I did. My teenage kids needed a rec room and I hooked the system into the HDTV unit. As much as I love tubes this would have been nothing but problems with young adults.
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I have gone from solid state to hybrid (tubed pre amp with solid state amp integrated). Now I'm going back to solid state. I don't know enough about tubes, and I like the ease of use solid state offers. Plus, I want to be able to spend some really money on tubes instead of doing only mid fi. I may end up going back in a couple years.
eons ago I went from tubes to SS amp & will never go back. I did try it once a couple of years ago, which only reminded me of all the reasons why...
Quality tube preamps though, that I could live with, but prefer not to. I'm glad that y'all like your tubes however & I have heard some great tube systems belonging to others; it's just not for me.
I went back to SS to get the power I was missing from a tube amp I once owned(Anthem amp1). Upgraded the pre from a LS7 to a AES-3. The pwr amp is a Audible Illusions S120. A great combo. Tube rolling is fun but expensive. Now I only have two tubes to roll and most are from the USA(6sn7's). I will get another tube amp down the road. I still have plenty of EL34's.
I run all solid state except the main system which is tube preamp, solid state amp. I was all solid state for a while after getting rid of tubes a number of years ago. The tube gear I had then never sounded the same with any new tubes after the original tubes that came with the gear when I bought it wore out. I never liked any of the tube preamps I had tried then until the Blue Circle I now have. If not for the Blue Circle preamp, I would still be all solid state.
I've gone from tube to SS on my phono pre-preamp. I wanted a quieter background, and I still have a tube linestage and power amp in the system. Interestingly, the sonic differences between various resistive loading options I tried with the new unit affected the sound much more profoundly than the switch from tube to SS with loading kept the same. Still, the sound was always more clearly delineated with the SS, the tonal balance slightly lusher with the tubes. The SS won on transparancy, resolution, solidilty and extension, even if it was a bit less voluptuous. When the loading was truly optimized with the SS unit, midrange tonality, HF air, and bass control were all more correctly presented, with fewer deviations from what I perceive as neutral, and focus was greatly improved. Not to mention that I got the noise reduction I was looking for, despite the welcome increase in gain. The units compared (using my B-M glider M2) were the phono stage of my C-J PV-8 preamp (47k ohm, 47dB), and the Camelot Tech Lancelot phonostage (set to 392 ohm, 54dB). The latter wins, even with the extra interconnects needed. At the low price, I'm not sure that tubes are as competitive here, but I haven't tried a premium tube phonostage.
P.S. - For those reading who have replaceable, socketed resistors for cartridge loading in their phonostages, I recommend investing in premium quality resistors once you have determined the correct value using the inexpensive kind. The Lancelot didn't come with these, but a couple of Vishay's did make a worthwhile upgrade for around $12 apiece; the $1 Dales sounded slightly colored and veiled in comparision (sorry to wander so far off-topic!).
I built my system around a tubed pre-amp and big solid state amp, then tried a Stereophile Class A tube amp for 30 days. It was "nice", but when I went back to my SS amp, I said WOW. The SS amp was much quicker, more dynamic, and definitely had much better bass control, so PRT was much, much better with the SS amp.
That said, I'll be the first to admit that I had built, wired, and tweaked for the SS amp. If I were to go to a tube amp full time, I'm sure I'd make different wire and tweak choices. Personally though, I'm pretty sold on the tube pre-amp w/ SS amp approach. Cheers. Craig
The problem with tubes is the tubes! Fifteen years ago I went wild on an ARC SP6 and had it on two chassis and voiced the thing around Sylvania ladder plate/rectangular Getter 12AX7s and Brimar 6DJ8s.....It was a wonderful unit, but the only thing stock was the circuit board.....I had enough tubes to just get into trouble and had folks searching all over the place for the Sylvanias and only found a couple more at that time.....I had to sell the unit and bought an SP-11 and that stayed stock for almost three weeks before it was rewired and recapped....I sold it in a year or so and keep my hopped up ARC SP3A-1 in the garage for comparisons and have gone all solid state.....The point is it is hard to find good NOS tubes and lots of folks would go SS just to forget the hassles of buying good tubes....
I switched from the CJ55 to the Krell KSA 100s a year ago. The CJ was a nice amp but the Krell is clearly superior. On Roger Waters Amused to death thru my theta CD system, the CJ would place things from FR to rear left but they wouldnt flow from FR-RL, the Krell would make the music flow accross the room. With Vinyl the SS was vastly superior because of a much lower noise floor. Analog with SS is a major plus. CD with SS (how can I put This) NAH! the warmth of most tube amps is a real plus for digital sound.
The Krell just allows me to use any speaker, which is a benifit also
I just went from tubes (Rogue Magnum 120) to solid state (Plinius SA100 MKIII) driven by Rogue Magnum 99 pre and I can tell you the state is very solid indeed.
The Plinius amp is very tuneful, nuanced, defined and neutral. The Rogue in comparison had very rich harmonics and amazing depth but was dull and a little lifeless plus the bass was a little thick and ill defined. I liked the Rogue very much but to combine the negatives in sound and the cost of new tubes every 2-3 years and I have less money for music and start feeling a little guilty about not being practical and buying solid state. The Plinius is more often reminding me of real instruments in my room than the Rogue was anyway. My speakers are Maggie 1.6 and I could image if I had other speakers I might have kept the Rogue but, maybe not, my system is not dull but it lacked high end air with the Rogue and not with the Plinius. I had also tried the Innersound ESL amp and I preferred that to the Rogue too.
These comments are after 20+ years of listening (primarily)to tubes.
I'm using both SS & tubes. I went back and forth with ss and tube preamps until I found a tube unit that I can live with (BAT VK30se). For the power amp, I found myself switching between a Classe CA300 and my CJ Premier 11a. The Classe had more punch but I found that I spent more time enjoying the CJ tube amp. I sold the Classe and now use the CJ Premier 11a tube amp biamped with a CJ MF2250 solid-state amp, both driven by a BAT VK30se tube preamp.
What next? I'd like to try a quality ss power amp mated to the BAT VK30se preamp. I'm thinking Pass Labs X150, Sim Audio W-5, maybe Krell KSA-200S or FPB200. I'm still researching and open for suggestions.
RLB61: I agree in principle, but the tube CDP's I've heard (e.g. AA Capitole 24/192 MKI) are bit too ripe in the bass for me. So I prefer a solid-state CDP (preferably without preamp needed), feeding a biamped system where one can use tubes for mids/highs and solid state for bass. But certainly it is nice to have tubes somewhere in the chain to give the mids a palpabiity, and smooth out the highs....
All this gets complicated and expensive,unfortunately.
I think my decision to move from tubes to SS is largely related to my many years as choral singer and wind player. Good tube systems impart a lush sort of euphonious distortion that can result in very pleasant and listenable music. Despite that enjoyable, even seductive sound, I always had the realization that what I was hearing wasn't quite true to the music-making experience as I knew it from endless hours in the pit and in the choir gallery. My sense when listening to many tube systems was that they somehow filed the rough edges off the music, recalling the burnished glow of memory rather than the more realistic, if less euphonious, recreation of the actual experience. What I mean is that when I listen to a good tube system playing, say, a Mozart mass, I think, "Oh, yes, this is what I want to think that it sounded like. When I listen to the same work through a good SS system, I think, "Oh, yes, this what it REALLY sounded like."
This desire for a precise, analytical, unvarnished reproduction of the program content has guided my selection of speakers, sources, everything. And it has taken me away from tubes.
Only my opinion, one among many. As Fletchj rightly notes above, the only thing that really matters is the enjoyment your system brings you.
Interesting, Bishopwill. I've had just the opposite experience, with music (especially classical instrumental) seeming more real through good tube gear. Granted, some tube equipment can be euphonic and "slow", but other units can be very detailed, transparent, and more correct regarding tone/timbre to my ears than most solid state (one exception: the lower bass). Nevertheless I keep searching through SS gear in hopes of finding something (mainly amp) that will satisfy my ears, since tube gear is a bit of a hassle, and those nice NOS tubes will eventually run out!
Yes, in theory that is the case, though I would not want to move in that direction. However, for persons who desire the "cream and air" of tubes (as someone noted above) but don't want the hassle of tube replacements and biasing and heat, it might be a desirable option. And, in fact, given the current fondness for tubes, one often sees SS gear advertised as producing "tube-like" sound.