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Survey: Tube pre/SS amp, vice versa, or same?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rick58, Dec 5, 2021.

  1. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, ID, USA
    Title says it all I think …

    CHANGED to allow multiple votes. I have a SS pre that feeds a SS amp/speakers from balanced output, and a Tube amp/speakers from the single ended output.

    Integrated amps could have any combo so … I guess choose one. Passive pre counts as SS I think unless it has a tube buffer?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
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  2. Great. You did it.

    I’ve never experienced better performance from my speakers than I am now after returning to a good tube pre and great SS power amp. I don’t know why I waited so long to do it.
    mreeter, mds, Rick58 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Davey

    Davey NP: Lost Girls ~ Menneskekollektivet

    SF Bay Area, USA
    All tubes for me. I use a tube preamp (single monolithic triode, no loop feedback, no electrolytic capacitors except heater power supply, teflon film capacitors, relay switched Vishay resistor volume control) into a tube amplifier with EL34 triode output stage, just enough feedback to keep output impedance down, no electrolytic capacitors except heater power supply, teflon, polystyrene and polypropylene film capacitors.
    mreeter and Rick58 like this.
  4. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    When I had my SS pre Tube amp combo I think it was the preamp that made me not warm up to that combo.

    That amp had a bad transformer, which was no longer available so I bought a SS amp. It was temporary as I wanted another tube amp but I found out down the road it was the pre that was the bottleneck. So it really doesn’t matter if it’s tube or SS. How does it sound it really more important
    Rick58 likes this.
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    I voted for tube preamp / solid state amp BUT to get a quality tube experience the preamp needs to be a very good one and preferably with a tube rectifier.
    mreeter, hi_watt and Khorn like this.
  6. I’m concentrating on the rectifier search now. Waiting to see what goodies may appear.
    mreeter, avanti1960 and Rick58 like this.
  7. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    "Both SS" is all I know- for now...
    krambigmac and Rick58 like this.
  8. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Cary Audio SLP-05 :D
    mreeter, Rick58 and avanti1960 like this.
  9. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Washington DC
    All tubes Deja Vu custom preamp with six 6922 tubes and a Deja Vu custom pushpull 2a3 stereo amp. Tubes in the Dac too I just can't seem to escape them. ;)
  10. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Midwestern US
    Not an easy question for me. Of the 3 systems I have set up they are a pretty much blended.
    1. SS pre, Tube amp, tube phono amp
    2. Tube pre, amp, phono
    3. Tube pre, amp, SS phono.
    Of course any changes will be an elimination of SS for a tube unit.
    Rick58 likes this.
  11. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    All tubes for me. DAC, phono preamp, linestage, power amps, even my FM tuner. They’re all tube.

    If someone really wants SS in the amplification chain for some reason, the easiest way is with a tube linestage. Modern linestages are compatible with nearly all transistor power amps. That will give a taste of tubes. A tube power amp will usually make a bigger improvement in sound quality than a tube preamp, but there’s a catch. Tube power amps are less universal in terms of compatibility with speakers. You aren’t going to use a 2 watt SET with Thiels or Wilsons to take an extreme example.
    mreeter, Khorn, Rick58 and 1 other person like this.
  12. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, ID, USA
    You can vote for more than one. I have SS pre feeding one of each …

    I guess if you have tube phono feeding SS pre and amp …? I’ll let you decide which to choose, more than 4 choices gets a little unwieldy!
    BrentB likes this.
  13. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Belmont, Nevada
    I started with SS Receivers in the 70's. Digital came along and like a lot of us I started to looking at tubes to tame that early digital glare. It started for me with a CAL Alpha tube DAC. A short time later, in came a tube Pre-Amp. The tube power arrived 6 months later. I've been very content with my system's for many many years. I still use the Alpha in a 2nd system!
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  14. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I wonder how many people that voted have spent enough time with all four options to vote from experience, or voted by their personal choice they made (without trying other options).

    No matter.... I am surprised at 54% of people are using a tube pre and SS amp --- maybe the bulk of the voters on the poll are folks who employ tubes somewhere... I would have expected SS votes to dominate, as my feeling is that's the majority of folks in the forum. I don't think there are only 15% here running SS pre and amp!
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  15. I guess at one point or another I’ve run everything except an SS preamp running a tube power amp. I believe now I’ve struck the perfect balance for me anyway.
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  16. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Washington DC
    Well only 58 people have voted of the thousands on this forum and I am guessing the poll is a bit self selecting to folks who use tubes somewhere in their system.
  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Well I guess all these SS users just don't vote because I don't expect that too many of them have tried tubes and the poll is about what one 'prefers' ?! I am all SS as well but haven't tried tubes yet so I feel I can't vote if that makes any sense...
    izeek, jonwoody, aunitedlemon and 2 others like this.
  18. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Senior Member

    Pleasantville, NY
    I just took the survey and I am tube pre, SS amp. I too was surprised that this the majority of the votes and that all tube is 40% which is what I use to run. I agree with you that the title of the thread is probably attracting tube users. So far there on only 58 replies and some of those are people with multiple systems. That is a very small sample given he membership here.

    As to why I switched from all tubes to an SS amp, the bass made me do it. :winkgrin:
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  19. Nice system. Might be interesting what kind of light a tube pre might cast on the sound. Ever think of giving it a try?
    bever70 likes this.
  20. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Absolutely, it will probably be my next move but I'm in no hurry. I have a dealer who will let me try some stuff if I decide to go for it.
    Khorn likes this.
  21. Good. Trying in your own system is really the only way to find out.
    Great you have an accommodating dealer.
    bever70 likes this.
  22. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, ID, USA
    Oh well, I tried. I guess the title could be changed, how does one contact the moderators and ask them to do it?
  23. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Senior Member

    Pleasantville, NY
    I would leave the title as is. Part of the problem is there are so many members who only come here for only the Music Corner. They are never going to see the thread no matter what you titled it.
    jonwoody, Khorn, Rick58 and 1 other person like this.
  24. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Midwest, USA
    I cast for 'Both Tube' as I have both ;) along with a tube DAC and Phono Stage. I find transparency very addictive:)
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
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  25. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    Recently switched to a Circle Labs A200 hybrid integrated, and all of my previous amps (more than a few over ~40 years) have been SS.

    I can comfortably say that this is the best I've ever owned, but it may not be due solely to the tube linestage pre-amp.
    jonwoody, Rick58 and mreeter like this.

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