View Full Version : Help please, just heard tubes in my system for the first time.
08-21-2008, 02:45 AM
Are tubes really this amazing? Should I take the plunge?
I recently replaced my PS Audio GCC-250 with a hybrid-tube integrated amp, the Valve Audio Predator, and I'm loving it. I love my PS Audio, but this tube **** sounds good.
More warmth, body, deeper soundstage, more musical. But louder rock passages sound jumbled, and recordings that I know suck sound good.
Need your input. Do you just take the tube plunge? Anyone here regret going down the long and winding tube road?
Also, anybody know about the Predator? (specs here: http://www.valveaudio.co.za/products_predator.htm)
08-21-2008, 02:48 AM
Take your time! Read read read. Most of all try to find a place to try the stuff out. I can not give up SS yet, but I am building a selectable tube/SS pre amp. I know tubes have their place, and so does SS.
08-21-2008, 03:49 AM
Take your time! Read read read. Most of all try to find a place to try the stuff out. I know tubes have their place, and so does SS.
But that's just it! I've been reading for a while, and still appreciate what SS offers. That's why I'm trying out a hybrid integrated in my home system (on a 30-day demo), and man, it sounds so good!
08-21-2008, 06:10 AM
Maybe I'm missing something,,but alot of folks here like the sound and synergy of a tubed pre/ss power amp combination.Currently I'm using the tubed pre/ss power combinations. I think that it's all about synergy,be it tubed,solid state and/or both.I'm sure others will chime in, I like the synergy that I had between an Audible Illusions L-1 and the belles 350a,it was like "a match made in heaven",still wish I had kept that one. So,,ask around,get your listen "on",,some of the senior members here helped me get into tubes,so you might want to ask them,as they have volumes of experience. For me, I think that my next tubed pre will be a Joule 150 MkIII,which is a linestage pre made in Augusta. Good luck on your journey,and most of all,Have fun and enjoy.:)
08-21-2008, 08:18 AM
08-21-2008, 09:54 AM
He said it.
08-21-2008, 10:50 AM
Tubes really do rule.
08-21-2008, 11:00 AM
08-21-2008, 12:55 PM
When I was auditioning my gear, the choice came down to the pre. The SS pre amp was just a tad too sterile for me even though I like a revealing presentation. Once the tubed pre was hooked up, it was a match for me. It gives just enough "tube" sound to my ears.
The synergy between the SS amps and tubed pre works perfectly in my kit. My speakers can drop to about .7 ohms, so I wanted/needed the SS to be able to drive the speaks. While there are tube amps that can deal with that, I did not want the long term requirements of tubed amps.
08-21-2008, 12:58 PM
If you're not running vintage tubes then you can make what you have now sound even better without replacing any components.
08-21-2008, 01:05 PM
Yes! They really are amazing!
I started the same way you did. With a hybrid integrated tube amp. After I got a taste there was no stopping after that.
08-21-2008, 06:53 PM
This is the way I see it. Tubes are a personal choice thing. Tubes can add distortion, both audible and inaudible. Distortion can be heard and measured. There is good distortion and bad distortion. Some like it, some donít.
The distortion is good debate all depends on what your definition or preference for hi fidelity is and the type of distortion. The order of the harmonic is the multiple of the frequency. The second harmonic is one octave above the fundamental. If you have a lot of second harmonic distortion in the sound, it will produce a richer fuller sound that some find pleasant. Odd order harmonics will not be exact octaves above the fundamental. Therefore they will sound dissonant and unpleasant (and you can get odd order harmonics from a tube amp). If you are a purist, maybe you donít want any changes to the fundamental note, and sneer at us wonderful tube gear owners.
Then there are different tube types. Tubes designed for audio, and military tubes pressed into audio use. You can go from warm and soggy to near SS sounding depending on the design. Lots of places to go with tubes. Have fun. Njoy.
08-21-2008, 07:23 PM
To me, having tube stages in my pre and my CDP just brings a more natural sounding sound quality when used with my SS amps and Magnepan speakers. The sound just seems thicker and bigger, which SCompRacer aptly described in more scientific terms in his post.
08-21-2008, 07:27 PM
Like an old boss I had use to say, "It's only BS if you don't believe in it or someone catches you at it.":D
08-22-2008, 02:12 PM
I had my share of tubes. CD players, preamps and amps. I enjoyed them but now I am back to all SS. I don't miss anything from tubes, but I am going to try a tubed phono stage now....just because.
Tubes are cool. But you can have great sound with SS. And the one thing I prefer from SS is that it will always sound the same. No wondering if a tube went bad.
08-22-2008, 02:15 PM
No wondering if a tube went bad.
Of course output transistors never go bad, eh ;)
08-22-2008, 02:17 PM
Of course output transistors never go bad, eh ;)
Not that fequently :)
08-22-2008, 02:20 PM
Ricardo - just couldn't resist! There's actually a very nice shape AR LS-3 SS pre for sale locally that I am looking at.
08-22-2008, 02:54 PM
The distortion is good debate all depends on what your definition or preference for hi fidelity is and the type of distortion. The order of the harmonic is the multiple of the frequency. The second harmonic is one octave above the fundamental. If you have a lot of second harmonic distortion in the sound, it will produce a richer fuller sound that some find pleasant. Odd order harmonics will not be exact octaves above the fundamental. Therefore they will sound dissonant and unpleasant (and you can get odd order harmonics from a tube amp). If you are a purist, maybe you don’t want any changes to the fundamental note, and sneer at us wonderful tube gear owners.
You're nuts Rich :)
Don't expect me to ever learn this.
08-22-2008, 04:53 PM
Anyone here regret going down the long and winding tube road?
Nope. Tubes are the ****.
08-22-2008, 07:12 PM
You're nuts Rich :)
That is just one thing; there are more. Dear wife has a minor in Psych, so I have been thoroughly diagnosed with continuing updates. Not that a woman needs any formal training to tell a man whatís wrong with himÖ..:D
08-22-2008, 09:48 PM
About the only two caveats I have found with tubes (and yes they do sound amazing) is that you really need to sit down and have a good listening session with tubes. If you are in a situation where you might look to have a brief 20-30 minute session before you are going to work you cannot really give the tubes proper time to warm up so S/S gear in those situations might be a better fit
My only other comment is that I typically find to really bring out the magic in tubes you need to get some more tube friendly (read higher efficiency) speakers than you might already have. Thus if you do go the tube route; be prepared to at least consider you might also need different speakers.
On the whole though tubes are fairly magical and produce a very special sound. I prefer SET tube amps to push/pull however that is just my own suggestion. Good luck !
08-31-2008, 12:08 AM
RT1I Concur Sir! :)
08-31-2008, 03:36 AM
For me, I think that my next tubed pre will be a Joule 150 MkIII,which is a linestage pre made in Augusta. Good luck on your journey,and most of all,Have fun and enjoy.:)
You have the model ID mixed up. Jud currently makes two linestages, one is the LA-100 MkIII and the other is the LA-150 MkII. As the owner of the previous, let me say, get one!
A SS ass end ain't a bad thing either. :D
PS, if you get one and need my advice on which tubes make magic, let me know.
08-31-2008, 08:58 AM
Thanks,, I'm hoping to have one inside 6 months,,eh,, yours would not be traveling anwhere soon would it? ;)
08-31-2008, 04:54 PM
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