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Author Topic: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES  (Read 7851 times)

Offline TomR

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 08:30:58 PM »
Guys, I think this is a really interesting thread, drivel and all. Love the subject title! I have been into recorded music since, oh, 1970 and into RTR since, oh, 1973 or so, and I have NEVER owned tube gear. Before buying my current electronics (ok, it is a Simaudio  Moon I-7, yikes an integrated amp), I did an extended bakeoff which  included tube gear (a BAT I don't remember what), and I found that for chamber music, piano, folk music, etc, the tubes provided a superior point to point continuity BUT just didn't deliver the sound fast enough to handle the hairpin dynamics of massed orchestral music - like Mahler. OTOH, one of the pieces of SS that I listened to (from a manufacturer that makes well-known tube gear as well) could handle them, but honestly - sounded like crap. Beaucoup bucks too.  The I-7 was, for the money, a piece of gear that handled it all, IMHO. SS, of course.

Now, having said that, my vinyl rig pusher (the infamous Brian at The Analog Room - and I do recommend The Analog Room for vinyl gear, especially if you like Cuban cigars) claims that you really need to go upscale in tubes to get the kind of performance I'm talking about in terms of ability to handle hairpin dynamics - and I have listened to some pretty fantastic stuff in his shop from Air Tight - which I couldn't come close to affording.  Maybe someday.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 06:04:33 PM by TomR »
Thomas Ream

Technics RS1520(not yet modified)/Nottingham Space 294 w/Koetsu Black and Simaudio LP5.3/Sony XA9000ES/ReVox A-77/Simaudio I-7/B&W 804's

Offline docb

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 09:12:47 PM »
Quote
I did an extended bakeoff which  included tube gear (a BAT I don't remember what),

One item? How do you figure that's an "extended bakeoff" of tube gear?
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Offline TomR

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2009, 09:29:23 AM »
Doc, I did not say I did an extended bake off of tube gear. What I said was that I did an extended bake off of some electronics, which included one piece of tube gear, which I felt did certain things extremely well and others not so well. By extended bake off I don't mean I listened to a wide variety of amps, but that I listened to a few but for extended periods of time and with quite a lot of different material, so as to be able to form definitive conclusions about the whys and wherefores of what I heard. (We are talking multiple hours of listening, not just a few minutes).  My comments from my own experience with respect to the pluses and minuses were specific to that single piece of gear. I did talk to  someone who is a major tube guy (he sells lots of tube gear) about my experience and I related what he told me, and also what I had heard from the set up in his store, although not in any type of bake off situation.


I hope that clarifies this.
Thomas Ream

Technics RS1520(not yet modified)/Nottingham Space 294 w/Koetsu Black and Simaudio LP5.3/Sony XA9000ES/ReVox A-77/Simaudio I-7/B&W 804's

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2009, 01:17:01 PM »
You didn't mention if the BAT tube gear was a preamp or power amp.  I briefly owned a BAT VK-3i preamp and I didn't care for it.  My brother threatened to smash it will a baseball bat if I didn't get rid of it.  I have never heard any BAT amps so I don't know how they sound. 

The bottom line is that it sounds like you have very little experience (maybe none) with owning/listening to tube gear in your system.  Your reference has always been SS gear which is fine.  Whatever makes your socks roll up and down is the right thing for you.  I would just be careful making generalizations about tube gear based on very little experience.

Offline PJ

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2009, 04:45:49 PM »
... massed orchestral music - like Mahler. ...
I could not pass this up. I'm a big Mahler fan myself, have been for decades. And I prefer SETs for that music (in fact I design them...) as well as other music.

There are a few design issues and system issues that are important for big orchestral performance. One is headroom - though SETs overload especially gracefully, you still need plenty of headroom if you are listening to spectrally dense music. Since SETs are almost always low power, that means very efficient speakers. We've had a lot of success with multi-amping and active crossovers as well - this produces more headroom and less need for it at the same time (the music through any one amp is less spectrally dense).

Driver tubes and output transformers are both subject to transient overload distortions if their operating conditions are not well chosen in the context of the particular output tube. These things will also be especially apparent with orchestral type music.

Of course I have to note that that other Paul (Stubblebine I mean!) likes his quasi-push-pull amps best. Different ears, different needs, different brains - nobody can complain, it's all valid, there are a LOT of realities!
Paul Joppa
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Offline High and Outside

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2009, 07:09:48 PM »
... massed orchestral music - like Mahler. ...
I could not pass this up. I'm a big Mahler fan myself, have been for decades. And I prefer SETs for that music (in fact I design them...) as well as other music.
<snip>
Of course I have to note that that other Paul (Stubblebine I mean!) likes his quasi-push-pull amps best. Different ears, different needs, different brains - nobody can complain, it's all valid, there are a LOT of realities!

Agreed with your comments in general about headroom. I do like the push-pull 300B amps I'm currently using on the bass, mid-bass and midrange (AND the SET 45 that's driving the tweeter) but I have not had a chance to compare directly with SET amps of equivalent power. So I wouldn't say yet that I have a preference one way or the other.

I can say without hesitation, though, that I prefer tube power, especially the kind of designs you and Doc are doing, to any Zombie amp I have yet heard. And one of the things I like about them is how nimble they are, able to gracefully unravel dense textures and to start and stop on a dime.

Another Mahler fan,
 
Paul Stubblebine
Managing Director, The TapeProject

Offline ironbut

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2009, 08:16:18 PM »
Hey, so let's get some Mahler on tape, chop-chop! I'm a big fan too and while I realize that most of his symphonies would take up four or six tapes, I could go for the 1st. Saw TT and SF symphony do it (last year?) and just reveled in every note.
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Offline xcortes

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Re: SOLID STATE AND ZOMBIES
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2009, 09:47:04 PM »
Yes! Mahler 1st would be a killer addition to the TP.

I use PJ's designed 300B SETs (8W) with 106, 109 and 118dB/W efficient speakers (triamping) so I guess my system qualifies for headroom capable.

Xavier Cortes