Amps for tighter bass

hello all,i was on another forum and there was discussion that you get tighter bass with tube amps vs ss amps. any logic to this? i have heard you may get a bit more holographic sound with tubes but not not really sure about differences in bass. any thoughts?

Sounds like you have been on Audiogon. Bass presentation if different from SS, tubes, hybrid and Class D. Which one is better or “tighter” is a personal preference and nothing more.


Most of the people, including “experts”, that I have read on the subject think the bass on ss equipment is better that on tubed: tighter and more extended. But in reality, it all matters on the design employed. With the best designs, both can excel in any area you can think of. With poor designs, imho, both make good but expensive paperweights.

Shhh. If people here go on their forum, our people might start to think the Topping D90SE is the best DAC on Earth.


Rule of thumb is that solid state amps have better damping, so better bass control.
The other rule of thumb is, ignore rules of thumb.
I have both solid state and a 2.3 watt tube amp. The tube amp has amazing bass.


Solid state usually has a more controlled, damped bass. Musically this usually doesn’t necessarily have to sound better as long as that extent of control isn’t explicitly demanded by the speaker. However, good full range sound, played also at louder levels, needs a lot of control in most situations. Tube amps with roughly comparable control for such systems are very expensive, but one can be very happy with tube amps in setups with less full range or live level demand.

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I’ve heard tube and solid state systems have excellent bass in both quantity and quality. I think it depends more on the quality of the implementation and on the quality of system matching.

I’m one of those who have generally preferred solid state, but appreciate that different people will have different taste/appreciation/etc. I think that’s part of what makes hifi so interesting and fun.

Hmmm, I took my 2 powered 12" subs off line because I prefer the sound of Wilson Yvettes driven by M1200s bass delivery. Now that I have read this thread, I realize that the subs might be lacking due to the amps inside the subs. What do you think?

A general rule of thumb is bass will be deeper and more extended, tighter and more solid with solid state.
Bass will not be as deep or extended with tubes, and not as tight with tubes, but upper bass will be louder and warmer sounding with tubes.
As far as which you prefer, only you can decide.

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+1, Tube amp inherently has low current capability as compared to solid state amp. If your speaker happens to have low impedance then you are out of luck with tubes. I used the Audio Research ref210 to drive the Magico, the result was bloated bass. I replaced the Ref-210 with Gryphon and the Magico sounded as it should, tight and deep bass without overhang. Maybe I needed lot more wattages from tubes to compensate for the lack of current or speakers with higher sensitivity.