Solid State to Tubes and Back Again

I've been reading a number of posts where individuals have gone from solid state to tubes, and back to solid state again. I'm curious about some of the reasons why.

Could it be a cost (tube replacement) and maintenance issue?

Could it be convenience (change of space - living arrangements), or is it simply because of the preference for solid state over the tube sound?

Thanks in advance for sharing.
I think its an age thing. The younger you are the more likely you are to want tubes. And as age and retirement creep in who the hell wants to play with tubes with there price. When that money can go for what men of older age need the most? A hot car for the younger chickie pooes..
Before I had air conditioning, I sold all of my tube gear in the spring of each year and bought solid-state stuff for the summer to avoid the heat, and because I listen less in the summer, and more casually as well. Now, with A/C it's all tubes, all the time. But I do switch to an EL84 integrated amp in the summer to still save on heat a bit.
Being audiophiles the grass is always greener on the other side until you get there. I think going back and forth is just part of the process of figuring out what really floats your boat, no inherent problem with either type of amplification they are just different.
Classic tube designs are seductive. They beautiful, but not truthful- alas!
Modern tube designs are more truthful, but resemble their cousins more
and their ancestors less.
Creative, Samujohn!
Virdian, are you serious?!! Your amps can generate enough heat to replace your home's heating system?

Schipo, good point, and funny too!! A hot car beats a good tube amp for me any day!!!

BWP, SamuJohn, I agree with both of your comments. wanting to try something new and discovering its not for you is quite common. And I have often been told that a lot of the modern tube gear sounds different to the vintage stuff. When I was a kid, my father had a tube based receiver, but I don't recall the brand and forget about trying to tell you how it sounded. Back then, to me, it was just a big radio with insides that glowed. :)
hi samujohn:

since all components are imperfect, they are not truthful.

all products have flaws.

pick your coloration.

as to switching from solid state to tubes and back to solid state, i think it's like getting married three times.

it may be irrational or based upon an ephemeral dissatisfaction with the sound of one's stereo system.

or it may be a manifestation of some deep-seated emotional problem(s).

after all, most audiophiles are certifiably nuts and could use psychiatric help.

my wide says there is a simpler explanation,namley indecisivenss--the old flip flop syndrome.
How much/often does one listen to LIVE MUSIC, and HOW STRONG is their DESIRE for TRUTH? HOW MUCH VALUE do you place on REALISM? Everything is relative to your REFERENCE(OR PREFERENCE)! OF COURSE: WHO is to say what is RIGHT in YOUR listening room? Tube rolling, and equipment modding offer MUCH EASIER paths to an ACCURATE/TRANSPARENT signal tranfer, in tubed gear. Where do your priorities lie/ what are your tastes?
Went from SS and 1 new Mustang Cobra and 3 GT's in an 8 year span to a minivan and all tubes. Mustang again...maybe, but SS never. 57 years old.
If anyone has gone from solid state to tubes and back again they have made a concerted effort to stay with solid state. It really depends on the type of music you mainly listen to and what your listening habits are.

For myself I like leaving the system powered up all the time not just because it will sound better but to have continuous background music, so the choice of solid state is obvious. I know there are some sensational sounding tube products that offers that wonderful 3D soundstage with vocals to die for but there are some modern solid state that comes close enough to justify a means to the end.
"as to switching from solid state to tubes and back to solid state, i think it's like getting married three times."

Ouch! I sure hope not.

Mustang Cobra, VERY HOT!!

I guess all one can do is audition what you think you will like in order to get what sounds satisfying to you. I've had nothing but solid state gear all my life, and I'm itching to see what a tube pre will bring to the party. The quest continues....
I have SS only because I cannot afford something like LAMM. No cheap tubes for me, they stink.
And I don't drive Mustang as where I live trains go much faster but also because when it comes to cars I prefer German.
I go back to ss on occasion to assess and compare.It's just part of my obsessive compulsive personality.
Why not keep both on hand?
Blonds, brunettes and redheads...

I think that it all really depends upon the speakers. The valve is intrinsically a better device with other issues, but transistors have come a long way. In one system I run tubes because it is relatively efficient. On the other I run SS because I cannot afford to run 500w tube amp.
Inna: That's an interesting point. Some cheaper tube gear probably isn't worth it if its unreliable or doesn't sound as good at its more expensive bretheren.

Markwatkiss: That is the sometimes frustrating obession of this hobby. But its fun, isnt' it?

Glory: Having both on hand isn't financially feasible at this time. But to be honest, once I find a combination that I could live with for years, the unused piece would only get boxed up and put in the closet.

4est: Your thougths are exactly why I'm looking for the SS/tube combo. A tube pre to bring the delicacy and finesse, and solid state power to bring the force and grunt in an efficient, maintendance free and cost effective manner. I could be wrong, but I believe I can attain the best that both have worlds have to offer.

But we will see. It may turn out that an all SS system may be just fine for me.
Hi Hawk28 - I think all the reasons given and more are why people swap. Some people have money to burn and just change for sake of changing. Some people are never happy, some people have to keep up with the Audiophile Jones's, others want to experiment, others get tired of tubes/tube rolling and escalating costs.
For me, I would love to have a tube Amp ( I have a tubequicksilver pre)but my system is located in our family room addition - where the temp (I live in Florida)is 3 degrees warmer in the summer then the rest of the house due to the construction of the addition. So putting in a space heater in that heat is not feasible.
As a note - I do not think yo need to spend high $$ for a quality reliable Tube Amp. Quicksilver, Rogue, and Cary AES six packs on the used market can be purchsed for less then 2K. Even new Quicksilver, Rogue and AES are good values.
I made the switch only once in 1977 when ss finally camos of age. For the 20 prior years it was tubes warts and all and I has just about had it and ready to ditch the hobby alltogehther when the Mark Levinson and Threshold gear came out.

In a month I had ditched all the tube gear and have remained in ss ever since. Now at 67 with my hearing not nearly as good as it once was, no way in hell going with newer tube gear. There are two different camps on ss and tube and neither will ever find common ground. Both have their plus and minus in owning them. Now with Spectral gear and that is most likely my bucket list system.

For those that like to tinker and tweak tubes may be the way to go, for rock solid reliability, high end solid state is the answer, at least for me it was and remains my answer.

But I tell ya my 20 years in tubes is not a time I ever wish to revisit.
some class a amps are more costly to use than some tube amps.
I can't help but think of a hybrid amp as I read this thread. You may have missed a fine opportunity with the recent sale of the Pathos Classic Mk III for $1250. The Peachtree Audio hybrid for about the same price includes the remarkable Sabre DAC. I've heard both and you can't go wrong with either one.
Louisgiants, all true observations. Im not looking to break the bank either. Quicksilver makes a nice pre, as do the other companies you listed.

Thanks for sharing, Ferrari. So you were doing this audio thing when tubes were all there was. I can see why you want nothing more to do with them.

I've read several positive reviews of the Pathos gear, but I have never heard a hybrid. are there advantages to having a hybrid over an all tube amp?
I go back and forth from SS to tubes and back again every time I move from my 2 channel system downstairs to my 5 channel system upstairs. No application of audiophile dogma here, one system uses 116 dB horns and one uses 84 dB box speakers.

Gee, if I can remember, I think I actually biased the tubes once in the last year. Yeah, that took all of 5 minutes. And then there was the time I had to send a SS amp back to the manufacturer for re-biasing. That took 2 weeks and several hundred dollars in shipping cost.

My point is that making generalized statements about one or the other is just a pissing contest. I would rather take each individual component on it's own merits as it interacts in my system. To each his own.