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  1. #1

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    Thumbs up Something I really dig about SS...

    I've been hardcore tube for more than 10 years now. I've owned so many designs using different types of tubes, I've tube rolled, played around with different gear combination, etc. I love tubes.
    I've also gone through countless pairs of speakers.

    My experience with good quality SS amplification is nowhere near as much as tubes. However, there is something I really like about SS power that I still haven't heard a tube amp do.
    To my ears, it's a different type of presentation compared to tubes. This characteristic adds it's own kind of drama to the music that I really like. I'm talking about that sense of power I hear on good SS amps.

    I've tried SS on 83db/w/m speakers all the way to 104db/w/m. Even 120w/ch SS made my Klipsch La Scala (104db) sound extremely powerful with insane dynamics and weight to the sound. A powerful push-pull tube amp is the only way to come close to this on the La Scala. But it also has it's own kind of magic when running low powered tube amps in SE or SET config all the way down to 3w/ch.

    Powerful is the only word I can think of to describe the SS sound. Dynamics swings, weight, power and bass is closer to what I hear in live music. People talk about tube magic. To me, this is SS magic. At the moment, I'm running RT1000p on 120w/ch NAD combination and I'm in heaven. Maybe in a few months I will try my LSi9. The only tube in the signal path is the buffer stage in my cd player (Original CD-A8T).

    I have to say, I enjoy SS as much as tubes. Each have their own unique sound to my ears. I will no longer limit my choices of amplification to tubes. I plan to try a high end SS amp for my next purchase.

    The only speakers I feel are much better on tubes are Fostex and Lowther single drivers. I was able to get SS to sound excellent on them by using a gainclone.

    I guess that's all I wanted to say. Make sure you guys keep your options open in this audio journey and enjoy the music as much as possible. A lot of times you end up loving a set up you thought you never would just a year ago. I know some people are die hard tube heads (I was one of them), but SS is just as enjoyable. There are so many stuff out there to try (new and used). I'm going to play around with SS again. Audio is such a great thing.
    Last edited by organ; 02-24-2013 at 02:34 AM.
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
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    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  2. #2

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    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    +1!!
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    That's why I love my tube amps. They are bottomless wells of power and very much solid state-like in that regard. They also provide incredible warmth and shimmer to the music. They are even able to tame the brightness of the sl3000's. High powered tubes are the best of both worlds.

  5. #5

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    It's always nice to hear on the forum when someone has taken the journey from SS to tubes, then back to "some" SS. For sure, there are both plus' and minus'. Having never dealt with tubes, yet, I am always eager to read impressions, etc., about different tube equipment. Heck, I think the first time was when several here purchased, demoed, the Dodd pre years ago (anyone remember those threads?). I've always thought about a tubed pre/SS amp combination.

    Nice write up, have fun with your experimentation!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    Well, that summed it up right there for me. That's what I ended up with after all the tubed and SS gear combinations coming and going and I can say with full confidence, that's the combo that will be staying. You get all of the essence of tubes with the power, weight and authority of SS amplification. Definitely the best of both worlds.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    Some of the best systems I've heard have had this combo. I stay away mainly due to expense, but someday, I suspect this is what I'll end up with.

    My Jolida integrated still sounds better to me than any pure SS system I've heard. While SS adds some dynamic range, a pure SS system just sounds disenchanted to me.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    That's why I love my tube amps. They are bottomless wells of power and very much solid state-like in that regard. They also provide incredible warmth and shimmer to the music. They are even able to tame the brightness of the sl3000's. High powered tubes are the best of both worlds.
    Why on earth are you still using SL3000's?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    I switch back and forth between SS and Tubes regularly, each offers a gift to the listener. But if I ever had to downshift to one system it would probably be a tube pre and SS power amp. Though if I ever own a quality home air conditioner high power tube amp would be on my radar.
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    My next step up will be a Parasound Halo A21 (the new black model,very sexy) and a Rogue Audio 99 Magnum or Preseus preamp.
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  11. #11

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    What I've learned is that some of it is system dependent. With my particular speakers, a vinyl source and a very smooth tubed CD player source, a good SS integrated blew away the very good all tube integrated I ran previously. I was so enamored with the SS integrated that I ordered the top of the line product in the range. Some experimentation can bring about some rather surprising results sometimes.

  12. #12

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    Get an ARC tube amp and you will get the best of both world :)

  13. #13

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    I like the sound of tube bass that SS lacks

  14. #14

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    Some folks need to get out of the house more often. That is, unless everything is bass ackwards to them.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  15. #15

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    I will try the tube pre/ss amp combo again. I only have one tube pre left and it's going to the shop for mods/upgrades very soon. I will try this out.
    There is still one tube stage left from my cdp. A pair of 12AU7 buffer stage. I'm going to try my ASL passive pre next.
    I understand some who suggest go for the big power tube like ARC, but I prefer a SS/tube pre combo compared to this. My experience with tube pre/ss amp is limited, but the reason I prefer this is because I like tubes in single ended low power designs (SE and SET).

    I thought about this a little more and there was one impressive combo I tried last year. Polk RT speakers with built in powered woofers. I used one of my 5w/ch single ended tube int. amp. All it had to power were the mids and highs (80hz and up). All the bass is handled by the speaker's built in amps. I remember this combo giving me SS type bass and dynamics, but I don't think it was as much as SS, I'd have to try it again sometime.

    I can't wait until I'm home alone so I can crank some SS power.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    +1 - especially with the right NOS tubes.
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  17. #17
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    I agree that there is very good SS out there, but I've found with tubes or SS, design wins over any one technology. Anything I've heard Nelson Pass design is a winner, and my current JFET preamp is quite tasty!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Tube pre with a SS amp, the best of both worlds.
    +1. Yup, I agree precisely. That's where I have been for about 5 years. I've flipped through a number of tube preamps, I think I've found the keeper. That plus my Krell amp is a great combo with my SDA's.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  19. #19

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    I've been tube pre/SS amp, SS pre/tube amp, all tube and once again I'm tubeless in two channel and very happy with the SQ. A Krell KRC HR is visiting and I may have to find a way to afford one.
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  20. #20

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    There is always an excitement of sound when going from tubes to SS. It wears off quickly and starts to annoy after awhile for me. Then again, my tube gear is much better than any SS gear I own. I'll have many replacement tubes when I move to a deserted island.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  21. #21
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    I do enjoying leaving my preamp on all the time and not worrying about tube life or warm-up; it actually doesn't have an off-switch, so I'd have to unplug it for the back of my power center.

  22. #22

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    Many years ago when I was first getting into hi- fi I was told that SS is good until it meets its maximum power level then clipping kicks in and everything goes ...but a tube amp distorts more smoothly.

    Now we all know cranking the system up that loud is not good at all but that's just one aspect of SS too watch out for.

    I've never owned a tube system of my own but I'm waiting on delivery of a custom built tube amp that I heard a few years ago. It was absolutely a beautiful sound. I can't wait to get that amp and my LSiM703s. The custom preamp looks so lonely but I know it'll be an awesome sound when I get it all together.

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