A more significant issue for a playback system than tubes is distortion, which tubes are nororious for having a high degrees of. Not that there are not some tube amps, usually triod, with low distortion, but they tend to be very low power, and very expensive. Like less than 20-30 watts, and well over a thousand $.
Where there are several relatively distortion free solid state amps ranging in price from $200 to $8k, which is a statement in itself. The THD spec for most popular, and expen$ive, tube amps is typially over 1-2%, or so high it is not shown in the specs at all. compared to the SS amps I refer to with a THD/IMD at <0.005%
Coupled with transparent speakrs, setup to get the most out of them in the room they operate in, gets you into 'true to the original' in playback such that you can listen for long periods without fatigue, and you will care less about the top end gear, cables and tweaks.
Those with that as a goal tend to end up with dipole systems: electrostatic, planner/ribbion, and open baffle dynamic driver designs.
As for bi-amping, another audio myth, the only value is if your amp is insufficient in power to meet the speaker manufacturer's recommended range. Otherwise, as in excesses of power, you only waste money that would be better directed toward those transparent speakers: a significant gain.
It is possible that myth results from merely imitating the hi-end systems using active crossovers, and multiple channels that may require multiple amps.
If you haVe the amps though, and need the power, then it is essential that they be equal in Gain, so that one does not play say the tweeter louder than the bass, thereby causing imbalance in the integration designed into the crossovers.
Ahh....if it were only so easy. Time and again psychoacoustic tests have shown, beginning with the pioneering work of Jean Hiraga in France, that it is not simply the sum of the distortion products that matters but the actual spectrum of the distortion products. Tube amps, generally speaking, have distortion products that diminish as the harmonics increase. This has been shown to be percieved by most listeners as consonant with the fabric of the music. Solid state amps tend to be all over the board, some with increasing percentages of higher order distortions and some less so. By all means, explore solid-state, but not on the grounds of the sum of the harmonic distortion products being low.
And to answer your question, the Anthem Integrated 1 is a really well built tube amp, limited by the 25 wpc output and some plumbiness in the bass. The Jolida amps will put out a bit more juice and sound quite good as well, try a 302. They are not as well built, but output power may play a role here. Happy looking.
What kind of amp do you have now? If it is any good, you might be better off adding a tube pre-amp - allowing you to have the nice sound of tubes and still retain some power. You could always upgrade to a better (tube, or not) amp later.
If you get a tube integrated amp for the amount of money you wish to spend, it will likely be a hybrid anyway (tube pre-amp, ss power amp).
Regardless, remember that, if you do get a tube amp, 25wpc of tube power will function pretty much like 50wpc of solid state power.
Double talk aside, define 'sounds quite good', please. Are you a connnoiseur of coloration too?
I find it amazing how amp mfgrs with high distortion figures often leave them out of their published specs. But those with low distortion always publish the results. Hmmm.
A modified Jolida MD102B uses EL84 tubes and is a wonderful unit for the price point. I was quoted 535 plus shipping for a new modified unit. The stock tubes will suffice unit you can afford better NOS tubes. This is a good product with full range sound for under 600 landed.
The ad is misleading as the price listed appears to be for an unmodified unit. I asked and after a few emails it was clear that 535 is the bottom line; not bad for a sweet tubed integrated new with warranty!
I would take this unit over the other Jolida (202, 302) integrated any day.
Nscercs- Cheerfully ignore didactially's posts, search his other threads here and you'll see why I say this. I only mention it because you seem new here and I don't want you to become misguided by, for lack of a better word, a fool. Enjoy entering the world of tubes, they do offer something very enjoyable to music that SS amps simply can not do.
Another great value in a tube integrated is the Cayin TA-30. It puts out 30-35 Watts into 8 ohms, is built like a tank, and sounds great. I use one with monitors rated at 90dB/1W/1m, and I've never listened with the volume past 10 o'clock. There's one listed in the audiogon classifieds currently for $525. I got mine for a similar price, and it is in a different league than the NAD integrated I was using before it.
I never said any different, except that I personally do not 'enjoy' distortion, even if described in poetic terms.
Also that I have searched for a low distortion tube amp that I would love to integrate into my system if I could find one with enough power to drive the main panels. But all I can find have distortion levels over the top of acceptability, usually 1-2% or more, and even at that typically over a frequency range of 20hz-20khz.
So, I use SS with THD/IMD at <0.005% over a 5hz-100hz frequency range, so as not to distort the music in order to gain some 'pleasent sounding' masking of the actual music.
But that is just me, apparently, and I am sticking to it.
Agree with Tireguy...Didactically is off base here.
So far, no one (that I know of) has been able to determine that a particular type of measured results always yields the best sound. True, measurements that are far outside accepted norms for the design in question may be suspect, but distortion measurements are less important than commonly believed. Remember the Japanese contest to achieve the lowest THD? Those units sounded like, well, shit.
The best measurement tool made is between your ears. A well engineered tube amp or preamp can yield a wonderfully musical presentation, and it's not due to "coloration".
Search the archives and you'll find plenty of info to assist you in your search.
This emphasis on harmonic distortion is completely unfounded. Of all types of currently measured distortion, harmonic distortion is the most consonant with the musical signal. Why, because the distortion products are harmonically related to the fundamental, just as a given instruments unique sound is related to the harmonics that it produces along with the fundamental tone. Is this distortion good? Hell no, but it is in unison with the music itself. Most other amplifier distortions are not musically related such as intermodulation distortion, transient intermodulation distortion, crossover, or notch distortion (only found in push pull amps of course), slewing induced distortion, typical clipping, etc. and this, by definition, makes these distortions amusical. So why the focus on harmonic distortion? Because in the dark days, it was the first measureable distortion in amps. Here is a great case of the measurement technique defining the importance of the distortion rather than the actual audible effect defining the hirearchy. Harmonic distortion specs are, at best, a one dimensional look at amp performanance and, at worst, a crutch for not looking deeper into the causes of psychoacoustic effects. A great proof of this can be found on Stereophile's Test CD2 which demonstates the effects of added harmonic distortion of the second, third and seventh harmonics. As I point out above, one quickly sees that an amp with .02% harmonic distortion of the seventh harmonic will sound much steelier than an amp with .02% harmonic distortion of the second harmonic, and that all harmonic distortion is more tolerable than IM or other distortions. Most people have not even tried to personally correlate the measurements with audible phenomena, much less understand the science.
Boy, has this thread gotten sidetracked. For once though, it's not my fault : )
All i will say is that if Didactically wants low distortion measurements, we'll give him a system with 100 dB's of negative feedback that is extremely bandwidth limited. The "typical" spec's over that bandwidth will look phenomenal but it will sound like hell.
There's a LOT more to spec's than just "distortion". How and why the distortions are occuring are just as important as the type and quantities of distortions that are measurable. Without having a full bevy of properly conducted test results at one's disposal, a limited quantity of the spec's that most manufacturers typically provide is near useless. Low distortion and all. Sean
Those who deny the obvious indication of the measured degree of distortion to the source signal by amplifying it sufficiently to operate a specific speaker driver, also claim that more important is how a component, or the system in total sound's to you, and usually use the term 'good', whatever that means. No one of them has been willing to define 'good'.
I have rather adopted the notion, 'true to the original', and evaluate components, and speaker setup, by the degree of realism in playback.
For instance, you can listen to the sourse material with reference earphones (Shure ER2, $100) and compare to what you hear in your room. It can be disappointing, but like Dr Phil says, 'you cannot change what you do not acknowledge'.
'Regrettably, much misinformation and outright nonsense have been spread to promote certain "high-end audio" products. The power of suggestion works exceedingly well, when listeners cannot trust their own hearing. I recommend to re-calibrate yourself frequently. Listen closely to all sorts of un-amplified sounds in order to recognize and remember natural aural patterns. It becomes an endless and futile pursuit to listen for and try to evaluate differences between speakers, equipment and accessories without a reality based mental reference.'
Like a mirrior is to Dracula, so the double blind test is to the 'connoisser of coloration'.
That is my position, and I am sticking to it.
You have made your position clear in every thread that you have taken off course. But what exactly is your objective? To convert people to your way of thinking? To have your voice be heard in this chaotic and bustling world? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish by taking every thread in which you respond into a realm that has nothing to do with the question being posed? Could you possibly just answer the actual question being asked? For once? Maybe?
Hey your Dida. you said you weren't reading my posts any more, your a troll of the highest order.
I have a tube integrated that is much less than $500 and I don't think you could find anything new or used that is as good sounding as my amp. It is a custom built int amp that is wonderful sounding...it is low powered, but don't let the power rating fool you, this thing is very dynamic sounding...please see my ad under tube integrated amps...
Wonderful sounding TRIODE INT FS / TRADE - thanks for looking, Louis