TuBe or not TuBe (I had to)

I know saying I don’t want a flame war will have little effect, but it is my intent to learn.
I ask google “why are tubes bad for audio” I get pages of, why does audio through tubes sound better?
How to tell if your tube is going bad.
So, I have seen elsewhere it posted that tubes are not advised for audio. This is entirely 180 degrees out from my life’s understanding.

Please help me know why.

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Like or like not, there is no why!

If someone says tubes are bad for audio then I would have to say perhaps that have never heard a good tube amp. The best system I ever owned had tube mono blocks and a tube preamp. My system never sounded better. Sorry I ever gave them up.


I did the same, valve line pre, valve phono, valve monos. Sounded great, well outstanding. Needed a local power station and I didn’t like the never ended rabbit hole in search of ‘better’ that I was going down. In fairness the rabbit hole could have been transistor too. Either way speakers n simple for me now. Funnily enough still sounds fabulous but good speakers well set up always will in my opinion.


Don’t forget…" And vinyl" will always sound good :blush:


Of course! Avid volvere sequal in those days!

To be serious though…

I have never tried tube pre or power amps but did try tube Phonostage.
Just that on its own was an exercise in frustration with tube rolling, is this tube bad, is it ringing harmonically etc?

Quite happy right now to stay with SS everything.
Less tinkering, more playing!

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Miss the dog most though….


Frustration is what I call vinyl. Is record dirty, is tonearm force right, do I need to change the needle or will it damage my record, do I need a new belt etc? Quite happy with digital everything.


I just got Mullard and brimar and sat back.


I own both SS and tube amps. The AudioNote Soro SE I own blew my mind when I first heard it. Transparency, soundstage and musicality were far superior to my SS amps (NAD C 272 fed by a C 658 and an Anthem MRX 740 AVR. The Soro drives a pair of Harbeth SHL5 + as does the NAD, the Anthem drives B&W CM5 series bookshelf + center speakers.

All sound good but nothing matches the ‘you are there’ experience of the Soro.
Find a friendly store and do some A/B testing, plan to spend a good hour listening, tubes may or may not sound ‘better’ to you. As they say YMMV.


That I definitely understand!


I"m waiting for the return of tube-based computers to run the Roon Core!


I currently own both tube and solid state.

I had not heard prior to being here that using tubes on audio was bad.
A hassle? Absolutely, Worth? Well I still use mine so YMMV indeed.

I am trying to understand the argument stating using tubes for audio is bad. That has not been my experience at all.
My google is usually pretty decent. On this topic I fail.

It is my hope, someone here who holds that belief will explain why it is held.

I was once told that to know the strength of an argument you need to understand its weakness.

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Well, I can think of two reasons you might not want to depend on tubes for transparent amplification of audio.

  1. The operational characteristics of tubes drift, with both temperature and wear, much more than solid-state devices will. So it’s difficult to tell when or if all of your tubes are operating optimally, or whether they’re off their game. They even wear out. Used to be tube testers outside drug stores, back as late as the 1960s, but now they’re scarce.

  2. They’re obsolete technology, so it’s more difficult to find replacement parts that are manufactured to nominal quality levels, and they’re more expensive.

They have a certain charm, both visually and (apparently) aurally, but like many things with charm, are flakey.


Thank you.

Perhaps by switching from tubes to solid state? (Yes I will now go and hide under the bed :rofl: ) In all seriousness, it’s your system so please do as you please. And it does appear that you are very pleased with the sound.


Exactly! Thank you for understanding my post in the way that it was intended, i.e. humorously. Enjoy your system in all it’s beautiful, rich and warm tube glory!

Well I gave tubes a try once…a Conrad Johnson Pre Amp, after reading about them for years. Admittedly it was over 20 years ago…but I could not stand the low level hum that seemed to be always present. Plus I have found solid state to really reliable and not be the room heaters that tubes seem to be.

I hated the idea of tubes because of the relatively quick degradation as well as the valve “rush” but that all goes away when I turn on pre amp and send music through - the sense of involvement and presence is so engaging.

My personal preference is valve pre and SS power - best of both worlds.