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  1. #1
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    Realistic sound = tubes and analogue

    I'm starting another thread as instructed. IMO, ss and digital flatten sound, reduce micro dynamics, and reduce music's tonal saturation. The best digital formats are getting better, but, despite being a pain in the ass, for now, I'm sticking to tubes and vinyl for serious listening. I hated all the digital based systems at the California audio Show, except for the Audio Note one. Both Audio Note CD players (one $5,500, one $9,500) had plenty of tonal saturation. I want to hear more from these units.

  2. #2
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    I'm starting another thread as instructed. IMO, ss and digital flatten sound, reduce micro dynamics, and reduce music's tonal saturation. The best digital formats are getting better, but, despite being a pain in the ass, for now, I'm sticking to tubes and vinyl for serious listening. I hated all the digital based systems at the California audio Show, except for the Audio Note one. Both Audio Note CD players (one $5,500, one $9,500) had plenty of tonal saturation. I want to hear more from these units.
    The Audio Note CD players sound different than everyone elses because they ARE different than everyone elses. They're designed by vinyl lovers and the only reason Peter bothered making CD playersis because a lot of good music is on CD and since he hated everyone else's CD players (he bought all the top of the line competitors) he was forced to make his own. And of course the advertising of CD was perfect sound forever - a blatent lie since those same people came out with HDCD and then SACD which recognizes the faults of Redbook CD. Although it is interesting that I have read a few reviews now of guys who own SACD machines and prefer the Redbook version through an AN digital rig. It still comes down to the actual player. The theoretical advantages of one tech over the other may be true but in the end it is the replay device that has a big influence. As good as the DACs are - Peter still says for less than half the money a good vinyl rig will beat his digital. Peter's a character - at CES not once did he talk about watts, cables, cd players, but about Slayer, Nightwish, the evil nine, noise music, where it's all going. And the guys he brought with him same thing. Music - the boxes are just boxes which is probably why most of it just looks like a box. Most rooms don't discuss that - they talk about watts per channel and cable enhancements, and driver technology.

    I suppose to get digital to sound more like vinyl it has to come from people who actually LIKE and believe that vinyl is better. If you want digital to sound more vinyl - chances are you are better off not buying it from a comapany that doesn't make a turntable or has owners that don't listen to vinyl. Peter does and this quote amuses me "I just can't understand in any way why people would want to insult their beautiful music signal with a transistor!" http://www.audionote.co.uk/articles/.../audio52.shtml

  3. #3
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Well, that settles that.

    We can close the forum and all go home now.

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    What about BR music? Isn't that a lot closer to analog than any CD player?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  5. #5
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    There should be bullets flying around by now, or maybe everybody is in a relaxed vacation mood....
    One of these days, I am going to dust off the phono and connect it to my kit valve amp and see what gives.... To really do some serious listening, I would have to send the wife away on holiday or on a refresher course or something... then feed the cats and open a bottle of wine and eat something while the system is warming up and only then kill the lights and sit down in the sweetspot!!!!
    From past experiences, I seem to get carried away till the early morning hours, so its best done over the weekends, otherwise a rather sleepy head syndrome will be experienced at work.
    My 25W per channel valve amp sounded different from the 100W per channel Solid State amp, but this was to be expected. I am not in a position to do quick tests with one amp then connect up another, all because the moment the cats see the cables moving, its playtime for them...many is a time when I have put on a cd ( oh dear, digital again) after a long day at work only to be rewarded with music from a 1.1 system, as these 4 pawed fiends ( I mean friends ) have been trying to dewire the system in my absence!! Anyway, to cut a long story short, In my humble opinion, the valve amp seemed fuller in sound ( someone will soon say its because of the distortion, etc... ) than its SS counterpart and one can easily grow partial to that. Others may claim that the beefy SS are quietly in control, not contributing significantly with even harmonic distortions while odd harmonic distortions in little doses can enhance the music, as is the case with the tubes....
    Whatever the case, has anybody tried connecting an ESL to such a low powered tube amp? My design allows no switching from 8 to 4 Ohms and the ESLs are rated 4Ohms and current hungry....

  6. #6
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    God man, this is the most redundant discussion in audio. Nobody wins, we all leave these discussions feeling angry.

    I love my analog but the bottom line is to each his own. Not to mention, I think digital is catching up at a tremendous rate, although not quite there. I am speaking of products on the market, readily available for people (Terrence).

    I had a real eye opening experience with the new reference Marantz amp and SACD player. Realism? In spades. The sound was beautiful, tonal and wide open. And all of this with Paradigm speakers?!? My goodness...no!!

    The SM-11S1, SC-11S1 and SA-11S2....fantastic products. However, I would prefer the comparably priced analog equivelant. But to say this combo didn't sound great, is to deny oneself indulgence into wonderful sound.




  7. #7
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nasir
    There should be bullets flying around by now, or maybe everybody is in a relaxed vacation mood..
    After a period of time, most fish learn what bait to avoid.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    I'm starting another thread as instructed. IMO, ss and digital flatten sound, reduce micro dynamics, and reduce music's tonal saturation. The best digital formats are getting better, but, despite being a pain in the ass, for now, I'm sticking to tubes and vinyl for serious listening. I hated all the digital based systems at the California audio Show, except for the Audio Note one. Both Audio Note CD players (one $5,500, one $9,500) had plenty of tonal saturation. I want to hear more from these units.
    I have a tube preamp and a more tubey than typical sounding s/s amp -- so OK. We won't debate here whether "tonal saturation" is really just excessive 2nd order harmonic distortion.

    As for analog vs. digital, it's pretty much a non-issue for me because virtually none of the music I listen to (classical) is available in anything but digital nowadays.

    The non-oversampling, non-filtered AN DACs might sound nice but $5k much less $9.5k are absurd on my budget. Maybe I'll try one of the non-oversampling, non-filtered $150 Chinese knock-offs just for fun, but the word is that NOS has punchy bass but relatively poor resolution.
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    I get it, Markw....
    this fish is still green behind the ears!!!
    I try not to get too involved to the point of things affecting me, but lets give our friend here a little run for his money.
    I bought a tube kit for the price of a completely assembled, ready out of the box decent SS amplifier. I WANTED to find out how good valves sounded....
    Next, I acquired demo ESLs, and have to yet regret the day I flashed my credit card before the salesman could triple check their price!!
    Some arguments are just NOT meant to be won, after 16 years of marriage, I still argue, but I should know better, however its best to go down after putting up a little fight, rather than NON at all!!
    I am still keeping my desire on hold, regarding hooking up current greedy ESLs to a 25W Valve amplifier....
    I remember to this day, 20 years ago, when I walked into a dealer and asked how much the used Quad Electrostatic speakers cost. He politely asked me how much I was thinking of spending, then steered me towards a used pair of Magnepans and fired them up!!! I got hooked on their sound, but have owned other speakers. The maggies would have lost the fight in my living room against the 3 furred felines who have absolutely perfected the art of how to rub up me right way.
    We may start out along the wrong path and maybe someone will point us in the right direction...

  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    This is troll bait if I ever saw it. Not biting on this one at all - I know the bleating of a fanboy when I see it.
    Sir Terrence

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  11. #11
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    I'm starting another thread as instructed. IMO, ss and digital flatten sound, reduce micro dynamics, and reduce music's tonal saturation. The best digital formats are getting better, but, despite being a pain in the ass, for now, I'm sticking to tubes and vinyl for serious listening. I hated all the digital based systems at the California audio Show, except for the Audio Note one. Both Audio Note CD players (one $5,500, one $9,500) had plenty of tonal saturation. I want to hear more from these units.
    OK...I think you are a transplant.

    edit: Why?

    Because its really jaded...and you knew it before you came.
    Last edited by frenchmon; 08-11-2010 at 04:55 PM.
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  12. #12
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Why bother. There was no question asked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nasir
    I get it, Markw....
    this fish is still green behind the ears!!!
    I try not to get too involved to the point of things affecting me, but lets give our friend here a little run for his money.
    It was simply a statement of personal preference and, as such, there is no need to respond.

    Besides, in all my years on various boards, I've never seen anyone's opinions swayed by these types of threads.

    IOW, it's like someone saying "Chocolate is the best ice-cream flavor."

    Now, if one thinks that's worth starting a thread over, much less engaging in a discussion about, well then, go for it.

    I, OTOH, see it as a form of stroking one's ego and a plea for a partner in mutual mental masturbation.
    Last edited by markw; 08-11-2010 at 01:49 PM.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    It was simply a statement of personal preference and, as such, there is no need to respond.

    Besides, in all my years on various boards, I've never seen anyone's opinions swayed by these types of threads.

    IOW, it's like someone saying "Chocolate is the best ice-cream flavor."

    Now, if one thinks that's worth starting a thread over, much less engaging in a discussion about, well then, go for it.

    I, OTOH, see it as a form of stroking one's ego and a plea for a partner in mutual mental masturbation.



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  14. #14
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I personally think iTunes is really the only way to go. I can plug my iPhone into a BOSE computer speaker setup and mop the floor with any analog system under $10k.

  15. #15
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    I personally think iTunes is really the only way to go. I can plug my iPhone into a BOSE computer speaker setup and mop the floor with any analog system under $10k.
    That's an interesting point, but Bose speakers?!? I use my Beats by Dr.Dre earbuds for that ultimate, resolving tone. They go down to 130hz. Word.

  16. #16
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    That's an interesting point, but Bose speakers?!? I use my Beats by Dr.Dre earbuds for that ultimate, resolving tone. They go down to 130hz. Word.
    Sir Terrence

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  17. #17
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    Realistic sound = tubes and analogue
    Of course it does. With under powered and high distortion tube amp, and low dynamic and high noise vinyl format one wonder why we ever moved on

  18. #18
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Looks like you got a great analog setup.
    To me, it sounds like you just found a great combination that works for you.
    The Shelter 501mk2 was one of the worst sounding cartridges to my ears, but it is considered one of the best sub $1K cartridges. At more than half of its price, I find the Denon 301mk2 to perform much more true to how real music is supposed to sound.

    Also, don't knock on SS amps as well.
    Pure Class A SS amps can hang with SET amps with much wider speaker selection. I bet Feanor's SM-70 Pro sounds freakin' sweet with a tube preamp.
    He just needs a different TT and relearn to embrace analogue....

  19. #19
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Of course it does. With under powered and high distortion tube amp, and low dynamic and high noise vinyl format one wonder why we ever moved on
    Smokey!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Smokey!
    Of course, the speakers have to be mated to the tube amp. My Audio Research D-70 puts out plenty of power for my Fulton J speakers. Yes, Fulton voiced their J speakers with Audio Research equipment. I don't think a SET tube unit would work.

    Check out the latest Stereophile, especially the review of the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amp (given a rave review by RJR) and the measurements by John Atkinson (less than impressed with the unit based on measurements). HOWEVER, when John reviewed the $80,000 Acapella High Violoncello II speaker, the ss Classe CTM-600 and the ss Simaudio Moon EvolutionW-7 failed to produce realistic sound. The BAT VK-55SE (put in class A) sounded better, but, when John used the very same Audio Research amp that just measured OK, it raised the sound of the speakers to new heights (for John). He should try the AR amp with other speakers (plus, he should reconsider his measurements, as they clearly do not indicate how realistic an amp can make a speaker sound).

    If you have not compared a vinyl version to the CD version of the same performance (using a good TT and cartridge), you are in for a shock. I know those who heard Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby" on several CD formats at the show were shocked how much better my vinyl record of the same performance was. Don't be stubborn, compare both CDs and Vinyl on the same performances, and let your ears decide.

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I do it all the time brotha. It's just a personal preferrance, but I choose to live to analogue's shortcomings over digital flaw most of the time. But as you know, digital playback walks all over analogue from time to time.

    Also, I was making a comment to Smokey because he continues to believe tube amps' 2nd order harmonic distortion harms listening pleasure.

  22. #22
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, does anyone here play electric guitar? If so, have you ever played the same guitar on similar Tube-driven vs. solid state amps? What was your experience like?

    I always felt that tube amps for guitars were very warm, fat, and presented the sound in a very unveiled type of way, which is also true in my limited experience with higher-end tube amps in HT and 2-channel applications.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I have a tube preamp and a more tubey than typical sounding s/s amp -- so OK. We won't debate here whether "tonal saturation" is really just excessive 2nd order harmonic distortion.

    As for analog vs. digital, it's pretty much a non-issue for me because virtually none of the music I listen to (classical) is available in anything but digital nowadays.

    The non-oversampling, non-filtered AN DACs might sound nice but $5k much less $9.5k are absurd on my budget. Maybe I'll try one of the non-oversampling, non-filtered $150 Chinese knock-offs just for fun, but the word is that NOS has punchy bass but relatively poor resolution.
    Try a Van Alstine Tube or Hybrid DAC for about $1500! And my system with both a hybrid DAC and Preamp along with my SS amp has a nice analog sound.

    An I agree with Pops, Marantz CD players have a very unique analog sound and their reference series are great.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone here play electric guitar? If so, have you ever played the same guitar on similar Tube-driven vs. solid state amps? What was your experience like?

    I always felt that tube amps for guitars were very warm, fat, and presented the sound in a very unveiled type of way, which is also true in my limited experience with higher-end tube amps in HT and 2-channel applications.
    Yes, tubes rock! I just listened to the great "Dead can Dance" vinyl, and let me know when digital can come close to that sound! "Unveiled" is just another way of saying "real"!

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    Yes, tubes rock! I just listened to the great "Dead can Dance" vinyl, and let me know when digital can come close to that sound! "Unveiled" is just another way of saying "real"!
    Your opinion concerning vinyl versus digital is just that, your opinion. Every person has one.....but the unveiled comment is clearly wrong and subject to your "witch hunt" to find the perfect live performance from tube audio. "Unveiled" does not mean real. It only describes in audio circles what is also known as clarity and/or distinction of the sound. Just as an image can be veiled, so can sound. Veil does not equate to real.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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