Tube Amps for us "Complainers" :)

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DTB300

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risabet said:
Don't understand others complaints about the cost of tube amps. Tube amps are no more expensive then equivalent SS amps initially, you don't have to roll, though it is surely fun, and output tubes will last 2-3000 hrs before replacement, about 2 years on average, so the amortized cost for 8 6550's/KT88"s is about $100.00 per year, certainly more than SS, but not ridiculous.
For the sake of us "complainers" :D I would be glad to see and read some comparisons for cost, dynamics, sound comparisons, reliable places to find matched sets of power tubes, biasing, etc.

The SS amp that I now run was designed with the intent to drive Apogee Diva's - not a nice load to drive if you know about the Diva's. So knowing that it had the ability to handle my CLSIIz's, I was able to buy this amp used for under $500 shipped. After selling the older smaller SS amps that the new amp replaced, and deducting the sale of those, the final cost of this amp was $200, and I get great sound from it.

No matter how hard I looked, I could not find a nice used Tube Amp of decent age and condition, for under $1500 and usually significantly higher - and I was looking for a tube amp around 100 Watts. Most of the time a 50 watt Tube Amp would do, but there are times I like my music louder for listening sessions. And I whole heartly believe in headroom in an amp. This ment even with the sale of the other amps, I was looking at $1200 for the new tube amp. Not what I can afford at this time in my life and family circumstances.

Like I have stated before, I have heard Tubes and on ML's they do sound very nice, but there are some SS amps that also sound very good, especially mated up with a nice tube preamp. And those SS amps seem to be priced lower than the tube amps - in general

Dan
 

Jeff Zaret

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So far I like my SS amp with my tube preamp. I have almost too much headroom, if there is such a thing. I never play my system above 4 and at point it is loud. I wonder how much better a tube amp would be. I think I may have the best combination with a tube pre and SS amp. Driving CLS's is not an easy thing to do and I question whether I would hear a large enough difference to justify speading the money on a tube amp. :eek:

Just my inflated 3 cents worth. :D

Jeff
 

risabet

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DTB300 said:
For the sake of us "complainers" :D I would be glad to see and read some comparisons for cost, dynamics, sound comparisons, reliable places to find matched sets of power tubes, biasing, etc.

The SS amp that I now run was designed with the intent to drive Apogee Diva's - not a nice load to drive if you know about the Diva's. So knowing that it had the ability to handle my CLSIIz's, I was able to buy this amp used for under $500 shipped. After selling the older smaller SS amps that the new amp replaced, and deducting the sale of those, the final cost of this amp was $200, and I get great sound from it.

No matter how hard I looked, I could not find a nice used Tube Amp of decent age and condition, for under $1500 and usually significantly higher - and I was looking for a tube amp around 100 Watts. Most of the time a 50 watt Tube Amp would do, but there are times I like my music louder for listening sessions. And I whole heartly believe in headroom in an amp. This ment even with the sale of the other amps, I was looking at $1200 for the new tube amp. Not what I can afford at this time in my life and family circumstances.

Like I have stated before, I have heard Tubes and on ML's they do sound very nice, but there are some SS amps that also sound very good, especially mated up with a nice tube preamp. And those SS amps seem to be priced lower than the tube amps - in general

Dan
I agree with everything you said. I sold Apogee speakers for a couple of years and they are a hellish load. I know of no affordable tube unit that will drive them. I am using a SS amp currently, though I have ordered a pr. of mono tube units. I was specifically referring to buying new amps, integrated or basic, where $1500.00 to $2500.00 gets you either a good tube amp, lower power, or a good SS amp, higher power. In this scenario, the cost difference between amps is not great.

It has been a while since I ran a tube amp, but my pals who do have no problem finding tubes at reasonable prices for a matched quartet of tubes. Input tubes and drivers are similar. Biasing is simple, done at home and typically requires only a multimeter/voltmeter.
 

DTB300

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Jeff Zaret said:
So far I like my SS amp with my tube preamp.
Me too!!
I have almost too much headroom, if there is such a thing.
Never too much headroom :eek:
I wonder how much better a tube amp would be. ......I question whether I would hear a large enough difference to justify speading the money on a tube amp.
I guess only a home demo of a unit would tell us that. But from some of the ones I have heard, I do not think we would be disappointed. But like you said, I wonder if the difference in price would be worth the difference in sound. Tube and SS are different beasts and each has their plus and minuses.
Just my inflated 3 cents worth. :D
Wow!!! I get a 3 Cent reply!!!! Hope everyone does not get jealous :D

Dan
 

DTB300

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risabet said:
I agree with everything you said. I sold Apogee speakers for a couple of years and they are a hellish load.
Yep...and like I said, in discussions with the designer of my amp (by a friend of mine who was at a show), he was asked about the design of the amp and why he chose to do what he did. Reply: "I needed something to drive my Apogee Diva's" So I had no reservations whatsoever in purchasing this amp knowing that it would drive the CLSIIz's with ease. I was just curious, and worried, about the sound as I bought it 'ears unheard' (ya know like sight unseen) Ha ha... I have been very pleased with it. And it has fallen into my ability to be very frugal with my audio purchases - getting great sound at about 1/3 of the MSRP for almost all of my items - yes that even includes my CLSIIz's. This is great for the WAF....

I know of no affordable tube unit that will drive them. I am using a SS amp currently, though I have ordered a pr. of mono tube units.
Excellent...it will be great to read about what you think about the SS versus the Tube amp...keep us updated...

I was specifically referring to buying new amps, integrated or basic, where $1500.00 to $2500.00 gets you either a good tube amp, lower power, or a good SS amp, higher power. In this scenario, the cost difference between amps is not great.
I would have to agree here. The biggest problem is some of the people out there do not realize how good a 50 or 100 watt Tube amp sounds. And generally you hear about getting a 300 watt SS amp for less than the cost of a 100 watt tube amp or even a 50. But one has to sit down and listen and forget about specs - can you say "cable wars"?

I remember when I was at a store "many years" ago and listened to a Perreaux 300 watt SS amp against a 50 Watt ARC amp playing out to a pair of B&W 801's. The Perreaux was REALLY being hyped up in the rags, and the ARC just blew it away, no question.

So again one must listen to appreciate the sound of Tube and SS amps and make their decision based on budget and sound.

It has been a while since I ran a tube amp, but my pals who do have no problem finding tubes at reasonable prices for a matched quartet of tubes. Input tubes and drivers are similar. Biasing is simple, done at home and typically requires only a multimeter/voltmeter.
Risbet...glad you took my reply the right way and thanks for the reply...

Dan
 

longhorn

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Is it true that tube watt is stronger than SS watt? So a 100 watt tube amp would be just as strong with a 300 watt SS amp?
 

risabet

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Just ain't so IMO!

longhorn said:
Is it true that tube watt is stronger than SS watt? So a 100 watt tube amp would be just as strong with a 300 watt SS amp?
No, tube amps tend to have more benign clipping characteristics, tending to round the waveform, and generate even-order harmonics, as opposed to SS which tends to cut off the tops of the waveforms, generating a lot of odd-order harmonics which tend to be highly unlistenable and to fry tweeters in a blink. Thus one can over drive a tube amp and still have listenable sound whereas with an equivalent SS amp the sound quickly becomes unlistenable.
 

kach22i

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Solid State: Hits the note and the note only - the so called speed.

Tube Power: Hits the before and after of the note - the so called bloom.
 
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