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The topic of this thread is the pros of tube warmth/distortion. I don't think my post was off topic?
Tube amps are primarily good for anything with electric instruments and anything pre-hifi era. That accounts for probably over 80% of the recordings that exist on this planet. Good enough for me. And the difference a tube amp makes on those recordings is not subtle, I assure you.
I understand your point of view, but it comes from the very limited taste in music that you have (primarily acoustic-only music), and that's very different from the majority of people.
So yes, if all you like/listen to is strictly acoustic-only fantastic quality recordings, there's no doubt that a system built to be as neutral as possible will be most enjoyable.
No need to go back that far. Many recordings of the 80's and early 90's for classical are nothing to get excited about (technically speaking that is). It's too bad for me as it was the start of the revival for baroque music. But the 20 last years have really seen a definitive improvment.
Impressive music collection btw.
The discussion about tubes is always coming back and never will find a definitive answer. There isn't a single, unified "tube" sound to start with. A limited answer could at best be given for a given amplifier.
Karajan's recordings are indeed a textbook case.
The big problem of the 80's in my experience, more limited than yours certainly, was recordings that were mixed too low, leading to a typically "soft" sound that cannot be raised without raising the noise floor to an unacceptable level. Euphonic distortion has the (limited) ability to make those soft recordings feeling more alive.
The recent remastering of many older recordings has indeed been a blessing under that respect.
That's the thing though, I don't want my music to sound like what it sounds like out of a calibrated studio monitor setup. Aside from the obvious acoustic-only stuff, there is such a thing as "better than live" sound, and tubes help in that respect, especially with genres I predominantly listen to such as classic rock, blues, funk/soul/rnb from the 60s-70s, etc... As for the acoustic jazz I like, 00940 has it nailed. Very often the sound is too "soft" and tubes bring that extra hoomph that's sometimes lacking (not always). For example a lot of Mingus can sound thin on an all SS system, the horns really come alive when tubes are involved. I've actually tried EQing some Mingus using only my DAC (without the tube preamp), specifically the Pre-Bird and Mingus Ah Um albums, and while it helped, the horns never sounded quite as good as they did with the tube preamp.
I'd agree with the headphones thing. It certainly isn't as much a problem for me on speakers. But my speakers' rig is nothing serious (a pair of AE Evo One on a simple chipamp). I've pretty much the same "problems" with other classical genres, so I don't think it's a baroque thing.
You picked the box sets from Brilliant ? They're a mixed bag performance-wise but given their price, it's hard to complain. There are some little gems hidden in the Mozart one btw.
Solid state is bright, brittle and lacks body where tubes feel more natural all around and add more fun to the music. There is good solid state and good tube amps and just as many that are bad of each... My ears like tubes more often though when done correctly. What everyone here is saying is somewhat true because it boils down to a matter of preference. I find that using tubes amps provide a much less fatiguing experience when listening. Solid state feels hard and brittle to me. The higher frequency seems to be over the top and artificial...where some would call that more detail I find it to be an annoyance when I sit down for long periods of time. Tubes just add that extra body to the music and creates fuller richer sound. Id rather some of my higher frequencies rolled off to save my ears from a sharp stabbing.
There is no music that one amp does better than the other... it boils down to good design and a properly thought out system. Tube or solid state. Oh and every ones ears are different.