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Valves or transistors?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by karkus30, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Funny, how thoughts run through your mind, but I have just bought the remastered copy of the Las album and noted they used valve microphones for the recording, which now sounds great.

    I bought a Marshall Valvestate guitar amp, after trying several models of guitar amp which had clever amp modeling transistor circuitry. The valvestate produces a fantastic tone.

    Pink Floyd have dabbled with valve recording to great effect, using Tim Paravacini designed equipment. Again this sounds great on live recordings.

    What do you think sounds better and why ?

    This debate has been going on in HIFI circles for ages with no clear answers. Off you go Nick ;)
     
  2. Gambit

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    Valve guitar amps, solid state hifi amps. No reason, just answer. Saying that I like valve front end/ solid state back end amps. (and just because I like valve guitar amps doesn't mean I can afford one:( )
     
  3. karkus30

    karkus30
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    The thing is I have always gone for solid state hi fi amps, but I once listened to a 100w audio research valve amp and my overiding impression was wow. I also listened to a couple of single ended amps at a hifi show, this was from a small company that I have never heard of , the sound was brilliant, but I put it down to the setup and beer :rolleyes:

    I am begining to wonder if I should change the Naims for a valve amp :eek: , which is a bit scary.
     
  4. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I'm on holiday ;)

    I had a good spat with an American journalist on the Tag web site a while back on valves, worth a look.
     
  5. lilolee

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    I'm a fan of valves. They do certain things that SS don't. Having said that I've heard some great SS systems.

    I feel that it often comes down to your speakers, how loud you want it and how much you are willing to spend.

    It is tricky getting any valve gear new for less than £1000 except 2nd hand, and yet it is easy to get a good sounding SS amp.

    You pays your money etc. etc.

    Lee
     
  6. Matt F

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    If you think the Valvestates are good (and they are) then you ought to try a full valve guitar amp like the Marshall DSL201 or the older JCM800/900 series.

    A valve in the pre-amp helps to give a good tone but with a full valve set up you can back off the pre-amp gain and crank up the power amp valves (i.e. the master volume) – it’s then that wonderful things start to happen, albeit at quite high volumes.

    I used to play my Les Paul through a fairly inexpensive (all valve) Peavey Classic 30 and when the power amp valves started to break up it was a joy to the ears – the bassist and drummer complained about the volume of course but then they always do don’t they?

    Matt.
     
  7. Gambit

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    Leave bassists alone:p :D
    I'm usually the one asked to turn it down, not the guitarist (I have no respect, thumpin' bass is what it's all about).
     
  8. karkus30

    karkus30
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    When Im good enough, might be just a touch loud for bedroom versions of smoke on the water. Suppose I woulnt hear the noise police until they abseiled though the windows.
     
  9. MacKenzie

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    I started using a valve amp for stereo music about 2 years ago and quite honestly cannot see myself returning to the world of SS amps....the amp would have to be something special for me to consider it.
    I agree with the statement about cost prohibiting many listeners from embracing valve technology, but i purchased my, in excellent condition, Audio Innovations series 700 for £200.00 second hand ( it originally retailed for around a grand) so it can be done.
     
  10. BigAde

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    Quite agree... valves for me all the way.
    Trouble is too few people have heard a valve setup to make a valid comparison.

    What you say about speakers is correct too. Due to the nature of valve amps, the tend to be on the low powered side, typically 10-30W rms pc. Loads of people will laugh at this and say "Not loud enough for me!", but it all comes down to the sensitivity of the speakers. Partner sensitive speakers (90db/W/m or better) with a valve amp and I guarantee it will go plenty loud enough! I've heard plenty of expensive tranny amps and some are very good indeed (especially at £1000+), but none I've heard have quite the same open, warm, airy sound that valves can produce. To my mind valves are just 'more musical' and, no, I can't explain that. :)

    What you say on price is correct too...
    But if you're prepared to buy second-hand you can pick up some real beauts for next to nothing. I'm biased, but you can't beat a good Leak... Either a Stereo 20 or a pair of TL12+ mono blocks should set you back about £300 including a matching pre-amp.
    There are loads of places to get them from, but your best bet is to check out Hi-Fi world magazine - a valve friendly magazine - sadly not as good as it once was, but still a useful source of information.
     
  11. buns

    buns
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    I seem to have missed this thread!

    Valves are indeed a joy to MY ears. As some may know i now have a couple of valves along my stereo signal path and i am in love with the sound. Compared to my old amp, there is so much more 'flavour' to the sound, i can hear the finer details in the background without straining, i can hear quiet beats which were previously inaudivble. Now i could go further, but it would be totally biased.....there is a class A power amp adding to the blend. But valves are certainly i would recommend any serious hifi'er should try and listen to.

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  12. Garrett

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    I listened to some yesterday and was highly impressed but they would be a little hard to fit them in with the rest of my system.
    How much head room do they need for cooling purposes?
     
  13. buns

    buns
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    they are very distinctive wee buggers arent they! :D

    mine dont really get hot, but then mine are pre stage valves and i assume yor were listening to valves in the power section?

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  14. Garrett

    Garrett
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    They where very big and there was slots in the side and big holes in the top, I could see a lot of dust getting in.
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    oh lovely! Am i to presume you could see them glowing away? I think this is just the most gorgeous sight in hifi!

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  16. BigAde

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    Hey! Welcome to the world of valves - there's no turning back now... nothing quite like listening to some music with the lights off, a glass of a good malt whisky in your hand and watching the warm glow of the valves - sensory bliss! :cool:

    Re the cooling bit - depends entirely on the amp and valves in question. Yes, they can get hot - just exercise some common sense, think of them like a small light-bulb (same technology after all!). They must have some sort of ventilation, but you don't need to cloak your hi-fi stand in asbestos...

    BTW: You the same Garrett from over at Carpetbaggers?
     
  17. buns

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    basically you treat them well like you wouldn any prized possesion!

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  18. nwgarratt

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    I admit I prefer the sound of valves or solid state. I have listened to CD as well as records though valves and the sound is much warmer than SS.

    However do to being into AV as well and limited room I have had to stick with an AV amp for my music. I have managed to get clear and detailed sound though from my amp. I think it is a good compromise and the obvious scenario would have be a SS AV system and a valve HI Fi.

    I also like the red/orange glow of the valves.
     

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