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Explain the use and benefits of tube amps? - Page 2

post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 
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. 

 


I'm not easy on this.  You are absolutely wrong.  Most tubes you can tap on all day long and never, ever hear it through headphones.  Please quit spreading this nonsense.

 

edited for politeness ...


Edited by tomb - 1/18/14 at 6:49am
post #17 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post


I'm not easy on this.  You are absolutely wrong.  Most tubes you can tap on all day long and never, ever hear it through headphones.  Please quit spreading this nonsense.

edited for politeness ...

I don't think you understand what "to some degree, however small" means. Hint: it does not necessarily mean audible or inaudible.

http://www.thevalvepage.com/valvetek/microph/microph.htm

My original statement was that most tube amps don't have microphonics like the Vali. It seems like you agree, yet I am still "absolutely" wrong? I don't know what you are reading into my statements that's getting you so riled up... Words like "most", "absolutely", and "degree" make all the difference here.
Edited by manbear - 1/18/14 at 8:55am
post #18 of 98
Thread Starter 

Guys, let's calm down. I can see that you're both experienced Head-Fiers, so let's not turn this into a YouTube comments page. 

post #19 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post


I'm not easy on this.  You are absolutely wrong.  Most tubes you can tap on all day long and never, ever hear it through headphones.  Please quit spreading this nonsense.

edited for politeness ...

I don't think you understand what "to some degree, however small" means. Hint: it does not necessarily mean audible or inaudible.

http://www.thevalvepage.com/valvetek/microph/microph.htm

My original statement was that most tube amps don't have microphonics like the Vali. It seems like you agree, yet I am still "absolutely" wrong? I don't know what you are reading into my statements that's getting you so riled up... Words like "most", "absolutely", and "degree" make all the difference here.

Let me be clear: you are misleading people.  This is a beginner's section and you're spreading around the pseudo-fact that all tubes have microphonics.  The implication is that everyone should expect to hear ringing when they purchase a tube amplifier.

 

That is manifestly untrue.

 

As for your specifics, there is nothing in that reference that implies every single tube has audible microphonics.  To the contrary, it's research intending to minimize the possibility.  If you're going to take the tack that every tube can show measureable ring - no matter how minute - because it depends on physical structure to produce current, you might as well include solid-state in that criteria (but you haven't).

post #20 of 98

Since we are venting about pet peeves, let me point out that the very presence of tubes doesnt mean that the amp will have the classical tubey sound.   

 

Those input-stage tubes, for example, often do very little towards contributing a tubey sound.    

 

Also, anyone listened to an old Dynaco ST-70 and compared it to a 300B SET?    They dont sound anywhere alike.    Push-pull tube amp designs can exhibit very low distortion and a sound that is closer to solid state.    Single-ended (not to be confused with single-ended headphone terminations) triode designs are the ones that have the stereotypical tube sound - rich, full-bodied, warm.     Just b/c an amp has a tube in it doesnt mean it is going to sound anywhere like a classic SET amp.    

 

Also, distortion doesnt necessarily equal poor sound.    A lot of people prefer the sound of second-order distortion, as it sounds more "natural" and less sterile.    Dont take my word for it - go have a listen to a 2A3/45 or 300B amp paired with the right speakers, and decide for yourself. 

 

PS: I agree with TomB.    I've never heard microphonics on any high-quality tube rig.  As an experiment, I went and tapped the 2A3 tube on my amp just now, with the LCD2 plugged in.   No noise.   

post #21 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Let me be clear: you are misleading people.  This is a beginner's section and you're spreading around the pseudo-fact that all tubes have microphonics.  The implication is that everyone should expect to hear ringing when they purchase a tube amplifier.

 

That is manifestly untrue.


I did not once say that all tubes have audible microphonics, and I certainly did not say that people should expect ringing with all tube amplifiers. My post that started this implied the opposite -- that the Vali is different. 

Let me be clear: you are unable to recognize the difference between my words and the words that you have put in my mouth. Please work on your ability to read literally before you jump on people.  

post #22 of 98

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microphonics

 

Microphonics are by definition audible.   Have the maturity to admit you were wrong instead of trying to wiggle out of looking bad.

post #23 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microphonics

 

Microphonics are by definition audible.   Have the maturity to admit you were wrong instead of trying to wiggle out of looking bad.


I like Wiki's definition better:

"Microphonics or microphony describes the phenomenon wherein certain components in electronic devices transform mechanical vibrations into an undesired electrical signal. The term comes from analogy with a microphone, which is intentionally designed to convert vibrations to electrical signals."

Microphonics worth caring about are audible, sure, but the undesired electrical signal doesn't have to audible to be considered a product of microphonics. It merely has to be a product of mechanical vibration. 

post #24 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookinaround View Post
 

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

Unless you want to plug in an Android device, the Modi/Magni should work well and within your budget. The Vali could pose a noise problem if you have sensitive IEM's or cans. If I plug my HD600's or HE500's into the Vali hear no noise. If I plug in my Momentum Around Ears, I can hear background noise. You will not hear this with a Magni which also has a bit more driving power.

IMO as far as tubes vs. SS goes, I prefer tubes when playing electric guitar but SS when listening to music. I prefer no added harmonics, IMO if I don't like the headphones that I bought, I made a mistake and trying to fix that by adding even order harmonic distortion is just digging in deeper. Chances are the problems with cans are FR related anyway, or something else.

If you can kick in some more $$, consider an Asgard 2, I just got one and it's outstanding.

post #25 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


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. 

 

 

The best solution for microphonics i have heard is, don't tap on it :tongue_smile:

post #26 of 98

On a $200 budget you should look seriously at the Fiio e18.   I bought one back in November out of sheer curiosity and I have to say it's a damn slick little device.  It drives my 300ohm Sennheiser HD580s to very satisfying levels and I can run it from pretty much anything I own that can play music.  I had it set up at todays Austin Head-Fi meet and it was on and playing music pretty much the whole time and all the battery life indicators were lit when I turned it off to pack up.

post #27 of 98

About 6 years ago, my first headphone amp and tube experience was a Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 (450 bucks retail) hybrid.  When I took it home I noticed microphonics when I tapped it.  Returned it to the store and they were happy to exchange for another unit.  It still did the same thing.  I just kept that unit.  But it always bugged me - this is not perfection in my mind.

 

After a few months I then bought a Lehman Cube solid state amp after auditioning, the bass was so much tighter and extended and the rest of the response sounded more precise at a retail price of $1100 It has to be an upgrade.  Solid state is more precise everywhere.

 

There was no going back...for a few months...after which I started to notice that a lot of instruments are not coming out of the mix like it used to...something was missing and I can't say what.  So I unboxed the MFV3 hook it back up and there it was, the dimensionality and image trajection was back.  I then noticed the treble sounded much better to me.  The bass was not as good nor is it as detailed.

 

I have since sold the Lehman amp.  The V3 is right here by my computer monitor with an upgraded V3 power supply and a few tweaks with different capacitors...it still resonates every time I tap the table.

 

Your first headphone amp will come with slight OCD - better off with a solid state for beginners then I suppose.

 

Before Head-Fi I had a Rotel solid state amplifier driving my speakers, now I have a full tube amp driving them.  I can live without solid state, but not without tubes - despite that I can clearly hear the measured superiority of a good solid state amp over any tube amp.  Some good solid state stuff can take you oh so close to tube sound - but without a tube it will always be trying to sound like a tube, never quite getting there.

post #28 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post
 

About 6 years ago, my first headphone amp and tube experience was a Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 (450 bucks retail) hybrid.  When I took it home I noticed microphonics when I tapped it.  Returned it to the store and they were happy to exchange for another unit.  It still did the same thing.  I just kept that unit.  But it always bugged me - this is not perfection in my mind.

 

After a few months I then bought a Lehman Cube solid state amp after auditioning, the bass was so much tighter and extended and the rest of the response sounded more precise at a retail price of $1100 It has to be an upgrade.  Solid state is more precise everywhere.

 

There was no going back...for a few months...after which I started to notice that a lot of instruments are not coming out of the mix like it used to...something was missing and I can't say what.  So I unboxed the MFV3 hook it back up and there it was, the dimensionality and image trajection was back.  I then noticed the treble sounded much better to me.  The bass was not as good nor is it as detailed.

 

I have since sold the Lehman amp.  The V3 is right here by my computer monitor with an upgraded V3 power supply and a few tweaks with different capacitors...it still resonates every time I tap the table.

 

Your first headphone amp will come with slight OCD - better off with a solid state for beginners then I suppose.

 

Before Head-Fi I had a Rotel solid state amplifier driving my speakers, now I have a full tube amp driving them.  I can live without solid state, but not without tubes - despite that I can clearly hear the measured superiority of a good solid state amp over any tube amp.  Some good solid state stuff can take you oh so close to tube sound - but without a tube it will always be trying to sound like a tube, never quite getting there.

Awesome reply, this is exactly what I was looking for. I'm just wondering though, how long does it usually resonate after it gets tapped? I know it'll probably be a little different for every unit, but just to get a ballpark idea

post #29 of 98
post #30 of 98

I find it kind of funny that some folks actually want to add distortion to what was recorded. When I play electric guitar, yes that's when I want to add tube distortion and plenty of it. When I listen to what was recorded, no thank you.

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