Another Tube vs. Solid State thread... Mar 10, 2017 14:40:59 GMT -5 via mobile
Post by milsap195 on Mar 10, 2017 14:40:59 GMT -5
vneal - Some tube preamps (and I specifically refer to the Conrad Johnson ET3 that I had) don't seem to do their best into solid state power amps. I believe that it's an impedance-matching thing. Most solid state power amps have input impedances of 5 to 15 K ohms. But most tubed power amps have input impedances approaching 300 K ohms. Keeping a preamp that is voiced for one power amp impedance sounding the same into a very different power amp input impedance is a trick that most manufacturers can't do.
My experience is that most solid state preamps, when played into high-impedance tube amps, sound flat, dynamically. This isn't always the case, but most often seems to be. When a tube preamp (intended for use with high-input-impedance tube power amps) is played with a solid state power amp (of low input impedance), it sometimes sounds more vivid dynamically. This isn't necessarily a good thing.
The CJ preamp (played into any SS power amp) sounded bass-heavy and bright (or, as my audio amigo garbulky called it - "It's a rock-and-roll preamp!"). How differently might that preamp have sounded if played with a tubed power amp? I don't know.
So SOME tube preamps play well with solid-state amps just as SOME SS preamps play well with tube amps - but the match is NEVER a sure one. You've just got to try & then decide if you like the match.
PS: One solid state preamp that seems to do pretty well with tube power amps is Emotiva's PT-100. It does lose some dynamics with my tube power amps, but not as much as most other solid-state preamps. Why? I don't know. But that's what I hear.
I have a xsp-1 and a dc1 and both are not a good match for my tube Carvers. Both sound flat and lifeless. The best sound sound I get is source directly to the amps. Both pre's sound good with other ss amps that I have had.