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 Post subject: Phonograph Sound: Tube vs Solid State.
PostPosted: Oct Sun 27, 2019 3:33 pm 

Joined: Jan Thu 05, 2017 5:57 pm
Posts: 25
This is a can of worms I know and everything is subjective. I have two solid state classroom players, Audiotronics 312T and a Newcomb EDT 20b (Note: I only play my so so records on these). I would give a slight edge to the Newcomb as far as sound quality because it has separate Treble and Bass controls and maybe a better amp. I confess I have not listened to any tube players to compare ...perhaps one day I will. What I read about solid state among some posters is that the sound is harsher and lacking character, whereas the tube sounds warmer, easier on the ears and has more depth. I am 70 but most of my listening experience is with solid state components at least in the last 55 years.

To my old ears the two classroom players cited sound pretty good for what they are. The tone can be adjusted accordingly. I don't feel I am missing any warmth or depth. My main stereo setup has solid state NAD amps that sound fantastic. I have heard electric guitar players like tube amps because they can be used to distort the sound so prevalent in today's music...distortion is the last thing I want to hear in playing records.

In this forum and others, as well as YouTube, there does seem to be a strong bias toward tubes. Is it really justified? Besides sound quality, what about reliability? Is solid state less prone to problems in a player 45 years old?

 Post subject: Re: Phonograph Sound: Tube vs Solid State.
PostPosted: Oct Sun 27, 2019 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 18, 2010 2:13 am
Posts: 21253
Location: Dayton Ohio
The "Tube" sound is in the inherent distortion the amplifiers provide.

Modern solid state amplifiers are much cleaner and distortion free, and I suppose people miss the added "musical" distortion tube amplifiers provide which is often called a "warm tube sound" hence the popularity in tube equipment.
Solid state amplifiers, when used properly are much more reliable, but a tube can take a beating without damage longer than a transistor can. Still they do and will fail after hard use.
Guitar players often go for tube equipment especially for the distortion!

Many tube amplifiers of the 50s and 60s ran the tubes close to their max ratings as replacements were readily available.

In the end, it is all personal preference.


Radio Interests
-Pre-War FM
Consoles and floor models, the bigger, the better!

 Post subject: Re: Phonograph Sound: Tube vs Solid State.
PostPosted: Oct Mon 28, 2019 2:35 am 

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4490
Location: Boston, MA USA
I have long held that the better the tube or solid-state amplifier, the more they sound the same. To me:
1) a bad tube amplifier has "musical" distortion (harmonics), make the sound "brighter and warmer."
2) a bad solid-state amplifier has nasty crossover distortion, a very bad "fuzzy" sound at mid and low volumes.
3) when over-driven, a tube amplifier will still sound OK since it enters the distortion region gradually, but a solid-state amplifier will go immediately into clipping and make terrible sounds.

So if you use a good solid-state amplifier make sure it has plenty of power for your speakers and room so it is NEVER overdriven, and it will sound fine and be reliable.


 Post subject: Re: Phonograph Sound: Tube vs Solid State.
PostPosted: Oct Mon 28, 2019 6:58 pm 

Joined: Nov Wed 27, 2013 5:59 am
Posts: 726
Location: Metzger Oregon
This is subjective, but I will give my 2 cents:

One could argue that a tube am may sound better than solid state, but in a classroom record player there are many other factors such as speaker enclosure, output transformer, etc etc that would be more critical. I would argue that a tube amp is less prone to problems just in that the components needed for repair would probably be much more available. Admittedly, my bias towards tubes is just that they sound good, look cool, and are more-vintage.

 Post subject: Re: Phonograph Sound: Tube vs Solid State.
PostPosted: Oct Tue 29, 2019 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 30, 2010 2:24 am
Posts: 8835
Location: Lehighton, PA.
This is a generalization I'll use to give my opinion. SS gives more distinct, crisper sound, and seperation of sounds (I don't mean stereo seperation), while tube gives a fuller overall sound experience.

If I play an LP on my Dual 1019 thru a Technics SA-303, or on my Fisher D-393 Diplomat stereo console it sounds really good but when I play the same LP thru my 1958 Fisher C-810 Contemporary II tube Hi-Fi it just sounds better; it envelopes you more, it's fuller. I sometimes think some "Audiophiles" get too caught up in the tecnnical side of sound at the expense of the overall musical experience. I compare it to hearing the instruments versus hearing the song. There is a difference. Just my $.02.



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