• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Tube gear section.

Do you want a tube gear section ?


  • Total voters
    65

Jim Taylor

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
1,173
Likes
2,506
As I've said, it seems the forum's wider remit is conveying/obtaining accurate information about how any particular audio gear performs. Then the choice is up to the individual.

"Hey, Honey? You know the stereo system we've been wanting?"
"Yes, dear."
"Well, this morning I went downtown and found this stereo shop. They sell tube amps! Who knew? I thought tubes were long dead! This salesman said that they weren't dead at all, and that they're a lot better than transistor stuff. Anyway, this guy had a tube amp he called an "ess-ee-tee" amp. It was ungodly expensive at $5,000, but he swore it was the key to sonic realism and musicality. I wanted to come home and check this stuff out on the web, and as I was leaving an on-looker kinda sidled up to me and said, "Check out Audio Science Review. They're on the web, and they're pretty reliable."

"So I did exactly that. I googled "tubes" and "Audio Science Review", and some results came up that were exactly like what the salesman downtown said! In fact, this one post said that these ess-ee-tee amps (they call them "S.E.T. amps) and horn speakers were the ultimate combination for sonic realism! "

"So I checked this out on the Web. Honey, there are literally dozens of sites about this stuff, and they all say pretty much the same thing; tubes are better than transistors, and the ultimate tube amps are S.E.T. amps."

"I know we had decided to get your uncle's old Infinity speakers and buy a new Yamaha amp, and I know this is an awful expensive proposition, but if I take bologna sandwiches to work for lunch for about 2 years, and we scrimp and save, we can have the ultimate in realism and musicality! There's a guy on the web who's selling a pair of 1993 Klipschorns for only $6,000, and I'm pretty sure I can hammer the dealer downtown down from $5,000 to $4,500. He even has some $1,000 speaker cables he'll sell me at a discount."

"Just think of it, Honey! We'll have the ultimate!"

"I'm soooo glad that I took that guy's advice and went to the Audio Science Review site to check things out!"
 
Last edited:

DonH56

Master Contributor
Technical Expert
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
6,567
Likes
12,681
Location
Monument, CO
Apologies if already posted, did not read the whole thread...

I have no problem with separate tube and SS preamp/amp subfora. It does make me wonder if there should be three flavors: SS class A/AB (to include G/H), SS class D, and tube designs? Those seem to be the three major "camps" folk trend toward.

FWIWFM - Don (who does NOT have the problem of managing additional subfora, natch)
 

JayGilb

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
679
Likes
937
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
Since this site is dedicated to the scientific measuring and ranking of electronic audio equipment, I don't see why anyone would object to having a section devoted to tube equipment.

While I don't currently own any tube gear, I do love looking at the images members post. Like The CJ amp that @MattHooper posted earlier in the thread.
 

oldsysop

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
375
Likes
627
I voted no because in this same thread the subjectivists who always say the same things and never do a double-blind test appeared.
A valve section would be feeding those usual lies.
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,692
Likes
5,896
Since this site is dedicated to the scientific measuring and ranking of electronic audio equipment, I don't see why anyone would object to having a section devoted to tube equipment.

While I don't currently own any tube gear, I do love looking at the images members post. Like The CJ amp that @MattHooper posted earlier in the thread.

I don't think you have to own tube amps to admire the interesting variety of designs. More interesting IMO than the standard solid state box.
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,692
Likes
5,896
I voted no because in this same thread the subjectivists who always say the same things and never do a double-blind test appeared.
A valve section would be feeding those usual lies.

Are you sure this is actually a problem here?

How many "subjectivists" do you think are posting on the forum, and how many specifically about tube amps? Who's 'lying?'

From what I've seen, the vast majority of tube amp discussion on ASR has included many who have good technical knowledge and/or see tube amps as kind of fun. I don't there's a lot of B.S. claims made for tube amps made on the forum. Even in this thread it seems there's plenty of clear-headed discussion without outrageous claims. (And if anyone showed up in the tube section to make wrong claims, that's where they would be corrected).

(And, btw, even in my case, as a member who is enthusiastic about tube amplification, I presented details about my blind test between an SS and tube pre-amp, whereas the vast majority of ASR members have not posted any blind testing attempts for their gear).
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
1,047
Likes
4,607
Location
NorCal
I own an Audio Research CA-50 from 1997 bought used 2001 and man did it sound great only lacking in bass control and real depth. It does have tap for a sub but I never tried it. I got tired of the heat and changing tubes and moth balled it leaving idle next to my other stuff. A year or so back, with my 25 year old son, I hooked it up and man did it sound great to my (g)olden ears and swear that the mids were more revealing than my go to SS YBA amp (current favorite) with my Theil CS 2.4's. The lad with much better hearing thought it sounded very good also. He gets it when he is thirty as it holds much sentimental value to me and frankly hes not ready yet, having to do with his age and his decision making abilities, hormonal balance, intolerance for neatness and a number of afflictions that I somehow recognize that he may have inherited. To make short story long I think that unless some of us are willing to send some stuff up to Amir for testing (I'm not letting the CA-50 out of my sight) and he is willing to test this stuff in true ASR fashion, a tube section will be sulfurous but would be okay for tu-bees for advise and dialog and maybe an annoyance for not tu-bees. It would aid diehards who use the front page to browse which I never do. So even shorter, I vote yes for its own section.

PS: Jim Taylor that was funnier than hell. :D
 

DMill

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
455
Likes
546
I own an Audio Research CA-50 from 1997 bought used 2001 and man did it sound great only lacking in bass control and real depth. It does have tap for a sub but I never tried it. I got tired of the heat and changing tubes and moth balled it leaving idle next to my other stuff. A year or so back, with my 25 year old son, I hooked it up and man did it sound great to my (g)olden ears and swear that the mids were more revealing than my go to SS YBA amp (current favorite) with my Theil CS 2.4's. The lad with much better hearing thought it sounded very good also. He gets it when he is thirty as it holds much sentimental value to me and frankly hes not ready yet, having to do with his age and his decision making abilities, hormonal balance, intolerance for neatness and a number of afflictions that I somehow recognize that he may have inherited. To make short story long I think that unless some of us are willing to send some stuff up to Amir for testing (I'm not letting the CA-50 out of my sight) and he is willing to test this stuff in true ASR fashion, a tube section will be sulfurous but would be okay for tu-bees for advise and dialog and maybe an annoyance for not tu-bees. It would aid diehards who use the front page to browse which I never do. So even shorter, I vote yes for its own section.

PS: Jim Taylor that was funnier than hell. :D
Getting Amir to test is definitely a hurdle. My amp is around the same year as yours and the damn thing weighs 42lbs. So shipping is $$$. Plus I no longer have the original packaging. So boxing it up and throwing on a truck scares me. There was another member who lives within an hour of me who graciously volunteered to put it on his bench. He posts often on this site and knows quite a bit about tubes. I am sure his measurements would be trusted by members here. Perhaps I’ll take him up on it one of these days. TBH I’d be real happy if the thing broke 60 SINAD
 
Last edited:

ta240

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
869
Likes
1,381
...............
I mean, why not? What would having that additional forum do that puts you against it? It would be another place to discuss some of the gear some ASR members use and are interested in.
??? :confused:
There are a lot of people here that aren't big fans of the 'live and let live' theory. If they don't like tubes they will continue to point it out.

I think the section would just be filled with comments like this:
It would be great fun to put some NCore amps under the chassis, and still light up the tubes for show. I bet the golden-eared wonders would be gushing about the tube warmth and depth :D
Might as well start a vinyl section so people can group all their "what is up with people liking vinyl?" threads together.

If you don't care about tube gear...you just don't bother going to that section. Just like if you don't care for vinyl you don't have to participate in the Phono/Turntable section. I don't care for headphones at all, but I wouldn't have voted against creating the headphone section of the forum - it serves some member's interest.
The problem is, there seems to be a nearly evangelical calling to some people to come to those forums to save people from those products. They just can't skip them.

Yes but:

1. Tube amps can be made audibly indistinguishable from solid state (and some members here enjoy making/tinkering with such tube amps).
And the standard argument they come back with is if it is indistinguishable then it is stupid to not just go with SS.

I will admit that there are a handful of people here with a lot of good tube information between them and I enjoy reading their posts but it gets tiring filtering through all the bashing by people that have no interest in tubes.
 
Last edited:

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,610
Likes
27,332
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
It would be great fun to put some NCore amps under the chassis, and still light up the tubes for show.

Yeah, put it alongside your fish-tank in an old TV and the chinese reproduction lava-lamp. :p
 

Midnight Audiophile

Active Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2022
Messages
122
Likes
181
The only subjective thing I’ve seen in this thread so far are “objectivists” using subjective arguments to affirm their own personal bias. Use of logic, evidence, and recognizing fallacies should go hand-in-hand with critical thinking, skepticism, and science.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
1,047
Likes
4,607
Location
NorCal

DMill

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
455
Likes
546
The only subjective thing I’ve seen in this thread so far are “objectivists” using subjective arguments to affirm their own personal bias. Use of logic, evidence, and recognizing fallacies should go hand-in-hand with critical thinking, skepticism, and science.
I have no delusions about how I believe my tube amp would measure. I just edited my post. I’d be thrilled if it broke 60 SINAD. A new Cary SLI80 is $4800. Hardly a good investment if you want SOTA. But if you like it and have the money. Who cares?
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,692
Likes
5,896
I have no delusions about how I believe my tube amp would measure. I just edited my post. I’d be thrilled if it broke 60 SINAD. A new Cary SLI80 is $4800. Hardly a good investment if you want SOTA. But if you like it and have the money. Who cares?

Likewise. In fact I don't have to even bother with delusions about how my amps would measure. Stereophile measured it and, relative to a good solid state amp, it measured pretty crappy. ("crappy" of course, with respect to a goal of low distortion...)
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,610
Likes
27,332
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Getting Amir to test is definitely a hurdle. My amp is around the same year as yours and the damn thing weighs 42lbs. So shipping is $$$. Plus I no longer have the original packaging. So boxing it up and throwing on a truck scares me. There was another member who lives within an hour of me who graciously volunteered to put it on his bench. He posts often on this site and knows quite a bit about tubes. I am sure his measurements would be trusted by members here. Perhaps I’ll take him up on it one of these days

Amir should steer clear of testing tube amps. They are mostly old, tubes are extremely expensive, easy to damage and the amplifiers do not tolerate loads being disconnected at high power etc.

Also, the internal rails on most tube amps are high enough to destroy the front end of the AP is anything goes wrong.

I've got an Audio Research SP-8 coming up in a few days to fix for a friend. Here's the schematic of the PSU. Voltages are up to 630V in a preamp...

1663278510265.png
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,692
Likes
5,896
Amir should steer clear of testing tube amps. They are mostly old, tubes are extremely expensive, easy to damage and the amplifiers do not tolerate loads being disconnected at high power etc.

Also, the internal rails on most tube amps are high enough to destroy the front end of the AP is anything goes wrong.

I've got an Audio Research SP-8 coming up in a few days to fix for a friend. Here's the schematic of the PSU. Voltages are up to 630V in a preamp...

View attachment 231164

Hey John...you must be the perfect dude to ask this question: Is tube rolling likely to damage amps? I'm thinking mostly about the tube sockets, if it's no problem swapping tubes in and out, or if they (or the tube pins themselves) are easily weakened and swapping tubes significantly ups the likelihood of wear and damage.
 

Midnight Audiophile

Active Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2022
Messages
122
Likes
181
I have no delusions about how I believe my tube amp would measure. I just edited my post. I’d be thrilled if it broke 60 SINAD. A new Cary SLI80 is $4800. Hardly a good investment if you want SOTA. But if you like it and have the money. Who cares?

I probably didn't word that well. I voted "Yes" and was talking about the arguments presented so far for voting "No," such as the use of stereotypes.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,610
Likes
27,332
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Hey John...you must be the perfect dude to ask this question: Is tube rolling likely to damage amps? I'm thinking mostly about the tube sockets, if it's no problem swapping tubes in and out, or if they (or the tube pins themselves) are easily weakened and swapping tubes significantly ups the likelihood of wear and damage.

I'm not the perfect dude to ask. :) Tubes are not my specialty and I don't really love working on them.

That said, the sockets themselves vary massively in durability and quality. Some ancient sockets are tough as nails, others crumble into dust when carefully removing a tube. The sockets were never designed for a large number of insertion/removal cycles in the first place. So 'rolling' is asking for trouble, especially from heat/cool cycles, age, brittleness etc.

I'd be asking @SIY as he knows more about tubes in his little finger than I do in my whole brain.
 
Top Bottom