what is it like to mix tube and solid..

what is it like to mix a tube pre and a solid state amp? or the other way around? or is it even okay to do that? to specify the equipments, say a conrad-j and a classe. what do you guys think?
Tube pre-amps with solid state amps is an excellent way to come close to the best of both worlds, and it is what I use. Some also use a solid state pre-amp and a tube amp-- IMO this often gives a more "tubey" sound. But of course it depends on the specific components in use. Your suggestion of a tube d CJ pre-amp and SS Classe' could be great-- or not. You'd just have to try it. Good Luck. Craig
I think it is about like trying to mix cottage cheese with maybe a pimiento cheese. Sure, they are both cheeses, but each tastes very different from the other. Some people are actually into it and don't mind the blend of cheesy flavors. Personally, I find it hard to endorse. Instead, I'd rather load my cracker with say, a nice brie, all by it's lonesome.
I used a CJ PV-10 tube pre and CJ MF2100 SS power amp for a couple years with great results. The Tube Blue Circle BC21 tube preamp was specifically designed to go with the BC22 SS power amp.
In New York City there is a Wonderful high end Audio Store. The Equipment is some of the Best Audio Equipment in the World. In Alot of the Listening rooms you will see alot of TUBE pre-amps connected with Solid State Amplifiers.The mix is often referred to as, "TUBE on Top". I see much more "TUBE on Top". as opposed to Solid State Pre Amp and a Tube Amplifier. That is not to say, that the arrangment will not sound good. I have experimented with both, Solid State Pre- Amp and a Tube Amplifier. I can personally recommend this particular arrangement first hand, it is a wonderful compliment to one another .
I've had both very good and not so good experiences with a tube pre amp and a solid state power amp. The main thing to watch out for is that many tube pre amps have a rather high output impedance and some solid state power amps have a low input impedance. In my not-so-good case, the mid-range was actually unbelievably good, but the top to bottom balance was off. Since the Classe's appear to have about a 75k ohm input impedance, you should be safe.
Had a Counterpoint 3000 preamp a few years ago and used it with a Counterpoint ,Levinson and Bryston amps and it worked fine with all of them.Keep on truckin,Bob
I've had excellent results with a ss pre pushing a tube amp. I've found this combo has great synergy, with the appropriate pre, lending a little detail and bass depth and tautness while not detracting form the harmonics of the amp. So I guess I'm a "solid state on top" kinda guy. I guess when I get older, it's possible I may become a "tube on top" guy. But then again, theres always Viagra......
I run a SS pre with a tube amp. This was my approach. I found a SS pre within my budget that sounded transparent to me. Then I played with different tube complements in my amp to achieve the tonal characteristics I wanted.
I have had much success (sound wise) using tube pre-amps with s.s. power amps. Combinations like the ARC LS-16 with the 100.2, or the CJ 17 with the 2250 or 2500 are good
current model choices, or various used combos. Much would
depend on your front-end and speakers,....but the tube pre
with high-current s.s. power..work well with loads that need plenty of current...ie: Maggies, Martin Logan..etc.
I used to drive my system with a Classe 300 amp with Jadis tube pre up front. The mix was unexpectedly successful. Great slam and speed with a bit of added imaging and airiness. A friend also enjoyed a CAT pre with a solid state amp ( don't recall mfg.). I do not believe combinations, of any sort, can be impugned without first listening. Some threads and reviews have dissuaded the mixing of interconnects, espousing one brand link the entire system. This may hold true with certain manufacturer cables within certain systems, but I have found nice synergy in combinations. Best to listen, then decide.
Another testimonial for the "tube on top" configuration: VTL into Bryston into Thiel. No complaints, except maybe from the neighbors.... Mix and match away, there's bound to be a combo out there that is right for you.
A tube pre on some solid state amps can really work. A friend from Peak Audio brought over a NEW Single ended triode preamp and stuck it on my simaudio 4070SE. We listened until it was midnight and time to shut it down.....I was very sorry to see that go and it lead me to a SLF1 but that is another story. My friend said to me later, that was a religious listening experience.....you could reach out and touch.....I do see why people can lose themselves in tubes...voices and timbres are so right....try a mix and see how you like it.....it might be the tonic. cheers, Bluenose
Classe amps and tube pre amps work very well together. I have a AR LS15 pre with CA-400 amp and MIT Proline Shotgun Med Imp IC. They work great for me. Good luck!