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What makes more difference, the driver tubes or the power tubes?
Driver tubes 60%  60%  [ 29 ]
Power tubes 8%  8%  [ 4 ]
Rectifier 15%  15%  [ 7 ]
Depends on the amp 17%  17%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 48
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:16 pm 
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I'd be astonished if a tube rectifier changed sound compared to a traditional diode bridge. How different can the DC be?

It makes sense that the line stage should be manipulated first since everything else is just that, further amplified. Probably why tube buffers are effective. And tube CD players. Otherwise everyone would be moving toward tube amps for digital audio.

I use a tube buffer for my CD player as well as a tube phono preamp all through a solid state amp. My amp faithfully reproduces the signal source with that tube warmth to reduce listening fatigue.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:28 pm 
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racecars wrote:
I'd be astonished if a tube rectifier changed sound compared to a traditional diode bridge. How different can the DC be?

Be prepared to be astonished then... The voltage drop across a tube rectifier is much higher, and much more load dependent than across a silicon diode. As a result tube rectifiers tend add a soft compression element to the sound, one of the reasons guitar players like them in their amps. I don't believe that's really desirable in a hifi amp, but there are those that love the sound...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:32 pm 
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petersch wrote:
Lethargy wrote:
MENDEL24 wrote:
Input (first stage tubes) make the biggest difference in my experience.
More than drivers or output tubes.


So the earlier in the signal chain, the greater the difference? Makes sense.


Yup!

The later stages will just give you more of what you roll in the driver & rectifiers.


I was surprised when I looked up the amplification factors of some tubes at how much difference there is between the driver and power tubes. For example, for a 6l6 it's usually around 8, and for an El34 it's about 11. Even a low-gain driver tube like a 12au7, though, typically has a gain of 20, and for a 12ax7 it's 100. I don't know if this holds true for all driver and power tubes, but if it does, then it's easy to see why there's a lot more opportunity for a preamp tube to exert the effects of its character on the signal, even beyond it's earlier position in the chain.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:38 pm 
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dcrooks wrote:
racecars wrote:
I'd be astonished if a tube rectifier changed sound compared to a traditional diode bridge. How different can the DC be?

Be prepared to be astonished then... The voltage drop across a tube rectifier is much higher, and much more load dependent than across a silicon diode. As a result tube rectifiers tend add a soft compression element to the sound, one of the reasons guitar players like them in their amps. I don't believe that's really desirable in a hifi amp, but there are those that love the sound...



Indeed!

Going from say a Weber Copper cap s/s rectifier to a 5AR4 to a 5U4 will definitely make it obvious.

-- 14 Jul 2017 01:40 --

Lethargy wrote:
Just wondering what you guys feel has a greater effect on sound in a tube amp - the driver (preamp) tubes or the power tubes. I've seen strong arguments both ways.



Stong argument both ways because all tubes play a role in the end result but ime input then driver tubes are most noticeable.

-- 14 Jul 2017 01:41 --

brf wrote:
Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.



Is this the new politically correct way of saying " bang fer yer buck " ?

LOL!! sorry, had to.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:40 am 
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I voted for driver tubes but will also say that the rectifier tube also makes a difference.

My belief is that if I wanted my tube amp to sound like a solid state amp I would just buy a solid state amp. Tube gear should always be tube rectified. It's part of the classic tube sound.

My 2 cents.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:34 am 
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Lethargy wrote:
brf wrote:
Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.


That would be my choice. Logically, it would make sense that the drivers should make more difference, being earlier in the signal chain and generally having a higher amplification factor than the power tubes. And yet, much more of the talk on audio forums seems to focus on power tubes, so you'd think there must be something to it. Or are power tubes just sexier because they're bigger and they glow more? :lol:

This is a purely hypothetical discussion, by the way. I don't have any specific amp or tubes in mind. I'm just wondering what everybody thinks.


You are absolutely correct; driver tube is paramount. You also raise a great point that much talk concerns the power/output tubes.

As an SS guy, such considerations are mercifully absent.

pj


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:52 am 
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when tubes output are in push pull, they are 180 degree out of phase.

do they make some cancellation of the ''tube sound'' ?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:26 am 
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brf wrote:
Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.

To take it a step further if you can select for low noise on the high gain input tube.
Sets the noise floor of the amp.

Gary


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:16 am 
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I tend to agree that the driver tube(s) influence the sound more but my (limited) experiences told me they both contribute to the overall sound. Or else why do, say, some folks are so fastidious with the 300B they are having for instance? Or why do NOS GE 6550A or even the Winged-C is so pricey? You can't dismiss the fact that a power amp can only make the grade by the thoughtful choices of both driver and power tubes. You can't just throw a bunch of Telefunken/Brimar/etc. drivers on an amp and expect a miracle.

I also have/had power amps that do and don't have tube rectifier. I like them both for different reasons. So, yes, I like tube amps of various designs so what can I say?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:00 am 
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No contest - signal tubes all the way.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:20 pm 
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Wind Chaser wrote:
No contest - signal tubes all the way.


I will say it again, all tubes play an end roll in sonics.

the majority of people, including myself, may favor pre and driver tubes but my excuse is strictly based on monetary reasons. its usually cheaper to roll say a pair of inputs vs a quad of power tubes.

as well, ya gotta consider whats being substituted for what. quality for quality may not be better or worse, only different. crap for quality, well, you get my point.


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