Tube Vs. SS Preamps

Oddly in +25 yrs in the hobby, I’ve never really owned a tube preamp. Can you comment on what the differences are in general sonic terms? I want a really fatigue free sound with lots of body (I run class A and class AB solid state amps).

Do you find SS preamps to be fatiguing typically, more so on average than tube ones? Or is it simply the added bloom that's appealing with tube preamps?


You are asking the wrong question.  What tubes offer that SS cannot compete with is space.  You hear a soundstage where vocals and instruments have their own space.  While this is a generalization, that is the difference between many reference level comparisons.  While some like the 6H30 tube sound, to me it sounds SSish so in my experience, then just get a SS components.  The real question is what are you looking for from your system and in what price range.

Once you know what you are looking for then you need to audition them.  Take your time and enjoy the search.

Happy Listening.


In fact, you ask others to describe the sound which you never heard, I will say it is very difficult. Usually on the forums,they all have some kinds of listening,and above of that,they exchange the comments.

I know your question,which is : After so many years listen on SS amp only,you want to explore something new,and see if the tube sound is better for you. right?

If that is the case,you gotten go and listening by yourself somehow and go back asking the question. That is the normal procedure,in my opinion.



"... the supposed advantages of tubes vs solid state audio. Among several listed reasons for tube gear "sounding" better was that tubes emphasize even order harmonics, whereas solid state emphasizes odd order harmonics"

Nelson Pass on two of his SS amplifiers: "It is perhaps not oversimplifying to say that the [Pass Lab] XA25 has a 3rd harmonic character and the [First Watt] F8 has a very 2nd harmonic personality," --

running a nice class a amp with a very nice 6sn7 based tube preamp with a tube rectifier and have never enjoyed music more having tried every other option. 

biggest impact is the projection of the sound into the space of the room as if it were a floating 3 dimensional landscape.  

also a smoothness and naturalness to the sound with impeccable openness and transparency.  

never will i be without.  

What is "fatigue free" ?