I've been bending Doggie's ear and I'm trying to figure this out. I also had another member over yesterday to listen to the X5s and we chatted about this question as well.
I played garage music in the early 1980s and also did some home recording and a tiny bit of diy small studio recording. I wrote and co-wrote some stuff mainly for friends, some small clubs etc. I like indie and alternative music though I also like most genres when there is really good stuff. I also look for stuff most people don't know about.
So basically, I love creative music and I love to hear the detail in the music. One example people might know is XTC from the 70s through the 90s. They sometimes had two guitarists (Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory) who played intricate and interesting little guitar bits through the music. Right now I'm driving the X5s with a solid state integrated amp and I can hear all the details extremely clearly.
I've watched New Record Day with Clayton Shaw's interview and Ron's commentary about the difference between the Sapphires and the X Series saying that the X Series seems almost too detailed. In the interview, Clayton said that he prefers tubes on the speakers.
Talking to Roger who came over, he mentioned that he likes to put music on as background. I almost never do that. I usually intently listen to music. I think that partially has to do with the fact that I taught myself to play copies of songs, stole some guitar ideas and learned how to write songs by listening carefully. There are a few exceptions, like Pink Floyd that can essentially put me into a trance (and asleep).
So I have no experience with tube equipment but my research is tubes give a richness but sort of fuzz the details which is why the bass is not as tight as on solid state. I see so many posters saying tubes is the way to go but I'm wondering if that has more to do with listening styles and music genre interests.
At the same time, I see that there are combinations that could be done including a tube preamp with a solid state amp or the other way around. If anyone out there uses a combination, I'd like to hear how that works and whether the pre-amp or the amp colors the sound more and whether the combination gives you the best or each or whether there is an integrated that gives you the best of each.
I'm hoping that other posters can share what they prefer and why also including the type of music they listen to and their listening styles (background, relaxation or detailed listening or a combination). Thanks.