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Well I can vouch for the accuracy of Grateful Dead statistics mentioned in the article!
It’s rather apropos that the article mentions "If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you’ve measured the wrong thing” and "people are too fixated on the gear and not enough on the experience the gear is supposed to provide".
That is essentially what I’ve stated in other threads throughout this forum, albeit worded a bit differently.
To me, here are the take away’s (either mentioned in the article directly or gleaned) as justification to avoid tubes in favor of solid state. To be fair and to avoid drawing the ire of the many tube lovers, designers, etc. on this forum I understand the point of using tubes - succinctly and presumably, more accurate sound reproduction as compared to SS. Tubes:
- expensive (for the highest of quality)
- variable quality (even within same brand/model)
- unpredictable longevity (can last for many years but requires "testing" every so often and typically may last only a few years; hard to tell if tube itself is operating at its potential peak performance)
- fragile (generates and inordinate amount of heat, capable of amplifying something that comes into contact with it, can break if not handled delicately, etc.)
- finicky (more difficult to integrate properly with all other components, less forgiving )
Fisher 500 mentioned is a true champ.
Empire turntables all over on vintage adds and pictures.
Tube receivers and amps of the past can easily compete with today's high-end tube units with substantially better built quality and offered todays prices... If I were to switch to tubes than perhaps Fisher 500 would be my choice 1 and HH Scott 299 is second, but I simply chose solid states because of the downsides of tubes above mentioned. I simply want to listen to music and solid states make it substantially more convenient.
I frequently get on my soapbox about design sensibilities (irrespective of chosen architecture"), and the fact that we (as audiophiles) lose track of what I consider to be the takeaway from this article:
"It doesn’t matter if it’s tubes, transistors, or a hamster on wheel. All that matters is that you got lost in the music."
All in all, a well-written article directed primarily a people with no direct experience of our madness.
Predictably, Kevin Hayes and Charlie Hansen paint two very different pictures (tubes vs. solid state), and you know which side of the fence I land on ;-)
I did find Hansen’s disparaging comments about tube longevity to be a bit self-serving and disingenuous however - doing his best to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).
Thom @ Galibier Design