Um...where do you start? Are you happy with the sound you are getting? I wouldn't bother getting into vinyl. (I say this as an avid vinyl user). Tubes in CD players are only in the output stage so somewhat of a novelty. Treat yourself to a tube power amp with volume controls and source selector.
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Like Noromance said, "tube" CDPs use tube in the audio section; as you might expect, decoding has to be done with chips in the digital domain. There are a few companies who make or made very excellent sounding CDPs with tube-based output stages. If you Google on "tube CD player" you will be able to identify some of them. If you don't want to invest in a tube amplifier, which is understandable if you have a multi-channel video system that is also served by the same amplifier(s), then you might acquire a tube line stage. You will have to do the homework on that, too, to find something that suits your needs, because you have not clearly stated what those are, and because I am too lazy to do it myself. Finally, whatever you do, don't by a cheap turntable, cheap tube phono stage, and cheap cartridge, and then dismiss tubes because you do not think the ensemble measures up to your digital gear. Vinyl Nirvana does not come cheap or without careful selection and a little love.
Agree that you are considering some questionable routes. Getting into vinyl means getting into record cleaning and other expenses that shouldn't be ignored. Cheaper tube phono stages are susceptible to RFI/EMI interference.
Given what's happening in computer audio, investing now in better CD playback rarely makes a wise investment, tube or not. You money would be better spent on a streaming/server type solution.
If you want tube sound, agree that a line stage makes most sense given your home theater needs in your amp. Cheers,
I agree with the others that if you are not committed to vinyl, I would stick with either CD's or digital downloads and get some tubes in there somewhere. To make vinyl really effective you need a decent turntable/arm/cartridge combination, vibration control, LP cleaning rig and know how to set it all up.
Tubes work best with voltage gain, i.e. in preamps and input stages of power amps but probably the biggest tube effect is on the output stages of power amps, also the most problematic. There are also tube buffer units you can buy for a few hundred bucks that will add some of the traditional tube sound. IMO, the best way to go would be either a tubed line stage or tubed integrated amp. I have never heard a CD player with tubed output stage so I can't comment on that but they probably don't use much gain so the tube effect would likely be minimal. I agree that Kevin Deal would be a good resource and he is a really honest guy, known and dealt (pun intended) with him for many years.
I would think it impossible to match CD/Music server quality for less that 5-6 K. IMO and coming from a person who is all tube/vinyl for the most part, that CD player I have comes close. It's only drawback is the vinyl solves the listener fatigue equation. Very little sameness throughout the night. Sometimes I go for 4-5 hours and can't do that with CDs.
Another thing, building a collection of vinyl is an expense, although for me it has been fun. But then I have been building mine for 35 years.
Also, be careful. You could get the bug and have another expensive obsession calling you in.
Those late night sessions are magical though.
THANKS PEOPLE... turntable might not be the way to go for me.. PrimaLuna looks really nice but at $3000 I'd have to save some more money... Googled and found Jolida with some great reviews on their tube cd player... in my price range too... Also found Decware... But read their description and it said that it was strong enough to push a connected 40 watt amp... not sure what they mean by that ... I thought all you'd have to worry about is the input impedance.. I guess I'd have to call them so they can explain... my pre/pro (I think) is 47Kohm and amp is 100Kohm...
I vote for a tube line stage and not a tube CD or phono stage. Too limiting to a single source. Most people expect a tubed line-stage (preamp) to be placed after the surround sound processor and use a home theater bypass built into that pre, but if your processor is decent at letting the signal through unaltered then you can reap benefits before it as well. And a tube pre wherever you place it can handle multiple connections from CD players and turntables and dacs. Much more flexible. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't rule out putting a new tube pre in front of your surround sound processor. You might have good results doing that and connecting ALL of your other components to it for tube sound. Good luck.
that's a great idea mward... I assume the my pre/pro is up to the task of passing thru signal unaltered ($9000 new)... it states in bypass mode that only the analog volume control is in use... My plan is to have the Oppo play movies plugged directly to the pre/pro via HDMI (don't want movies tubed) and have the music played thru something with tubes - connected to the pre/pro's bypass section.. so I'm thinking a tube line stage isn't necessary until I want to connect multiple tube sources.. the tube cd player to start with is all I need (???) ...
Not sure where you are located. Tone imports is the North America importer and Pitch Perfect in LA is the dealer that I purchased my unit. Here is a link that provides some specs:. http://china-highend-hifi.com/LM-515CD,%20En.html