Rogue 66 Magnum I can say would be a very Solid state presentation of what tubes sound like if that makes sense... More tube sounding units out there for sure.
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The better the tube unit and the better the SS unit being compared, the smaller the difference. I would say that in the uber units there is very little difference (assuming they both can handle the speaker loads).
I believe that when you start buying amps and preamps for the "character" of the sound, you're headed in the wrong directions.
Interesting people think tubes are still selling due to people want to pay for NOS and units that sound a certain sonic signature, yet like to argue they should all sound nearly the same if juxtaposed to a top grade solid state?
Very strange, trust me if I did not want it to sound like Tube sound, Euphonic etc... And okay bad word "COLOR" the sound than whats the point?
I would also suggest 99% of the people reasoning with attempting tubes and or even posting these types of questions is because they are looking for that character and really in the end something different than "Perfect reference" sound or any supposed "run of the mill" sound that all units should produce at a certain price level..
They obviously do it for purposes of pursuing a different musical presentation.. So I totally disagree a great unit should basically sound the same or close the gap between each other. Which if that was the case why would any one waste their time and money with tuning the sound via tubes and all the issues that go along with it?
This is the only reason I mentioned Rogue in general can have a more hifi solid state character vs. somebody looking to have a more "Tube" sound which in general is a bigger, more dynamic, yet warmer and "Halo" type sound of glass. Thats why I think this original poster might be a slight bit disappointed in his findings and most others that state such questions.
Good points Undertow. Some of the "high-end" tube amps and pre-amps are, indeed, very colored, but some, like ARC, are very neutral and open. I agree that many, no matter their budget, never outgrow the need for a warmer signature than neutral, with a good dose of even-order distortion thrown in to boot. That's valid, so I guess I am mistaken to say that's "the wrong direction." It's wrong for me, but lots of people happily inhabit that territory.
So, I guess what I'm trying to do is make it clear for "newbies" that some of the very best tube equipment has almost no color. Despite that, at any budget point, you can also choose very colored tube equipment. When SS designers try to "voice" their equipment, I generally think they're less successful.
I tend to be drawn to higher end SS devices because of my desire for neutrality.
I was going to suggest different tubes vs. the basic "Non-colored" russian types probably in the rogue gear but figured that might get more confusing, and costly for somebody that does not know where to start! Basically I just knew rogue is known for not being the best representation of "Tube" sound.
I understand what you are saying, and can agree, problem is many others don't! Ha, but yeah I mean why have a pair of 200 dollar telefunkens if you are not looking to tilt or alter your reference sound from the original was my only point, otherwise anything used would be considered perfect reference sound... Obviously you buy them for the more "Traditional" sound and tuning purposes as much as many love to say "don't use components, cables, or tubes for tone", so its not just all about who can make the Whitest most flawless sheet at a price point was my only argument.
Oh and FYI...I purchased the Rogue because,
1) I wasn't completely happy with the Anthem pre and tubes were suggested
2) The Rogue itself was a recommendation
3) I didn't want to dive in for bigger bucks in case I wasn't happy. I see quite a few classifieds here still sitting, due to the economy I guess.
I didn't go tube just to try something different.
I had a Rogue 66 in my system many years ago when they had just been introduced. As I recall, the 66 sounded pretty well focused but had PHAT bouncy bass which was not too articulate. And overall the sound was not very dimensional.
One thing to consider when using a tube preamp is that many of them invert polarity... so for any comparison to be fair, you need to make sure you have the polarity correct at the speakers. This sometimes means reversing the positive and negative speaker leads on both channels. This will result in a "different" sounding presentation.
I don't remember if the Rogue inverts, but I'm sure you could contact the company and find that out easily.
As a side note, I found the sound of their model 99 tube preamp to be much more to my liking.
The real deal is this. The fact that you put tubes in the chain before the power amps will not do the tube magic show. You must go with a tubed poweramp and not some hybrid either.
I struggled for 6 years until I bought tube monoblocks. For less than most good SS units.The whole story was layed open. If you must know what to look for you don't have it. I can say that soundstaging proper tone and sparkle are more prominent with tubes.You will never know that tube magic unless you use them as the outputs.
I would go as far as to say that you can do the opposite with better results. A Solid State pre, which is very quiet, into tubed power amps will do the trick.
I have finally found Nirvana and I don't have the least desire to to change it. No audionervosa here.
The comment pointing at tube amps being a snob appeal product and that people buy the just to roll tubes is ridiculous. That's why I have several hundred different tubes. Actually I have left the stock power tubes 6CA7s in my Consonance Cyber 800s alone and only rolled the inputs and drivers.
The rolling really had very little impact compared to making the switch. The previous set up was a classic 6 tube pre the ARC SP6B and 400wpc SS power amps. I sold the power amps and bought a very simple tube pre, I am as happy as a pig in s**t.
P.S. e-mail me for further advice and help I also bought a DA-60 by Jadis this year.
Mechans..I have to disagree with your statement totally..Runnning a tube pre with solid state power will give you tube magic.I guess it depends on what grade tube pre you are using.It also eleminates the expensive of constant tube replacement in the power section which I got really tired of. Pre-amp tubes last years.Also rolling tubes in the pre-amp can change the layout of the system tremendously at little cost..IMO its the way to go
I have to agree with Mechans !
I have auditioned different combinations of SS and tubed equipment . If you want to know what tubes sound like you have to do the amp AND the pre ! I have and do suggest that if one wants to experiment , just get a decent integrated and try it . You will probably spend about the same amount and get a TRUE feel for what tubes can do for the presentation .
Once you do that you can then tailor the sound to your particular taste and partnering equipment by rolling the tubes .
For me , tubes bring a sense of life to the music . Something that I have not been able to find with SS equipment costing multiples of my little integrated . And some these SS components are considered to be warm with a
"tube like" sound . But they had no heart ! It is hard for me to describe what tubes do . I could not describe it to the various dealers that I talked to . But when I heard that first all tube presentation I knew that it was what I had been looking for .
Different strokes for different folks !
Good luck .
I have owned tubed preamps and mated with SS amps for the past several years. Currently I have a BAT VK200 amp and VK5i preamp. I have been very happy with this combo until I borrowed a friends VK55 tube amp. The VK200 sounds very good but the 55 is magic. It doesn't quite have the bass the ss amp does but right now I don't care. The 55 has better mids and highs and the bass is there just not as tight. I think the 55 has a fuller bass and no its not bloaty. I am hearing more into the music with better soundstaging side to side and top to bottom. Much more air and transparency. Music now is more pleasurable to listen to. It just sounds right with this combination.
FWIW, I agree with both Tvad and Mechans. I changed from all SS in 1985 by the introduction of an ARC SP10 pre-amp. Using a Threshold SA3(a VERY nice Class A amp) the overall sound was richer, smoother, and much less fatiguing. I was happy as hell! I could even listen to CD's for the first time. Even driving Thiel speakers! A revelation.
A few years later I got my first electrostats, Quad 63's, and, subsequently due to my dissatisfaction with the sound from the Quads using SS amps, my first tube amp(s). The most immediate difference was the addition of a sense of microdynamics, air, bloom, whatever you want to call it, but it was the anthisis of the lack of dimensionallity I had heard using solid state, including the Thresholds. I've had quite a few tube amps since, but I've never thought for a moment of returning to SS.
I think if I had to make a choice if I could find a good SS pre-amp which sounded neutral, like a passive pre-amp, with added dynamics, I could be contented, if not happy.
You really have to hear what a tube amp actually adds to your system in your home. If you can't hear it, or don't appreciate it, SS can still be very rewarding and surely a lot lest angst involved.
Just to pick up only on the "coloration issue": one of my high priorities in a component is how much color it reveals in music (e.g., variety of color, intensity of color, harmonic information, etc). My personal opinion is that this is an area where the best tube preamps have traditionally excelled. Another personal opinion is that SS preamps have come a *very* long way in this regard. I'm "with" Dcstep then; i.e., that the very best tube and SS preamps (as defined solely using my criteria) sound quite a bit alike.