Tube power vs Solid state power, how much is enoug


Thinking about getting into tubes. My concern is how much is enough? From what I've seen, tube amp power is, on the whole, lower than solid state. I mean - ain't watts, watts? It's sort of confusing. Not being a big fan of non-dynamic (plannar, which there is nothing wrong with them, just not my cup of tea)speakers, I aim to wind up with either BW802, Legacy Focus/whispers, or the like. Unless I can find another way to achieve full range sound with a tube anp, I'll probably use(and really want to), my Krell with the tube, in a two amp configuration, driving one pair of the above mentioned units.

Shouldn't manufacturers just state voltage development or current ratings, instead of watts? Sure, more folks recognize the term watts, as it relates to power. But if it all comes down to how much voltage/current can be developed, and how quickly, then the term "watts", seems arbitrary. More so wehn you talk about "tube amps".

For the most part, I've long since quit looking at specs and just let my ears do the judging. That seems the best route. Problem with that is my ears usually end up arguing with my wallet, heart, and what is left of my brain. Some of these arguments are frightful. The winner is not always the ears. More times than not, the wallet wins. (not always), but usually. I try to leave the brain out of it as much as possible. Although, in this instance, I need to throw the brain a bone so I ask this question.

Just how do you figure out tube watts vs. solid state?

Please help my poor, ignored, seldom the winner, brain.

Thanks,
the brain
blindjim
I was running 2 McIntosh MC-162's in mono (320wpc) and decided to try tubes. I bought a pair of Antique Sound Labs wave 8 monos here on Agon and holy cow!!! I was running them through B&W 604 s3's by the way, the little 8 watt tube amps (to me) actually sounded better. in the end, in my opinion, it all depends on what your going to listen to. for vocals and Jazz, clasical tubes are the way to go, but if you have those days where you have to blast some Metallica there is nothing like solid state.
Reading these comments .. A couple of things .. My first audio systems were tube driven - that's all there were then. If you wanted flat 20 to 20kHz frequency response (remembering that music frequency is is definitely not a constant) you need a high quality output transformer, an inductive device with capacitive elements (keeping in mind that reactance varies with frequency) to produce a flat frequency response. This resulted in the need for, for instance, non-symmetrically wrapped windings (there's an art to that - but maybe today's computers have taken much of the art out of that - I don't know). A good output transformer never came cheap. Then there's distortion where the degree of it is centered primarily around biasing, feedback, and individual device quality. Class A was always most desired but you couldn't expect it to remain linear and then get much power out (I won't get into push-pull, class B, class A/B approaches to getting more power out). Circuit design gets quite tricky. I did love the tube sound - but with the right speakers.

Ah yes .. Speakers. All speakers have their own distinctive sound. From my perspective, that's where you need to start and then build your system chain backwards from there. We all hear sounds differently and each of us have our own preference in music. To my ears, the best sounding speakers I ever heard were a pair of Apogee Scintilla all ribbon speakers. These were VERY low impedance speakers, each of which required large Krell or Threshold power amplifiers. You can love your tube sound, but no tube amp would ever do these justice .. and by the way, these were the only speakers I've ever heard that sounded so natural that, eyes closed, you'd swear the performers were standing right there in front of you. This was back in the 1980s and the cost was $7,000ish for the speakers. I figured I could somehow work that out. But then we had to start talking about the very expensive amps needed to drive them, and the size of room necessary for listening (being bi-directional they had to be far from the wall). Alas, the closest I could come to these that would fit my budget were Magnepan 4 ohm ribbon tweeter speakers. They also require a lot of current to drive them (Bryston 4B ST works well for these), they, when set properly provide a clean, detailed sound with great stage.

I guess the point is, it's all about the quality (to your ears) of the sound of the music that counts. And my experience says that quality runs linearly with cost (it's a long path before significant diminishing return starts to set in), at least that's the case if one's preference is music that features natural acoustic instruments (Jazz, classical, folk, etc).


Zombie thread come to eat your brains!
It’s good to see that some folks here concentrate solely on the technical path to the target, where others view that path from the perspective of the ultimate goal, the highest possible quality of music one can experience via a complex maze of expensive electronics razzle-dazzle.
Good high quality watts.    I owned the onkyo m504 waaay back, I fried , melted the terminals, since then, I’ve had no less than. 250 wpc, rms 
 my lowest powered amps are 200wpc 

 you will need the headroom for crescendos etc!
dont short change yourself on power,