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Those that returned to SS after owning tubes/valves, why the return?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by KeithP56, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. KeithP56

    KeithP56 Active Member Thread Starter

    Hi all, so many people go from solid state to tubes, I'm curious to hear from people who have gone the other way around. If you've ditched your tube gear for solid state...why did you do it ?

    Cheers all !
  2. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    I've been back and forth from tubes to solid state many times over the last 50 years. The reason, when I'm in the market I just purchase what sounds best.
  3. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

  4. Daedalus

    Daedalus I haven't heard it all.....

    I use both types of technology. But I primarily use SS now and in the past I primarily used tube based amplification. Why the change? I think I found great sound in my system with SS amps from Denon and Yamaha using mosfets. Contrary to “accepted internet wisdom” they both work extremely well with my main speakers-Klipsch LaScala( or Dentons).They have no issues, no feeding requirements and no calls for tube rolling. I am extremely pleased with the sound qualities of reproduced music through my system with either of these amps. I have a secondary system with tubes and high efficiency single driver speakers( Quicksilver or Jolida with Omega).
    aunitedlemon, Tim 2 and timind like this.
  5. SteveFord

    SteveFord Forum Resident

    Shnecksville PA
    Three of my last 4 amp purchases have been SS.
    Low heat output, no fuss.
    They have their place just like tube amps do.
    Tullman, jusbe, Kyhl and 2 others like this.
  6. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Cloverdale, CA
    We use both. Our regular speakers need less power than the fancy ones. Out SS Class A is mellow compared to the Citation II.
    asilker likes this.
  7. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Northwest, USA
    "........If you've ditched your tube gear for solid state...why did you do it ?"
    This might be the next epic......:cheers:
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  8. KWJ2

    KWJ2 Forum Resident

    I just recently switched from tube EAR phonobox phono stage and an EAR 834 tube integrated the main
    reason was the cost of replacing power tubes every 1500 hrs. and second was the amount of heat the EAR 834
    gave off. I tried non tube setup of a Phasemation T-300 SUT and an Audia Flight FL3S integrated. this setup wasn't
    bad but I felt it was missing something so I pulled out the SUT and put in an Allnic 1201 tube phono stage with outstanding results
    The sound of this combination is most satisfying. No heat,no power tubes to replace,plenty of power and still maintain tube sound.


    Andy Saunders, Kyhl and timind like this.
  9. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    I just changed my bedroom setup from a tube power amp (Dynaco ST-70 Series III) to a Benchmark AHB2. In my case, I think the Dynaco wasn’t the best match for my speakers (Harbeth M30.1) as the Dynaco seemed to run out of steam when pushed. The Harbeths just seem to want more power than the Dynaco could provide (35 WPC). The AHB2 is rated at 130 WPC @ 6 OHMS so the difference is very noticeable. Finally, the AHB2 received an A rating in Stereophile’s 2021 Recommended Components, and never having to retube with pricey NOS tubes was also a big plus.
  10. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    For reasons that turned out to be unjustified......
    Tullman likes this.
  11. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident

    Washington State
    This is a good thread one question though are you asking if people went back to all SS after using a all Valves meaning all components power, preamp or integrated ? Cause I use a combo SS Power amp with a Tube preamp and it's the best damn sound I've ever gotten and have not looked back
  12. KeithP56

    KeithP56 Active Member Thread Starter

    Any combo is interesting to me.
    OhioGraySky and Rich-n-Roll like this.
  13. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident

    Washington State
    My reason for asking is that I see several responses that say there was lack of bass because I don't think anyone and I maybe wrong who makes a high powered tube based powered amp hence my use of a combo which gives air space between instruments and voice and just a really good overall sound stage. For the sake of the question at hand I had a all SS system long ago until someone enlightened me to the Tube\power combo
  14. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Northwest, USA
    You owe to getting a bit more out of 1500 hrs if the tubes are rolled correctly and might possibly compromised your sound "un-noticeably" along the way... I have both tube integrated and hybrid mosfet amp and the sound is far from each other. I can tell tubes right away even I have a tube preamp running on solid state amp.. at least on my system setup...
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  15. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    I've tried tubes more than a few times over the years, but have never committed to them. This has something to do with my early experience as an engineer working in broadcast television. My first job was at a site where tubes were used pretty extensively from video tape machines, color cameras, and of course monitors. Within the first year I was there we switched from the tube video tape to solid state video tape and what a huge improvement that was. From the stand point of the guy keeping the gear running in spec, it made my life so much better.

    A little while later when they ditched the tube cameras for solid state it was like a miracle. In all my days of working on equipment of various types, there was nothing more unreliable than those tube cameras; just walk by them and they'd jump out of alignment. So yeah, I freely admit I'm biased.

    Over the years though, I've owned a few tube amps. Many of them sounded like any number of ss amps I owned. I've also owned a few tube amps where I could hear the tube magic people seem to love. I understand the charm, but I didn't particularly love it. I also had a dac which used dsp to emulate the sound of tubes by adding distortion. It definitely had a softer sound when using the tube settings.

    I'm all solid state now with no desire to go tubes again.
  16. KWJ2

    KWJ2 Forum Resident

    Well this doesn't matter as the tube amp. is gone and I'm over the moon happy with what I'm hearing
    but thanks for your reply.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  17. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I've owned mainly SS over the years, but have owned tube gear (still have one tube hybrid). In 2017, I came to a fork in the road - SS or tubes for my "end game."

    Went back and forth, but chose SS not due to what would "sound better," the determining factor was the availability / state of tube supply and demand, let's face it the state of the NOS tube market is depleted driving prices up and availability down, and the state of new tube manufacturing is not great for those looking for the quality of NOS.

    Haven't followed the tube manufacturing progress for the last four years though, maybe it's improving. My short stint back in tubes was met with way too much work and disappointment on what sellers were calling "New" Old Stock - it was mostly Used Old Stock.
  18. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    I have a tube Budgie phono ($400-ish?) and I find myself using my $20 (ebay) TC-750 mostly. Although I've upgraded some caps and added a regulated linear supply, adding about $15 to the cost.

    The 750 is very similar to the Budgie, like a quieter Budgie with slightly improved bass. And the Budgie is quiet, the 750 is just quieter still.
    timind likes this.
  19. Melvin

    Melvin Forum Resident

    I use and like both. Tubes for all but the hot summer months.
    ggergm, Djohm and TheVinylAddict like this.
  20. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Living in the AZ / Sonoran desert, this is also something for me to consider for either tubes or Class A.

    Every time I'm tempted by Class A SS for instance, I always reconsider due to the challenges I already have with Class AB gear, my AC works over time to keep my listening room cool as it is in the summer.

    Of course, two amps - a summer and winter version - is always a possibility :) but haven't made that plunge yet.
    Melvin likes this.
  21. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I haven't yet. My preamp and amp are still tubes (though my phono pre, DAC, the plate amp in my sub, are all solid state). But almost certainly the next amp and preamp I buy (maybe my last?) will be solid state (eyeing the new Benchmark stuff). I have found, just hearing a little bit of the new solid state gear in the last couple of years, that with modern solid state, even the relatively inexpensive gear is so, almost supernaturally, noise and distortion free, it's revealing and gets out of the way of hearing the music in remarkable fashion and this other gear -- both tube and even vintage solid state -- while it still has it's charms, sounds colored and old fashioned and noisy and intrusive by comparison.

    Also, as I get older, I'm less enamored of the tweakiness of tubes (tube rolling, circuit modifications, etc were once part of the charm for me), and more interested in trouble free, tweak free, turn on-turn off operation.

    Furthermore, good quality tubes, even the best new production tubes, are becoming more and more expensive -- like, who wants to pay $25-$50 for a light bulb? And, tube amps are really much more limited in what kind of speakers they're happy driving in terms of relatively flat impedances and phase angles and most speakers today are not designed with tube amps in mind, so tubes kind of limit my options to play the field when it comes to speakers.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
    bever70, Kyhl, Helom and 2 others like this.
  22. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I'm being very tempted these days by an Accuphase P-6100 Mosfet amp - 100lbs of Mosfet beast that would be a nice upgrade from my P-4200. I'd love to hear a good Mosfet amp in my system to compare. They're hard to find used, seems nobody wants to sell theirs....
  23. VinylSoul

    VinylSoul Forum Resident

    Lake Erie
    I most likely will return to SS. I have owned my tube amp a long time and it's not a tube eater yet I have spent more money on tubes than the price of amp, worse with other name brand tube amps.
    Yet it's rarely mentioned when one considers switching to tubes. Good tubes are not free anymore and can be difficult to procure.
    timind and TheVinylAddict like this.
  24. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I've noticed this too, it isn't mentioned as much as I'd think it would be --- it's a topic that is definitely not explored or acknowledged much by tube owners. As you mentioned, the price of tubes can soon surpass the price of the component depending on the situation.

    Tubes are definitely a Cost of Ownership (CoO) aspect that I'm sure many didn't plan on upfront purchase.
  25. gabbleratchet7

    gabbleratchet7 Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I acquired a refurbished Fisher receiver that I swapped into my living room stereo for a number of years. Eventually went back to SS separates because I felt I wasn’t getting the best out of it and I don’t yet know enough about tube maintenance and pairing it with the right speakers to get the most out of it. One day…
    timind likes this.

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