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Some hi end preamps use hard copper wire and hard silver wire to obtain the best sound for each circuit position, hard to do a silver track PCB.
Point to point, no question. PCB's are done for cost, not for sonics. Think about this: Audiophiles spend scads of cash on so called "high end" interconnects, yet, the real limiting factor in performance for tube gear are the PCB's.
No piece of audio gear is perfectly accurate (but one can get pretty close). I'll stand by the assertion that point to point for tube audio is a better option overall as opposed to PCB's. I do agree that price does not automatically translate to better sound.
If individuals, over the years, cannot tell the difference via preamp in or out of the system, or through specialized listening testing procedures, well............. I have yet to have a hardwired component pass the same type of specialized listening tests for musical accuracy as the 11A did. My previous post's points are still totally valid. I find very very very few circuits that are properly designed in the first place, which includes parts quality, lay out, HW or PC. I like the fact that we both concur that price doesn't determine overall musical quality. Cheers and all the best.steve
Not quite sure I understand what you mean by specialized listening tests. Audiophiles tend not to be able to tell the difference between CD Redbook and Hi-Res versions of the same recordings. Not sure how one can validate based on subjective listening tests. Besides, one thing I have learned over the years is that the speakers are the key to detecting deltas with hardware playback setups.
You may have a point about circuit designs. Tube electronics tend to be more forgiving than SS designs. One person who's designs I personally like a lot is Thomas Mayer. I had a clone of his 6AH4 preamp made, and that piece was a "a-ha" moment for me with tube audio. The noise floor from that design is very good, and the holographic quality from the preamp is very nice.
I think the larger point I was trying to make is that most commercial tube products use PCB's for reasons other than sound quality. For the DIY tube crowd, no reason to not use point to point. If I recall correctly, the HK Citation I/II used point to point wiring.
The listening tests I developed are proprietary, and the results are in absolute terms, not subjective as simply auditioning. As very very simple examples, is the preamplifier bright and the speakers full sounding to compensate? Maybe it is the amplifier that is bright? Are the speakers zinging on the highs, while using a 12AX7, which rolls off the highs? In reality, one has to address many multiple problems in designs such as focus, dynamics, soundstage width, soundstage depth, smearing, grunge etc. etc.One thing important is take your time. I took years, when listening testing, and lots of musical selections, not just three or four. I personally found that if one sets up for red book, high resolution can sound bright. Conversely, when one setups for high resolution, red book can sound lacking highs. But this is just a general impression as recording quality/mixing varies.I agree many/most tube designs tend to be more forgiving. Reviewers see this as well. The designs often follow a similar pattern, few filter stages with small electrolytic capacitors, chokes believe it or not (SET designs almost require chokes however), small value coupling capacitors and other problems. One will never get truly accurate sound from such designs. Tube components can be thin as well, and also right on the money rather than soft, forgiving.I can partially agree, especially with economical designs from large companies. Cheers and all the best.steve
I'll let others argue about the sonic differences between the two.I will say that tube sockets soldered into PCB boards can be a tube roller's nightmare. Tube sockets are often so tight the pulling out a tube can flex and damage the PCB and wreak havoc on the solder joints. PCBs also don't like the heat of tubes. If these issues are considered in designing the amp's layout than PCBs can be used without reliability issues.
Point to point, no question. PCB's are done for cost, not for sonics. Think about this: Audiophiles spend scads of cash on so called "high end" interconnects, yet, the real limiting factor in performance for tube gear are the PCB's.Here are pictures of my 6AH4 Clone preamp and 1625 power amps. No PCB's in the audio signal whatsoever.
Thank you for responding. Good points about filtering, etc. The DIY gear shown here did attempt to ensure that those issues were addressed. For example, the 6AH4 preamp clone has a lot of filtering, which is why it is so quiet.Could you post some more information on your preamp? Looks very interesting.
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