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Tube Amp Vs Solid State Amps

Wharfedale Diamond 12 Series

sgmane

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I have not seen much information in this forum on Tube Amps.

My query is:
Should i go for Tube Amp or the usual Solid State amps (NAD, CA and
other manufactures) for the stereo setup?

I see lot of information on Tube Amps and its life time (almost like
long lasting for decades). (I may be wrong too in specifying "lasting for decades"!!)
I could also see one of the distributor listed in this forum offers Roth Audio Cocoon MC4. Checked in the Roth Audio site and Cocoon MC4 had good reviews too.

Some links for your reference:
BE3 Amplifiers - INDIA
http://www.hifivision.com/audio-video-accessories/1785-tubes-valves-available-india.html
Audio Research Products

Would like to know from you folks if its worth going for Tube Amp?
(Looking only for stereo setup)

thanks
 

Nikhil

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Its a long winding road man. But for those who take it they are that much better for it. Tubes require a lot of commitment in a way that solid state just doesn't - replacing blown tubes, different tubes for different sound character, etc. To me its a calling but not that hard if you really have the time and the patience for it.

Sound is more pure as you don't have the usual digital circuitry so thats one point in favour of tubes.
 

afj

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what nikhil says is true. you got to be able to spend time on your system and also have the inclination to do so with a tube amp.

apart from that all, dont worry whether an amp is solid, tube or hybrid. listen to it and buy which one you like.

also tube based amps tend to be a lot more expensive than solid state
 

psychotropic

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Actually technically speaking tube amps emit sound that is less pure than solid state amps. A solid state amp need not have any digital circuitry involved either. The reason why a lot of people prefer tube amps is that the sound is that the tubes add their own colouration to the sound, which is typically described as warm, and a this also ends up removing some of the harshness that would be inherent in a dead-on accurate reproduction. Whether you go for a tube or solid state is purely a matter of personal preference.

Its a long winding road man. But for those who take it they are that much better for it. Tubes require a lot of commitment in a way that solid state just doesn't - replacing blown tubes, different tubes for different sound character, etc. To me its a calling but not that hard if you really have the time and the patience for it.

Sound is more pure as you don't have the usual digital circuitry so thats one point in favour of tubes.
 

vinyl_man

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Actually technically speaking tube amps emit sound that is less pure than solid state amps. A solid state amp need not have any digital circuitry involved either. The reason why a lot of people prefer tube amps is that the sound is that the tubes add their own colouration to the sound, which is typically described as warm, and a this also ends up removing some of the harshness that would be inherent in a dead-on accurate reproduction. Whether you go for a tube or solid state is purely a matter of personal preference.[/QUOTE - psychotropic ias right..i believe theres a lot of hype about tubes..my mcintosh mc2105 rocks as a intergrated amp]
 

ajinkya

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I 'third' psychotropic's view :)

Tubes add coloration so from a pure 'audiophile' viewpoint, they may not give you accurate representation of sound. Of course, solid-state adds it's own metallic characteristics to the sound. From an engineering standpoint, tubes are energy inefficient, costly, less robust. But, who said music listening is about engineering economics anyway :eek: ? Finally, buy what you can listen to for years without feeling you're missing something in the music.

Can anyone provide a link showing the frequency response of a triode/pentode valve vrs. that of a transistor, for comparison from a technical standpoint? I remember the tube response was flat in a very narrow margin of audio frequencies but this was from my engineering days and memory could be wrong.

Thanks,
Ajinkya.
 

square_wave

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Regardless of what they all say, no technology is pure???.. Solid-state, Tubes, Class D etc??.
They all add color in some way. It all depends on what color you like. It is more like choosing a girlfriend ;)

But then again, IMPLEMENTATION is the key.
 
Last edited:

aks07

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????? ????? ????
... It is more like choosing a girlfriend ;)

As usual square_wave-ji brings a valuable point. Taking this excellent analogy further?..

Tube amps are just like girlfriends. They are hot, expensive to acquire and maintain. Finicky about the tubes they take in:p . Temperamental and require a lot of TLC. In accounting terms they are an appreciating asset. An EL34 tube that was Rs. 50 five years ago is Rs. 1,000 today.

Solid State is more like your tried, tested and (hopefully) reliable wife. Usually less expensive to maintain and less demanding. Runs substantially cooler. Can get going at a flick of a switch. Provides more bangs for your bucks. ;) It is a depreciating asset. My Sonodyne amp which cost Rs. 7,500 in mid 70??s will fetch only about Rs. 1,500 or so today

A wise man will have a tube amp when he is alone and listening to Jazz with a tall drink. But for a boisterous party he will hook up his VFM solid state amp.

/ducking back to trenches
 

afj

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Actually technically speaking tube amps emit sound that is less pure than solid state amps. A solid state amp need not have any digital circuitry involved either. The reason why a lot of people prefer tube amps is that the sound is that the tubes add their own colouration to the sound, which is typically described as warm, and a this also ends up removing some of the harshness that would be inherent in a dead-on accurate reproduction. Whether you go for a tube or solid state is purely a matter of personal preference.[/QUOTE - psychotropic ias right..i believe theres a lot of hype about tubes..my mcintosh mc2105 rocks as a intergrated amp]

a mcintosh rocks. period. you can compare it to any type of amp and it'll come up in most cases on top, if not close
 

square_wave

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As usual square_wave-ji brings a valuable point. Taking this excellent analogy further?..

Tube amps are just like girlfriends. They are hot, expensive to acquire and maintain. Finicky about the tubes they take in:p . Temperamental and require a lot of TLC. In accounting terms they are an appreciating asset. An EL34 tube that was Rs. 50 five years ago is Rs. 1,000 today.

Solid State is more like your tried, tested and (hopefully) reliable wife. Usually less expensive to maintain and less demanding. Runs substantially cooler. Can get going at a flick of a switch. Provides more bangs for your bucks. ;) It is a depreciating asset. My Sonodyne amp which cost Rs. 7,500 in mid 70??s will fetch only about Rs. 1,500 or so today

A wise man will have a tube amp when he is alone and listening to Jazz with a tall drink. But for a boisterous party he will hook up his VFM solid state amp.

/ducking back to trenches

Lol ! You sure can make a Friday look even better !:)

sgmane, you now know that you have to buy both :D
 

vinyl_man

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As usual square_wave-ji brings a valuable point. Taking this excellent analogy further?..

Tube amps are just like girlfriends. They are hot, expensive to acquire and maintain. Finicky about the tubes they take in:p . Temperamental and require a lot of TLC. In accounting terms they are an appreciating asset. An EL34 tube that was Rs. 50 five years ago is Rs. 1,000 today.

Solid State is more like your tried, tested and (hopefully) reliable wife. Usually less expensive to maintain and less demanding. Runs substantially cooler. Can get going at a flick of a switch. Provides more bangs for your bucks. ;) It is a depreciating asset. My Sonodyne amp which cost Rs. 7,500 in mid 70??s will fetch only about Rs. 1,500 or so today

A wise man will have a tube amp when he is alone and listening to Jazz with a tall drink. But for a boisterous party he will hook up his VFM solid state amp.

/ducking back to trenches


MY God, such a well defined truth. Kudos buddy
 

sgmane

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Oh.. thanks to all buddies here on putting in information on
those "Tube" walas!!!

Nikhil - Taken you stand. A clarification: Does the tubes really blow up?
I mean the probability of blowing up is relatively less. I have not
seen any review on tubes getting blown up (Ofcourse under the voltage
fluctuations, even if it has to blow up!!). Again - "Different tubes
for different sound character - can you just throw some light on it.
Iam new to it. So no much information on that point.

Afi - Tube Amps cost more than normal Amps. Well it should be
substaniated because, i suppose it lasts longer than SS amps! OR
its just like "BOSE" products which are priced higher with no claims
for the arrival of the price of the product!!!

Psychotropic - Thanks for the technical input. As you informed iam still
in the line (from my earlier post and your reply) for going into NAD 315BEE + wharfedale Diamond 9.1 series on the lower end. I came across tube stuff and
impressed to see couple of reviews and thought could go for a tube amp
for stereo setup. Shall explore more.

aks07 - "..require a lot of TLC". What's TLC?

square_wave - thanks! I always have friday fever because of week-ends!!!
Oh! ...would like to enjoy the weekends. Oops! Buying both...Yes
a consideration.. tube for stereo, SS amp for the video setup!!!

I was just looking into factors of after sales service for tube amps? Any one here in this forum using it and their experience?

welcome to 6moons.com, a website for music lovers & audiophiles who love to read - does specify about reviews of tube amps as well
the models look impressive too.

Also the http://www.rothaudio.co.uk/docs/products/mc4.shmtl does retail
for 30K here in india as per the dealer. So this should be ideal for the stereo steup?
 

Nikhil

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Nikhil - Taken you stand. A clarification: Does the tubes really blow up?
I mean the probability of blowing up is relatively less. I have not
seen any review on tubes getting blown up (Ofcourse under the voltage
fluctuations, even if it has to blow up!!). Again - "Different tubes
for different sound character - can you just throw some light on it.
Iam new to it. So no much information on that point.

Actually tubes tend to be able to handle a lot more voltage fluctuation than solid state so you are right. They don't "blow up" :D ... but they do have internal shorts. Glass breakage is more likely as physical damage.

Regarding the sound of tube ams - man you are opening a proverbial can of worms here. In general you will hear words like "warm" "smooth" etc and this is generally accepted as true but this again depends on the speakers you are going to use. The ability of the amp to control the speakers or "damping factor" is where/how tubes affect the sound.
 

dvdmk

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SGMANE

Tubes are more reliable then the SS , i have been using a Philips Tube Integrated ( made in Holland ) for the past 15years or so , i have changed the tubes couple of times , but apart from that the performance is very good
There is also a wrong view in the minds of people that the Tube amps have to well taken care of ( even a SS amp should be look after in a good way) there is no special maintanence for the tube amps. ( but their performance is varied according to the power fluctuations)
The Only drawback of the tube is ,You have to wait atleast 30 minutes for the tubes to warm up to bring out the best in tube amplifiers. ( the newer version of the tube amps warms pretty fast ) the other drawback is tube sound is Addictive, once you have a good set up comprising of tube , its hard to come out of that .

David
 

afj

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As usual square_wave-ji brings a valuable point. Taking this excellent analogy further?..

Tube amps are just like girlfriends. They are hot, expensive to acquire and maintain. Finicky about the tubes they take in:p . Temperamental and require a lot of TLC. In accounting terms they are an appreciating asset. An EL34 tube that was Rs. 50 five years ago is Rs. 1,000 today.

Solid State is more like your tried, tested and (hopefully) reliable wife. Usually less expensive to maintain and less demanding. Runs substantially cooler. Can get going at a flick of a switch. Provides more bangs for your bucks. ;) It is a depreciating asset. My Sonodyne amp which cost Rs. 7,500 in mid 70??s will fetch only about Rs. 1,500 or so today

A wise man will have a tube amp when he is alone and listening to Jazz with a tall drink. But for a boisterous party he will hook up his VFM solid state amp.

/ducking back to trenches

lol....... :D
 

sgmane

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SGMANE

Tubes are more reliable then the SS , i have been using a Philips Tube Integrated ( made in Holland ) for the past 15years or so , i have changed the tubes couple of times , but apart from that the performance is very good
The Only drawback of the tube is ,You have to wait atleast 30 minutes for the tubes to warm up to bring out the best in tube amplifiers. ( the newer version of the tube amps warms pretty fast ) the other drawback is tube sound is Addictive, once you have a good set up comprising of tube , its hard to come out of that .

David

Thanks David. Yes, i did see couple of reviews on tube amps regarding their longviety. Do you have any idea about the Cocoon MC4? Noted the drawbacks too. Yes, i suppose later tube amps take far less time.
Iam just in dilemma between SS amps (in particular NAD 315BEE) vs tube amps.
 

afj

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sgmane
listen to both of them. dont think of them as ss or tubes - just as amplifiers. and then decide which one you prefer
 

aks07

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sgmane
listen to both of them. dont think of them as ss or tubes - just as amplifiers. and then decide which one you prefer
That is a very very sensible piece of advice.

IMHO a good Class AB Solid State amp is an all around champion considering sundry practical issues.

But then I wont give up my tube amps as well :cool:
 

mekr

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Oh.. thanks to all buddies here on putting in information on
those "Tube" walas!!!

Nikhil - Taken you stand. A clarification: Does the tubes really blow up?
I mean the probability of blowing up is relatively less. I have not
seen any review on tubes getting blown up (Ofcourse under the voltage
fluctuations, even if it has to blow up!!). Again - "Different tubes
for different sound character - can you just throw some light on it.
Iam new to it. So no much information on that point.

Afi - Tube Amps cost more than normal Amps. Well it should be
substaniated because, i suppose it lasts longer than SS amps! OR
its just like "BOSE" products which are priced higher with no claims
for the arrival of the price of the product!!!

Psychotropic - Thanks for the technical input. As you informed iam still
in the line (from my earlier post and your reply) for going into NAD 315BEE + wharfedale Diamond 9.1 series on the lower end. I came across tube stuff and
impressed to see couple of reviews and thought could go for a tube amp
for stereo setup. Shall explore more.

aks07 - "..require a lot of TLC". What's TLC?

square_wave - thanks! I always have friday fever because of week-ends!!!
Oh! ...would like to enjoy the weekends. Oops! Buying both...Yes
a consideration.. tube for stereo, SS amp for the video setup!!!

I was just looking into factors of after sales service for tube amps? Any one here in this forum using it and their experience?

welcome to 6moons.com, a website for music lovers & audiophiles who love to read - does specify about reviews of tube amps as well
the models look impressive too.

Also the http://www.rothaudio.co.uk/docs/products/mc4.shmtl does retail
for 30K here in india as per the dealer. So this should be ideal for the stereo steup?

In mumbai,i have a friend of mine doing repair work on tube related amps and radios anybody interested can contact me he is very reliable and has done repair work on a brand new tube amp of my friend which after one year of use is still working fine and tube amps are very delicate like girls to handle so be careful before digging into amps
 

afj

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Messages
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Oh.. thanks to all buddies here on putting in information on
those "Tube" walas!!!

Afi - Tube Amps cost more than normal Amps. Well it should be
substaniated because, i suppose it lasts longer than SS amps! OR
its just like "BOSE" products which are priced higher with no claims
for the arrival of the price of the product!!!

sorry just saw that post of yours. i think the reason that tubes cost more than ss is because they just cost a lot more to construct. and also due to various reasons (cost and maintenance) they haven't been popular as main stream amps and therefore no mass production. most people havent even heard of tube amplifiers. the reason why people buy tube amps is because they're very musical. its a matter of personal preference. its a matter of also what mood you're in. and what music you listen to. if you like rock, big hard hitting bass i dont think the tube is the way to go. if you like soft music / classical / bit of jazz / etc etc that you like to sit at home and relax with not too much noise and enjoy the music then you should audition a tube. but like i said in my previous post. dont worry whether its a tube or an ss. i went through that phase as well. i wanted to buy a tube. i was infatuated with it. i wanted to see the tubes on the amplifier in my living room. it really is a beautiful sight. but then i guess it was about what i liked hearing. and also the price:). perhaps one day i will buy one and use it as a second amp. what could work is bi-amping. using the tubes to drive the mids and highs. and a really good ss to drive the lows. havent tried it out but in my mind it sounds amazing
 
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