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How is "tube sound" even audible in modern headphone amps? - Page 18

post #256 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Do the test yourself and get a surprise! I've done it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

That would certainly be possible. Bob Carver proved that an inexpensive solid state amp could be hobbled to sound exactly like an audiophile tube amp. I wonder why no one has ever made an amp that is switchable like that. Probably because the point isn't the sound... it's the "romance" of tubes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Do the test yourself and get a surprise! I've done it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post

I want one!!!!! 
I once saw a software with lots of tweakable settings to ruin the sound like a vinyl does, with wow, several types of distortions, noise.. so I guess there must also be some "tube sounding" DSPs.


 harmonics are signals created at the multiples of the original frequency(for 100hz you get a new signal that wasn't on the record at 200, 300, 400hz ... ) it's bound to always affect frequencies higher than the original. so in a way yes.
but that's without looking at what is causing the distortions. the cause usually doesn't affect all frequencies equally, so it doesn't have to always cripple the trebles.
but then I guess it is the desired effect of someone getting a tube amp. the "warm" sound.
am I combo-contradicting myself here? ^_^ so yes but no but yes. obviously.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Do the test yourself and get a surprise! I've done it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineReggae View Post


Well, thanks smily_headphones1.gif. I guess what I am getting at is that for the supposed "tube sound" to work, there has to at least be some kind of control over where and how the harmonic distortion is going to occur. I mean if it's unpredictable, it's going to be hard to design an amp around that. So I was wondering if there was at least the certainty that the distortion affects the higher frequencies, which as you say seems to be somewhat the case. I still feel that there's a lot I don't get about it though.





DSPs are coming along and for guitar players making a tube amp sound while recording out of an effects box then USB to a computer is what it is all about. Around 1999 we saw wide popularity of digital reverb and amp simulations digitally. Still in 1999 the amp simulators sounded wet and digital. Every year they get better and better. Zoom has an effects box called the G3 and it emulates the sound of tube amps and guitar cabs being recorded. All this with more choices than you could choose, along with multi-effects all at the same time. What guitar players have always liked about tube distortion has been the compression. The signal is amplified thus the sustain is noticed longer because it is compressed and louder.

And with this super advanced art of tube amp emulation you have some guys leaving their amps at home and plugging in the effect box emulator straight to a PA system. Still this is not the norm and the purists are totally against doing it. It does seem that DSPs could be integrated into solid state headphone amps to color the sound. I could take two G3 amp simulator effects units and try to slightly distort the signal before it reached a solid state headphone amp like the totally clean sounding Asgard by Schiit Audio. It would take two units as they only accept a mono signal in. The trick here is that the amp simulators can be dialed in so little. You could have them at maybe setting 1 and they could maybe replicate the harmonic distortion your getting from a SET 300B tube headphone amp. The other crazy thing in regards to doing this is that the signal is affected by the order in which the amp simulators are placed in the chain. This theorist standpoint is that you could effectively have the DSP tube effect after the headphone amp or before the headphone amp and the placement completely changes your sound. Thus before the headphone amp one sound and after headphone amp another sound all together even though your tube amp DSP simulator has the exact same settings. Amazing Huh?

The G3 is relatively cheap at about $200 USD. ZOOM sells a lot of G3s so they get their development investment back by selling volume. It may be cost inhibited to have headphone amp designers put elaborate tube emulation DSP sections into their headphone amps. The other reason I think is that it is slightly opposed to the way they are thinking. Most of the time amp designers are attempting to take distortion out not design it into a companies headphone amp. I feel we will see it in our lifetime as DSPs have come so far in the last 14 years. The natural distortion you get from tube amps is just part of the process of taking a line level signal and creating volume.


That said I'm still waiting for my CD player to test the Asgard One and write a mini review here. Trying different stuff I settled not using a USB DAC but believe it or not going straight out of my 5th Generation iPod Touch playing both ALAC files and 16 bit X 44.1 FLAC files with the VLC FLAC player. So far the Asgard is blowing me away. More to follow.



ZOOM G3

Edited by Redcarmoose - 7/4/14 at 12:34am
post #257 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineReggae View Post
 


Is there any source that confirms that audible distortion in tube amps will always translate to rolled off high frequencies? And are there no other effects of the distorted signal?


The reason I ask is because I've always taken it for granted that a distorted tube signal will work like that, but I have no idea why. It's not something I have experienced for myself, really.

 

I don't know.  My experience with tube amps is limited to a couple of amps I owned in the 1990's and lengthy period of bias controlled tests I did with an audiophile group in the late 90's.  When we found an amp that was easily distinguishable from others, we did measurements and always came up with rolled off high frequencies. Whatever anomalies you might encounter are always distortions in the form of varying frequency response.  They could be anywhere but we found them all in the treble area in our tests.  There could be other characteristics but we didn't encounter any. 

 

The one amp that impressed me most was made by Audio Research.  It used 4 KT88 tubes and was indistinguishable from the solid state amps.  Very clean.  So it can be done.  It just isn't done very often.


Edited by blades - 7/4/14 at 8:01am
post #258 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by blades View Post
 

 

I don't know.  My experience with tube amps is limited to a couple of amps I owned in the 1990's and lengthy period of bias controlled tests I did with an audiophile group in the late 90's.  When we found an amp that was easily distinguishable from others, we did measurements and always came up with rolled off high frequencies. Whatever anomalies you might encounter are always distortions in the form of varying frequency response.  They could be anywhere but we found them all in the treble area in our tests.  There could be other characteristics but we didn't encounter any. 

 

The one amp that impressed me most was made by Audio Research.  It used 4 KT88 tubes and was indistinguishable from the solid state amps.  Very clean.  So it can be done.  It just isn't done very often.


No, no, no! It can't be just frequency response.  It is a limpid, liquid, ethereal quality, with natural warmth and musicality lacking and sorely so in cold, sterile solid state gear. 

 

 

 

Need I add..........TIC.

post #259 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
 


No, no, no! It can't be just frequency response.  It is a limpid, liquid, ethereal quality, with natural warmth and musicality lacking and sorely so in cold, sterile solid state gear. 

 

 

 

Need I add..........TIC.

 

I think you forgot the pace and rhythm. :)

post #260 of 366

I like how a lot of audiophile equipment is named after names from mythology. It seems fitting.

post #261 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

don't make any sudden move, there's a snake coming out of your wall outlet.

 

 

about placing the G3 thing(looks like a lot of fun) before or after the amp, I would guess that the input/output impedance values are done for either being before or after the amp, and not both.

maybe the different sound from placing it after the amp is caused by impedance mismatch, or even some clipping?

post #262 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I like how a lot of audiophile equipment is named after names from mythology. It seems fitting.

It is fitting and only secondary to car names from mythology. Titan or Thunderbird or Pontiac. The list goes on and on.
post #263 of 366

They probably appeal to the same testosterone infused part of the male ego.

post #264 of 366

Is it common for audio tube amps to show high end roll-off?

post #265 of 366


I haven't tested them all but I would say, based on a few tests, it is universal at the lower price points.

post #266 of 366

Theres no market for a tube emulators on solid state amps IMO.  Thats like a de tune switch on a Toyatota Corrolla....wont substitute for an antique high performance classic car. 

 

If a hi end tube amps sound exactly like solid state, then I would't really be interested.  The sound of a tube amp has everything to do with its popularity, along with the technical aspects of being a tube amp, they exist together and separating one from the other wont create any new markets.

 

The whole point of a tube amp for me is that it sounds different to a solid state amp, along with different technologies and aesthetics.  You can't say tube amps are less hi fi overall, because the transducer is the main factor, not the amps.  A crap tube amp on good speakers that pair well is still going to sound better, more hifi than a solid state TV speakers for instance.

post #267 of 366

This is what I don't understand. If vacuum tubes are rolled off at high frequencies then how did they transmit at kHz and MHz for AM and FM before there were even transistors?

 

For Ham radio, they still use vacuum tubes.


Edited by wuwhere - 7/4/14 at 8:46pm
post #268 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post
 

The whole point of a tube amp for me is that it sounds different to a solid state amp, along with different technologies and aesthetics. 

You can't say tube amps are less hi fi overall, because the transducer is the main factor, not the amps.  

 

You contradict yourself. If the main factor is transducer, then why do you care about the amp technology at all?

post #269 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

Is it common for audio tube amps to show high end roll-off?


At least in power amps for speakers it is common though not universal.  You also sometimes get some ultrasonic ringing with some electrostatic speakers.  In addition most tube amps have high enough output impedance to interact with the varying impedance of speakers in a way that can audibly alter the frequency response of speakers. 
 

post #270 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post
 

Theres no market for a tube emulators on solid state amps IMO.  Thats like a de tune switch on a Toyatota Corrolla....wont substitute for an antique high performance classic car. 

 

If a hi end tube amps sound exactly like solid state, then I would't really be interested.  The sound of a tube amp has everything to do with its popularity, along with the technical aspects of being a tube amp, they exist together and separating one from the other wont create any new markets.

 

The whole point of a tube amp for me is that it sounds different to a solid state amp, along with different technologies and aesthetics.  You can't say tube amps are less hi fi overall, because the transducer is the main factor, not the amps.  A crap tube amp on good speakers that pair well is still going to sound better, more hifi than a solid state TV speakers for instance.


Yes, usually tube amps are less high fidelity to the source (though they don't have to be).  Good SS amps can fully and transparently pass on the sound of tube amps.  The reverse is usually not the case.

 

Now with pairings that work, and with particular preferences you may prefer a tube amp. But that is preference not to be confused with fidelity.  No reason to apologize for that, but do recognize what sounds best to you isn't automatically highest fidelity.  That is where things can get very confused.

 

"A crap tube amp on good speakers that pair well is still going to sound better, more hifi than a solid state TV speakers for instance".

 

While perhaps true it really tells one nothing.  It has no useful information.  A good tube or good solid state amp on good speakers will also sound better than TV speakers.

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