Home » Audio » Silicon Valley » Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? (a discussion on the ideals of each type of amplifier)
Re: Which Is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #66787 is a reply to message #65410] Mon, 28 March 2011 13:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
steve f is currently offline  steve f
Messages: 230
Registered: May 2009
I generally prefer good solid state to tubes. Being a typical audiophile, I keep examples of both. Most tube amps sound too warm to me. Solid state no longer resembles the bronze age designs of the 60-70's.

That said, I believe the best amps period are the tube kits of Transcendent Sound. They are OTL designs that are head and shoulders above the better known brands.

My two favorite line stages sound almost alike, and one is tube, the other solid state. The differences are more bass for the ss and more gain from the tube unit. They are both remarkably silent. My top phono choice is a tube unit, but I haven't tried any ss units priced over $200.

When you really think about it, good equipment should sound very similar. Tonal differences are coloration, and therefore mistakes.

Difference Between Solid State Amp and Vacuum Tube Amp [message #69134 is a reply to message #65410] Tue, 23 August 2011 02:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hannah is currently offline  Hannah
Messages: 15
Registered: August 2011
What is the difference between these two? I have heard about vacuum tubes used in early computers. Which is better in terms of sound quality?
Re: Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #86219 is a reply to message #65410] Fri, 29 September 2017 19:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
WorkingWoman2017 is currently offline  WorkingWoman2017
Messages: 82
Registered: June 2017
I would think that solid state would have it all over tubes. Now that they are creating chips that are tubes made of carbon, I think that it can only get better.
Re: Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #86224 is a reply to message #86219] Sun, 01 October 2017 16:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gofar99 is currently offline  gofar99
Messages: 1726
Registered: May 2010
Location: Southern Arizona
Illuminati (4th Degree)
Hi, This is an endless topic. I admit to being a tube person, after all I design and my company sells them. I do however own SS amps as well (three vintage ones by Marantz and a few new things from other companies). Both kinds do the job...feed speakers with sound. They do sound different. Saying which is better is a matter of criteria. Is one type more accurate than the other, does one render music in a more enjoyable manner than the other and so on. Fortunately there is room for both types. Which one you choose depends on your budget, needs and sound preferences.

Good Listening
Re: Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #88233 is a reply to message #86224] Fri, 22 June 2018 09:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Rusty is currently offline  Rusty
Messages: 782
Registered: May 2018
Location: Kansas City Missouri
Illuminati (2nd Degree)
I agree with Steve F. The Transcendent Sound amps are one of the most unique sounding amps available. And very reliable. I've used the original T-16 mono's and grounded grid preamp for close to 20 years now with no problems. Also my old Hafler 220 amp I soldered up in the mid 80's is still going strong, and fine sounding too.
Re: Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #88234 is a reply to message #88233] Fri, 22 June 2018 11:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 18323
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

I agree that Transcendent Sound makes good amps. So does Raven Audio, OddWatt Audio and Audio Note. Those are my personal favorites.

I like Solid State amps too, as long as they are powerful enough they are not driven into clipping. I think one has to be choosier when purchasing tube amps, because there is more variation in quality. You can get great tube amps, average-quality tube amps and really terrible tube amps. Seems like with solid state, there's either good or there's bad. Laughing

Re: Which is Better, Tube Amps or Solid-State Amps? [message #95731 is a reply to message #88234] Sun, 26 June 2022 19:29 Go to previous message
positron is currently offline  positron
Messages: 37
Registered: May 2020
I think one has to consider the difference between what is possible
vs the viability. This involves what education the general public
has vs what is possible under lab conditions.

Comparing typical SS/Tube systems, it is probably a toss up between
SS and vacuum tubes. There are so many varieties in both types
that one could claim either.

(I discuss some inherent differences between SS and tubes in another
string in Audio Round Table Forums.)

In the lab is a different case. Hands down the vacuum tube amplifier
can be made to be accurate in absolute terms, from treble to bass.
By that I mean the output sounds so close to perfect accuracy that
one cannot tell if the amplifier is in the system or not.
(Preamps as well.)

It is not one simple listening test, but sophisticated, multiple
types, correlating the results, and taking considerable time, to be
absolutely sure the results are correct.

It involves multiple speaker types, many many musical selections,
developing accurate interconnect cables (ics) and speaker wires,
sources etc etc.

The question then becomes if a lab type system could be incorporated
into a conventional household setting by the average consumer. I say
this as most have expertise in different fields.

But I think to some extent yes, in that one could just as easily
incorporate the best in electronic components, and then work with
the source, ics, speakers, and speaker wires. Room acoustics, of
course, should be addressed no matter the system and venue.



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