Originally Posted by StanD
Yes, I've listened to good tube setups, more than once and have owned them as well. Really good tube equipment is clean, unless you overdrive it. In the early days of Class B SS amps, tubes were the only choice, we've come a long way since then. If you want to color things, that's fine with me. You call that engaging, I do not. 'Just because you say, '"The sound of an organ live is never "tight and controlled".' doesn't mean that during playback a clean controlled system is not required, I happen like to listen as closely as possible as was recorded. I realize that is not 100% possible, but IMO why muddy the waters any further.
Yes I agree that the classic tube sound is not a hybrid but with proper output stages and a really good output transformer, not some cheap junk. Done right, such a system isn't big on coloration.
You are entitled to your opinion, of course and I am not saying for a second that your opinion is wrong. It is the right opinion - for you. As I stated in my post above, I am only trying to point out that what you are so definitively claiming as "coloration" is merely an opinion. And that there are plenty of other opinions which feel that your choice of references is artificial.
You may prefer to listen to what was recorded, but that doesnt make it a truism everyone should aspire towards. Some of us like to listen to a sound that is true to the original. A tightly- controlled organ doesnt sound anything like the live thing, and personally, I have no desire to have it reproduced that way. Violins in a concert dont sound as shrill and piercing as they do when reproduced in a system with a flat FR from 20-20k - so why would I want to have my system reproduce them that way?
If you prefer an sound that deviates from reality just b/c you have for some reason chosen to use the "recorded signal" as the reference, that's your preference but that doesnt make it a truism. Heck, from where I sit, that doesnt make any logical sense either. What you call "hi-fi", I call "artificial" - to me, the true reference is, and should always be, the live sound of an acoustic instrument.
Here's a simple though experiment to illustrate my point (you dont have to agree with me, btw): Listen to Furtwangler's Bayreuth Beethoven's 9th? No one in their right mind would argue that that recording is a suitable "reference standards". It is a mere extension of that logic to realize that even today's recordings - even though they are a lot better than in the 40s or 50s - do not capture the live sound perfectly: I dont think anyone would argue that a system that reproduced the audio signal perfectly would reproduce the concert perfectly.
So now you have 2 options - you can shoot for perfect reproduction of an imperfect recording, or you can shoot for something that does a better job of compensating for the imperfections of the recordings (although for this, you have to trust your ears - and being the insecure audiophiles we are, that is a hard one for all of us, myself included).
You chose to go one route. That's fine. But please dont arbitrarily dismiss those that go the second route as people that prefer colorations - that comes across as condescending, whether or not you intend it to be so, and without any real basis for that condescension. There is a damn good reason for why we choose that option.
I'll say this - NO solid state system I've ever heard has come close to reproducing the fine timbre and body of a piano, a string bass, a cello or a human voice (actually, I do think solid state amps do a better job with violin solos, but not with violins that are a part of a symphony). YMMV.