I believe that tube amps for audio is more myth than anything. It started during the early days of SS when poorly designed class B amps tortured our ears with crossover distortion, excess THD, gobs of IMD and TIMD. For these reasons, at that time tube amps sounded much better. The tables have turned long ago, As long as an SS amp is not overloaded (clipping) and has adequate headroom you will get superb sound, unless it's junk. These days, achieving this in a SS amp is not difficult. The situation for an Electric Guitarist playing lead is very different, they will want to overload the amp to get increased sustain and a warm sounding distortion as means of getting a certain pleasing sound, hence tube amps when overloading creates this sound. What we want to do is replay that sound with great accuracy, hence no distortion, flat FR and no coloration. This is easy to achieve in a SS Amp but hard to achieve in headphones.
When comparing it is important to A/B with very little time between the switch due to the very short period for detailed auditory memory. It is also very important to match the loudness as our hearing (Freq. Response) varies with loudness and will fool you into misjudging equipment.
I'm a piano player (not professional, hobby) myself and not experienced with some of the mentioned words (THD, IMD, ..). I know tubes are used for this clipping we all know (I listen basically to classical music only though) and SS sounds very bad when clipping.
If SS amps are so good (no distortion,..), why are so many of the top line very expensive ones tube ones I wonder.
Thanks for the comparing tips, learned something today :) (An A/B switch with settable volume is needed, hehe.)
I read your HE-500 comparison and it just shows just because it's "planar magnetic" and costs 300$ more it mustn't be better (for this price diff. at least). Sennheiser is a very good company and the HD600 is very good for its price :)
Edited by frequencies - 12/27/13 at 1:57am