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Explain the use and benefits of tube amps?

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking at a Schiit Vali/Modi combo to drive some new cans I got. The problem is that I don't know anything at all about tube amps and how they're different from a regular amp. Can someone give me a tutorial on tube amps? 

post #2 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookinaround View Post
 

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking at a Schiit Vali/Modi combo to drive some new cans I got. The problem is that I don't know anything at all about tube amps and how they're different from a regular amp. Can someone give me a tutorial on tube amps? 


Tubes generally have more distortion than solid state amps. They however, color the sound which makes it a bit warmer. They also make a good hand warmer in the colder months :)

post #3 of 98

What headphones are you going to be using?

Tube amps just have a different type of circuit design. You can have tube amps with all sorts of different sounds. IMO, it would be better to think about how the Vali sounds than how tube amps sound in general.

post #4 of 98
Thread Starter 

Right now I don't have anything that would need a really good amp, but I'm looking to get one of the Sennheiser 5x8 line. Any suggestions?

post #5 of 98
You might want to search the Vali thread for people using those headphones. I think I saw a few people in that thread commenting that the Vali might have some noise floor issues with those Sennheiser 5x8 headphones, due to high sensitivity of the headphones.

I had a Little Dot MK3 that was very quiet. I didn't use it with those particular headphones, but it didn't have any noise issues with the IEM that I tried (Nuforce NE-600X).
post #6 of 98

I think you will find a fair number, not all, of acoustic musicians preferring the sound of tube amps over solid state.  For me tube amps can blunt transient like air blunts acoustic transients over distance making for a more lifelike sound.  A solid state amp can more easily tell you how far the distance of the microphone is to the instruments - when using headphones without the air gap that speakers have, this can make a difference.

post #7 of 98
Thread Starter 

Alright, thanks guys. That should be enough to keep me going for a while. I'll probably end up going with the Magni for now over the Vali, if I end up getting a really nice pair of phones in the future then maybe I'll upgrade. Thanks again for all the help!

post #8 of 98
Thread Starter 

Actually, one last thing. I've been reading about microphonics with tube amps and it worries me a little. How long does that usually last after you turn an amp on?

post #9 of 98
Not all tube amps have microphonics. People certainly complain about it with the Vali, but it's different for every amp. For example, my Little Dot MK3 had zero microphonics unless I did something intentional like hit the tubes with a pencil while listening to music. Even then it was minor. One annoying thing that the Little Dot did, though, was pick up noise from wifi routers, cordless phone bases, and fan motors if they were within several feet of the amp. But these kind of issues depend entirely on the specific amp design.
post #10 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

Not all tube amps have microphonics. People certainly complain about it with the Vali, but it's different for every amp. For example, my Little Dot MK3 had zero microphonics unless I did something intentional like hit the tubes with a pencil while listening to music. Even then it was minor. One annoying thing that the Little Dot did, though, was pick up noise from wifi routers, cordless phone bases, and fan motors if they were within several feet of the amp. But these kind of issues depend entirely on the specific amp design.

Is the little dot a DAC as well? Or is it a dedicated amp?

post #11 of 98

It is just an amp.

post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

It is just a fantastic amp.

post #13 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

It is just an amp.

Alright, any suggestions for a DAC/amp combo for around $200? Unfortunately I really don't have a lot of money to spend :/

post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

Not all tube amps have microphonics. People certainly complain about it with the Vali, but it's different for every amp. For example, my Little Dot MK3 had zero microphonics unless I did something intentional like hit the tubes with a pencil while listening to music. Even then it was minor. One annoying thing that the Little Dot did, though, was pick up noise from wifi routers, cordless phone bases, and fan motors if they were within several feet of the amp. But these kind of issues depend entirely on the specific amp design.

 

"Not all tube amps have microphonics."

 

WOW.  Correction ... and a big one: Before the VALI, tube microphonics was a DEFECT, plain and simple.  It is grounds for an immediate replacement of the tube from a tube supplier, period.  To even imply that other tube amps have microphonics that you have to "tolerate" is flat out BS.

 

Edited out some hyperbola - sorry, but this really makes me mad.


Edited by tomb - 1/17/14 at 7:11pm
post #15 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

"Not all tube amps have microphonics."

 

WOW.  Correction ... and a big one: Before the VALI, tube microphonics was a DEFECT, plain and simple.  It is grounds for an immediate replacement of the tube from a tube supplier, period.  To even imply that other tube amps have microphonics that you have to "tolerate" is flat out BS.

 

Edited out some hyperbola - sorry, but this really makes me mad.


Easy there... Any tube will exhibit microphonics to some degree, however small, if you intentionally tap on it. There is no such thing as a completely 100% non-microphonic tube. 

 

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