Tube or Solid State

My question is, to power a pair of Usher Dancer CP-8517 would you go with the McIntosh MC402 SS Amp, or the MC2102 tube amp?

I grew up admiring the idea of owning my own tube system. But I'm worried that the tube amp wont give me enough sound for what I'm used to. I'm used to playing my music loud and although I understand it isn't an ideal format, all of my library is digital.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

How big is the room and what kinds of music do you care most about? Also what pre-amp will you be using?
I believe the MC2102 is 100 wpc and the MC402 is 400 wpc. The Ushers are around 89dB @ 8 ohm.

So 1 watt = 89dB, 2 = 92dB, 4 = 95dB, 8 = 98 dB, 16 = 101 dB and so forth. Once we get north of 100dB, I have to ask how loud is loud enough?

An increase from 200 to 400 wpc seems like a lot until you realize that the increase from 200 to 400 gives you the same thing as an increase from 2 watts to 4; that is, a 3dB increase in SPL. So the difference between 100 wpc and 400 is 6dB.

Assuming the impedence curve of the Ushers is fairley flat, that is, that they are not difficult to drive, the 2102 should be capable.

I have read that one tube watt is equal to two SS watts. I do not know if there is a scientific basis for this or not.

Hope this is helpful.

I've read what you said regarding db's many times before but it never made much sense until now. Thank you!
J_Bailey, factor in at minimum 10dB peaks in the music, especially for orchestral pieces. So, if you're listening at an average volume of 95dB, then you should allow for at least 105dB peaks (some suggest 15-20dB of headroom).

That "one tube watt equals two SS" is a wives' tale.
Go with the solid state Mac. The often subtle differences between tubes and SS is the liquidity of the tube sound which I think can be largely lost when you are listening to really loud music, as you seem inclined to do. Now if you maintain a SPL level around 80db and have heard and appreciate the difference between tubes and ss go for the sound you like best. Either of these amps should be able to drive your speakers with comfortable head room for peaks.

I agree with Tvad, watts is watts, BUT I do think that the sound of tubes often has a fullness in the lower frequencies (the 'power frequencies') that may cause one to think they are hearing something more powerful. Not fact, just opinion though.
Tvad: Fair enough. From 95 dB the tube amp has the headroom you suggest.

Newbee: Your statement about the differences between the 2 is a bit of over simplification. I do not want to turn this into another endless debate on tubes vs SS. You are obviously an SS guy and I am a tube guy. All we can probably do is to agree to disagree.

Actually,no worries the MAC tube amp will meet your needs and provide you with a sound that will exceed your expectations.
This is a personal opinion only,I'm a tube guy and I also prefer red wine over white if you catch my drift.
If you think you'd like tubes I think you should give them a whirl! Mac has great resale, or perhaps your dealer would let you demo them in your system.
If you can get both and compare.Not only for loudness but also for whether you think Usher benefits from tubes.Some speakers it's dramatic others it's not worth the loss in some area's like dynamics or bass control.I sold Mac before 2001 and loved sound of SS gear but have also herd the tube stuff at shop since.But it's your taste and the speaker as well as listening levels.
J bailey, I'm LOL. I've been called a lot of nasty things in my life but never "a ss guy". :-) My post was an attempt at being pragmatic as opposed to a tube enthusiast.
Based on the limited information about the OP that we are working with so far, I'd say the SS will be the safer choice with the greater chance of fully satisfying and delivering optimal performance.

The tube amp may be a good choice as well, but can't say for sure without more info as requested early on, so it seems riskier at this point to me.
Any chance you can hear the 2 amps with the speakers before purchase;I have usher rw 729's driven with roland model 6 monoblocks and audiovalve challanger 180 mono's both do a excellant job;but I do prefer the sound of the tubes over the rolands only because female vocals and midrange seem to me to be more natural than my solid state however it is still very close.
(just curious) 95 dB ave with 105dB peaks.. That is LOUD!
Are you talking sound pressure levels at the listening position? Jeeez you must be nearly deaf by now?
I am 60, Right now, I am listening to music with an average (Rat Shak meter) at 62dB at my chair. The loudest I play is 80dB ave. I suppose for gut thumping bowel churning sound 95dB with 105dB peaks is just about right... but I PROMISE you, you will need hearing aids just to hear a conversation.. within ten years.