Are tube preamps worth it27.10.2020
Personally, I have a preference for the silky smooth, warm and pleasant sound characteristic that is the big selling point for vacuum tube amplification. As opposite to a brighter and more analytical sound that is on the other end of the spectrum. Which is not a vacuum tube phono preamp.
But I thought I should share what I found to be the pros and cons of an affordable vacuum tube phono preamp in this article. And why I personally choose to go for a regular solid-state phono preamp at last. I have also included a short review section where I discuss the most popular and affordable tube phono preamps I found on the market today. The main pros of tube preamps are their ability to reproduce sound with a warm and pleasant character and their vintage look and feel with the tubes glowing as music is played.
The main cons are the higher cost, the required warm-up time and the need to replace the tubes at certain intervals. That was the short answer. While a regular solid-state preamp use transistors and operational amplifiers to do that job. Usually around 5mV for a standard MM cartridge.
And therefore needs an additional stage of amplification before it reaches the same signal level that is outputted from for example a CD player or a digital streamer.
And this need for extra amplification is half the reason why a turntable needs a phono preamp, while other signal sources CD players, etc. The other half of the reason for why a turntable needs a preamp is the RIAA correction. When records are produced, the bass lower tones is heavily reduced before the music is carved into the record. This is done to reduce the physical space each and every song needs on a record. To be able to fit more songs on each side. So the other important task of the phono preamp is to significantly increase the bass and reduce the treble to correct this process so the music will sound right again.
In a tube phono preamp the circuitry needed to amplify and RIAA correct the signal is built around vacuum tubes. While this circuitry is built around transistors or operational amplifiers in a regular solid-state phono preamp. Tube amplifiers respond differently from transistor amplifiers when signal levels approach and reach the point of clipping. In a tube amplifier, the transition from linear amplification to limiting is less abrupt than in a solid state unit, resulting in a less grating form of distortion at the onset of clipping.
And this is the main reason why so many studio musicians, guitarist and home stereo enthusiast prefer tube amplification. The softer clipping that tubes provide results in a warmer and more pleasant sound character.
A home stereo that uses tube amplification will usually have a much warmer and more pleasant sound character than regular solid-state transistor based amplification. And to break this down even further, tube amplification is often preferred by home stereo enthusiasts for two specific reasons. The first being that they just have a strong preference for warm and pleasant sound overall.
The warmer the better. The other reason is that they have other stereo components speakers, cartridge, etc. And they want to balance that out by including a warmer sounding tube preamp or amplifier to achieve a good sound character balance between the different stereo components. The other and more minor reason for selecting tube preamps is their cool and retro look and feel. It is really something special when you turn down the lights and listen to some nice relaxing music while the tubes are glowing in the dark.
This is however not a feature that we can take advantage of on all tube phono preamps as the tubes sometimes is hidden inside the chassis. It is also dependent on the type of tubes. Some tubes glow more than others.April 05, 23 Comments. Despite their awesome tones, many musicians shy away from using tube amplifiers, instead opting for solid state alternatives. There are many perceived downsides to tube amplifiers that make potential users hesitant to make the jump.
However, these are not necessarily the deal breakers that many make them out to be. Here are some commonly perceived downsides to using a tube amp and why they might not be as big of a deal as you think. In many cases, tube amps do not require the amount of maintenance that they have a reputation for. As long as you properly take care of your gear, owning a tube amp is simple and very well worth it for the tone.
Have you ever made the switch to a tube amp after much consideration? If so, how did it work out for you? Let us know in the comments. But from the sound here, and the insight from this article, I should be golden for a while. To all who posted: Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge. And thanks to Carvin for providing the space for players to share. I also have a Carvin Legacy Preamp Pedal. People are making too big a deal out of maintenance.
However, now that I actually gig pretty infrequently, I only have tube gear. So much warmer sounding.
Tube Preamp Reviews
There is a lot of hype on tubes. If you use the load boxes to get breakup early at lower volume. Just working the tubes as if the volume is high and get ready to replace them a lot more often. Cant understand…. Nothing has the warmth of tubes especially when over driven. Maintenance costly… yes but well worth it! I started playing guitar at That being said, solid state was all I knew for over 10 years.
As I got older and had much better jobs and opportunities I really got into playing and gear and tone. Around 25 I was buying all kinds of gear.
Guitars, heads, cabs, pedals, multifx, pickups etc. I was searching for a particular metal tone that no matter what I bought, used, tried, there was just something missing. Had no idea how to get what I was after. Went into the local guitar shop one day and was talking with an employee, old-ish school headbanger. Told him my dilemma, what I was after, what all I was trying and using to get it.Discussion in ' Amps and Cabs ' started by ScobroJul 24, Log in or Sign up.
The Gear Page. Balanced Preamp Tube, is it worth it? Jul 24, 1. Messages: So here's a little debate that started in another thread. Is it worth spending the extra money to get a "balanced" preamp tube? Now the idea behind this is by how a Class AB guitar amplifier works. One side of the pair of power tubes is pushing out the speaker and bringing it back in. The other power tube is pulling in the speaker and bringing back out. That's the B part in Class AB.
Both power tubes are doing a little of both, which is the A part in Class AB. Now the job of the Phase Inverter, usually the last preamp slot, is to split the signal to each left and right power tube, or each set of power tubes. The idea of the "balanced" preamp tube is that it will send each signal evenly. Is this true or even matter for a guitar amp? Hi-fi audio? Or is it BS all the way around?
ScobroJul 24, Jul 24, 2. Messages: 6, Some say it matters and some dont, I get my PI tube balanced it's not that much more and it's not going to hurt anything. I buy all my JJ's from him so I trust his opinion as well!
Jul 24, 3. Messages: 3, Scott WhighamJul 24, Jul 24, 4. I prefer unbalanced tubes everywhere.
Even the power tubesI prefer them slightly unmatchedit sounds better to memore "alive". Jul 24, 5. Messages: 30, Blue StratJul 24, Jul 24, 6. Jul 24, 7. I can tell a huge difference in my amps when I take a regular preamp tube out of the phase inverter that is a good bit out of balance and replace it with one that is very closely or perfectly balanced.
If you can't hear and feel the difference, perhaps you should consider a Line 6.Search form Search. Show Munich More Reports. Tube Preamp Reviews. From the front, the LS5 looks identical to Audio Research's popular LS2: two knobs on either side of the Audio Research nameplate, and a row of toggle switches along the bottom. PrimaLuna EVO preamplifier. I am an artist-painter and an audiophile.
When I listen to recorded music, I sit in the sweet spot and stare at the empty space between the speakers. And while I listen, I survey and critique the soundfield, as if it were an unfinished landscape painting in my studio.
Rogue Audio RP-7 line preamplifier. You know I'm a lucky guy. I maintain two separate audio reviewing systems. The core component of my beloved, daily-driver desktop system is a Mytek Brooklyn DAC-preamp-headphone amp.
Balanced Preamp Tube, is it worth it?
I mostly use this system with headphones, but currently, the Brooklyn's line-out feeds a pair of Bel Canto Design's compact e. The digital ground seems to shift weekly. While firmware and software updates over the Internet somewhat slow the constant upheaval, when you do buy something, you just know that as soon as you plunk down your cash, something new will come along.
So, especially with preamplifiers, why not produce a design based on modules that the user can swap in and out, to custom-configure the preamp to that user's current needs while leaving room for later expansion?
Why pay for six inputs' worth of stuff when at present you need only two? New features? Or, if a circuit in one module malfunctions, you can send only that module back for repairs, not the whole thing.
Audible Illusions Modulus preamplifier. Once upon a time, all audio equipment used vacuum tubes. In recent years, however, tubes have become the exclusive province of super high-end audio. It is more expensive to accomplish any particular task with tubes than with transistors, and few manufacturers with the exception of Conrad-Johnson seemed willing until now to refine their techniques and pare back their budgets to make tube components more affordable.
Conrad-Johnson PV-4 preamplifier. In appearance Conrad-Johnson's PV4 is distinctly plain: a basic black and silver box with a few simple knobs and buttons. The controls are logically laid out, clearly labeled, and work properly. The two channels track well through the volume control, maintaining balance; pushbuttons and control knobs have a smooth, solid feel except for the noises audible through the system when switching inputs.
In the March issueArt Dudley admired the sound quality of Ayre Acoustics' KX-5 Twenty preamplifier, but didn't love some of its operational aspects.
Counterpoint SA-7 preamplifier. In appearance the Counterpoint SA-7 tube preamplifier is quite attractive, possessing the thin, low-profile look currently in vogue. There is a mute switch which if you remember to use it protects your amplifier from the preamp's turn-on and turn-off thumps.
Unfortunately, the volume control on my unit didn't track accurately, and it was necessary to adjust balance with each change in volume. One unusual feature: the balance control allows very fine gradations in balance adjustment a large movement of the control results in a small change in balance. Headphone Reviews Tube Preamp Reviews.Discussion in ' Tube Audio ' started by mfhaleJul 21, Log in or Sign up.
Is a tube preamp worth it? Messages: 3, Location: Houston. I like this combination very much. Parts are on order for a new passive pre. Seems like a cheap enough experiment I previously ran a Maggie EL with a passive and it was really good to my ears. Here's my question: Would a tube preamp be a quantum leap or a lateral move? Last edited: Aug 25, Messages: 53, Location: OZ.
You would probably like it, and it is a necessary evil if you play records. Messages: 6, Location: St. A good tube preamp is a great bargain. Messages: 8, Location: Seattle. A passive will be more transparent. But passive pres tend to suck some of the life out of the music compared to a good preamp. A good tube preamp can be a true joy to listen to.
Messages: 22, Location: MI. If you go with a tube pre, try to keep it to something relatively new last couple of decades and preferably based on a tube with a decent amount of drive 6DJ8 is a good option here.
Most tube preamps I've heard left me disappointed and I think it's been because of a lack of drive. Messages: 1, Location: Appleton,WI. SET12Jul 21, By EliasMooseblasterOctober 3, in Recording. It does a decent enough job, and I've been certainly been impressed by how much the Focusrite has improved the sound going into the computer. But, as ever, GAS finds a way to strike, and I see that it's possible to get one's hands on some relatively affordable mic preamps with valves in them.
As I'm mostly recording acoustic stuff at the moment, I've found myself adding a touch of "tube-like" saturation in the mix to warm up the overall sound, so I've wondered whether it's worth trying a valve preamp in between the mic and the Focusrite.
Has anyone else tried this, and does it make a worthwhile difference to the sound? You can certainly alter the tone with different valves, but I didn't like the sound of it whatever I loaded into it A mate of mine used to swear by the ART V3 thing.
I never got a chance to get one cheap when I used to sell them.FX-Audio TUBE-06 DAC/Preamp review
Keep on hoping to find one nice and cheap. Ah lovely. I can recommend the ART V3 - particularly when recording vocals, but it's a decent all rounder. Well worth it imho. Point being: decide what and how you ultimately want to record. It's good in the sense that using it doesn't sound worse than going straight into the interface but there's no startling improvement in what you hear, IMO, YMMV, etc. The biggest audible differences occur as one scrolls through the various pre-sets and that's as much down to EQ variations.
If you find yourself interested in something that saturates and really alters the sound of your recordings then this one's for you. I'm waiting for black friday to get my copy. PSP vintage Warmer is fabulous, I used to have the er. Thank you most kindly for those links - I've been quite pleased with the saturator plugin that comes with the Calf Audio set, but I'd be interested in experimenting with some different ones. Better if I can chop and choose a few bits of software to ultimately get the same result from filling up more space in the house with several underwhelming bits of gear.
Higher Voltage tube circuits are more desirable. I would like to try the Universal Audio stuff. I have a protools home setup. If you want to buy something without upgrading later on I can vouch for the GAP 73, a very nice usable piece.A list of pairs of input parameters and their values associated to the execution. A description of the status of the execution. This is the date and time in which the execution was updated with microsecond precision.
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Are Tube Amps Worth It?
Example: "This is a description of my new configuration" name optional The name you want to give to the new configuration. Example: "my new configuration" tags optional A list of strings that help classify and index your configuration.
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Is a tube preamp worth it?
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