Advantages & Disadvantages of a Tube amplifier vs. a Solid State amplifier. - Car Audio Forumz - The #1 Car Audio Forum


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Old 10-16-2003, 10:33 PM   #1
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Paul(Dukk), or anyone else in the know, could you please give me some advantages and disadvantages of a vacum tube amplifier vs. a solid state amplifier for a hi-end home audio system.

Thanks...Keith.

[ October 16, 2003, 11:34 PM: Message edited by: Keith ]
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:45 PM   #2
Paul Niwranski
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Well, and this may not be 100% correct cuz, hey, I'm a box guy and not a circuit guru.

IMO a Tube amp has a few common characteristics:
1) They have pretty low damping factor - especially in the bottom end.
2) They clip much more gradually and softer than a transistor amp.
3) They supposedly generate even order harmonics when they break up and transistor amps create odd order harmonics.
4) They look horny.

1,2, and 3 mean they sound 'softer' or more natural than a transistor amp. They may not be as accurate or 'true' as a transistor amp for the same reasons.

Most people like the sound of a tube amp because they can be easier on the ears thanks to 2 and 3. Bass can be kinda sloppy cuz of 1 but that just means careful speaker selection.

#4 is the main reason I want one though. [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img] [img][email protected][/img] [img]graemlins/headbang.gif[/img]
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Paul.

Say HI to Konrad for me.
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:55 PM   #4
Dave MacKinnon
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I would have to agree with the above synopsis, as so would BK Butler or Tueb Driver and Tube Driver Blue. That being said, his amps use tubes in the voltage drive stage were much of the signal amplification is done. The current drive, or output stage, is solid state for damping and control. I did a review of the latest Tube Driver Blue last year, but it never got printed due to the distributor closing his business...

I have some contacts here in Ontario though if you are interested in the amp.
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Old 10-19-2003, 09:45 PM   #5
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Dave, thanks for your reply. Would you be able to post your review of the Butler amp on this board or maybe email it to me???

For car audio, I will be going with Audison VRX, but it is for home audio that I will have to make a decision on wether to use tube amps or transistor type of amps.

For home audio, I was thinking of either 2 Shanling mono tube amps or Yves Bernard Archambault transistor amps (pre-amp plus power amp).
For the speakers, I am thinking of buying Ambience ribbon tower speakers from Australia.
For the source, I am thinking of buying a Shanling cd player which has a Sony cd transport and also a Rega or a Rotel turntable.
For wiring, maybe Monster, or Cardas, or perhaps Clearview.

Congrats on your recent marriage!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ October 19, 2003, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: Keith ]
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Old 10-20-2003, 04:14 AM   #6
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Keith,

The YBA stuff is sweet, but of course really expensive. I've found that Conrad Johnson(sp?) sounds pretty close at a lower price point. But if you are looking a YBA, you obviously can afford it. Ribbon speakers are a bitch to setup, but the midrange is soooooo sweet. Considering your music tastes, I'd say you've got it all figured out though. Have fun!

Adam
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:52 AM   #7
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Out of curiosity, has anyone heard the US Amps Tube model amplifiers? Do they live up to the hype?
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Old 10-20-2003, 01:35 PM   #8
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A very good point by Dave about the Butler amps. Super duper nice amps but friggin HUGE.

Should I ever decide to spend entirely too much money on home speakers only two brands need apply: B&W and Martin Logan.

And I would probably wind up with the Martin Logan - again for reason #4 [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]
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Old 10-20-2003, 03:21 PM   #9
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Yea, gotta agree with Paul, those Martin Logan speakers are sweeter than Britney Spears' *** !!!
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Old 10-20-2003, 06:44 PM   #10
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Hi Keith
Tubes at home and Audison in the car is a fantastic choice. My son has a system and it is definitely Hi Hi end. Both have their advantages.I have had quite a bit of experience with both. I checked out the Ambience ribbon tower speakers and suspect they will not be dynamic enough for your tube amp. Warning: A good tube system will make you lustful for fine music. Try and find speakers that are efficient and musical.

frank
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