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Tube vs Solid State

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by welchie, Sep 9, 2010.
  1. welchie
    Hello Head-Fiers.
    This hobby's got me on the hunt again. I was listing to some high bit rate music this afternoon through my imod with imod LOD rca cable plugged into my Sweet Peach tube amp. It sounded great. I've been researching again ( big mistake ) and have read up on the Woo WA6 and the Burson HA-160. So I guess the question is tube vs. solid state. I like tubes. I think they;re cool looking and they do provid that lush sound. I have ALO recabled Ultrasone HFi 780's and ATH M50's. I would probably sell some stuff to buy what I decide on. I am lookijng for musical nirvana. Any thoughts or input is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris.
  2. volume
    The headphones you have mentioned don't require much voltage or cuurent,in fact no need for an amp.
    You plan to change the headphones, then we can talk.
  3. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Keep in mind that you're going to find a wide variety of tube sounds. Some are lush and some are crisp. It depends on the tubes used and the type of circuit they're in. Do some research on what you really want and don't just buy something with tubes for the sake of having tubes. You often spend more on a tube amp than you do on solid state for similar sound quality.
  4. clou91


    I disagree. Just because you don't need a lot of power doesn't mean the cans don't benefit from amping. He just needs a quality amp for low impedance cans. I've had 780s before and they do benefit greatly with amping, though they can still sound good without one.
  5. bergman2
    i've always been a tube man but lately i've been really enjoying my balanced 650's through the preamp outs of my lavry da10 with lossless files from my computer ... the soft, flubiness of the 650's really benefits from the balanced setup with ss ... i would only offer this to the op -- rather than reflexively picking tubes/ss one should think about overall system balance -- go to meets, borrow components if at all possible, and hear as much as you can
  6. Jack C
    While solid state amps can also be voiced to present a certain characteristic, tube amps are more "euphonic" by nature and design.  Good solid state amps should not cost a lot of money, unless a lot of effort went into voicing the amp - which takes a lot of effort to do correctly without serious compromises. Good tube amps will always cost a lot of money because of the parts used. 
    Neither one is more "right" than the other. Preference comes down to personal taste and size of one's wallet.  Personally, I think everyone should have at least one accurate/clean/analytical solid state amp as a point of reference. Such amps are relatively cheap and inexpensive. Having such an amp provides a solid reference for evaluating what you like and don't like about other amps.
  7. Happy Camper
    I agree with Jack's comments about starting with a budget minded ss amp for reference. Don't go too budget as you don't want to start out with performance compromises to match a price point. A couple hundred should get you a decent amp. As for tubes, you can spend a lot. Just trying to voice it to your preference can cost hundreds of dollars in tubes. The fact that tubes are so inefficient that you need much more power for similar performance. I think a nice compromise are the hybrid amps. They let you voice with a gain tube and use ss circuits to drive a broader impedance range.
    If we took a poll in this thread, I'm guessing the tube % would be age dependent with older hobbyist using tubes more.
    The distortion of tubes sound better. If you are going to buy SS, don't get the minimum power you need as clipping can damage your amp.

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