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  1. #1
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    Feb 2004

    tubes and movies

    this is a question that had never before occurred to me to ask. but, it just may be the "missing" link to my perils. But first, an update to those semi-following my personal saga: i have decided to keep the 52se for now. THis may mean i will sell them in a few months and get the VR1, it may also mean that i will fall in love. So, onto my question. I guess that besides the VR1 costing $400 less than the 52se is that the 52se requires a much more potent amp to drive right (4ohm vs 8ohm). Anyway, and this is my question, i have been debating back and forth between tube and ss. (btw, i have narrowed down my options to mf and asl). So, i understand and know off hand that tubes are more musical and i think that ss handles electronic music better (be it electric guitar or whatever) i am now asking "which will be better for watching movies via my dvd?"

    btw, this question is important and will answer many things for me. Thanks to all for reading, responding, believing in the advancement of music listening experiences. !

  2. #2
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Jun 2003

    Whoa there, cowboy!

    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    So, i understand and know off hand that tubes are more musical and i think that ss handles electronic music better (be it electric guitar or whatever) i am now asking "which will be better for watching movies via my dvd?"
    Talk about sweeping generalizations! Believe me friend, there are as many crappy tube amps as there are crappy ss amps and neither are what I'd consider "musical." As you have found, amps sound different. They can be ss, tube, digital, class A, class A/B, or some hybrid of all of the above. All an amplifier does is increase the gain of a given signal. It has no idea whether the signal is a wailing Strat' or a wailing Sarah Vaughn. Saying ss amps sound better with amplified instruments and tubes are better with unamplified instruments is like saying you should only drink white wine with fish. It's a tad short sighted.

    The key, IMO, it to match the characteristics and demands of a speaker with the right amplifier, regardless of what kind it is. I found that my main system speakers were fairly amp sensitive. They didn't sound the way I knew they could until I hooked them up to a PS Audio HCA2 which (this oughta really play with your head) is neither ss or tube. It's a digital switching amp with a pure class A input stage and SDAT output. How's that for different? If you're curious, read this:
    Don't ask me about the technology behind it because quite frankly, I barely understand it myself. All I know is that it was a better match within my system than many, many other amps that I tried.

    Which amp is better for movies? A reliable rule of thumb is that whatever sounds best for music will likely be the best for movies. The "impact" of movies usually comes from a powered sub anyway.

    Congrats on you 52se's BTW. Kick back and enjoy the music!

  3. #3
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    Feb 2004
    well, for starts, i cant afford PS audio, no matter how great everyone speaks of them. Not now at least. But i am still stuck between mf and asl. mostly because i just cant compare the two side by side. all i can do is research them. yes i will get mixed opinions and biased reviews, but i like sorting through the muck to find the gold i guess.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2003
    CC, TX
    75 about a preamp?

    For experimentation purposes (and no cost whatsoever), if you have a PC that can hook up to your main system, I'd suggest to check out a tube preamplifier to download if you have music on your PC (the one I have is free)...

    I've never heard a true tube amplifier, nor claim to be an expert, but from my experience with a PREAMP tube from my PC to my system, the sound gives you that full, warm, and good bass type of feeling, MUCH better depth than my solid equipment ever was capable of IMHO. Understand that I use a SOLID STATE amplifier rated at 120 wpc to drive the "tube" signal. I now think of it as a 120 wpc tube amp... any real tube amp with that much power would cost a fortune.

    If you want suggestions I can post where you can find some online...

    I think solid state would be best for movies as they are more detailed and meant to be heard rather than felt (that's what a subwoofer is for anyways as topspeed pointed out)... for that reason I don't think I've ever heard of a Dolby Digital tube receiver...

  5. #5
    RGA is offline
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    Nov 2003
    A tube amp will do movies just fine...but again you need to carefully match.

    Look I don't want to plug my own speakers every post...because I get tired of doing it. But I suggest you try and listen to an Audio Note full Single Ended Triode set-up. Chances are you nor I coud afford it but that is not the point.

    Go and listen to their AN E SEC speakers with their integrated or separates system...whichever amp set up will be under 20 watts. The speakers have more bass than the B&W Nautilus 801 despite the fact that the B&W is a 3 way and has a 15 inch woofer compared to the Audio note's 8 incher. Listen to that B&W with any 200 watt amp set-up you care to name - Krell Bryston Musical FIdelity franly I don't care what you choose.

    Then move over to the Audio Note speakers with the 10-20 watt amp. This system was easily better to my ear dynamically, clearer less distorted bass lines, and integrated sound from top to bottom that the N801 while good was not up to the AN E.

    The point is not that you can afford the system, but that you can really hear what tubes can do.

    Basically you need a frame of reference. Right now you're bouncing two speakers around plus two entirely different amplifiers with totally different sounds with no clear objective. You could end up buying and within 6 months be on here again because you're not happy.

    This article was posted over a three month span in the mid 1990s in positive feedback magazine. It's worth your time because anyone whether they're an audiophile or not can do of all you'll never need trust an audio magazine ever again...most of the time they're not offense bu Musical Fidelity must be paying Stereophile something good because they simply are not that good.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Mtry, should read this article. I'm sure he'd be hopping up and down in front of his monitor screaming, "I demand A/B DBTs. How can people not believe in DBTs?"

    About the original post with regards to tube vs. SS musicality, I believe as the other posters do that you can't make such a sweeping generalization at all. I've heard some really unmusical tubes and some really fuzzy sounding SS amps. If you're set on getting a tube amp, I'd recommend Audiomat. I've heard the Audiomat Prelude Reference on a couple different systems, and it sounded great each time. I've got the Solfege Reference and I wouldn't unload it unless I got a really sweet offer (money talks, I suppose).

    Check out audiogon for a good deal on an amp to match your new speakers. If you can't audition any amps, maybe look for a used amp that have been positively recommended with your speaker set up.

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