Solid state vs tube

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?

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

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.

Warm vs cold. Dancing about architecture.

Bruce in Philly

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…)

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.

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:

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.

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.