Beacon OneA preamp I had to repair recently:
They're opposites in design fundamentals as well as performance. The jungle preamp as I call it has a nice, flat frequency response, which is good. The problem: It sounds uniquely 1-D. Not even 2-D, not even close! It was much like a drugstore pocket AM radio in terms of liveliness. What is the meaning behind all that extra baggage? I worked on it and still can not tell you. It's there...because they could put it there. This is what's called magazine eye candy.
An exceptionally good observation: "You can't compare the two. One is tube and the other is solid state."
That has nothing to do with design philosophy and need not be a concern. Transistor circuits can be well designed. In lab, we made a voltage amplifier with a perfect waveform that used very few components. It did not take a 50 watt power supply to run like the above preamp.
Music likes a clean, airy space to move around in. The more components there are, the more potential there is to damage an incoming signal. While designing, I think about these things:
1. What do the active components require to operate perfectly?
2. What is necessary to make a clean, stable circuit?
3. How can we make this compatible with the widest array of sources, speakers, amps, preamps, etc...
4. If I were to repair this, how would I want it to be laid out?
5. If it can not be made with a clean, conservative design then it will be discarded. ( Many design concepts are worthless.)
There are many devices which have to be complex by nature
. If, by nature something has to be complex, there is nothing wrong with that. My issue resides with designs that __do not__ have to be made complex and are perverted by those who want to impress solely by a massive components count.