Tube magic in solid state?


I spent this weekend being absolutely mesmerized by tube magic while listening to a BAT VK-60 on my Quad 989 speakers. Could it be possible that Charles Hansen has achieved the same thing with his zero feedback SS designs, or is this "magic" a soley and inescapably tube thing?

It was impossible to get bored with music this weekend. When I went back to my truly fine Pass Aleph 60 single-ended Class A mono amps, my mind started wandering, not once but several times--until I finally quit listening. These are great amps, but the BAT just changed things, you know what I mean? I don't have any idea how this VK-60 stacks up against other tube amps, but in my system, the gates of heaven opened with tubes on my electrostats. But life would be so much easier if we could find this in a SS amp. Is it possible...?
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All you want is a SS amp that actually sounds like a tube amp? I have yet to hear, or hear of one, that actually does. There isn't anything special about the BAT. This could be said about many high quality tube amps. I must admit though that many years ago I heard Levinson ML2's driving my Quad 63's that sounded very nice indeed, if not exactly like tubes.
The closest I found was Plinius SA100 KIII but still no cigar, I went back to tubes.

I do not think it is possible but all the comments about Edge sounding like neither SS or tubes has me thinking...
Lamm M1.1's with tube input Class A mosfet output, all the microdynamics of tubes but all the control of SS. I even have a solid state preamp (neutral though- Rowland)
NO. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE ADDICTED NOW. WAIT TO YOU HEAR AN OTL LIKE ATMA SPHERE. IT'S LIKE MOVING FROM POWDER COCAINE TO "CRACK."ADD TO THAT A MOVING COIL CARTRIDGE LIKE KOETSU AND YOU'LL TURN IN YOUR 401K. WELCOME TO OUR WORLD.
You may want to try Audio Analogue (Italy) or Sugden (UK). I recently heard a pair of Audio Analogue Donizetti monoblocs and they were probably the closest SS approximation of tubes I have heard yet.
So eloquently described gregadd.--Excellent simile,you smooth talker.
have both like I do...
I second the Sugden recommendation if you can live with 25 wpc. I love the sound of my A21.
You mention Charles Hansen. Well, I replaced a BAT VK75se (the latest hot rod edition of the VK60) with an Ayre V5x. Tubes are very seductive. I had both amps at the same time and compared them carefully. The BAT had a more forward midrange - I think this is the source of tube amps appeal. Also, becuase tube amps roll off the highs, they cover up the deficiencies of digital source material. The Ayre is less juicy in the midrange. If I liked only vocals and 50's classic jazz all the time, tubes might be what I could settle down with. For me, I like the control and accuracy of the V5x. I listen to a lot of large scale classical. Also, the Ayre is quieter - although the BAT is a VERY quite tube amp. I think the Ayre images better as well. Please note that I still use my BAT VK30SE preamp. And, I think there is something special about the zero feedback designs - tube or SS.

I guess the point I would like to make is that there ARE really good SS amps out there. And SS does some things better than tubes. It is just a matter of where you want to make compromises. And, your front end has to be excellent, or the high frequency extension of SS will take your head off.

I've also heard old Pass (I used to own Aleph 2s), current Pass (X350), and the current Rowland (ICE based) kit. Some older SS gear can sound very harsh. But, I think there are designers out there that are getting it right.

I'll probably buy another tube amp to have around some day. I'd love to hear the Mac amps or the EAR 890!!
Perhaps the most convenient way is to go for Tube pre and ss or hybrid power.A Hybrid integrated also worth a look.Best of both worlds ?
I have found great musical reproduction thru Gryphon gear, one really forgets if it is a tubed or a SS design. I have found some great options in the used market for early Gryphons like the DM100, Anthileon or even the Tabu line.

Fernando
Former Postive Feedback reviewer cum tube-amp designer Lynn Olsen reviewed the RE Designs LNPA-150 75wpc monoblocks and compared them favourably to the Audionote Ongaku and Riechert 300Bs, the former costing MEGA dollars. The LNPAs apparently present a similar harmonic spectrum to good tube gear - predominantly benign 2nd order distortion with extremely low levels of higher orders.

Anyone hear take advantage of their 30-day inhome trial?
I like Sugden as well, but the only SS amp I've heard that almost fooled me into thinking I was listening to tubes is the Sonneteer integrated (another British integrated; not very well known in the US but I would highly recommend). I've heard it with Quads and it worked very well with them.

TLH
Gregadd - STOP SHOUTING!