HT Sound quality - tube versus solid state amplification

If you had your choice between tube and solid state amplification for your home theater main speakers, which would be more desirable?

I have solid state Mono blocks and I'm thinking about changing to tube monos.

Interested in what people use out there. 


I use my tube amp for 2 channel sound AND for the front 2 speakers of my HT system.  In the HT system the pre-out for the front 2 speakers on my HT reciever drives an input to my tube amp.  

So I get almost the same great sound I've cultivated for 2 channel sound in these 2 speakers for HT.  Very nice.


I have the same type of set up that Carlsbad has and couldn’t agree more with him.  I will add that the type of tube you have will determine how well the set up blends in with the solid state 5 channel amp that I have powering the center and surrounds.  For me the KT150s are perfect in that they are neutral, dynamic but still have that wonderful tube air.

I luv the sound of tubes. But for HT there are some considerations. The first is the longevity of the tubes and the driving of the tubes. I know movie passages can have dynamic range and swings of dynamics and that will tax tubes. I thinkeven more so than say, classical music. Secondly and probably most importantly is the heat. Some SET amps get very hot. It can pose a problem generating too much heat and even a potential danger for burning yourself, your spouse or children. Just some additional factors to think about or consider in a shared living space IMHO.

Home Theater system is not for audiophile sound quality.

It is for sound ´ s effects.  Dynamic is important.

SS amplifier would be the wright choice , I think . And you will not have to buy tubes on a regular basis…..

I’ve advocated better sound since hot-wiring speaker connections in old CRT's

my main system: tube preamp/tube amp

office: efficient speakers and 10 wpc luxman tube amp (keep tubes but minimum tube heat in small room).


Considering that Video is occupying your senses, and a great deal is dialog, much from the center channel, I would stick with SS, and not too much heat to the cabinet/equipment ...

IF a dual system, video AND used as primary 2 channel for music, then ......


@2psyop   I looked for something in your post that I agreed with but found nothing.  

If you think tubes can't be dynamic, you should listen to a better system.

only very high power tube systems are heat problems.  Frankly, they are an aberration that has been developed for insensitive speakers.

My tubes aren't as much heat as my Television.



your existing or new AVR:

one way to reduce front power needs is to send the low bass to self-powered subs, i.e. keep power needs of front l/r lower, thus easier to use tubes.

IF using self powered sub/subs, fed from AVR, you need to know if in 2 channel mode, preamp front out, is the low bass going to the front or is the low cutout, still going to the sub/s? are they on in 2 channel mode?

new: go for an efficient speaker system so that the option of tubes is easier, and less power/heat is needed for those speakers.

IF efficient front l/r speakers, then you want center/surround of essentially the same sensitivity. then you can refine the output to each speaker individually, in the space

I would not let tube life be a concern, they last a long, long time, many 10,000 hours. 

What I would do, to have confidence in existing and new tubes, is buy an inexpensive tube tester.

Since inheriting a big tube console in 1973, I check mine yearly, just prior to thanksgiving, and keep some spares, think long!!!

Maxwave,  I agree that dynamics are very important in a home theater set up but musicality can take movies to a whole new level.   A really great audiophile system makes the musical scores in movies so much better that it pulls you in to the movie even more.  Both are important in my experience.

Burning potentially expensive tube amp tubes to play TV or movies?  No.  The majority of sound comes from the center channel, which the stereo tube amp has nothing to do with.  I think it’s a total waste of $$$. 

Similar to carlsbad, I use my tube amp (Rogue Stereo 100) to drive my main 2 channel and the fronts, in a 7.1 channel system. My Yamaha AV runs into my RP9 preamp, which is in HT bypass when turned off. At least on the pre side, I’m not burning tube time. I don’t watch a whole lot of movies, so tube time on the power amp doesn’t concern me too much. I also often just run straight 2 channel with movies, from my CPU -> RME ADI2 DAC -> pre -> power. It all sounds very good.