Are tube amps any good with fast energetic music?
Mar 21, 2009 at 4:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

nigeljames

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Hi I was just wondering what peoples opinions are about using a tube headphone amp with music like rock/metal including some of the faster varieties like speed/power metal that I listen to occasionally. I am interested in buying a tube amp as an alternative to my SS amp (GS Solo).
For this type of music is SS always the way to go?
I want something that sounds tube like but I also want detail,clarity,dynamics, punch and speed. Is that a contradiction?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
Mar 21, 2009 at 10:59 PM Post #4 of 23

Uncle Erik

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It depends on the amp. The topology, tubes and power supply make all the difference. If I were you, I'd look for an OTL amp with solid state rectification. An OTL generally sounds quicker than a transformer coupled amp and solid state rectification will also give you that quickness. Generally speaking, of course. There are plenty of exceptions - the Zana is one of the fastest amps I've heard and it has tube rectifiers. But it is an OTL; look for one of those that's well suited to your headphones.
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 12:46 AM Post #5 of 23

Skylab

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I can tell you my Darkvoice 337 sounds great with the goth-metal I like such as Nightwish, Epica, Darkwell, Lacuna Coil, Leaves' Eyes, and Within Temptation.
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 12:52 AM Post #6 of 23

Nick 214

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It depends on the amp. The topology, tubes and power supply make all the difference. If I were you, I'd look for an OTL amp with solid state rectification. An OTL generally sounds quicker than a transformer coupled amp and solid state rectification will also give you that quickness. Generally speaking, of course. There are plenty of exceptions - the Zana is one of the fastest amps I've heard and it has tube rectifiers. But it is an OTL; look for one of those that's well suited to your headphones.


Exactly. There is far too much going on inside of an amp to make such sweeping generalizations. Maybe a SET OTL with oil caps is "slow" but have you tried a PP tetrode? (fox example, nothing real)

NK
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 12:57 AM Post #7 of 23

Uncle Erik

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick 214 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Exactly. There is far too much going on inside of an amp to make such sweeping generalizations. Maybe a SET OTL with oil caps is "slow" but have you tried a PP tetrode? (fox example, nothing real)

NK



Not yet, but I have found plans for a tetrode headphone amp using the 832A. Managed to run across a stash of cheap NOS JAN 832A tubes out in Phoenix and brought them home. When I get through a few current projects, I'll put one together. Too bad there are so few plans for tetrode and petode amps. I know they're not supposed to sound as good, but I'd like to cook one or a few up to see.
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 1:56 AM Post #8 of 23

Nick 214

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Not yet, but I have found plans for a tetrode headphone amp using the 832A. Managed to run across a stash of cheap NOS JAN 832A tubes out in Phoenix and brought them home. When I get through a few current projects, I'll put one together. Too bad there are so few plans for tetrode and petode amps. I know they're not supposed to sound as good, but I'd like to cook one or a few up to see.


Cool. My post was actually meant to augment yours, in response to the OP
wink.gif
.

The best headmap I have heard was actually SE, but used a KT88, which is not one of your "usual" headamp tubes.

NK
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 9:18 AM Post #9 of 23

nigeljames

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bowraboy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I don't think so. They'll say you can make a tube amp sound fast and like a solid state but why not just get a solid state.


So what you are saying is, if you listen to fast music solid state is better?
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 9:24 AM Post #10 of 23

bowraboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nigeljames /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So what you are saying is, if you listen to fast music solid state is better?


That's what I think. Anything I want to sound dynamic I like solid state.
I use my MAD Ear in the bedroom for more more lay back music.

I'm sure many will disagree.
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 9:30 AM Post #11 of 23
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I'd say my Stax 007t amp (uses tubes) and SR-5NB Stax headphones are an incredibly fast combo. I think the issue is more with sound colouration than anything, as well as synergy.
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 9:49 AM Post #12 of 23

nigeljames

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It depends on the amp. The topology, tubes and power supply make all the difference. If I were you, I'd look for an OTL amp with solid state rectification. An OTL generally sounds quicker than a transformer coupled amp and solid state rectification will also give you that quickness. Generally speaking, of course. There are plenty of exceptions - the Zana is one of the fastest amps I've heard and it has tube rectifiers. But it is an OTL; look for one of those that's well suited to your headphones.


Thanks for the advice. As this is my first foray into tubes and I already have a good SS amp I don`t want to pay alot at first although I will tuberoll. I notice the LD amps generally get good reviews here and the Mk3 & Mk4 use OTL and are within my initial price range. Have you heard any of them?
Any amps you can recommend? Thanks
 
Mar 22, 2009 at 5:34 PM Post #14 of 23

mrarroyo

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Either SS or tube can sound great or horrible. It all depends on the ability of the designer/builder. Instead of being concerned w/ how go and listen to various amps (hopefully side by side) and decide which one you like best whithin your budget.
 
Mar 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM Post #15 of 23

jpr703

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My MPX3 Slam keeps up with the fast rock and even punk quite well. Having gone back and forth with that type of music between the MPX3 and a Gilmore Lite, I absolutely preferred the tubes.

Just keep in mind that some tube designs are faster and some are slower. Talk to your builder and be honest about the music that you want to listen to.
 

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