Tube v SS: Sonic Differences??
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Vitalstatistix

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Would somebody be kind ebough to list the pros and cons of both the tube and solid-state amps?

Reason I ask is because I'm now confused whether to get the META42 or MG Head OTL amps for my HD-600 connected to the NAD c541i.

Thanks heaps!!

 
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Freddy

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I am unable to answer your question, but here is what fellow member Kajohndet had to say about the pros and cons of tubes & solid states in an email to me:

Tube amp:
Pros
1. Crisp High
2. Lively Mid
3. So musical and revealing

Cons
1. Bass response is less than and not as well controlled as solid
state
2. Sound is not as clean as solid state (tradeoff for musical)
3. Lack of focus of individual instrument (Less analytical)

Solid State:
Pros
1. More analytical and focus (Soundstage is more stable and easy
to tell where each instrument is)
2. Speed
3. Better and well controlled bass response
4. Clealiness in sound (also tradeoff with musical)

Cons
1. Less Musical than tube (mid and high)
2. Though it has more speed, clean and focus, the analytical side
can be boring sometimes.


I am also in the same boat as vitalstatistix, so if anyone else has any input, it would be much appreciated!
 
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Vitalstatistix

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Does Antique Soundlab have a website? I'm going to try to look for an Australian distributor.
 
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taoster

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http://www.tubehifi.com/

They have a shop in sydney which apparently has the ASL MG Head in stock..

last time i tried paying them a visit it was closed.

Australia
Audio Valve Active,
49 Rochester Street,
Homebush NSW 2140
AUSTRALIA
tel no: 9746 6190 (shop)
94871142 (office)
mobile 0403 491 523
fax: 9489 7342
email: bajenov@primus.com.au


Have you received your meta42 yet?? that should give you a taste of what Solid state should sound like.
 
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Vitalstatistix

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Thanks taoster!

Tangent estimated Sept being the earliest date he can ship the meta42.
 
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2 channel

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2 channel

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Brace yourself...this is by far the BEST value in all of the Audio kingdom! I got mine from audiogon for $300.00 about 6 months ago. They can be had occasionally on ebay for $275-300.

It easily out performs any other setup I have had. I am using it to drive a pair of Klipsch KSF 8.5s and it sounds amazing!
 
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Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally posted by Freddy
Tube amp:
Pros
1. Crisp High
2. Lively Mid
3. So musical and revealing

Cons
1. Bass response is less than and not as well controlled as solid
state
2. Sound is not as clean as solid state (tradeoff for musical)
3. Lack of focus of individual instrument (Less analytical)

Solid State:
Pros
1. More analytical and focus (Soundstage is more stable and easy
to tell where each instrument is)
2. Speed
3. Better and well controlled bass response
4. Clealiness in sound (also tradeoff with musical)

Cons
1. Less Musical than tube (mid and high)
2. Though it has more speed, clean and focus, the analytical side
can be boring sometimes.


It's more about execution of the design, than whether it is SS or tubed. The list presented is stereotypes, and may apply to less well-executed designs, but is by no means guaranteed. For examply, in my systems the ZOTL is a faster amp than the Maxed Out Home. The MOH does have better bass than the ZOTL, but don't tell an RKV owner that SS does better bass than tubes. Also, don't tell an Electrocompaniet owner that solid state is less musical than tubes <grrrr....>

The real differences are in the types of distortions that each are subject to, and in impedance matching. In brief, solid state tends to distort in ways that are less pleasant to listen to than the ways in which tubes distort. If a well-executed design is not subject to a lot of distortion, this isn't really a big deal...
Tubes have higher output impedances than solid state devices, which make matching them to low impedance transducers problematical. Different designers have found different ways to get around this.
 
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yage

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If you want some interesting nighttable reading on tube vs. transistor sound, try this link:

http://www.milbert.com/tstxt.htm

It's the text from a paper presented in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society... very informative!
 
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Freddy

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Thanks for the info, Hirsch. When I originally received that list, I had asked Kajohndet to tell me what he thought of his MG Head/Senn 580 combo. I believe that list is more specific to the MG Head, so thats why I thought it would fit Vitalstatistix's question perfectly.
 
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markl

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I've heard enough tube and ss amps to realize that's it's virtually impossible to make generalizations like the ones listed by Freddy (no offense to Freddy). Each amp is different, has a different design, interacts with different phones differently. For example, to say all tube amps have inadequate bass is to ignore the Ear Max Pro, a very simple all tube design that is widely known for its incredible bass response when used with the HD600.

There's just no short-cut to doing the homework on all the amps in your price range. It's way too simplistic to rule out *all* ss or *all* tube amps based on some stereotypical differences. Also, diffrences between tube and ss amps are not as pronounced in a headphone environment than they are with speakers.

Finally, tubes wear out and will need to be replaced. Also, be aware that to get the most out of a tube amp, you will ultimately want to venture into the shady and expensive world of NOS tubes. On the plus side, tube-rolling allows you to somewhat "season" your amp to taste, whereas with a ss amp, if you aren't in love with its sound, there's not much you can do about it.

markl
 
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Vitalstatistix

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I've spoken to Nick from Audio Valve Active in Australia about the MG Head. Apparently, he has the DT model which he can convert to the OTL version (what the??). He explained the procedure, but I don't really understand or know how the final product after conversion would look like and whether it would look identical to the OTL version readily made for the market.

In any case, he invited me around for a sound-test with the HD600.

Nick Dangerous where art thou????
 
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mysticaldodo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by markl
I've heard enough tube and ss amps to realize that's it's virtually impossible to make generalizations like the ones listed by Freddy (no offense to Freddy). Each amp is different, has a different design, interacts with different phones differently. For example, to say all tube amps have inadequate bass is to ignore the Ear Max Pro, a very simple all tube design that is widely known for its incredible bass response when used with the HD600.

There's just no short-cut to doing the homework on all the amps in your price range. It's way too simplistic to rule out *all* ss or *all* tube amps based on some stereotypical differences. Also, diffrences between tube and ss amps are not as pronounced in a headphone environment than they are with speakers.

Finally, tubes wear out and will need to be replaced. Also, be aware that to get the most out of a tube amp, you will ultimately want to venture into the shady and expensive world of NOS tubes. On the plus side, tube-rolling allows you to somewhat "season" your amp to taste, whereas with a ss amp, if you aren't in love with its sound, there's not much you can do about it.

markl



Some of the current productions are not bad like EI and Electroharmonix. I've compared the EI tube with a NOS Mullard and prefer the EI one but its all subjective. Anyway the description if not accurate will at least serve as a starting point. We all learn in duet time


PS. Tube rolling is fun too
 
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