Originally Posted by xnor
There's a difference between sound reproduction and distorting electric guitars.
Exactly! That is why I wrote this:
Originally Posted by ab initio
this is not about HiFi reproduction at all,
I just thought it was worthwhile to point out that pro audio applications consider the amplifier and speakers to be part of the "tone" and it is a part of the artistic process to choose amps and speakers with the desired sonic colorations.
I agree 100% that for Hi-Fildelity reproduction, the goal is 0% distortion with completely balanced frequency response and linear phase response.
The point of my post was to help people understand why and where the distortions introduced by tube amplifiers are desirable; namely, in artistic generation of sound---not in HiFi, where the name of the game is to minimize distortion!
In my experience, because of the proliferation of electric guitar in popular music, the public perception of "amplifiers" is that "the tube ones sound the best---look at Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Eddie Van Halen, Metallica, (insert any guitar-centric band), etc..." I think this helps perpetuate the perception in the HiFi world.
Tubes came before transistors; hence, the first HiFi amplifers necessarily were of tube design. Then, solid state transistors were introduced and amplifier design needed to be re-learned to deal with the new and different design issues. The first solid-state designs didn't have the years of experience behind them, and so for a while, the tube systems had an advantage. We are at a point where solid state design is mature, and clearly, the top performers in terms of measureables are solid state. However, because of the reasons I previously listed, the perception of the merits of tube design for HiFi audio is being perpetuated.
Hopefully this help clarifies the point i was making, and my stance on the topic.
EDIT: Let me clarify before I get completely crucified: Both tube and solid state designs are capable of excellent HiFi performance---same goes for pro audio as well---but they require different approaches, and I dare say it is easier/simpler to get HiFi from solid state, while it is easier/simpler to get a pleasing colored sound (Pro audio application) from tubes.
Ready, set, flame me
Edited by ab initio - 7/23/13 at 12:02pm