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Yes, I agree, but I like the sound of tubes.  It takes less feedback to 
make a tube circuit linear, compared to a transistor circuit.  Also, 
when you compare the distortion of tubes and transistors, the tube 
circuit is primarily 2nd, 3rd and 4th harmonic, with a nice harmonic 
progression (much like a musical instrument).  Most transistor designs 
show overall lower harmonic distortion, but has much more of the higher 
order distortions that are inharmonic with the music and harder to 
mask.  Then there are the overload and headroom issues.  Many tube 
designs have more "apparent" headroom then transistors.  Tubes like to 
compress when they run out of steam.  It's kind of like comparing good 
tape to good digital.  I've heard good and bad in both.  My favorite 
transistor stuff is by Nelson Pass and James Bongiorno.  My favorite 
tube stuff (classic) is by Gordon Gow and Stuart Hegeman.  Those guys 
could get vanishing distortion and great sound out of anything.
Phillip

Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "phillip holmes" <[log in to unmask]>
>   
>> Sorry to spout off late.  Tubes can be just as quiet as transistors.  
>> I've heard noisy examples of both.  With classic tube stuff, you're 
>> going to have to replace the power supply caps.  They're crap.  The ESR 
>> of modern electrolytic caps are several orders of magnitude better than 
>> what was available back then.  As Tom points out, DC filaments are the 
>> way to go.  There were high end preamps back then that used DC on the 
>> filaments and choke regulation in the B+.  One of my favorites is the 
>> Harmon-Kardon Citation 1.  It has adjustable turnover and rolloff.  It's 
>> very quiet and the sound remains constant as the tubes age because of 
>> the judicious use of local/loop feedback.  The zero feedback stuff is 
>> BS--they'll always be prone to tube aging and noise.  If you have to 
>> rebuild one of these, they're very crammed with parts, so quite a chore 
>> to work on.  There are upgrade kits available for these that will 
>> replace the nasty electrolytic caps, the coupling caps and some other 
>> noisy parts.  A complete rebuild would take hours, but when you're done, 
>> it'd be world class.  I have one that'd covered in 20 years of dust.  
>> One of these days....  It uses stepped attenuators for tone controls.  I 
>> doubt anything like this, made as an audiophile product, would be 
>> affordable.  Just looking at the parts list, I'd bet it'd run at least $3k.
>> http://www.drtube.com/schematics/harmankardon/cit1.gif
>> http://www.quadesl.com/refurb/refurb_hkCitation1.html
>>
>>     
> The point is here...that if both tube hardware and solid-state hardware
> can produce essentially-undistorted amplified version of sound-signal
> input, why should there be any reason to choose one or the other?
>
> As a user of intentionally-distorted tube amplifiers (for harmonica
> playing)...I know that vacuum-tube hardware offers a much more
> endurable version of distortion than does its solid-state equivalent.
> However, if we design amplifiers of either sort so as to produce
> effectively undistorted output...there should be no audible difference
> between the two. At this point, it becomes more a question of nostalgia...
> the same thing that inspires me to seek out 78's of performance for
> which I already own master-pressing reissue discs!
>
> Steven C. Barr
>
>
>