Smeared, muddy, soft, and even warm are descriptions of the worst tube amps from the 60's and earlier. Good tube amp design left behind that sound decades ago, but that perception of tube sound persists amongst non-hardcore audiophiles. The adjectives used to describe the sound of late 60's and 70's solid state amps---hard, cold, brittle, etched---is likewise long gone from the sound of good ss amp design. The better each discipline has become, the more they sound alike. Still, each has it's own strengths and weaknesses, and each is best suited to different types of drivers and loudspeaker designs.