

    There’s no clear cut winner ...!

  5. #54
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    Ralph ,

    You left out no output transformers and the necessity for high impedance speakers
    8 ohms just doesn't seem that high to me.

    With regards to 4 ohm speakers, no matter what kind of amp you have, its distortion is higher driving 4 ohms. If sound quality is your goal, your amplifier investment dollar will be best served by a speaker that is greater than 4 ohms as the decreased distortion will be audible as smoother and more detailed sound.

    OTOH if sound pressure is your goal you might have a 3dB argument for a 4 ohm speaker. Speaker cables are also more critical on 4 ohm loads.

  6. #55
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    So distortion matters ...?


    What about lower distortion in speakers..? Every doubling of drivers from 8-4ohm reduce thd by 50% ..


    How is that for sum ..

  7. #56
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    There is no panacea in Audio, just preferences, myself prefer the lower speaker distortion over the slight increase in amp Thd ...


    Regards

  8. #57
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Right now I'm liking SS. But that could change one day.
    Chris

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  10. #58
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    So distortion matters ...?


    What about lower distortion in speakers..? Every doubling of drivers from 8-4ohm reduce thd by 50% ..


    How is that for sum ..
    If similar drivers they can be wired in series rather than parallel. That works quite well.

  11. #59
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Vitus brought me back to SS.

    Was as fed up with the heat, tube quality, bias adjustments and reliability issues.

    Just switch on now and an hour later everything is ready every time.

  12. #60
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclopse View Post
    Vitus brought me back to SS.

    Was as fed up with the heat, tube quality, bias adjustments and reliability issues.

    Just switch on now and an hour later everything is ready every time.
    Everything works until it breaks.
    VPI Avenger with 12" 3D arm, Technics SP-10MKII table in custom plinth with custom power supply made by Peter Noerbaek of PBN, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, pair of Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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