Originally Posted by Citan
Amps should be as transparent as possible, that is, all they should do is amplify the signal. They shouldn't sound like anything, if it does, the amp is distorting the signal. Tube amps will almost always add more distortion than a decent solid state amp. There really is no reason to go with a tube amp if you are looking for the highest possible fidelity.
This is ridiculous. All amplified waveforms are distorted it's impossible to avoid. In fact there are 6 primary types of distortion and each represents a different effect on a waveform. The two primary factors that control an amps accuracy are deflection and efficiency. It's for this reason that anything other than a Class A amp is inferior. Without 360 degree deflection your amp will not be outputting all of the signal that was inputted. Can a Solid-State amp be biased into Class A... Yes. Are electronic transistors more efficient than vacuum tubes? Yes... Until they heat up. Then a solid-state amplifier will begin to waste power as heat and the efficiency goes down.
Tubes are not Green, but they are in every way better at reproducing sound than an IC. As tubes heat up the cathode becomes more efficient at emitting electrons. The exception to all of this may (I say may because I can't get Nelson to send me one) be the Pass SIT-2... Which he custom engineered to mimic a tube. It is the only one the even comes close to the bench performance of a tube.
An amplifier should not produce a perceivable effect on your waveform. It should be, and typically always is FLAT in it's response from 20 to 20. If you hear something from the amp, then it is a POS or you have a bad ground. If it is even average it will have a Flat response. "But I have listened to..." Irrelevant. Why? Because personal audio amplification is the byproduct of amplified audio recording. You can not replicate what was heard in the control room without first trying to replicate the equipment that was used when they made the album. Why do you think the Telefunken, Fairchild and Harmony are all LEGENDS that cost 50k+ to find in working order?
"Lots of PRO studios use..." Irrelevant! If you want to listen to poorly recorded music then grab a SS and get busy. But I am 100% certain that if Rick Rubin were here he'd agree that a studio without tubes is a dead zone. I know engineers that turn the studio on 12 hours before the session starts just to get the heat balanced out and everythign nice and hot... You literally sweat your ass in those studios.
What you should really spend your cash on is the flattest set of headphones you can afford. Why? Monitors and headphones in a studio are calibrated to be as flat as possible. My friends at Sonarworks can take any speaker or set of cans and make them perform like any other driver in the world. It requires a 16000 band EQ (Taps) and a computer. But flat is how the drivers should perform if you want to experience what the recording artist did when they recorded the album.
Audio is about Physics. There is no science in our reality that will allow a rapid switching device (gate) to produce a smoother continuous waveform than a Class A Tube amplifier with a properly designed linear power supply. Tubes are about power. Low-power and high-power and not comparable to the performance of one another.
If you are wondering who this crazy one-hit wonder is that's crapping all over your parade... My name is Jason and I grew up behind the API Legacy 48+48 in the historic RCA studios. I have watched 16 Grammy albums be recorded, was a certified Audio Engineer by the time I was 16 and currently own Tubecore Audio and design robotic tube audio systems with embedded computers.
How I got here I can't even remember, but after reading this entire thread I just couldn't stand it. What are you talking about? Why are you feeding a newbie all this forum trash? Wiki physics and read...
Originally Posted by miceblue
Ooh, that's a cool test. I'll be sure to cast my vote when I get the chance. :)
Psychoacoustics is pseudo-science for the unenlightened.
Flat response and driver efficiency are all that matter. Everything else is POWER and how you wield it.