Tube AMP or SS


Hello everyone, I need some advice on an amp to purchase, maybe I dont even need one but need your expertise. I have a Yamaha rx-a1000 recv and MA S8 speakers and center, plus rears. I listen to jazz and watch now and them some blockbuster stuff. Looking to increase the clarity and sound stage. Dont have much cash, and was wondering if a tube amp would make a big difference. If so, can I purchase anything in the 1k range?
dannyd70
Not quite sure about what you are looking to do...

The best, and cheapest way for you to enjoy music with a tubes is to get an integrated amp for music, then switch to the receiver for movies/TV. Your speakers are fairly easy to drive at 89dB/6 ohm.

Look for used Jolida in the 60-100wpc range. There's a 60wpc Jolida 502brc. Or, for more power, the 100wpc Jolida JD1000RC. Also the Jolida JD505

The 40wpc Primaluna Prologue Two has a little lower power, but might be a step up in sonic quality

Try one out, see if you like the sound with your speakers. There are better integrateds out there for more money, but for the price you can check it out and resell them with little or no loss.
I would go with Music Reference RM-9
I agree you should think about getting a good integrated amp with HT bypass and use the yammy for HT only. Adding a power amp isn't going to help the less than stellar pre-amp section of the HT receiver. Clarity and soundstage is more likely to come from a good pre-amp section.

Whether you choose tubes or not is another issue. At your price point you are looking at lower powered but integrates as noted by others. Pretty much any good integrated at $1k used will seriously outperform the yammy for music.
OK, please excuse my ignorance, but why tubes have such low output watts? I was looking at a YAQIN-300C and is only 9.5w per channel. Is tubes output calculated diff than a reg amp?
No Danny, watts are watts, and they are calculated exactly the same way, whether by tube or transistor.

It's just that some people have really, really, efficient speakers (100+ dB@1W), so they only need single digit power to run them. And that camp believes that everything is in the first watt. Get that right, and not much need for anything else. Get that wrong, and 100 more watts won't help a bit.

You can find tube amps that put out 800wpc. They are expensive, big, heavy, and put out an insane amount of heat. But, they are there for the having.
So far you have been given good advice. If you picture the sound in your room like a pot of soup, you will understand it better. Anything you put in the soup will alter the taste a bit. Although separate, if you view amp and pre as one you'll get a better picture of what they contribute to the overall sound in your room. A good amp would be a waste of money. A good tube "integrated" would improve the sound. "Primaluna" integrated is the most "bang for the buck", and that's what I recommend.

In regard to "tube" or "SS", the only way you can find out; is to try tubes.
"Watts are watts, and they are calculated the same way", is absolutely true. It is also true that efficient speakers require fewer watts. While these are electronic facts, "watts are watts" is not an "audio fact". For reasons unknown to me, that apparently can not be explained; "tube watts" are bigger stronger and tougher.
So do you guys think I should be looking elsewhere for crisp clean sound? Myabe that is whay you guys call bright? AS I understand from reading in the forum, tubes generally are warmer than SS amps? Are my speakers MA 8S something that would pair up ok with a tube amp?
Pardon my ignorance, but what are MA 8S speakers? Is MA the manufacturer?
Orpheus10, When using the standard 8 Ohm power rating, with speakers that have a high impedance, tube amps might sound "bigger stronger and tougher", but with speakers with a low impedance the opposite might be true, where ss amps might sound "bigger stronger and tougher".
I think MA is Monitor Audio. I have no idea if they have tube friendly impedances or not. As Unsound says, it is a matter of matching the amp to speaker and some work better with SS if they need current for low impedances. If your speaker is tube friendly- high and smooth impedance, then I think you would be surpassed how good acoustic jazz can sound with good tube amplifier - much more natural for my tastes.
How do I find out what impedence my speakers are?
MA is short for Monitor Audio which are speaker manufactures.
It might be within the product info packet, or on the back of the speakers. I did a search, but the manufacturer is not exactly completely forthcoming with regard to specs. They quote a 6 Ohm nominal impedance but there is no mention of a minimum impedance, and the frequency response is without +/- dB's. They also quote a sensitivity of 91 dB 1 watt/ 1 meter, and the suggested power range is between 40-175 Watts, but don't mention if that is per channel or total per pair.
Based upon the available specs, it would seem that either ss or tubes might work.

http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/support/past-products/silver-rs/rs8/#/specification
get a nice ss integrated with your 1k. i'd go used right here on agon. would start saving for a better pair of front speakers as well. you'll get there eventually.

just mt 2 cents....on sale today for nothin =)
Thanks to everyone on your response. Do you guys know of any DVD to configure your HT to get the most clarity from it? There is and edless configuring of the EQ, but dont know what the heck Im doing, so dont want to change it, might make it worse than better.
Danny, take a look at the Avia test Dvd.
"Watts are watts, and they are calculated the same way", is absolutely true. It is also true that efficient speakers require fewer watts. While these are electronic facts, "watts are watts" is not an "audio fact". For reasons unknown to me, that apparently can not be explained; "tube watts" are bigger stronger and tougher.
With tubes in a push/pull configuration they generally have more current available. I had a Bryston B100sst rated at 180w @4ohms. I now have an Octave V70SE tube integrated rated at 70w @4ohms. The Octave just destroys the Bryston in terms of 'control'. My speakers are Dyn C1 signatures rated at 85db. For solid state the Naim line has great current capabilities for the low watt rating.

That's been my experience so far :)
In my experience watts may be watts, but the sound quite different coming out of a tube amp compared with SS - the may measure the same, and be the same in that sense, but they sound quite different driving speakers - an SS amp let's you know it is running out of steam in a much more obvious and unpleasant way.
11-15-11: Xti16
With tubes in a push/pull configuration they generally have more current available. I had a Bryston B100sst rated at 180w @4ohms. I now have an Octave V70SE tube integrated rated at 70w @4ohms. The Octave just destroys the Bryston in terms of 'control'. My speakers are Dyn C1 signatures rated at 85db. For solid state the Naim line has great current capabilities for the low watt rating.
Tubes are generally better at voltage drive while SS is better at current.

A lower output power amplifier outperforming one with higher output could many factors besides whether they are tube or solid state. Power supply and output device operating point are big factors.
Although I understand electronics very well, electronics and audio are not the same. While those formulas come out fine on paper, they don't sound the same.

I had a 150 watt SS amp that was barely sufficient, now I have a 70 watt tube amp that seems to put out more or equal volume for sure; this is in the same room with the same speakers. Although I can figure an electronic formula, I can not hear an electronic formula.
Darkmobius, when you say "outperforming" do you mean quality, or apparent loudness? Certainly the factors you mention have alot to do with one amp outperforming another amp qualitatively, having little to do with watts.
It's true, those curved glass bottles magnify everything, a millimeter is longer, a gram weights more, the boiling point of water is higher, and the speed of light is faster on a tube than on a transistor....(sigh).
Tubes do none of those things, but they certainly handle clipping differently,
and that is the difference that makes a difference, but I thought that was long
settled, uncontested and understood. It is not tube voodoo, they simply handle
overload differently, which allows you to play them at higher average watts
without confronting the clipping hash of SS.

By the way, Harley's article, "The Smaller Difference" in the December TAS is a
pretty interesting discussion on what could lead to the importance of listening
versus measuring, the subject versus the objective. A good read I, I think. I
think TAS is also doing a great job of examine and discussing computer based
audio - first rate stuff that is finally getting me to understand it.
Dollar for dollar one can buy more ss watts than tube watts, and in the process avoid clipping altogether. It's been pointed out numerous times in this thread alone, that different amp technologies work differently with different speaker loads, but some here keep banging the same drum, without consideration of that oft repeated fact.
11-15-11: Pubul57
Darkmobius, when you say "outperforming" do you mean quality, or apparent loudness? Certainly the factors you mention have alot to do with one amp outperforming another amp qualitatively, having little to do with watts
Sorry, I probably wasn't clear in what I was saying. I was simply referencing Orpheus's comment that
For reasons unknown to me, that apparently can not be explained; "tube watts" are bigger stronger and tougher
, not how watts are calculated.
DM, got it. Unsound, what drum would that be? Not recognizing the
current/voltage paradigms regarding speakers, or do you mean something else?
I do agree, you can buy a lot of SS watts to make up for SS clipping, and that is
indeed one strategy. And if you own speakers with wide impedance swings and
very low impedances in the bass regions, you would indeed be better served
with an SS amp, and a tube amp might not work very well at all, simply can't
provide the current. But assuming you have speakers suitable for tubes, you
know the requirements, it is clear that a tube amp will sound more powerful
than a similarly rated SS amp, which is why your strategy of buying more, and
cheaper, SS amps is a strategy one could use to overcome these differences
between "watts" - and needed.
Ah, we agree! That is not to say, that I don't think that a tube amp isn't more appropriate in many circumstances, and visa versa.
Agreement feels better:)
"Tubes are generally better at voltage drive while SS is better at current" and to finish this statement,voltage driven produces even harmonics as opposed to SS which produces uneven harmonics.
"Tubes are generally better at voltage drive while SS is better at current" and to finish this statement,voltage driven produces even harmonics as opposed to SS which produces uneven harmonics.

Depending on who you talk to, this statement is likely to be considered a half truth. Part of why has to do with terminology.

The first part is where there is confusing use of terms. 'Voltage Drive', if we are using the Voltage Paradigm (see http://www.atma-sphere.com/Resources/Paradigms_in_Amplifier_Design.php) often means that the amp is capable of constant voltage regardless of load. If you do the math, this means it has a lot of current. OTOH, 'better at current' sort of means the same thing. So one must be careful to winnow out the exact meaning from the first part of the statement.

The latter half is 1/2 correct. Even-ordered harmonics will be present if there is also single-ended circuitry and has nothing to do with being 'voltage driven'. This may or may not be the case with tubes; our amps for example are fully differential and so do not produce even-ordered harmonics (a fully differential amp will produce mostly the 3rd harmonic).

It is true though that regardless of the topology, transistor circuits will produce odd-ordered harmonics and at any power level. This is due to non-linear capacitive elements inherent in the junctions of the semiconductors and also due to inherent nonlinearities in the devices themselves (certain FETs being less prone to the latter problem). Loop feedback is often used to control the latter phenomena, but said use will also guarantee odd-ordered harmonic distortion as it is a product of the use of loop negative feedback in an amplifier design.