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Tube amps with a 'cold'/'bright' sound?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Usually tube amps are said to sound warm/dark/mellow...etc...

 

Are there any that buck this trend by offering an analytical/cold/bright almost solid-state sounding presentation?

 

I heard that Apex Audio may do this, but have yet to hear it.

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Usually tube amps are said to sound warm/dark/mellow...etc...

 

Are there any that buck this trend by offering an analytical/cold/bright almost solid-state sounding presentation?

 

I heard that Apex Audio may do this, but have yet to hear it.

I have always heard people say the Schiit Valhalla sounds like this.  That being said, I don't own one so I can't tell you that from personal experience.

post #3 of 15

try La figaro 339 OTL with a hefty power supply filtration, it sounds pretty fast and its bass is as controlled as SS.

post #4 of 15

Some tube amps can sound syrupy due to being low power. My Woo 3 is an example of a low power amp that ends up having what people consider that classic tube sound. I also had a Scott 40 watt tube amp from the mid 1960s, again that classic tube sound.

 

The Woo 5 LE just sounds like music. The sound is just clear and tight. There are none of the tube artifacts in the presentation. My issue was to try to actually blend some warmth into it, to change it from analytical. 

post #5 of 15

I would like to comment that many of us have different definitions of what cold and warm is. Sound can be subjective and what may be warm to one person, may not really that warm to another person. The same with cold and analytical.

 

Every amp adds some kind of sonic property to a recording. And slightly off topic, there is no such thing as a neutral amp. Plus, what is neutral anyway? It's highly subjective. There are people out there who like the idea of a simple amp that has wire and gain. Even the internal amp of a laptop has sound signature which tends to be commonly generic but not necessarily bad.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spareribs View Post

I would like to comment that many of us have different definitions of what cold and warm is. Sound can be subjective and what may be warm to one person, may not really that warm to another person. The same with cold and analytical.

 

Every amp adds some kind of sonic property to a recording. And slightly off topic, there is no such thing as a neutral amp. Plus, what is neutral anyway? It's highly subjective. There are people out there who like the idea of a simple amp that has wire and gain. Even the internal amp of a laptop has sound signature which tends to be commonly generic but not necessarily bad.

I disagree, neutral can be measured.  Although, just because an amp can be neutral, doesn't mean it is good.  Neutrality is just one of many things.

post #7 of 15

Woo6 se sounds pretty SS to me. Certainly not as euphoric as many tube amps.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Usually tube amps are said to sound warm/dark/mellow...etc...

 

Are there any that buck this trend by offering an analytical/cold/bright almost solid-state sounding presentation?

 

I heard that Apex Audio may do this, but have yet to hear it.

 

IMO, I correctly design otl tube amp will sound analytical, without being bright or cold. The Valhalla (with the correct tubes) gets very close.

 

Most of the hi-end speaker tube amps I've heard have a analytical sound, without being bright or cold. Of coarse you can change the bias on any tube amp and get a warm sound.

post #9 of 15

One of the biggest misconceptions about tube amps is that they are "warm, smooth, and syrupy."  They certainly may be in some cases, but that is not the general rule of tubes.  The reason why many people choose tube amps is because, when compared to solid state amps, they tend to have better soundstaging, imaging, and a more holographic representation.  That's really about the only difference.  As far as an amp being warm or bright, that is a function of the circuit and the intended voicing.  The same is true for solid state amps.  I've heard very warm and buttery solid state amps (and ice cold tube amps).
 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

One of the biggest misconceptions about tube amps is that they are "warm, smooth, and syrupy."  They certainly may be in some cases, but that is not the general rule of tubes.  The reason why many people choose tube amps is because, when compared to solid state amps, they tend to have better soundstaging, imaging, and a more holographic representation.  That's really about the only difference.  As far as an amp being warm or bright, that is a function of the circuit and the intended voicing.  The same is true for solid state amps.  I've heard very warm and buttery solid state amps (and ice cold tube amps).
 

Could you provide examples of each?

post #11 of 15

a valve amp should be as flat as any other well designed amp.

 

on bright recordings my Prima Luna and Quad IIs sound bright.

 

on dull recordings they sound dull.

 

make sure the amp likes your speakers, and sort the room out if it sounds dull or too bright.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Could you provide examples of each?


Dull/Warm solid state - Quad 44 pre amp

Bright solid state - Early Naim

 

Dull Valve amps - anything badly designed or needing a service - eg a Quad 22

Bright Valve amps - Prima Luna with crap KT88s like JJ

post #13 of 15

Vintage Marantz receiver -- warm solid state amp

Schiit Valhalla rev 1 -- bright tube amp

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Could you provide examples of each?

post #14 of 15
post #15 of 15
Try a darkvoice 337 with svetlana powertubes and tung sol gt mesh plated driver tubes..instant mix of tube sound with ss speed and detail biggrin.gif a ss sound from a very strong tubey wink.gif
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