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Thread: Ker pow!!!

  1. #31
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    I think it is the use of 'dynamic' and 'dynamically' as subjective descriptive terms that is the issue here. obviously the dynamic range of the system or the recording is unaffected by whether the power is from tubes or silicon. And as Dennis points out, if you are playing the music quietly then you will not achieve the full dynamic range that the system or the recording are capable of. Otherwise, I agree with you (and Mike).
    It's always difficult trying to successfully put into words what you can hear

    However, if you were to take two good quality 30W amplifiers, one valve and one SS, used with suitable speakers (being a good match for both), you can pretty much guarantee that the latter would a) subjectively sound less powerful or 'potent', and b) would need cranking up more, in order to make music 'come alive' - and because of that, the sound of the former seems superficially more 'dynamic', read as more 'open', 'crisper', etc.

    That's essentially what Mike and I are getting at. And in terms of the earlier part of this discussion, why those of us with valve amps and 'easy to drive' and/or electrically compatible speakers, don't have to listen loudly, in order for recorded music to sound 'involving' and exactly as it should.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  2. #32
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    It's always difficult trying to successfully put into words what you can hear

    However, if you were to take two good quality 30W amplifiers, one valve and one SS, used with suitable speakers (being a good match for both), you can pretty much guarantee that the latter would a) subjectively sound less powerful or 'potent', and b) would need cranking up more, in order to make music 'come alive' - and because of that, the sound of the former seems superficially more 'dynamic', read as more 'open', 'crisper', etc.

    That's essentially what Mike and I are getting at. And in terms of the earlier part of this discussion, why those of us with valve amps and 'easy to drive' and/or electrically compatible speakers, don't have to listen loudly, in order for recorded music to sound 'involving' and exactly as it should.

    Marco.
    No argument from me on that front. As to cause I wonder if it is because valve amps use output transformers?
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SLP1200 CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  3. #33
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Dunno... Anthony had a good theory on it once, and I've asked him to join the discussion. Alan (Firebottle) may also have some ideas

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  4. #34
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: South Wales

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    Hi All,
    A bit late to this however; There are many reasons why amplifiers from both camps [solid state and valve] can sound, and perform wildly diffrent.
    As for the volume control aspect, and its position, its not realy relevant to the circuit its controling, it will depend greatly on the previous gain stages ability to drive it, and the sensitivity of the following stage, and where in the circuit it is placed.
    Now, as for diffrences between topologies,ie; valve and solid state, its a bit of a minefield when trying to explain what diffrences could be responsible for their often' grossly diffrent portrayal of musical content, and dynamics, but a couple of reasons come to mind; first of all, its already been mentioned Feedback, or the almost lack of it in valve amps, compared to solid state, valves [especialy small signal types] are very linear devices, thus need very little if any feedback when comparing them to Transistors, which actualy need feedback to control their gain, and to linearise their frequency response.
    Another aspect that is related again to feedback is; a well designed conventional, ie; [using output transformers]valve amps ability to follow diffrences in impedance changes with frequency in loudspeakers.
    Also; the diffrences in how each device is run ie; the voltage rails and current each rely on to work etc, in my opinion also play a major part.
    These are just for starters!
    "Today scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality"
    Nikola Tesla



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  5. #35
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,258
    I'm Russell.

    Default Ker pow!!!

    Wattage is a somewhat misleading measurement. While amperage is part of the wattage equation, two amps with the same wattage rating can have different current deliveries. The amp that flows the most current is the one who has the best grip on the speaker. A single tube can flow a lot of current compared to a single transistor. Maybe this is an over simplified view, but I think itís somewhere in the reason why tubed amps sound more powerful than transistor amps of the same wattage rating. Actually, the slew rate is a good indicator of an amps power.

    Remember that during any A/B blind testing, getting the volumes matched is a very important variable, the louder one will almost always seem to sound better. At least in a short run.

    The sweet spot in a stereoís volume is a very subjective thing. Even when it seems that an amp wakes up at certain levels, the listener has a lot to do with that declaration. I am amazed at how good my system sounds at low levels, I play back at a lower volume than I did with my last amp. My knob goes round and round, itís an electronic volume, so it has numbers on the display, and I generally run it around 45 to 55. But! When it gets over 60 she really comes on! Some realistic dynamics start to happen, and at 75 she is pounding down the walls! As clean and clear as youíd ever want. It will go much louder with ease, but Iíve never been there, 75 is scary enough for me.

    Russell

  6. #36
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    I think that there's something in this. Russell:

    Quote Originally Posted by alphaGT View Post
    Wattage is a somewhat misleading measurement. While amperage is part of the wattage equation, two amps with the same wattage rating can have different current deliveries. The amp that flows the most current is the one who has the best grip on the speaker. A single tube can flow a lot of current compared to a single transistor. Maybe this is an over simplified view, but I think it’s somewhere in the reason why tubed amps sound more powerful than transistor amps of the same wattage rating...
    ...which may tie in with what Anthony wrote earlier:

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyTD
    Also; the diffrences in how each device is run ie; the voltage rails and current each rely on to work etc, in my opinion also play a major part.
    I think the answer to what we're hearing lies somewhere in the voltage/current aspect of how valves and transistors work.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  7. #37
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Dublin

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    I'm Pavel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    It's always difficult trying to successfully put into words what you can hear

    However, if you were to take two good quality 30W amplifiers, one valve and one SS, used with suitable speakers (being a good match for both), you can pretty much guarantee that the latter would a) subjectively sound less powerful or 'potent', and b) would need cranking up more, in order to make music 'come alive' - and because of that, the sound of the former seems superficially more 'dynamic', read as more 'open', 'crisper', etc.

    That's essentially what Mike and I are getting at. And in terms of the earlier part of this discussion, why those of us with valve amps and 'easy to drive' and/or electrically compatible speakers, don't have to listen loudly, in order for recorded music to sound 'involving' and exactly as it should.

    Marco.
    It’s interesting that J Gordon Holt, writing when transistor amplifiers were in their infancy, was of a different opinion

    Transistors just do not behave like tubes. Transistor amplifiers whose measured distortion is higher than that of the cheapest "hi-fi" amplifiers somehow manage to sound much better than they should, and the absence of an output transformer from most transistor amplifiers (the low-impedance transistors connect directly to the speaker) eliminates most of the annoyance value of marginal overload on peak passages. As a result, a transistor amplifier seems to produce far more clean power than a tube amplifier of the same rated output.

    Even more significant, however, is the "transistor sound" at low output levels. Even the feeblest transistor amplifiers we have heard (a 3-watter, for instance) sound like high-powered amplifiers when operating at low levels. They are transparent, crisp,and have the same kind of bass solidity that high- power advocates have always attributed to the monster amplifier's reserve of speaker-controlling watts.


    https://www.stereophile.com/content/...-enough-page-2


  8. #38
    Join Date: Mar 2013

    Location: nottingham

    Posts: 289
    I'm nigel.

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    According to my free SPL app i'm currently listening at about 95dB.
    Valve pre into Nad power and the volume control nearly into a quarter...lots of gain.

    Being a bungalow dweller, late night, clean mains listening is the thing.....the room gets a bit excitable over 100dB mind....along with the "gone to bed" wife.

  9. #39
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Lol, Pavel - each to his or her own!

    You may also wish to consider possible magazine bias, keen to sell people the 'latest new thing'

    Another aspect to consider is how changes in technology, particularly with electronic components, have influenced (and significantly improved) valve amplifier performance since the days of that article.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  10. #40
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

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    I'm Dennis.

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    "Why? I was addressing the o.p., who was concerned about the 'o'clock' of his vol. control to achieve lift-off, as it were. You say 'well-matched system', and I agree (up to a point), but simple vol. control level comparison really doesn't hold water with myriad collections of kit to consider."

    I have not remembered everything I stated word for word, but I do not believe that I raised the term dynamics, but stuck to the established concept of dynamic range, and I also did not refer to a well matched system.

    I mean no insulting attack when I say that AFAICS no one has stated a clear concept for the quality(s) being depicted, and I am not prepared to get into arguments involving sophism.

    I am an objectivist, but do not deny the validity of subjective perception, which to me is a part of objectivism, but I will not adhere to vague notions which seem impossible to define in clear coherent English.

    With a perfect system, playing any given piece of music at a lower level than the original event, will affect its perceived dynamic range. Its intelligibility will also be affected because the ear curves show that the ear will not respond to energy at certain frequencies simply because it cannot hear it, and this loss of information may result in a seemingly 'lifeless' replay sound.

    I spent years building and using valves, and they gave me great pleasure, but the obvious improvement in bass from SS was apparent by the 70s, as was the top end, and SS ccts have improved enormously, to the point IMO at which they are all pretty good now, and I think they can be ignored as a cause of compromise, and probably indistinguishable form each other in controlled DB tests. In contrast to an earlier statement, I think that SS is more capable of current delivery.

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