|I never thought transistor amps could hold a candle to tube amps. They just never seem to get the "wholeness of the sound of an instrument" quite right. SS doesn't allow an instrument (brass, especially) to "bloom" out in the air, forming a real body of an instrument. Rather, it sounds like a facsimile; a somewhat truncated, stripped version of the real thing. Kind of like taking 3D down to 2-1/2D.|
I also hear differences in the actual space the instruments are playing in. With tubes, the space appears continuous, with each instrument occupying a believable part in that space. With SS, the space seems segmented, darker, and less continuous, with instruments somewhat disconnected from each other, almost as if they were panned in with a mixer. I won't claim this to be an accurate description, but I find it hard to describe these phenomena.
There is also the issue of interest -- SS doesn't excite me or maintain my interest. It sounds boring. Something is missing.
Yet, a tube friend of mine recently heard a Pass X-350 amp and thought it sounded great, and better in many ways than his Mac MC-2000 on his Nautilus 800 Signatures. I was shocked to hear this from him. I wasn't present for this comparison, and the Pass is now back at the dealer.
Tubes vs. SS is an endless debate, as has been seen in these forums. I haven't had any of the top solid state choices in my system, so I can't say how they fare compared to tubes. The best SS amp I had was a McCormack DNA-1 Rev. A, but it still didn't sound like my tube amps, VT-100 Mk II & Cary V-12.
Have any of you have tried SS amps that provided these qualities I describe in tubes? Or, did you also find that you couldn't get these qualities from a SS amp?