Tube Sound Question


This is a generic question that I’m sure has been asked.... compared to a solid state setup (amp/preamp)... what percentage of the tube sound would be attributable to the tube preamp vs the tube amp in a tube amp/preamp setup?
snapsc
I think the amp accounts for about 80-90% of your potential tubiness.  
I would say the tubes used in either accounts for that whether it's the pre or the amp. Personally when I had the Octave V110 the output tubes made more of the difference.
I added a tube phono preamp to a solid srare power amp once and it opened up the sound in that holographic way that tubes can impart. So yeah, you could say a tube preamp can give the tubier sound in a pre-power pair. I'm all tubes now so not a concern.
@noromance 

so, when you switched to a tube power amp to go with your tube preamp... how much “tubier” did the sound get... or in other words is your sound now 30% preamp and 70% power amp... or some other ratio??
Um...good question. I've had a lot of tube power amps. When I went from a sand power amp to a glass one, it was a never-go-back improvement. It's difficult to quantify given the variables. In other words a good set of tubes in either pre or power can be enough to change the ratio. 
What are you trying to do?
@noromance

Actually, I started this thread out of curiosity and because I hadn't yet found this thread...which as it turns out, discusses the question in detail.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/for-tube-sound-which-is-more-important-preamp-or-power-amp?hi...
Friend

 This is always a very interesting topic for discussion.     Based on my experience throughout the years there is no doubt that the Amplifier  contributes most of the sonic signature to the overall  presentation.   However,   there is also no doubt  that everything affects the overall presentation.  

A good Vacuum Tube System cannot be beat.
Take a look at all the hybrid integrated amps. How many have a solid state preamp and tube power amp compared to tube preamp and solid state power amp? Not many if none. Just sayin'!
A seriously subjective question, but an interesting one.  Consider checking out a Kevin Deal video on Upscale Audio's site.  He talks about tube power amps and preamps, with some discussion relevant to your question.  He ultimate suggests, as a "reasonably" priced system, the McIntosh MC275VI matched to the PS Audio Gain Cell Preamp/Dac.  His argument is that you get "some tube glory" from a tube preamp, but the significant tube effect comes from the tube power amp.
Too hard to say.  For example the older CJ tube amps and preamps provided a very musical sound but some might say to much syrup if you understand that.  So it depends on the design.  I am in the camp that says the preamp makes the sound because it reproduces the soundstage dimension, sorts out complex passages, separates the space between instruments and vocals, creates the texture of the piano, strings and sax, notes.  IMO the amp does not influence that part as much as the preamp.  I would imagine that not one person replying to your post has ever heard a Direct Heated Triode produce or built and designed a component or modified a component.  So their experience in mainly based on hearing a component in their system, another persons system, at a dealer, or at a show.  So that seems limiting to me just my opinion don't lay me out people just trying to provide some advice on the questions asked.

Happy Listening.
I mainly let my head choose everything up to the power amp, so Benchmark Media for DAC and their new linestage for the quality of the signal.  Then for amp and speakers, I trust my heart for what final sound I love, which for me is a great tube amp and speakers that put the performance in the room without sibilance.
Since the tube sound is mostly attributed to its high output impedance (which is why they are described as warm, as most speakers are ported). So, a tube amp is magnitudes more influential in coloration than a tube preamp.
When I bought a Dennis Had "Firebottle" single ended 12wpc tube power amp it was one of the most significant system changes I’d had over many years...including owning other tube power amps...used it initially with a very clean dual mono SS preamp and it sounded astonishingly good, but curiosity meant I had to try a tube preamp and wound up with a Schiit Freya, which when using the tube section, is even better. Not WAY better, it just adds that little extra detail that tubes seem so good at providing. I’m definitely in the tube power amp school of thought simply based on my experience, but tube pre to SS power might fit others just fine.
Since the tube sound is mostly attributed to its high output impedance (which is why they are described as warm, as most speakers are ported). So, a tube amp is magnitudes more influential in coloration than a tube preamp.
This statement is incorrect.

'Tube' sound comes from a lack of higher ordered harmonic distortion. Quite often tube sound comes from more 2nd harmonic distortion as well. Combined, you get smoother sound on top because the ear perceives higher ordered harmonics as harshness and brightness (the transistor 'sound') and a richer sound on account of the 2nd (if present).

Its possible to design tube gear to not make the 2nd harmonic (by making the circuit fully differential and balanced).


The higher output impedance that is common with tubes has little to do with this.

In a nutshell, because they make less higher ordered harmonic distortion, its easier to build tube circuits that more closely adhere to the human ear/brain hearing perceptual rules since it is distortion that causes transistor circuits to be brighter. Of course its a bit more complicated than that, but if you want what the 'tube sound' is all about then you're better off with both a tube amp and preamp.
@ atmasphere
Somewhat of a side question...if it is 2nd order harmonics and less odd order harmonics that contribute to the sense of smoothness....what aspect of tubes...amp or preamp...is it that contributes to the increased sense of spaciousness?