I was going to sell my pre and mono amps that were displaced during my last upgrade. After a few low ball offers I decided to do a second system. I'm ordering a pair of speakers this week. Inevitably I would have had sellers remorse anyway.
Don't sell your tube amps
Although this was an article in a guitar Magazine, I thought it might interest those who own stereo tube equipment:
My tube amps are going strong and will remain for the foreseeable future. I've even acquired a couple more in recent years, some as future projects, some working fine now. Fortunately, I managed to re-tube everything currently in my system, all the completed projects, and stocked up for the future projects prior to Russia invading Ukraine. The cost seemed high at the time, but seems mighty attractive compared to what I'm seeing now.
As always to each their own. I just think that there will be a certain number of listeners who genuinely appreciate and prefer the natural and believable beauty/presentation well implemented tube components deliver. Many understandably are happy with transistor components. They won’t satisfy everyone (Nothing does).
That ship sailed a few years ago. All my NOS tubes are in boxes to be sold off. The latest iterations of newer tubes from psvane and a few others are plenty good.
Not planning on selling my tube amps any time soon. Keeping a SS amp on rotation duty. The PremeirGuitar article and Mike’s NewSensor updates were helpful. He’s already ligning up with psvane too, good to know.
Fortunately my amp uses driver tubes that are not too popular and easy to obtain. I have about 15 different NOS pairs on deck. A dozen or so NOS 5r4gy Rectifiers, and a back up pair of WE 300b.
I have 3 sets of tubes for my Quicksilvers so I should be set for a while.
I also have no plans to sell my 300b or Mid Monos.
I am a Tube Amp' user for more than 30 years.
During this time I have been demonstrated quite a selection of differing Tube Amp designs and SS Amp designs. Until approx' 10 years ago I will have stuck with my being a firm believer in the Tube Amp as the only Amp to deliver on my audio needs.
Over the past 10 years this has changed, I have encountered SS Amp's that have seriously impressed and I have made these known to others. Some have even adopted models to use in conjunction with their passion for tube equipment.
I fell out of being a loyal devotee of SS Phon's and have adopted Tube Designs, more recently I have been introduced to SS Phon's that I believe are extremely attractive and worthwhile considering.
My Tube DAC has got my full attention and other long-term digital users who have heard it in use are thoroughly impressed. Some of these are now going through the process of acquiring DAC's utilising Valves in place of other used designs.
Valves are here for quite some time, but they do not any longer need to thought of a sole route to a very attractive presentation that is the anti-thesis of certain SS Designs.
You aren’t the only one. The impending demise of vacuum tubes is overstated in my opinion. Tubes and transistors can coexist just as digital and analogue manage to do.
Mine are all vintage/restored, so I plan on keeping them. I have been buying NOS tubes as backups. Interesting article but right now I’m looking for the “old stuff” 1960s and 70 RCAs, telefunkens, Amprex, etc. and it’s like “get it if you can.” I would be also be interested in listening to the new tubes from Western Electric, also I’ve heard of new solid state power tubes from Soundsmith as well.
Had differnet ss amps (Burmester 956 mk2, Krell Evo 302 among others), hybrid too (Pathos Inpo 2) than bought amp/premp, single ended in A class, just to try the all tube system. Nos tubes, better caps, new Tkd potentiometar made significant sound upgrades (together with carefull and rather ’top’ choice of cables everywhere) of rather inexpensive combo (some 6k eur new). Of course, have a very good digital source (Burmester 089) The sound I got from it was perhaps the best I’ve ever had, but everytime I put some other tubes than Nos, the sound would change enough that I did not enjoy it as much. So, that left me worried for a time that I would not have any more chosen tubes to get. At first I thought to get even better tube combo, but I wondered if I would face the same ’problem’, not to mention the price and availability of tube these (and future) days. So, I changed the tube combo for Burmester power amp again (the ss whose house sound I prefer the most). Will buy their preamp as well, aldo I will try some tube ones as well. Bottom line, for me the tubes have something ’more’ that even the very good ss cant match entirely, or perhaps it can, but with costly gear. The plus side is, I guess, ss allows you wider choice of speakers and more hours of listening (with ss I sometimes put music even if I have just a half our of time to listen, something that I never did with tubes) Also, the heat of tubes in A class was enough to prevent me from listening music thru most of summer days. But, in a ’perfect scenario’ I would choose tubes every time. Pity that world goes in other direction. Never tried D class amps, very curious about ones from Atmasphere
Obviously there are many solid state amps that do a great job as Atmasphere pointed out, and many (including my Pass XA-25) are "tube like" in their design and some are Class A room heaters. One thing often left out of these conversations is the fact that no SS amp allows you to easily swap out transistors based on your listening mood. In my tube Had amp (and in my guitar amps) I swap in 6V6s, KT88s, 77s, 120s, 150s, 6550s, etc. including various brands of those (all sounding a little different) and various smaller preamp input tubes and rectifiers. Why? It's FUN. And, as has been mentioned previously, they look and can sound astonishingly beautiful, although maybe fooling me into having fun by providing a bit of some sort of pleasant and harmonically appropriate distortion...again tricking me into thinking I'm really enjoying the music. Sad but true. Tubes can simply sound great, last a long time, and provide some listener interaction with their ease of replacement. What's wrong with that?
Tubes will be around for a while longer...there are too many enthusiasts out there in the hi fi world to call for the demise of tubes in the near future.....BUT....Class D is coming like a freight train.....Atmasphere in the lower price points and Aavik in the higher end are both on the fore front of making beautiful , magical music. ..the tubey sound we all love without the drawbacks associated with the tubes themselves.
Maybe or maybe not . Time and the marketplace will decide. If new generation class D causes people to dump their tube amplifiers by the boatload, so be it. One consistent characteristic of high end audio is that new and different is always better. Things do evolve over time. However, not always superior outcomes by default. We all shall see.
I own three tube amps and wouldn't consider selling them. I also own solid state amps, but find myself playing my tube amps more often. What I enjoy, other than the sound, is ability to roll the tubes to achieve a more refined or different sound which you can't do with solid state amps. Just my two cents.
Yes, tubes will be around for a long time… but the internal combustion engine not so much. They are destroying our planet. The electrical infrastructure will be improved, the ICE will be banned… in the next thirty years… or our planet will become uninhabitable.
We have been ignoring climate change for thirty years… the consequences are here.
@ghdprentice.....Correct, And , once you own an electric automobile...You just can't go back to owning a combustion engine...they will have Electrics going 500 miles soon and with thousands of new charging systems being added nationwide....it's only a matter of time.Now they have CAR SHOWS for antique cars, soon Car Shows will be for cars with Combustion engines. PS. My Tesla is a Rocket Ship...soooo much fun to drive! I have 4 tube amps that I love and an Audio-GD HE1-XLR 10 tube preamp thats out of this world.....But my Aavik and Peachtree GaN 400 amps are just as sweet but with more detail...I guess , a Good Class D amp with a good Tubed preamp is like going from a gas engine to an Electric car......It's hard to go back!
Yes- I'm sure you have. I have too.
What's been keeping tubes alive is how they make distortion. If you were to put the solid state amps on the bench that have been lauded for 'tubelike sound' and measure their distortion characteristics, you'd find that their distortion looks different from actual tube amps. That means that they might be 'tube-like' which is not the same as saying they actually sound just like a tube amp (sorry for the Santos-ism). IOW they sound like tube amps, sort of...
That has changed. In a class D amp, its possible to design the circuit such that the major non-linearities that cause distortion tend to make lower ordered harmonics, just like in tube amps.
I'm not saying this is true of all class D amps. I am saying that I've seen it, heard it and measured it in some.
I've been hearing about the demise of tubes since the 1960s. Like all tech though, tubes have a rise and they will have a fall. Right now things are looking a bit dark- 20 years ago the Tesla plant got bombed; the war in Ukraine hasn't helped at all; a fire that destroyed a plant in China didn't either since its apparently not getting rebuilt, but on top of that, class D is invading the guitar world in a way that it was not even 5 years ago. That's because most guitar players these days use effect pedals to get their 'sound' whereas 40 years ago they relied on the tube amp for that.
So now for a guitar player all they really need is a simple class D amp that doesn't sound harsh, and possibly with a 12AX7 input. Those amps already exist and weigh 15 pounds instead of 85 for the same power. In ten years there will be a lot more of them.
Whether we like it or not, tube production is still going on because of the guitar market, not the hifi market (at least as far as the major producers like JJ are concerned). As the guitar market dwindles, we may well see the major players get out of the market.
Add to that, there are people like me that make tube amps that openly admit that class D allows for a better product. I don't miss the tube amps in my system at all.
So yeah, we've all heard it before, but just like the boy that cried wolf, eventually it happens.
As a long time pro guitarist I can say for certain that class D will not be replacing tube guitar amps for those who care about tone. I've tried various modeling amps and others including those with tube front ends, and the necessary distortion characteristics from a tube output stage aren't ever likely to be replaced by class D.
No it is called a hybrid. I am listening to one right now. It was real easy to go from my i4 back to the M8. Could not charge 2 electric cars at once so one had to go. Like I said still have a long, long way to go. Also what about conflict minerals?
@wolf_garcia If you play guitar then you know how heavy a Fender Twin is when loading out of a club at 2:AM.
Class D was not ready for prime time when all those junky ’modelling’ amplifiers appeared some years back. But there are class D modules available now that are quite musical. For those guitarists that don’t rely on overdriving the output section of their amp to get their ’sound’, the idea of a 100 Watt amplifier that allows the sound they have/want that only weighs 15 pounds is attractive!
I play in a band and when I meet guitarists from touring bands, if they find out who I am this is something they ask for. Since I’ve heard class D amps that sound for all the world like an excellent tube amp, I see class D in the guitar world as inevitable- its only a matter of time at this point.
I dragged JBL festooned Twins around (anvil case included, insanely heavy) for most of the 70s, and use small all tube amps exclusively now, including a brilliant little 5/15 watt Reverend Goblin I recently loaned to John Pizzarelli for a live show. Most guitar players I know and like now use much smaller amps...Jim Campilongo, Princeton (fender actually made a special model for him)...Julian Lage, either tiny 50’s tweeds or Magic "Deluxe" size...Frizell, Deluxe Reverbs...Duke Levine, toured with Bonny Raitt recently with an AC 30 or something (he owns a lot of amps)...few guitar players want or need 100 watts of any style amp, and prefer the snap and color of a tube output stage. Sure, that could change, but only when Class D really can seriously replicate the harmonic content and feel of tubes. Is anybody going to bother to make a 15 watt Class D amp? Note I have a Class D 350 watt bass amp that sounds great...for bass anyway.
@wolf_garcia Class D can do that now. I've measured a class D that has harmonics such that you would think you were looking at a tube amp, except that overall the distortion is lower. It sounds like one too, except owing to less distortion, its easier to hear into the rear of the soundstage.
There are lots of 15 Watt class D amps. If you give them a decent power supply some of them sound pretty good too.
Its not a matter of 'if' its when, at this point.