Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Are Tube Amps better than Solid State Amps?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are Tube Amps better than Solid State Amps? - Page 6

post #76 of 95

The best tube money one can spend are for a pro calibrated and rebuilt tester.

 

A lot depends on the tube type.

Some used and average testing tubes can last for a long time.

 

There is nothing wrong with used tubes provided they are safe (no shorts, leakages) and have some life left.

post #77 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

I dont have experience with those tubes.  I haven't been scammed on ebay tube purchases.

 

My last ebay tubes were for 12AU7 and 12AT7.  Sovteks were new.  The Sylvanias were old/used salvages from the mid 1960s time frame but the seller indicated they "tested OK, on his so-and-so tester".  He had a perfect 100% feedback rating and regularly sold old pulled tubes.  No complaints at all.  In either case I had a good idea ahead of time what I was getting.  The reality though with www tube sellers in general (ebay or otherwise) is we really DON'T know the history behind the product.  Are they blowing smoke? or are they honest?  Its a gamble no doubt, to which there are honest and reputable www sellers too.

 

I buy my EL34s local B/M.  Groove tubes and Mesa boogie re-brands in my guitar amps.  Havent needed to replace the EL84s yet, stock peavey rebrands remain in that amp.

 

The scams I am referring to are all the "NOS" ebay tube sellers around the world.  I have my doubts about product authenticity and item representation of these sellers.... based on nothing more than a hunch, and thats all I have.  Knowing ahead of time how rare and scarce some tubes have become.... and you get a guy from so and so country, sitting on a case of them, NOS in individual boxes....?  It all smells very fishy to me.

 

Its a good discussion to have though, members looking to get into tube amps for the first time need to be aware of these kinds of things in the tube -VS- solid state debate.  Conversely OP amps, current buffers and rectifiers are cranked out by the ~millions and just don't have this kind of underground sub-culture  (for lack of a better term) going on.

 

I hope this doesn't offend anyone...beerchug.gif

 

**EDIT**  Oh and the ebay seller feedback rating can be a scam in itself... but thats probably too far off topic for this thread. 

 

The tubes I was referring to (6550, KT88, etc...) are output tubes used on speaker amps. Old tubes can last a long time (usually rated in hours), well over 10k hours, as long as the amps they are used in are not hard on them. There are tube amp designers (David Berning is one that I can think of) who are easy on tubes in their amps. Usually, output tubes only lasts between 2k to 4k hours, but its really hard to gauge. It also depends on the bias current setting. So yes, buying old used tube can be a crap shoot. Happened to me once. One of 4 tubes I bought self destructed, the seller refunded me for all 4 tubes and shipping cost and he let me keep the other 3 tubes.

 

No offense here, just a good discussion. beerchug.gif

post #78 of 95

^Had all of my tubes tested independently in a batch of ~40...they all checked out.  Some dirty russian tubes are noisy though.

 

For the most part, have had good luck with my tubes.  Adds up very quickly though!

Reply
post #79 of 95
So a hybrid bacon/single malt amp would be the way to go?
post #80 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by p a t r i c k View Post

 

Good Hi Fi, by this I mean audio equipment that seeks to be accurate and transparent, is for me extremely liberating. To hear what the musicians intended is a wonderful thing.

 

I have a great interest in classical music and here, as in many other forms of music, the composers intend all kinds of extremely subtle combinations of sonic textures, temperatures and what-have-you.

 

Mine is a simple request that the Hi Fi should allow me to hear that.

 

It ain't so simple as that.

 

First of all, you're not listing to a live performance. You're listening to a recording. And seldom are the composers/musicians also the producer/recording/mastering engineer. And not all producers/recording/mastering engineers will approach the recording of the same performance in exactly the same way. Just the choice of microphones and micing techniques can vary widely. And then there are all the choices made after the fact in the mixing and mastering process. So the notion of what the composer or musicians intended is quaint at best. Ultimately their intent ended the moment the sound left their instruments.

 

And then there's the mixing/mastering process which is carried out while listening through a wide variety of equipment and perhaps most importantly, loudspeakers. The decisions made in the recording, mixing and mastering processes will depend on what's heard from the loudspeakers, which may be completely different between mixing and mastering. And while it's arguable that the electronics can be made effectively "perfect," there are no "perfect" loudspeakers. So ultimately what you have encoded into the recording itself is something of an inverse transformation of the systems used to make the recording. So even if you were somehow able to perfectly reproduce what's in the recording itself, it wouldn't really be what was heard at the time the recording was mixed and mastered.

 

In other words, the only way to truly hear what was intended, you'd have to listen to each recording played back on the same system that was used to master it.

 

This is one of the reasons I take the approach that I do. Objective perfection does not necessarily get you any closer to what was "intended." And from the making of the instruments, to the performance, to the mixing and mastering of the recording, there were many decisions along the way that were made subjectively. So I've never quite understood why all of a sudden subjectivity should end once the recording has been made.

 

se

post #81 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

So a hybrid bacon/single malt amp would be the way to go?

 

Yes, that is another option like the EF5, Lyr, Liquid Fire, and many others. The output is still solid state.

post #82 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

So a hybrid bacon/single malt amp would be the way to go?

I wouldn't say its "THE" way to go.   It is a good solution however for those who don't want to roll / maintain a rectifier tube power section and driver tube between the 2 channels.  Thats assuming of course its a good sounding circuit to begin with.

post #83 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

I wouldn't say its "THE" way to go.   It is a good solution however for those who don't want to roll / maintain a rectifier tube power section and driver tube between the 2 channels.  Thats assuming of course its a good sounding circuit to begin with.
I'd prefer an all bacon amp personally but I know the single malt fans love their amps too.
post #84 of 95

Oh the other thing too is that very few OTL amps can deliver sufficient current to properly drive low impedance headphones and control driver motion.  Transformer coupled tube amps are generally much more $$$ than OTL circuits.  There are some OTL amps that can drive a low impedance loads... Mad ear+, Earmax SE, la Figaro 332C come to mind.  At $450 the 332C is the most affordable of the 3.  I've only heard the earmax SE though, and to be honest I didn't think it was worth the kind of $$$ people typically want for it.

 

So in essence, if you have 35 ohm Grados (for example) and tube amps (ALL tube variety) seem like something you'd want to try, you're generally going to have to shell out a serious wad of cash just to get your foot into the door, and then of course allow extra funds for tube rolling.  For low impedance, tube hybrids make a lot more sense if you are on a mid-fi $$ budget.

 

Going back to the tube - SS thing... I spent an hour or so today at my local Surplus electronics store rummaging through their racks of old NOS tubes, and some salvage-pulls as well.  This is an OLD, dumpy-rustic looking warehouse thats been in existence buying/selling industry surplus (basically junk) for several decades... it even SMELLS old.  The guys that work there are no younger and I don't think they ever take showers... probably contributing to the overall ambiance.  The tube shelf in the back corner of the store is ~6 feet tall and ~15 feet long, next to an old buzzing coke machine.  Its fun because whenver I go here rummaging for tubes I feel like I'm Marty McFly in a time machine. I come across as a tube-guy, but sonically I prefer a solid state Larocco PPA for my RS1. I love the way its sounds with OPA627, but honestly I don't get this kind of fun rolling solid state OP amps.

 

heres a pic of my son rummaging and posing with some LEDs, last time we were there together.  Today however by myself, I didn't think to take a pic of the tube shelf and coke machine.  Maybe next time.

 


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/26/13 at 7:12pm
post #85 of 95

I am using my Grado's with 4 different OTL amps and I am very happy with the sound.

 

A lot depends on system synergy.

post #86 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

Oh the other thing too is that very few OTL amps can deliver sufficient current to properly drive low impedance headphones and control driver motion.  Transformer coupled tube amps are generally much more $$$ than OTL circuits.  There are some OTL amps that can drive a low impedance loads... Mad ear+, Earmax SE, la Figaro 332C come to mind.  At $450 the 332C is the most affordable of the 3.  I've only heard the earmax SE though, and to be honest I didn't think it was worth the kind of $$$ people typically want for it.

 

So in essence, if you have 35 ohm Grados (for example) and tube amps (ALL tube variety) seem like something you'd want to try, you're generally going to have to shell out a serious wad of cash just to get your foot into the door, and then of course allow extra funds for tube rolling.  For low impedance, tube hybrids make a lot more sense if you are on a mid-fi $$ budget.

 

Going back to the tube - SS thing... I spent an hour or so today at my local Surplus electronics store rummaging through their racks of old NOS tubes, and some salvage-pulls as well.  This is an OLD, dumpy-rustic looking warehouse thats been in existence buying/selling industry surplus (basically junk) for several decades... it even SMELLS old.  The guys that work there are no younger and I don't think they ever take showers... probably contributing to the overall ambiance.  The tube shelf in the back corner of the store is ~6 feet tall and ~15 feet long, next to an old buzzing coke machine.  Its fun because whenver I go here rummaging for tubes I feel like I'm Marty McFly in a time machine. I come across as a tube-guy, but sonically I prefer a solid state Larocco PPA for my RS1. I love the way its sounds with OPA627, but honestly I don't get this kind of fun rolling solid state OP amps.

 

heres a pic of my son rummaging and posing with some LEDs, last time we were there together.  Today however by myself, I didn't think to take a pic of the tube shelf and coke machine.  Maybe next time.

 


I came across a place like that in Connecticut except the tubes were in some old boxes and some in a couple of old cardboard barrels. There they were 15 NOS 1952 Sylvania 6SN7 and 15 6SL7's. Some RCA 1949 12AX7, the first year they were made in a NOS sleeve of 5. Many other tubes. Great fun and pretty cheap. Place was dirty, smelled, very dark and was great.

post #87 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post

I am using my Grado's with 4 different OTL amps and I am very happy with the sound.

 

A lot depends on system synergy.

Absolutely.  The one thing to keep in mind is that there are no "absolutes" regarding tubes, for every absolute there are at least a few exceptions.  My statements above about OTL amps is a generalization and by no means definitive in any way.  Curious what amps are you using?  thanks

post #88 of 95

I agree there are no absolutes, this is my opinion based on my gear.

 

SS: Rudistor PRO10BMKII/AT HA-5000/RWA Signature 30.2/GS NOVO/CI Audio VP2+VAC 1/KICAS Caliente

 

Tube: ECBA/Glenn OTL/SP Extreme(Bolder)/SP Extreme (Pro Digital Inc)/SP PPX3-6SN7 (Glenn Rechnitzer)/LD MK IV SE

post #89 of 95

I prefer tubes but mostly when I build the equipment because I like clean accurate sound go to the extra lengths to get this, like inductor loaded input tubes, which sadly, is not often done but really opens up everything and battery bias. Anyway, for trouble free, well done SS amps do a great job and no tubes to replace.

post #90 of 95

This may have been asked before.  

 

How much does tubes color the sound on Hybrid amps?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Are Tube Amps better than Solid State Amps?