In a word, no. You may warm up the tonal spectrum, or not, depending on your choice, but the real magic with tubes, the REAL magic, is with the amp/speaker combo. The pre-amp is a nice place for tubes but thats much less than half of the magic.
That said there are a few nice 'warm' cdp's out there.
I have an Onkyo NR-905 for H/T, I tried running a Raysonic 168 through the pre amp section with an external 5 channel amp, it sounded better than the Denon 3930 ci I use for H/T but the receiver can't convey that tube sound . Short answer, a waste of money. Is that Pandora's box I hear opening and the sound of the recently infected coughing from within!!!
Agree with Newbee, that while a tube CDP will add some tube warmth to your system, to get a true tube sound, you're going to need a tube amp. If I was you I would be looking for a used tube integrated amp (check audiogon listings), and add that to your system. Chances are you can get a tube integrated amp for less money than you can get a tube CDP. And you'll definely be closer to the tube sound you're looking for.
The Cayin 50T tube integrated amp looks very appealing to someone who has little to spend on a tube amp. More tube bang for the buck than getting a CD player.
I disagree. Tube amps can lack bottom end and have that tube bloated sound. Tube CD player, DACs and Pre-Amps lend the benefits of tube sound without the downsides you can get with the amps interaction with the speakers.
My system is all tube and the CD player made a big improvement with soundstage, musicality and fatigue. I say go for it.
"Tube amps can lack bottom end and have that tube bloated sound."
I get plenty of bottom end and it's not bloated, out my tube amp. You read your post and it's somewhat contradicts itself. You're saying that tube amps have a "bloated sound", but then you turn around and say that your "system is all tube and the CD player made a big improvement with soundstage, musicality and fatigue." I assume your CDP is a tube one, but are you're saying it induces "fatigue"? I certainly hope not. Hate to say it, but your post seems to say thet tube CDPs sound good, but tube amps sound "bloated and lack a bottom end". Makes me wonder why you have a tube system? Can't tell whether you like tubes or not.
How about the best of both worlds......?
True dual DAC, BB opamp or tubed output. Check out the "Muse 3"http://www.xindak.com/english/products/showditail.asp?id=241
I'm using a tube DAC on my Solid State CD Player. Specificially to take the solid state nasties, or the edge off my CD's. If you just want to improve on your system this is an inexpensive way to hear tubes. But an all tube system may give better results. It truly depends on your ears.
My preamp is tube and my power amp is tube. I love the way my system sounds with the expception of the bloated bass. It's not on every recording. Just the recordings with more bass. I'm sure it is my tube amp which is a Modified ST 70. The speakers are Spica TC 60's which are ported. My TC 50's are not ported and they don't suffer the same problems. So, yes and no to your question. You are still at the mercy of the recording too. It will take the edge off the CD player but you may be better off finding a tube DAC and running your CD Player through it to see what results you get. There are several different models around along with what is called a tube buffer which plugs between your power amp and preamp and you get some of the benefit of tubes. Musical Fidelity makes one.
If you are looking for a DAC the Scott Nixon tube DACS are popular, Cal Audio Lab, and on the Solid State side I hear the Benchmark is remarkable and non fatiguing.
I have my HT setup separate from my 2 channel. My 2 channel is all tube. An integrated amp in a 2 channel setup may work wonders for you I would visit a local dealer and see if you can get a loaner and take it home for a couple nights.
Also, cables can be causing some of your problems. I would look for something like Kimber 4PR all copper and softer sounding than the 4TC which is more detailed. Budget wire but they both sound wonderful in most systems.
"Tube amps CAN lack bottom end and have that tube bloated sound."
I did not say they ALL do. I have VTL Tiny Triodes and I admit I have tube bloat and less bass slam and control over all my solid state amps. However, the VTL's are better at everything else. A compromise I am willing to live with for now.
"My system is all tube and the CD player made a big improvement with soundstage, musicality and fatigue."
Improvement in the area of fatigue would be less not more. Yes my CD player is tube.
Hope that clears things up.
I just added a jas 2.1 tube rectified and tube output cd player to my system. I am using a solid state preamp and amp. This player completly changed the sound of system. much more clarity, detail, warmth,sweetness in the mids, solid and extended bass. It is very musical with tube like sound. Also every tube I roll into the output stage has a clear and distinct change in sound. So with the right player you will gain a good deal of tube qualities with out sacrificing bass and speed. Not to say all tube gear suffers from that, but many do. I hope that helps.
Our systems are a result of all components, cables, tweaks, etc. working together in harmony. I have a Cary 308t into a Manley Shrimp driving a McCormack DNA-125 into Tyler 7u. I switched from a SET tube based integrated (Unison S2K) and can tell you the results are dramatic. Even with the tubed pre and cdp, the system sounds like ss with great detail and bottom end slam. So, as posted above, it IS all about the amp/speaker combo, but, as also noted above, a tube based cdp will add some warmth to an all ss system. Remember, your mileage will vary.
I think I might have to agree with Cleaneduphippy and Newbee on this subject and say that the amp/speaker combination will make a greater difference on the "tube feel" of the system.. And I'm basing it on my personal experience as I was shopping for my components.
One of the first things that I bought was a Tube CDP (Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1) which in my opinion is a pretty "tube-y" CDP to begin with.. at least compared to some of the Cary CDPs. With that being said, after hooking it up into my Krell integrated, there was a *subtle* difference, but honestly, to me it didn't feel warm enough. I buckled and spent some more money I didn't have and bought some Cary monoblocks and the difference was night and day.
I strongly recommend switching out your amps first before working on the pre amp or CDP. Even if it's something simple like an ST-70 or something.. It'll give you the kind of sound that you want and are going after.
Just posted the same remark in another thread. Just visited Xindak showroom (Lotus Audio Import)in RMAF-2008. There, Xindak Muse Deluxe 1.0 CDP/DAC-8 combo looked and sounded wonderful. To my years, however, the CDP alone sounded as detailed, open, and transparent as the combo, and at 50% the $$$. By the way, it gets you tube output as well as solid-state. Built like a tank.