12 responses Add your response
The gain stages of any component, will utilize devices(transistors, MOS-FETs, valves, etc) that modulate, as directed by their input’s signal, the voltage/current, from your power supply, to the next stage of amplification, or- the component’s outputs. Basically, you’re listening to your power supply. Upgrading a power supply’s rectifier(s)* and/or regulator(s) whether SS or valve, as well as capacitors, will(generally) be easily heard(ie: cleaner, smoother, more dynamic, etc), whenever done in a high resolution system. Some manufacturers that offer upgrades to their gear, focus on the power supply, as the primary target to address. *ie: with soft/fast recovery HexFREDs, HiPerFREDs, Mullard Blackburn factory, or big, funky, Phillips valves
As I said on another thread, rectifier tubes drop different amounts of B+ voltage. This will affect operating points in an amplifier circuit. It is best to use the original rectifier that the circuit was designed with. Otherwise you are second-guessing the amp designer's goal in achieving a certain sonic goal!
At the top of rectified full wave sinewave current changes direction but rectifier is too slow to respond and keeps conducting in opposite direction for a moment then snaps back to zero current. Fast snapping back creates very narrow negative current spike, that can couple to any inductance in the circuit, inducing electrical noise (narrow pulse contains all frequencies). Better "softer" rectifiers like Hexfred snap slower to zero producing wider (less dangerous) negative pulse. I suspect some of this might apply to tubes as well.
I have a deep respect for those who have electrical engineering backgrounds. They bring so much to this forum! I do not have a background in electrical engineering, so I tend to make judgments based on empirical evaluation rather than first principle considerations. But based on my simplistic empiricism, I am amazed that anyone with normal hearing, especially a tube vendor, would dispute that different rectifiers, and here I mean different brands of the same type rectifier as well as different types of rectifiers, can have a profound effect on how a component sounds. For all I know all of this may be limited to differences in sag or rise times. I'd love it if all rectifier differences could be attributed to measurables. I will say that I have noticed some pieces are more influenced by tube rolling than others. Perhaps Erik's comment is relevant to that phenomenon.
Of course we all respect EE grads, one of hardest majors in any university .But , just because it was so hard they sometimes cling to things that have been proven wrong by neurology which has made huge bounds and leaps
in last decade .Perhaps the greatest of any science in that length of time in history .