Certainly but the audible difference is present and not a slight one to my ears, unlike what some suggest. Specs aside (I've found that more often than not, to my ears, audible quality is not representative of numbers), I still very much think that for many people, the sound of tubes is irreplaceable in their audio chain. On paper, solid state amps seemingly appear to "sound" better at a relatively cheaper price, but even a quick listen will show that isn't necessarily true depending on what the listener is after: the best possible reproduction of the recording, or a sound they can enjoy.
When you consider that a big majority of recordings made pre-1980s are of pretty awful quality (so we're talking about a VAST majority of the music available and enjoyed today), it becomes undeniable that tubes help enjoy them on extremely revealing hi-fidelity equipment where the neutrality of solid state amplification only deters the listener from enjoying poor recordings due to them revealing too much of the poor recording techniques used at the time.
Now indeed, if the goal of the listener is simply to hear every last detail exactly as the recording was, then tubes do not belong in the signal chain, but I would think people on these forums are here primarily to enjoy their music more, not to have clinical listening sessions and set aside never to be heard again recordings of poor quality.
Edited by elmoe - 2/28/14 at 2:28am