Sorry to post twice in a row, but Dan's followup email I think sheds even more light on his design goals and I think maybe better states my own view on tube equipment:
|> Thank you--articulate as always. I posted your response to the thread.
> The argument is (in summary) "Would a tubed output stage on a CD
> player in conjunction with a tube amplifier be too much tube?" My
> argument was that I didn't believe your design goals to be "warm, tubey
> coloration" but rather to eliminate electronic hash. I think in the
> end, the definition of coloration itself may be the communication
> breakdown, but I still disagree that having a tube in the signal path
> of the CD player necessarily makes it inappropriate
> for user with a tube amp. I guess we'll see.
The trouble is that there is a lot of poorly designed
and implemented tube gear out there. Many "tubed" CD
players either have a simple tube buffer or a poorly
designed tubed output stage and either/both are
designed with heavy distortion and lots of feedback,
with the specific intent of creating a "warm" sound.
Good high-end tube gear IS detailed and DOES provide
good bass response. It is VERY common for people to
have all tube systems, including tube preamp and
amp(s). I am certainly one of them.
On the other hand, some people simply don't like tubes
and prefer solid-state. There is bad SS gear -
bright, hashey, etc., and there is bad tube gear -
overly warm, rolled off and soft on the bottom end.
The tubed output stage for the XA-777ES is GOOD tube
design and great sound .