Solid state vs tube


#1

I spent a good part of this rainy day comparing my BHK preamp with a two-chassis solid state preamp and I can’t decide which one better describes a “tube” sound. (My BHK has my favorite-by-a-country-mile tubes in it)
What is the tube sound for you?


#2

ARC LS-26 to a BHK 250. Perfect match IMHO.


#3

IMO a tube amp should sound more lively, natural, less flat/dim, but could sound a little less refined than e.g. a high class A biased preamp.

It should have a more colorful, shining sound in treble and a more natural resonating bass vs. a little more PA-like dry, damped bass of some pure SS amps and a more naturally colored mid…

There should be more ambience, sparkle and life inbetween and behind the music played, combined with an airy soundstaging. Treble should sound more open vs. possibly a little less refined as I mentioned before.

All in all it should have a kind of „breath of life“ in comparison.


#4

Warm vs cold. Dancing about architecture.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#5

Like many things I strongly suspect it’s more about the implementation than the specific components used.

At an audio club meeting we were listening to a variety of amps and the differences were pretty obvious. The best until the end was a modified Scott tube amp. I’d also brought my sand amps (monster SimAudio W-10 mono-blocks.) They sounded just like the Scott amps (but could do 750W into 8 vs 30W (or so) while they cost a bunch more…)


#6

My point exactly, Ted. It has to be the design. I’m still comparing tube vs ss preamps and I’m just knocked out at how more “tube” the ss Pass XP-20 sounds to me; all the things mentioned by jazznut above.


#7

Duh, I’m a little slow and literal minded at times :slight_smile: Maybe I shouldn’t post with only a few hours sleep :slight_smile:


#8

If it was Pass… that’s what Pass is famous for…sounding like tubes…I don’t know of many other solid state amps with this reputation, but Ted also seems to have one.

I once had the Aleph 0 monos and they also sounded like tubes compared to what I knew before as solid state. However when comparing with a full tube power amp it still was different.

So if in your case the Pass preamp sounds more tubey than the BHK, that’s interesting.


#9

Yes, my question is about defining “tubishness, tubosity, tubey”… At this point in my little experiment, realizing that what I “knew” is different from what I “know” now, I’m just going to settle in at what sounds good to me----for now.