Author Topic: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?  (Read 1962 times)

Offline fdlsys

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2017, 09:29:12 PM »


... i have to wonder if anyone has tried the valvestate type sound found in guitar amps like the marshall valvestate.
none of the imitation valve amps, be it Marshall, Fender, Vox, Line6 ... come close to the real valve amp sound.

Interestingly, some of the solid state ones do, extremely well. Gotta try, no way of knowing otherwise.

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Offline Rockit

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2017, 07:30:47 AM »
Why not get a Valve Audio Black Widow Pre and Power or a Predator?
Then not only do you have the best of both but simply the best!

Offline Air

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2017, 08:43:01 PM »
As in interesting diversion I would suggest anyone interested in this question; solid state vs Valve  read the Stereophile reviews and comments about the Cary 805 with the initial comment by the editor Atkinson to feed in this debate as follows:

"If either of these amplifiers is RIGHT...the other must be WRONG."

Editor John Atkinson wrote that cover line for our January 1994 issue (Vol.17 No.1). Two amps shared the cover. Each was reviewed inside.

Dick Olsher, aka Toob Man, did the honors for the Cary CAD-805, while Thomas J. Norton considered the solid-state Krell KSA-300S. TJN performed test-bench measurements on both amps.

The face-off was fascinating: Subjective vs objective. Tube vs solid-state. Retro vs modern. Monoblock vs two-channel.

"These Krells are the best-sounding preamplifier and power amplifier I have heard in my system," Tom trumpeted after measuring the KSA-300S (he auditioned it with the matching KRC preamp). He commended the amplifier's "very fine" test-bench results.

As for the Cary CAD-805, TJN called its test-bench results "mediocre." He summed up his feelings thus:

"The CAD-805's somewhat nostalgia-inducing design is reinforced by its measured performance—an updated nostalgia, to be sure, but updating can only bring us so far in what is basically a half-century-old design concept, one long since abandoned for what would appear to be very good objective reasons."

But DO didn't surrender to Major Tom:

"Admittedly, this 211-based, single-ended amplifier is not a stellar test-bench performer. Yet, equipped only with a sophisticated integrated test and evaluation system (ie, two ears), any audiophile worth his or her salt should have no problem discerning the 805's magic."

As editor, what was JA to do? If one amp was right, the other must be wrong. Right?

Not so fast. "Both these amplifiers might be right," I suggested to The Chief, shortly after the reviews ran. There was an advantage to having been an English major at college, I explained. I can hold two opposing beliefs at the same time—thanks to a tolerance of "cognitive dissonance," imparted by none other than T.S. Eliot.


Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/cary-audio-design-cad-805-monoblock-power-amplifier-sam-tellig-august-2003#bryWBz0pPArhHDMX.99

No conclusive outcome but an interesting saga.


Offline Drifter

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2017, 09:12:08 PM »
A few days ago I had the opportunity to listen to a set of Sonus Faber Amati's driven by a valve integrated (not hybrid). My initial expectation was that the Sonus' and the valves together will sound sweet but the sound was hard and brittle. The glowing valves look lovely though.
I think it really differs from amp to amp and then also the synergy with the rest of the system.

Offline Ampdog

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2017, 04:28:40 AM »
I come in again;

I have said somewhere (not here as far as I read) that to judge amplifiers by ear with limited samples does not indicate something about s.s. vs. valve amplifiers - it only indicates a difference (if such was heard) about the particular design of the auditioned amplifiers. This is an important point often ignored in discussions as these.

Also, (with respect to Air) sharpness of a square wave mostly does not indicate a difference in sound, merely a flat frequency response to well above the audible range. (I am not talking about gross deviations but the higher frequencies, usually above some 60 KHz in normal amplifiers.)  [One can calculate the probable frequency which is accentuated by enlarging the time base of a scope and feading off the wavelength of the ringing frequency.] For any effect on audio, such a peak will have to be below 20 KHz. Such amplifiers should not exist.

Then the poor output transformer (OPT) (again respectfully, Air) Yes, a very poor OPT can, mostly on the h.f. side, cause a mess of things. But, like cross-over distortion, those are things of the past. These days there is absolutely nil reason why a 'blameless' OPT cannot be designed for audio frequencies. It is possible to design an OPT with a 3dB bandwidth of some 7 Hz to well over 100 KHz, uisiong a C-core, with only 4 primary and 3 secondary secions.

One must again reiterate that design objectives keeping OPT effects outside the audio range are well-known and have been for many decades now.
 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 04:33:52 AM by Ampdog »
Audio must be the only branch of engineering where lack of basics' knowledge is considered a superior form of wisdom. (Anon)

Offline Air

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2017, 02:51:43 PM »
Hi Ampdog,

Just to clarify and highlight that the piece I posted was a direct quote from Bill Whitlock, president & chief engineer of Jensen Transformers 1989-2014 and Life Fellow of the AES". I think his credentials give enough reason that his views should be seriously considered?

So need to try and respectfully differ from me as I have not enough knowledge in the subject and unfortunatly we can't get Bill Whitlock response to your views.. ;)

Cheers

Offline ron g

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2017, 04:52:04 PM »

I have said somewhere (not here as far as I read) that to judge amplifiers by ear with limited samples does not indicate something about s.s. vs. valve amplifiers - it only indicates a difference (if such was heard) about the particular design of the auditioned amplifiers. This is an important point often ignored in discussions as these.


agreed - there must be pretty much an infinite number of variables affecting the comparisons.
i guess that some people who have exposure to lots of different systems over a long period of time, probably pick up a preference based on the trends of the systems they have heard? or perhaps just a blind prejudice in some cases...
tetris is a great life lesson.
accomplishments disappear. mistakes pile up till it's game over....

Offline Ampdog

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2017, 06:22:55 PM »
Air,

Not to perpetuate this (I did mention respect for the quoted piece), I hear (read!) what you say about Mr Whitlock, and cannot compare my experience to his. My difference is mainly with the following part of the quote:

"Even very good output transformers have excess phase shift (and ultrasonic resonances) that create oscillation if feedback is very high. Therefore, they enter clipping rather gradually, but still create odd-order harmonics. What makes them sound better is that the harmonics are much lower order (such as 3rd and 5th). The asymmetry that creates the pleasing even order (2nd and 4th) usually comes from an earlier, low-level stage. I believe most of the audible difference between solid-state and vacuum-tube is actually due more to the transformers than the tubes.
Bill Whitlock, president & chief engineer of Jensen Transformers 1989-2014 and Life Fellow of the AES"
My colouring.

1. I refer to one of the first high fidelity output transformers, that by DTN Williamson in his famous amplifier. Page 15 of the booklet on that amplifier shows the frequency response of his OPT (fig. 7). It does not show phase shift, but that is closely related to the amplitude frequency response. Yes, there is some phase shift at 20 KHz, just about nil at 20 Hz. Also, on page 17 fig.2 is the frequency response of the complete amplifier. Without NFB the graph shows minute phase shift at 20 Hz and 20 KHz (although the scale is much compressed). According to Mr Whitlock that should mainly come from the OPT. Other graphs for well-known products, eg. from Partridge, show similarly negligible phase shift in the audio range.  I am loathe to quote figures for my own designs but am best able to mention such.  But the 100 watt OPT for the recent Hallé has <10° shift at 20 Hz and < 10° even at 50 KHz (difficult to measure accurately). The design is nothing special, fairly straightforward.

2. "... comes from an earlier low level stage". Again, that is simply not my measured experince, although I can of course not vote for unknown designs. I would respectfully say that if that is the case, such amplifiers really should not be on the market.

Mr. Whitlock does in conclusion, carefully say that he believes differences come more from transformers than the tubes. For such an honest statement from a transformer manufacturer, I respect him. [Does Jensen make OPTs? Would be interesting to see if Mr. Whitlock does not contradict himself! (to his credit).]

So again. Air (and as said not desiring to perpetuate this), my reading and own experience over many decades simply tells a different story. (I have the greatest respect for Jensen as a top transformer manufacturer, having used them myself while employed at the CSIR.)


While on this, I must also caution regarding smoother clipping of valve amplifiers. Valve and s.s. without NFB, yes (although one cannot really make an s.s amplifier work without feedback, but one can keep such feedback mainly to d.c. stabilization).

But with the usual 20 dB or more of NFB used in valve ampifiers, they clip pretty sharply as well, and with all manner of 'dragons' as a result of OPT saturation etc. when clipping. (One needs to keep in mind that while clipping, amplifier linearity is gone, as will the feedback factor then be). I am not sure that clipping in a valve amplifier with NFB is going to sound that much different from s.s amplifiers - both sound  pretty lousy!

To conclude, my wish again, that amplifier manufacturers should include a clipping indicator (say a flashing LED). It is comparatively easy to design and could serve a worthwhile purpose.

 


Audio must be the only branch of engineering where lack of basics' knowledge is considered a superior form of wisdom. (Anon)

Offline Blue Bull

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2017, 01:58:52 PM »
Tubes .... what else. ;)
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Offline BJ

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Re: Solid State vs. Valve amps ?
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2017, 02:14:05 PM »
Tubes .... what else. ;)

Will Tubes help the "Blue Bulls" also  :BWAHAHAH:

Sorry my bad....just couldn't resist after yesterday's result.... :thumbs:
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