I'm not particularly technical, but the common meaning is that a CD player which uses tubes in its analog stage would be considered a tube CD player.
11 responses Add your response
That one has been and will continue to be debated on this site forever with respect to amplifiers, preamps and the like. Were you to ask the designer of a tubed unit, doubtless he would say the tubed one; likewise, the designers of the Levinson and similar players would say solid state. And while I prefer my tubed dac, I'd be the last one to assert that an Ah! Tjoob CD player sounds remotely as good as an Accuphase. Ultimately the one that sounds "better" is the one you think sounds better after careful listening, I guess.
A cd output in a tube player can sometimes be advantageous. If you do not have any other glassware in your system, it is one way to go about getting the sound of tubes(albeit not the preferred way). Or if your system sounds a bit harsh, tubes can smooth things out. I generally believe that if you are a certified tubeophile(which means you are already in possession of tubes), a tube CD player is unecessary(but that doesn't mean you can't go in that direction). I think it was a better idea in the older days of digital. When the sound was overly analytical, dry, and sterile. Newer players are not like that as much. Which one is better? Depends on you, your system, and your room.
Hey Trelja, did you ever own one of the early Analogic Designs players made by Scott Nixon (later called Anodyne)? I did, and for the very reasons you mentioned about early digital. Gave it to a musician friend years ago, and I believe she's still happily listening to it (although I wonder how the tubes are holding up).
Hey Rcprince! No, I am sorry, but I never came across those. I remember hearing players from Carver, Dynaco, Jolida, and those that were "modded" to use tubes like the Ah! Tjoeb is today. Were those hatchet jobs(just a figure of speech) Denon(or JVC?) players back then? Can't quite recall... Those players did take the digital edge off the music(along with a lot of detail). Usually 12AX7 or 6DJ8(6922) tubes in a CD player, so you know the tubes will last a long time. One thing about CD players, if you don't really abuse them, they'll be around for a lot of years. I have two old Pioneers in my house that are still going strong(in solid state rigs, for the non-Audiophiles at home). I believe they are about 13 years old. Maybe I should have traded up for some tube output players over the years, huh?!? Is it me, or do musicians(like your friend) get a lot more enjoyment out of this hobby than most audiophiles; with a helluva lot less in terms of equipment no less? For them, music isn't usually a competition, but a form of entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment. Should be like that for all of us. Enjoy the music!