In my opinion that is usually the case.
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I think certain components especially speakers, but also amplifiers and integrateds, 'come alive' at a certain volume. In some cases, they just don't sound as good at low volumes, because there is a certain lack or resolution or information making its way through the chain at that volume level. I am most reminded of this when listening to high end headphone systems which can come alive at relatively low volumes. By comparison I feel that some speaker system need to play louder to sound good.
If you have a system that sounds good at low volumes, congratulations - I look for that in musical systems (and components) myself.
Anyone remember the movie Cactus Flower?
Walter Matheau says to his buddy in not exactly these words, "who ever said anything about married" his buddy then says "well if you feel that way about her don't you think you should marry her" W.M. responds " I feel that way about my girl because she is my girl, you'll never catch me feeling that way about a wife."
Are you saying the issue with the bass happens while listening to the exact same recording each time? Or are you saying with the exact same recording on tube pre it's one way and with SS pre it's another?
Speakers, gear, and room combined, have it/their level where the rig will sound great or be at it's best.
Merely lowering the vol will reduce the reflections impact and lessen the clouding of the content. treating the room too will reduce them better so higher vols can be reached without the addition of those reflections.
I feel the loudsqueaker itself is the biggest factor with regard to various volume levels sounding good. Of course so are your own ears.
Past those items, is the simple mating of the components to one another, and the amp to the speakers.
If your SS pre provides you better bass on the exact same recording than does the Tube pre, you have one answer only. THAT particular SS pre gives better bass than THATparticular tube pre... that's all.... or vice versa.
The bass I get from my Thor preamp is quite satissfactory. Depending on which amp it drives, the bass changes. With my EL34 monos it is not that of my Butler hybrid or Odyssey Stratos Plus +. The monos though have other characteristics which IMO offset that aspect enough for me to routinely enjoy them.
There will be an optimum range for a squeaker, depending on amps & room size, and naturally the squeaker itself. 'Course, my own ears will have a say there as well, as will the recording itself.
I like Johnny Hartman in the mid to high 80's. I prefer Def Leppard and ZZ Top in the 93-96 range. those are average readinds, peaks are higher for sure. I can no longer handle db levels past the upper 90's, and then not for long.
Want low level listening impact and weight to appear improved? Add more watts/power.
Thanks for the response. I believe at lower volumes even the ss pre would appear to put out less bass because at higher levels the room gets loaded with bass more so than at lower levels.
Last night I bought an lp of piano on bis label, never has my system sounded so life-like. I may have to take back my statement about bass shy and leave it alone. This combo of equipment is just right. This is what I am using now: Zu/denon 103r, graham 2.2 modded, vpi tnt modded, jlti phono stage (very special phono), audio experience a2se, simaudio w-5, merlin vsm's. Room treated on all sides.
I think, perhaps, she asked you to turn down the volume so you can hear her better and not so much sound. A crafty woman no doubt, but "genius", I think not. What may now appear to be concern for you audio enjoyment is really a subterfuge. I know, I am happily married!
On the flip side, when I purchased my Bryston 28BSSTs, I found myself listening a both lower and higher volumes. Like non-other I have heard, this amp sounds excellent at lower and moderate levels and on the other end, the control they have over the drivers at much higher levels too is astonishing.
Enjoy the pursuit, John
I almost got me a pair of the top Merlins... but passed as I am a bass junkie... for whatever reasons.
Recordings play a big part in the sounds actual range depth, and weight. Analog or digi. Naturally so does the amp and all the other audiophile analogies.
I do note a diff in bass from tubes to SS as well. Depending. Speaker design too can make bass sound different. Personally I've found there is little else which produces great bass than great bass drivers. you can tune an enclosure, labyrynth or channel the low end thru a myriad of passages and out a port.... but the sound simply for me, does not replace that which a great large low end driver can generate.
That said, an active sub surpasses a good many floorstanding loudspeakers bass production.
I've found too when introducing another piece into the signal chain you'll get always another perspective on the same recording. thereafter the optician's appraisal... Better, same, or worse?
With all else the same, usually interjecting a different amp will make a greater diff down deep than will a preamp exchange... ordinarily. Fact is, I dig exchanging amps in and out now for various mood oriented musical genres than anything else.... and I'm lately liking hybrid amps a bunch... though these thoughts pertain to the whole of my own system. In a different room, diff speakers, etcv... it could easily be otherwise.
The key is to keep the volume at a level where 'she' can always be heard.
It sounds like you have room treatment when you say you have it on all sides. But what room treatment? Blankets or something along those lines? Or actual acoustic room treatments? Your system profile does not list anything.
I was and might as well still suggest this just in case you don't have it. Bass trap absorption in the bass build up areas like corners. My system and room without bass traps was hard to listen to and higher SPLs. With bass traps, proper ones, my system sounds fantastic at higher SPLs. It is one of the benefits of bass traps I feel is quite significant. I think how a system sounds at low SPLs is a good way to gauge how good it is. But also how it sounds at higher SPLs is a good way to tell how the system sounds.