AudioCircle

Industry Circles => Digital Amplifier Company => Topic started by: RonN5 on 3 Mar 2021, 05:13 pm

Title: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: RonN5 on 3 Mar 2021, 05:13 pm
Two of the things I appreciate most about my 2Cherry are the beautiful tonality and the large, dimensional soundstage.  By comparison, if you wander over to the Decware website and read some of the posts by owners of their amps you will see the same words being used to describe the sound of their amplifiers.

All of which makes me wonder, how can a 200 Watt/Solid State/Class D/Negative Feedback amplifier like the 2Cherry sound so similar to the 2Watt/Tube/Triode/No Negative Feedback Decware Zen Triode Amplifier?  What is it that I’m missing?
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: abd1 on 3 Mar 2021, 08:48 pm
Its really about system and speaker matching. I haven't heard Decware amps but they are meant for high efficiency speakers. Basically, 93db and higher. Your class D amp has more than enough power for really any speaker. Also, watts per channel is one of the most misleading metrics in audio. I learned this years ago because I had solid state amps running 100+ wpc and up to 250 wpc. Then I heard a 30wpc Primaluna tube amp and my jaw dropped. The bass was so much more impactful and the sound was just better in every regard. I've tried other solid state amps since including class D, but haven't liked any enough to own long term. However, everyone has their own taste as to what sounds good. Some like detail, some like bass and dynamics, some like musicality, tone, imaging, etc. Tube amps produce even order harmonic distortion. Some like that sound, some don't. I find it addictive, as do others who've heard it. However, I suggest you listen for yourself. Try not to get caught up on the watts. If you have 10 wpc and a 90db sensitive speaker, and an average listening space, you have plenty of power.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Early B. on 3 Mar 2021, 08:55 pm
Any good amp should contribute to providing great tonality and a large soundstage. A solid state amp can be designed to sound just as "tubey" as a tube amp and vice versa. 
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: AmpDesigner333 on 16 Mar 2021, 12:00 am
Tube amplifiers usually have pretty bad issues at frequency extremes due to output transformers.  OTL types require massive parallelism to be effective.

Then there are the issues of performance....  Noise, distortion, etc....  To get decent performance you will need to spend big $$.  That's at low power.  Want some real power?  Well, get ready to fork over 5-figure USD prices for an amp that can't outperform a $100 Japanese receiver from the 1980s.

Then there are the issues of fragility, heat, tube replacement, inefficiency,

The reason Cherry amps have a "more tubish" sound (without the noise and distortion) is our special modulation technology.  Class-D amps come in many flavors, and our topology is unlike any other.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: RonN5 on 16 Mar 2021, 12:20 pm
Tommy,

First, thanks for weighing.  Your comments make me want to ask two questions:

1.  I guess I thought that "tube sound" was a partially, maybe largely, a result of their distortion...is this not the case or possibly too simplistic?

2.  For those of us non technical types, can you define what modulation means and why it is needed?

Thanks
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: AmpDesigner333 on 9 Apr 2021, 03:48 am
Tommy,

First, thanks for weighing.  Your comments make me want to ask two questions:

1.  I guess I thought that "tube sound" was a partially, maybe largely, a result of their distortion...is this not the case or possibly too simplistic?

2.  For those of us non technical types, can you define what modulation means and why it is needed?

Thanks

1.  I guess I thought that "tube sound" was a partially, maybe largely, a result of their distortion...is this not the case or possibly too simplistic?
     -- yes, distortion and noise

2.  For those of us non technical types, can you define what modulation means and why it is needed?
     -- Class-D amplifiers need to "modulate" the signal to convert an analog waveform to a pulse train.  The pulse train is amplified with devices used as switches, then filtered "back down to analog".

The circuitry used to modulate the signal can be very complex.  Modulation can also be done in the analog domain, digital domain, or a hybrid approach where it is split between the two.

Modulation is my specialty (:
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: RonN5 on 9 Apr 2021, 08:02 pm
The better tube amplifiers seem to present an almost liquid and 3 dimensional soundstage...which is exactly what I attribute to and enjoy so much about the 2Cherry....although I'm not sure why since the 2Cherry noise and distortion are extremely low compared to any/all tube amplifiers?

On the website 10audio, they were reviewing an amplifier and gave it a "7" for "immersion" meaning sound that is "captivating, involved, and thoroughly satisfying".  I would add to that sound that at times is all around you and that seems alive and real and puts a smile on your face.

For me, the 2Cherry continues to be a "10".
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: rollo on 9 Apr 2021, 08:07 pm
1.  I guess I thought that "tube sound" was a partially, maybe largely, a result of their distortion...is this not the case or possibly too simplistic?
     -- yes, distortion and noise

2.  For those of us non technical types, can you define what modulation means and why it is needed?
     -- Class-D amplifiers need to "modulate" the signal to convert an analog waveform to a pulse train.  The pulse train is amplified with devices used as switches, then filtered "back down to analog".

The circuitry used to modulate the signal can be very complex.  Modulation can also be done in the analog domain, digital domain, or a hybrid approach where it is split between the two.

Modulation is my specialty (:



You do quite a good job putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Not an easy task.

charles
 
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: sletnty on 15 Jun 2021, 08:21 am
Our ears are not really stable so sometimes we will prefer the sound of the SS amp and sometimes we will prefer the sound of the Tube amp.
I personally prefer the SS amp, it gives more dynamic, more accuracy.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Ric Schultz on 16 Jun 2021, 05:16 pm
"On the website 10audio, they were reviewing an amplifier and gave it a "7" for "immersion" meaning sound that is "captivating, involved, and thoroughly satisfying".  I would add to that sound that at times is all around you and that seems alive and real and puts a smile on your face."

From what I understand, a 7 rating from 10 audio has nothing to do with "immersion"......in fact, it takes an 8 or higher for him to recommend auditioning.  Why not send Jerry at 10 audio the best Cherry amp (mono Mega's) and let him give it a number.....that is meaningful...at least in his context.  Of course, you could send him a lesser Cherry amp.....but, more than likely, won't get as high a number.  We like our numbers here, don't we.

RonN5,
Have you a/bed in your system a 2cherry amp and a Decware amp?  How do you know they sound so similar?  I would bet they would be quite different.  But only those who have actually done listening tests know, for sure.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: RonN5 on 17 Jun 2021, 09:36 pm
Ric,

No, I haven't heard the Decware or compared one of the other tube amplifiers in my system....so....

I should have said that the "descriptions" of the sound from tube amplifiers (by their owners) like the Decware or Cherry Amplifiers like the 2Cherry are so similar that I wondered how it was possible.....could these two different amplifier technologies produce sound that was so similar and if so, how?

In other words, more of a hypothetical question.

Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: seikosha on 17 Jun 2021, 10:51 pm
Ric,

No, I haven't heard the Decware or compared one of the other tube amplifiers in my system....so....

I should have said that the "descriptions" of the sound from tube amplifiers (by their owners) like the Decware or Cherry Amplifiers like the 2Cherry are so similar that I wondered how it was possible.....could these two different amplifier technologies produce sound that was so similar and if so, how?

In other words, more of a hypothetical question.

Lots of people will use superlatives to describe their system’s sound never really having heard what is really possible.  What one person says is great soundstaging could be pretty mediocre sounding to someone with a better system so unless you are reading comments from someone who has heard both components in the same room with the same ancillary components, reading what individual owners are posting about their own equipment is useless.

Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Bullitt5094 on 18 Jun 2021, 02:11 am
I had an Odyssey system, a Linear Tube Audio combination and a Lyndorf digital amplifier in my home for a couple of weeks for evaluation for an upgrade. As much as I wanted the cool looking LTA amp to win, the Lyngdorf stayed. The others went back. The LTA was really good but the Lyngdorf was noticeably better and the Odyssey wasn't even in the same league with the other two. And these results were confirmed by several others who's opinions, and hearing, I trust and didn't have any idea what hardware they were listening to. Zero equipment bias from them.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: opnly bafld on 18 Jun 2021, 02:35 am
.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Bullitt5094 on 18 Jun 2021, 03:11 am
Maybe the Lyngdorf was a better match with the speakers than the LTA.
Yep, I figured that would be the next comment.

Tried them all with different combinations of front end set-up and several speakers including OB and Box. It was consistently better.

Could it be the Lyngdorf was the better amplifier? I guess you could blame the room. That was the only constant.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: AmpDesigner333 on 17 Jul 2021, 04:06 am
Yep, I figured that would be the next comment.

Tried them all with different combinations of front end set-up and several speakers including OB and Box. It was consistently better.

Could it be the Lyngdorf was the better amplifier? I guess you could blame the room. That was the only constant.
What sets amplifiers apart is how well they handle the extremes and how well they handle the speakers.  Cherry Amps use unconventional techniques to deliver "the good stuff about tubes" without "the bad stuff about tubes".  The good stuff being the smoothness that some of tube amps have, especially well designed OTL types.  The bad stuff includes noise and "wooly bass".
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Big Red Machine on 17 Jul 2021, 12:42 pm
Tommy, years ago I had a 4800A and a Plus amp. This was before I knew what I was doing. I believe these more conventional amp designs. What do you have in a one box solution for stereo using your D approach? I'm shopping for an amp for a second system and while right now the amp would power Salk HT1's at 84db, you never know what may come down the road. I'm trying to stay under 2k.

(I'm not keen on having power supplies dangling and a bunch of wires to manage with multiple boxes)
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Tyson on 17 Jul 2021, 02:56 pm
I’ve heard a bunch of digital amps, the DAC’s are the best I’ve heard.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: morganc on 17 Jul 2021, 03:17 pm
Tommy, years ago I had a 4800A and a Plus amp. This was before I knew what I was doing. I believe these more conventional amp designs. What do you have in a one box solution for stereo using your D approach? I'm shopping for an amp for a second system and while right now the amp would power Salk HT1's at 84db, you never know what may come down the road. I'm trying to stay under 2k.

(I'm not keen on having power supplies dangling and a bunch of wires to manage with multiple boxes)

I now have a Megaschino but before that the 2-Cherry.  I believe that either would meet your needs with the 2 Cherry closer to your budget. 
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: opnly bafld on 17 Jul 2021, 04:10 pm
............ without "the bad stuff about tubes". The bad stuff includes noise and "wooly bass".

I have owned several tube amps over the years, don't remember much noise (unless I put my ear to the tweeter/ss also) or wooly bass, just good enjoyable music.  :banana piano: :violin: :drums: :guitar:

 :green:

Generalizations like, "all class D amplifiers.........(something undesireable)", are not a good thing.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: rotarius on 17 Jul 2021, 04:31 pm
RonN5, there really is no conundrum.  If you want tube goodness, you need to get a tube amp.  The only people who talk about tube-like SS are the ones who don't have tube amps! You are not going to get that midrange magic of a good 300B or EL34 amp any other way.  Then again, you give up the bass slam of SS with those.  I have and enjoy SS and tube equipment. Get both.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Tyson on 17 Jul 2021, 05:47 pm
Or buy a speaker with a powered bass section and just run a tube amp on the mid/highs, get the best of both worlds.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: dpatters on 17 Jul 2021, 06:21 pm
It’s like everything else in hifi. It’s not about ss vs tube, or ESS Sabre DAC vs R2R Ladder DAC, or class A vs class D. Its how the designer implements the aforementioned topologies in their design that determines the final result.

Don P
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: artur9 on 17 Jul 2021, 08:52 pm
... Lyndorf digital amplifier ...
Which Lyngdorf?  There are a few different models.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: sumoking on 17 Jul 2021, 11:42 pm
RonN5, there really is no conundrum.  If you want tube goodness, you need to get a tube amp.  The only people who talk about tube-like SS are the ones who don't have tube amps! You are not going to get that midrange magic of a good 300B or EL34 amp any other way.  Then again, you give up the bass slam of SS with those.  I have and enjoy SS and tube equipment. Get both.

Interesting, I had multiple tube amps (BAT, Golden Tube Audio, Jolida) with the very last being a 2A3 SET tube amp that I worked with a skilled designer and we hand picked all the power supplies, tubes, parts and pieces. It had minimalist point to point wiring, good connectors, the whole bit.  I fell in love with it.  It had it all, dynamic bass, beautiful tone, deep and wide soundstage. I was in love. 

Then I met a quality guy on this forum, who convinced me to give Tommy a call and check out the the Cherry Marachino's mono blocks.  He told me he sold his SET Tube amps for a set or Marachinos mono blocks and never looked back.  SO I gave them a try (one has to have an open mind to really makes advances in this fun game) and within the first notes of a very familiar female singers voice, I whispered to myself, this is so much closer to the real thing. Her voice, guitar and cello strings rang so clearly on my Spatial Audio speakers that it was clear I was at a whole different level. Game over.   

Do I miss anything about my tubes amps? Hell yes.  I miss the magical glow of the tubes and the atmosphere they created.  I might even miss the 20 minutes it took for them to warm up and play their best. It was a fun ritual.

Tommy can you stick these in an case with tubes and make them glow, so they look cool?  Then I would have it all!
Cheers.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: opnly bafld on 18 Jul 2021, 12:06 am
(one has to have an open mind to really makes advances in this fun game)

..............and realize anecdotal evidence goes both ways.  :wink:

"I got a tube amp for the first time and was blown away by how much more real it sounds."   :dance:
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: seikosha on 18 Jul 2021, 12:33 am
Interesting, I had multiple tube amps (BAT, Golden Tube Audio, Jolida) with the very last being a 2A3 SET tube amp that I worked with a skilled designer and we hand picked all the power supplies, tubes, parts and pieces. It had minimalist point to point wiring, good connectors, the whole bit.  I fell in love with it.  It had it all, dynamic bass, beautiful tone, deep and wide soundstage. I was in love. 

Then I met a quality guy on this forum, who convinced me to give Tommy a call and check out the the Cherry Marachino's mono blocks.  He told me he sold his SET Tube amps for a set or Marachinos mono blocks and never looked back.  SO I gave them a try (one has to have an open mind to really makes advances in this fun game) and within the first notes of a very familiar female singers voice, I whispered to myself, this is so much closer to the real thing. Her voice, guitar and cello strings rang so clearly on my Spatial Audio speakers that it was clear I was at a whole different level. Game over.   

Do I miss anything about my tubes amps? Hell yes.  I miss the magical glow of the tubes and the atmosphere they created.  I might even miss the 20 minutes it took for them to warm up and play their best. It was a fun ritual. (maybe a little boring that I flip on the Cherries and instantly they blow me away.

Tommy can you stick these in an case with tubes and make them glow, so they look cool?  Then I would have it all!
Cheers.

Were you driving your Spatial X3’s with a 2a3 tube amp?
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: sumoking on 18 Jul 2021, 02:24 am
Were you driving your Spatial X3’s with a 2a3 tube amp?

I had M3 STurbo's... then went to the X-3's and still use the marachinos on the AMT and 12" midrange.
Since amps are as good/better than tubes (certainly for the money) they are a glorious match. Nothing wrong with power.
Cheers.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: sumoking on 18 Jul 2021, 02:26 am
..............and realize anecdotal evidence goes both ways.  :wink:

"I got a tube amp for the first time and was blown away by how much more real it sounds."   :dance:

Curious, did the tubes replace the marachino's?

Most importantly, glad you are enjoying them. That's what it's all about.
Cheers.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: opnly bafld on 18 Jul 2021, 02:35 am
Curious, did the tubes replace the marachino's?

Most importantly, glad you are enjoying them. That's what it's all about.
Cheers.

Sorry I forgot these are the only good amplifiers.   :wink:

It is a comment I see on various forums (reason for quotation marks), not mine.


Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Tyson on 18 Jul 2021, 04:01 am
Another option is to own multiple amps and then there's no longer a conundrum, you just listen to whichever you want, whenever you want.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: sumoking on 18 Jul 2021, 04:19 am
Another option is to own multiple amps and then there's no longer a conundrum, you just listen to whichever you want, whenever you want.
Yes, and you just stole the Kismet's. Great buy, bet they will sound great!
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: Big Red Machine on 18 Jul 2021, 11:25 am
I now have a Megaschino but before that the 2-Cherry.  I believe that either would meet your needs with the 2 Cherry closer to your budget.

Any discernible differences in sound? They are different levels of build and price for sure.

Not sure if the new Mega LC would have the same level of sound. And no idea the cost of such a unit.
Title: Re: SS vs Tube Conundrum
Post by: seikosha on 18 Jul 2021, 12:04 pm
I had M3 STurbo's... then went to the X-3's and still use the marachinos on the AMT and 12" midrange.
Since amps are as good/better than tubes (certainly for the money) they are a glorious match. Nothing wrong with power.
Cheers.

It’s no wonder that the DAC amps sound better than the 2a3’s.  Those tube amps are far from the best match for those speakers.