What Are Tube Amps?
Solid-state amps have been at the helm of sales for decades due to their low costs but they have never been able to reproduce the warm, natural sound of tube amps. This is the primary reason why tube amplifiers are making a powerful comeback these – unparalleled sonic qualities. What makes valves so much better?
The smaller number of components enable a purer signal path. Simpler circuitry and fewer elements in that circuit are less prone to degrading the signal and thus distorting or muddling the sound. Additionally, the simpler construction of tube amps directly influences reliability, making it easier to pinpoint which parts can fail or deviate from component specifications.
Superior dynamic properties
The higher the voltage present in tube amplifiers, the wider voltage swings become, allowing better signal headroom before crossing the overload threshold. Also, higher voltages produce higher audible energy storage with lower value capacitors, meaning that listeners will feel how tubes
produce a sound that packs more punch.
More dynamic overload and distortion behavior
Reaching maxim power with tube amps is gradual and rising distortion is of predominantly low even-order harmonic nature. Listening tests point out that even high levels of even-order harmonic distortion are less offensive to the ear than small levels of harsh, odd-order harmonic distortion. Moreover, transistor amplifiers reach max power very quickly, creating a square wave characteristic and high DC component, which can destroy speakers in no time.
Vacuum tubes are linear and require less feedback
Unlike transistors, which serve as current amplification devices, tubes rely on voltage amplifiers to create that warm sound. The linear amplification tech requires far less overall negative feedback – the re-injection of the amp’s output signal back into the input – to create a linear circuit.
High feedback creates a sterile, lifeless sound that cannot manage to convey the full breadth of emotion into the music. Low or zero feedback designs, on the other hand, are responsible for creating a natural tone, which is more immediate and powerful. So there is no debate about which type of amp creates the most pleasant tone. Remember, vacuum tubes are the way to go if you want to keep things natural and closer to the heart.