Interesting indeed. I started HiFi life with a Crown D-150 and IC-150. They were definitely rather bright on the high end. Went through various speakers before finally getting Thiel CS2.2’s. But they always sounded a bit bright with the Crown gear. Went through some other solid state gear, none of which I thought sounded quite right. Don’t get me wrong, they sounded nice, but the Crown gear especially was fatiguing.
I finally called Thiel and asked if they could recommend gear that might sound better. They said to try Audio Research. I suggested I wasn’t made of money. That’s when they suggested I try Rogue Audio. Tubes, baby!
I’ve never looked back. I love the sound of tubes. And even though my most recent Rogue Audio gear is less tube-like than old-style tube equipment, is still has that luscious mid-range and tight bass and sweet highs. No graininess like old solid state gear. And I can change the sound by rolling the tubes. If I want a warmer sound, some NOS Brimar or Mullards can provide that. You can’t do that with solid state gear.
Don’t get me wrong…there is definitely a lot of very nice solid state gear out there, but for my money, I’ll take tubes any time. But it’s your ears, so you have to decide what sounds good to you. There are no wrong choices…if it sounds good to YOU, then that’s all that matters.
I’m a tube guy all the way!
Enjoyed reading, thanks for posting.
Nice to see Mitch Margolis from Manley Labs referenced. My current main setup has Manley Snappers and second system has VTL Tiny Triodes.
Framing amplification solutions as a choice between tubes and solid state, however, is something of a false dichotomy. Active speakers and biamping are also possibilities. My speakers have 300w active bass amps (solid state) with the Snappers driving the mids and tweeters.
Capacitors are the most problematic basic electrical component. As someone once said (I forget who) “the best capacitor for audio is the one you can leave out”.
You have to respect someone who considers the effects of a limited nuclear exchange on audiophilia:
Anyone picky enough to be reading this article probably also worries about how to enjoy music after a limited nuclear exchange.
Presuming you have a way to power your amplifiers, which again you people probably do, true tube amplifiers are far less susceptible to the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) effects of nuclear weapons.
In its defence, the Cold War did give rise to some great tubes. Telefunken of course and the Bendix 6900 which I use in the Snappers as a sub for the 7044. That spec sheet reassures me that at least part of my system will withstand 500 G shocks. The listener, unfortunately, is not constructed to such exacting tolerances and can be expected to fail first.
I wonder if Roon has tested their Nucleus line for such an event…
It’s an interesting article. But a statement made in the paragraph concerning Even Order Harmonic Distortion is really bugging me, like a pebble in my shoe.
THD is NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT called “harmonic” because it can sound euphonic. This is without a doubt one of the most uninformed things I’ve ever written.