Why I won't buy a new Tube Amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by allied333, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. james

    james Summon The Queen

    just for the record, and it's probably clear: that's not a PRS thing. we like new strings (i'm in the factory right now!)!
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  2. Frank Bisby

    Frank Bisby Forum Resident

    loving the sound of dead stings is like loving the sound of surface noise on your records. Both kinds of people exist and there is no reasoning with them but it’s not normal.

    I know the last thing some people want to hear is an EQ circuit is diminishing sound quality. I don’t know why they think the top brands and the best reviewed modern products omit this feature. An army of well compensated engineers would are build “money’s no object” equipment choose not to have an EQ circuit. Why? Is it a conspiracy to sell external EQ devices?

    and let me be clear, I’m no hater of the EQ. I’ve had many vintage receivers that have it and I’m happy to use it if needed. I’m no fundamentalist. But equipment is much different today than it was 30-60 years ago when you look at high end equipment. It was once the case the equipment fit into your room, now we build our rooms around equipment. How the room preforms as part of the space rather than a console with internal speakers. Modern equipment is much more revealing and if you are following a path of “what is the best possible sound reproduction I can achieve”, the EQ isn’t that. It adds some cloudiness to your signal that you will 100% hear if you are running reference level equipment and want it to perform at its best. I can’t promise you that everyone can hear that or care but it’s there.

    And it’s not endlessly tweaking tubes. It’s years of experience, once you have it you plug and play. If it’s not interesting to explore the different sounds of tubes, various masterings, cartridges, phono stages, SUTs or all the rest of it, tone controls are fine. But it is a bit of a condom for your stereo in that it dulls the sensation.
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  3. Frank Bisby

    Frank Bisby Forum Resident

    I love a PRS, I’m jealous. The neck as so fast, easy and effortless it seems a shame to run it with dead strings saturated with oils from your hands.
    The FRiNgE and james like this.
  4. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    In your opinion.

    A friend of mine, who's a much better guitarist than I am, can't stand the sheen of new strings. There's no "normal" to speak of.

    I stopped reading gear reviews long ago. I can't afford to upgrade every few years anyway. That's my idea of normal.
    Texado likes this.
  5. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    AMC has tone controls and a tape loop. Go figure. Nice guy in TN sells them.
  6. Frank Bisby

    Frank Bisby Forum Resident

    well, a little breaking in helps with the sheen. Keeping a set on for six months to a year and just turning up the treble is another matter. But yes to each their own, its not like I'm not friends with the guy over it. I just think its absurd to spend 7K on a guitar and not give AF about the stings. Much like I think its odd to carry on about your definitive opinion of world class tubes, the superiority of Russian capacitors or any other deep in the weeds audiophile details only strangle it through your EQ. If you're' cool with twisting a knob for more mid range, why not just do that instead of obsessing on the different of 12ax7's, just buy JJ's and twist a knob. One last stupid analogy, it's like insisting on Wagu steaks from Japan and smothering it with ketchup.

    But really, we have strayed. Is there a reason not buy the LM and add a Schiit EQ? This isn't complicated.
  7. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    As stated earlier in another post I want full tube, not Hybrid design as the AMC is.
  8. Jaxjax67

    Jaxjax67 Samantha Fish @ small venue

    Toledo Wa
    I can see where original poster is going. He obviously want no SS in the chain so tube circuit EQ is a must for him in SET. I would just slam a HQ pro analog PEQ in the chain & be done but his hill is a much harder climb. I always suggest tone controls or EQ to most everybody & I used to be a so called purist. It should be a set & forget gig & not playing with it for different recordings. That is an endless circle. It's always the room w/ possible speaker problems from factory thru voicing or just crappy design/speaker. I would go to a DIY tube forum & have 1 built for the 3k - tubes. I'm sure you could also find a nice build on those forums to DIY yourself. My eyesite has got bad enough that building is not an option for me anymore & be happy doing it. I like IT coupled tube amps myself.......
  9. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    My Leben CS-300xs has a 3-position bass boost that actually is quite nice when listening at low volumes. Yes, I realize these aren't tone controls and it's not a SET circuit but it's as much as I possibly could imagine ever wanting in the form of tone controls from any amp.
  10. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident

    Washington State
    Not surprised
  11. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    By the time one begins designing very top quality equipment that reproduces the sound of music as heard live and unamplified, tone controls are almost never going to be a part of that design. I can't think of any amps (or integrateds) over 4k that have tone controls - at least ones by major designers (VTL, Spectral, VAC, LAMM, Aesthetix, Audio Research, conrad johnson, et al).

    I don't recall even seeing these on pretenders for state-of-the-art status (and even less than shoot-for-the-stars equipment) after 1983. It was clear that, by then, 20 years into high end design, the designers had had enough experience to believe tone controls deleterious and unnecessary, at least, for the genres of music those components were designed for. After all, as Bisby points out, it does degrade sound quality (especially at the quieter end, i.e. noise floor). Why shoot for the stars and have a lead weight attached, holding the designer back? They knew their target audience back then, and they were mainly classical, jazz, vocal music aficionados. (TAS didn't begin reviewing rock records until the mid-late '80s, after some readers pointed out that not everyone listened strictly to Brahms, Beethoven and Bartok!)

    On the other hand, some very revered companies still use tone controls, NAD being among the most long-lived of equipment manufacturers that have tone controls. But even then, they include a defeat button, and there's a reason for that: they, too, know that the tone controls degrade the quality. But they are practical, so they give buyers the option. NAD's more expensive - and current - designs do not include tone controls, however. I'm sure there's a reason for that, too.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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  12. bever70

    bever70 It's not all about The Soundstage

    Tone controls (simple bass & treble pots) aren't needed IF you've got a balanced in room measured response without hard peaks or dips (however narrow they are) imho.

    To get this balanced in room response though a lot us would be better off with adding a PEQ. I've been searching for years for that 'perfect' sound across all kinds of recordings. Since I added a PEQ and dealt with the room's shortcomings (no dedicated room here so small sacrifices have to be made with regards to listening position etc.) I think I have arrived. And yes there are still recordings that have lesser bass and other 'shortcomings' but at least now I can enjoy these without having to fiddle with tone controls.

    Difference between PEQ and Tone Controls: PEQ you set once (to deal with room issues) and forget. Tone Controls are for fiddling around with every recording because you've probably got some room issues that you are not aware of. Just my 0.2 cents.
  13. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    I have no idea of room issues or how to address. How does one tune a room? Experimentation? And, with what. My listening room is 16 fret square with 8 foot ceiling. It is with openings on each side to other areas and same side speakers are located. Across from the speakers is an 8 foot window 30" high. The window is high energy type that mutes outside noise very well.
  14. bever70

    bever70 It's not all about The Soundstage

    Ideally you measure with a microphone and using software like REW, playing some frequency sweeps.
    I did it another way (way less accurate but good enough for me). Using an app on my phone (I use the free Audizr app), looking at frequency sweeps mostly from 20hz to 200hz (only). These can be found easily on youtube and played through your system. I could easily spot 2 (narrow) problem areas between 95-105Hz and another between 135-145Hz. These areas had big dips. I was able to bring these dips up by using my PEQ and as a result got a much more even, balanced and pleasing sound. "Fix the bass and almost everyhing else follows"!
    Whenever I turn off my PEQ now to listen where I come from I am reminded every time of the 'problems' I had before with my system because I wasn't able to pinpoint the cause of it at the time.
    I also found that results of turning my PEQ setting on/off varied greatly between recordings, because some recordings will have more info in those freq ranges than others is my guess. This in turn might explain why some recordings sounded really good on my system before and others not so. Now everything sounds really good (within a variating degree naturally).
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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  15. mtemur

    mtemur Forum Resident

    It’s almost impossible to find a SET amp with tone controls IMHO. Only options with tone controls could be old receivers with push pull circuits.
    Lonson likes this.
  16. I was really lax about using PEQ back in the day. I set it up using the pots and my ears. Worked for my purpose.
    bever70 likes this.
  17. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    That is what I use.
  18. jpelg

    jpelg Forum Resident

    The Elm City
  19. bever70

    bever70 It's not all about The Soundstage

    Probably depends on the freq areas that are problematic too. I did adjust Gain and Q values of the 2 areas I mentioned mostly by ear too.
    Khorn likes this.
  20. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    PP design, want single-ended. as mentioned in previous posts. It is apparent what I want is not available new and extremely rare in vintage with over 5 watts per channel output. I need about 10 watts or more. Found one vintage SE EL34 with tone controls, not paying $2900 for it on eBay plus rebuilding it.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
  21. kundryishot

    kundryishot Forum Resident

    all burgers are bad
    tone controls are filters and they always degrade SQ
    Frank Bisby likes this.
  22. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    I have one of these in each of my systems. Works fabulously and solves my tonal issues, very flexible. The only hassle is it takes a long time to get one built and shipped.

    DECWARE Vacuum tube Bass restoration EQ
  23. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    With all due respect, you're missing the point. An "amp", a pure amp(like my McIntosh MC30 or MC240) does not have tone controls. A preamp, or an integrated amp (which is an amp plus a preamp) has tone controls. You're original post is therefore confusing, or incorrect. What you should've said is you'll never buy an integrated amp that doesn't have tone controls.
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  24. True, but the the improved response can far outweigh any minor signal degeneration in specific situations such as room correction where other means may be reasonably or financially impractical.
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  25. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Some of you think a tone control is a complicated device. It is the same as a tube amplifier stage with 4 coupling capacitors and two potentiometers. A potentiometer is also used a volume control. A signal passing thru two capacitors does not degrade the sound any more than another amplification stage. Per your thinking an amp with two preamp amplification stages has degraded sound vs one amplification stage.
    misteranderson likes this.

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