What is a "hybrid" amp? Raptor, Rudistor?
Jun 21, 2006 at 11:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 45

Trogdor

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I've recently been told that the RSA Raptor is a "hybrid amp" and that is has SS and tube outputs. I didn't know this, my understanding is that this is purely a tube based amplifier with a tube output stage. From the websites they seem like pure tube amps.

Perhaps my understanding is off, can someone please verify the term "hybrid" and is anyone running a SS Raptor or Rudistor amp?

Thanks guys!
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 12:10 AM Post #2 of 45

Solude

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Rudi makes hybrid amps, tube input stage, ss output stage.

Ray makes tube and ss amps, both probably use ss power supplies.

Saying the Raptor is a hybrid is incorrect, but Rudi RP5.1 yes is a hybrid.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 12:35 AM Post #3 of 45

Trogdor

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Ahhh I see....but even in the hybrid amp, that's still tube IMO since it goes through a tubed based stage, regardless of the output (SS, transistors).

I mean there is still fuzz due to the tube (I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just trying to grasp the term).
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 1:01 AM Post #4 of 45

Riboge

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Solude
Saying the Raptor is a hybrid is incorrect, but Rudi RP5.1 yes is a hybrid.


Would you please make explicit the definition of "hybrid" you are using to make this differentiation, given that both have important tube and ss elements?

And Trogdor: don't you think it is a bit premature to declare an amp has "fuzz" without listening to it or even hearing a report of that from someone else, just because a tube appears in it somewhere?

Rudi makes two hybrids: the rp5.1 and the more expensive rp7Lite and even more expensive rp7b version of it.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 1:23 AM Post #5 of 45

Tyll Hertsens

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Hybrid

1 : an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or genera
2 : a person whose background is a blend of two diverse cultures or traditions
3 a : something heterogeneous in origin or composition : COMPOSITE <artificial hybrids of DNA and RNA> <a hybrid of medieval and Renaissance styles> b : something (as a power plant, vehicle, or electronic circuit) that has two different types of components performing essentially the same function

Basically a hybrid amp is one that seeks to gain the benefits of solid state designs with the benefits of tube designs. Solid state circuitry has the adantage of being more linear (less distortion) and better able to do a wide variety of functions at a lower circuit cost. For example a simple op-amp chip might take 5 or more tubes to accomplish the same thing, so a solid state amp could have a variety of tone controls, cross-feed circuits, balance and volume controls and still be relatively cheap to buy parts for and assemble. A tube amp has euphonic (plesant sounding) distortion that is very hard to replicate in a solid state design, but if a comlplex amp (one with tone controls, cross-feed, etc) is done with all tubes it would be expensive and it might have so much distortion contribution from so many tubes that it ends up being a mushy murk of sound. Following the above logic, it might make sense to build an amp that is a hybrid of solid state front end features with a lush tube output.

But, "hybrid" doesn't mean anything in particular in terms of circuit design. It just means that is a mix of two distinct ways of doing things with the intention of getting a bit of the best of both worlds. A Millet Hybrid has solid state front-end features and solid state linear output, with a tube stage stuck inbetween the front and back to lush up the signal. Pete Millett discovered a certain tube type that could run of voltages that are normally used for solid state electronics (+/-15V) and thought, "Hey, I can stick a couple of these handly little tubes in a solid state amp without having to build additional power supply circuits needed for the plate and filament voltages needed by most tubes." And Voila! a hybrid design. While it wouldn't be improper to call an amp with a solid state power supply with tube audio electronics a hybrid, it doesn't seem to me that the two are "mixed" intimately enough to call it that. But it wouldn't surprise me to find someone who would.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 3:00 AM Post #6 of 45

Trogdor

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If tube is involved, there is some distortion, by definition. That's the whole point! (and I've heard the Rudistor amps) The second harmonic distrition you get from tubes gives it that "musical" sense. Finally, the RSA Raptor is not obviously a hybrid.

But as I believe what Tyll is saying is that the "hybrid" term is kinda meaningless and the fact is the Millet, the Rudistor, and the RSA Raptor are tube amps in the true sense.

Hybrid seems more like "marketecture" based on the definition that is being presented....they are tube amps....
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 3:35 AM Post #7 of 45

Riboge

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If music is being reproduced in any way, there is distortion, by definition.

I don't believe Tyll said the effort to combine the best qualities of tubes and ss components is meaningless. He said the term "hybrid" is broad and unspecific beyond indicating that effort.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 4:06 AM Post #8 of 45

Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor
Hybrid seems more like "marketecture" based on the definition that is being presented....they are tube amps....


No, if there are no transistors in the audio circuit, it's a tube amp, even if the power supply has a transistor or two in it. However, if a transistor is used in the path of the audio signal, such as for voltage gain or output buffer, while the other of these functions is performed by a tube, it's a hybrid (that's a gross oversimplification). Common hybrids are the Melos amps, the Musical Fidelity amps, and even the van Alstine preamps (of which we hear little, for some reason) as well as others mentioned. The RSA amps use tubes in the audio circuit, and are indeed tube amps. Solid state components would likely be diodes/rectifiers and voltage regulators in the power supply, but those would not alter the nature of the amp the way a tubed gain stage or a tubed output stage would.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 4:10 AM Post #9 of 45

Tyll Hertsens

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Weren't some of the Sonif Frontiers products hybrids as well...maybe the preamps.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 10:55 AM Post #10 of 45

Solude

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The Anthem INT2 was made by them. Man I loved that piece and they discontinued it
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Jun 22, 2006 at 12:44 PM Post #11 of 45

Trogdor

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Riboge
If music is being reproduced in any way, there is distortion, by definition.


It doesn't mean anything with respect to circuit design therefore I'm skeptical of the word.

And your missing the point. The use of tubes is to INDUCE distortion in order to gain the euphonic qualities (to use Tyll's terms) of the smoother roll off of a vaccum tube. The whole attraction to tube is the second harmonic distortion it creates which gives it musical nature. Then by tube rolling, you can control somewhat how much "fuzz" you want inthe signal depending your likes and dislikes. I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just saying that the "hybrid" approach doesn't seem to me combine the best of both worlds. If your using a tube for let's say the power supply, so freak'n what, what does that do for you? Your still SS when it comes to the audio signal.

If the output stage uses tube, to me, its a tube amp regardless of whether transistors are used for power supply or voltage gain.

The reason why I said it was "marketecture" was I don't see the inherit advantage of using a tubed based circuit in the input stage or for other secondary functions (for lack of jargon).

Can someone please explain to me HOW a "hybrid" amp is the best of both worlds? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Btw, thanks Tyll, Hirsch for the explanations. It comes much appreciated.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 1:19 PM Post #12 of 45

cosmopragma

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor

Can someone please explain to me HOW a "hybrid" amp is the best of both worlds?



For a hybrid design it's way easier to provide an extremely low output impedance, and that's better unless you do like a flabby bass.
It isn't that much of an issue for high Z cans like the Senn HD 6X0 series, but low Z cans like AT, Grado etc. do sound better for some of us when driven by an amp with low output impedance.
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 1:45 PM Post #13 of 45

Riboge

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor
It doesn't mean anything with respect to circuit design therefore I'm skeptical of the word.


The big picture is reproduction of musical performance. Circuit design of amps is but one part of what we are all seeking from a process of recording, distributing and re-producing of these.
Quote:

And your missing the point. The use of tubes is to INDUCE distortion in order to gain the euphonic qualities (to use Tyll's terms) of the smoother roll off of a vaccum tube. The whole attraction to tube is the second harmonic distortion it creates which gives it musical nature. Then by tube rolling, you can control somewhat how much "fuzz" you want inthe signal depending your likes and dislikes.


No, the point is that trying to increase "musicality" is an attempt to regain some of the qualities of real instruments and performances that are altered or lost with ss amps (at least many of them). While this may get called "euphonics" implying you are seeking not accuracy but your favorite flavor of sound, the term can mean, more respectfully, seeking to reproduce the experience in the listener of hearing live performance which, it seems to me, is a valid aspect of the overall enterprise of music reproduction.

Quote:

I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just saying that the "hybrid" approach doesn't seem to me combine the best of both worlds. If your using a tube for let's say the power supply, so freak'n what, what does that do for you? Your still SS when it comes to the audio signal.

If the output stage uses tube, to me, its a tube amp regardless of whether transistors are used for power supply or voltage gain.

The reason why I said it was "marketecture" was I don't see the inherit advantage of using a tubed based circuit in the input stage or for other secondary functions (for lack of jargon).

Can someone please explain to me HOW a "hybrid" amp is the best of both worlds? Inquiring minds would like to know.


Of course, the question should be How could a hybrid amp possibly be the best of both worlds? You confuse the effort to achieve that called a "hybrid" with the question of how successful a given implementation is, that is whether it is a "good or successful hybrid" or an "unsuccessful hybrid". That is a good question that I wish those who know more than me would take up.

As to the Rudistor RP7 you have now gone back to calling it a ss amp, given that it has no tubes in the output stage, having just previously insisted it was a tube amp because it has tubes. Can't you see how pointless this is? If any combination of ss and tubes manages to improve musicality(in the sense I used above) without loss of definition and clarity, darkness of background, dynamics, etc., then it is successful and worthwhile as a hybrid IMO.

People hear music. They do not hear second harmonics, those only appear in the analysis and conceptualization of what they hear or put thru measurement devices. What are you interested in principally: music reproduction or circuit design per se?
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 2:57 PM Post #14 of 45

Ray Samuels

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor
I've recently been told that the RSA Raptor is a "hybrid amp" and that is has SS and tube outputs. I didn't know this, my understanding is that this is purely a tube based amplifier with a tube output stage. From the websites they seem like pure tube amps.

Perhaps my understanding is off, can someone please verify the term "hybrid" and is anyone running a SS Raptor or Rudistor amp?

Thanks guys!



The Raptor is a tube headphone amp. It has a tube gain stage with a tube driver stage as buffers to drive the load "headphones"
The power supply has a SS rectification & SS regulation but that does not make it a hybrid.

A hybrid amp has either SS gain stage with tube output as a driver stage or tube gain stage with a SS out put stage as a buffer.
Thanks.
Ray Samuels
 
Jun 22, 2006 at 3:07 PM Post #15 of 45

Trogdor

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Riboge
The big picture is reproduction of musical performance. Circuit design of amps is but one part of what we are all seeking from a process of recording, distributing and re-producing of these.


Your leading this discussion into a tube vs. ss argument which wasn't the purpose of the post. It was to understand circuit design and how a hybrid approach combines the best of both worlds - as the marketing speak claims. I would like to understand the technical reason on why using tubes in the input stage and transistors on the output stage may improve the quality of reproduction.

Quote:

No, the point is that trying to increase "musicality" is an attempt to regain some of the qualities of real instruments and performances that are altered or lost with ss amps (at least many of them). While this may get called "euphonics" implying you are seeking not accuracy but your favorite flavor of sound, the term can mean, more respectfully, seeking to reproduce the experience in the listener of hearing live performance which, it seems to me, is a valid aspect of the overall enterprise of music reproduction.


Whatever, your playing a game of semantics. I'm not interested in discussing whether second harmonic distortion is more "true" to the original live recording. The use of the term "musicality" is extremely dubious since it means different things to different people and has been beaten to death continually in many threads.

Quote:

Of course, the question should be How could a hybrid amp possibly be the best of both worlds? You confuse the effort to achieve that called a "hybrid" with the question of how successful a given implementation is, that is whether it is a "good or successful hybrid" or an "unsuccessful hybrid". That is a good question that I wish those who know more than me would take up.


I'm not confused at all. I just think the term "hybrid" is misleading. Until I hear a technical reason, your quoting what sales people told you.

Quote:

As to the Rudistor RP7 you have now gone back to calling it a ss amp, given that it has no tubes in the output stage, having just previously insisted it was a tube amp because it has tubes. Can't you see how pointless this is? If any combination of ss and tubes manages to improve musicality(in the sense I used above) without loss of definition and clarity, darkness of background, dynamics, etc., then it is successful and worthwhile as a hybrid IMO.


You seem to be hung up on classifying amps (I believe since now you are quoting another conversation, I believe you told me the Raptor was obviously a hybrid when its obviously not).

Since I was unclear about the term "hybrid" and it wasn't clear on the Rudistor website that it was only used for the input stage (or at least I didn't see it on quick glance) I instantly thought it was tube - and to the fact that Rudi is known to make some really nice tube designs, etc.

Now that Hirsch and Tyll have enlightened me somewhat, I have better understanding of WHAT a hybrid amp means to the sales folks but I still don't understand WHY a hybrid amp makes any sense.

Quote:

People hear music. They do not hear second harmonics, those only appear in the analysis and conceptualization of what they hear or put thru measurement devices. What are you interested in principally: music reproduction or circuit design per se?


Second harmonics are certainly an audible entity depending on application and design. Again you seem to be hung up on the tube vs. ss issue when I'm just trying to discern what are the technical advantages disadvantages of using a hybrid design.
 

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