Surface Noice, yubes and solid state

I have recently read that surface noise is treated differently by tubes and by solid state, and, that tubes produce less surface noise. If this is true, would a tube phono stage be an improvement in this regard, or would one need tubes throughout the chain?
I see no reason why that would be true, unless:

-- The surface noise is masked by the tube hiss of a poor quality tube device, or

-- The tube phono stage, or other tube device in the path, somehow acts as a dynamic range expander, or

-- Somehow solid state devices tend to act as dynamic range compressors.

I doubt that any of these scenarios are true, certainly in the case of quality equipment that presumably has some semblance of accuracy.

-- Al
Two comments:

1. Check the comments in this thread on tubes and use of feedback in a phono preamp.

2. I do not have a generalized conclusion valid beyond the unit's I have heard. In a recent review comparison between the tubed Atmasphere MP-1 preamp and the solid-state Esoteric C-03 preamp, both using an ARC PH7 phono stage, I heard less surface noise through the former combo, though the latter was quieter overall with no music playing. (Both excellent units.) Likewise in a comparison between three phono stages (the tubed ARC PH7, the tubed A-S MP-1 and the solid-state ZYX Artisan,) using the same linestage, I found the PH7 the quietest of the three in terms of surface noise. I suggest comparing specific units rather than making a decision from a general conclusion about tubes vs solid-state. Wrt to needing tubes throughout the chain, I'd say no.
I don't know exactly what you read about the subject, but I think that you may have misinterpreted, somewhat, what you read. I think that you are referring to a phenomenom first observed and written about by Harry Pearson of TAS. He observed that, as you point out, lp surface noise is treated differently by tubes as opposed to ss. But he further observed that it is not that tubes produce less surface noise (think about it, it is the turntable/arm/cartridge/lp interface that produces surface noise, not the amplification components), nor reduce it. It is that surface noise as heard through a tube based system is heard as occuring or existing in a different "plane" than the music content; it is somehow removed from the music content. With solid state amplification, the surface noise is more interwoven in the fabric of the music content, and is thus more objectionable.

I completely agree with this observation.
Thanks, Frogman. That was it and I did misunderstand. Wonderful explanation and clarification.

Thank you.
Tubes generally run less negative feedback, and those that run zero feedback will exhibit less surface noise than a typical transistor preamp that uses loop feedback. The reason has to do with high frequency oscillation, a ringing effect caused by the feedback itself. This ringing is set off by clicks and pops, which ring in the closed loop for far longer than the actual event.

Thus, the tube unit running zero feedback will appear to play less ticks and pops, even though its overall S/N might be less than that of the transistor unit. Try it sometime- you will see what I am talking about- in some cases this difference can be quite dramatic!

That is a very interesting, and plausible, explanation. Ringing does make sharp, short impulses, such as a record surface blemish, seem much louder.

When I want to play music loudly late at night I use a pair of Stax Omega II electrostatic phones. Given the very nature of phone listening, particularly the very detailed and bright sound of these phones, one would think that clicks and pops would be emphasized, as compared to speaker listening. The opposite is the case. These phones are extremely free of resonant overhang (low mass drivers and low mass enclosures mean little energy storage), so clicks and pops go by so quickly and cleanly that they are much LESS signficant with the headphones.
Larryi, Stax are some of the best headphones made. Although they are very extended, I would not describe them as bright!