What's your opinion on using tubes in your audio amps?
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Old 26-12-2016, 06:37 AM   #1
White Noise
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What's your opinion on using tubes in your audio amps?

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I got one of these for christmas, and listening to some of my WIPs on it, I picked up some new nuances and details, and going through some of my electronic favorites, what it did for the sound with my headphones (both typically considered bass-light, the AKG Q701 and Grado SR225i) was unreal. The bass and drums slam like I've always wanted them to, and the usually too present hihats have pulled back and made both headphones much less fatiguing.

So, granted that this isn't as linear as a solid state amp, could I justify using it while mixing in your opinions? I worry because A) the frequency response is skewed (albeit for the better in my opinion) and B) distortion is an order of magni-tude (heh, I couldn't help myself) higher than my solid state amp (refer to specs here and at the link above, THD and IMD: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
). On the other hand, it brings out some more detail (or different, at least) and it makes my headphones way easier to work with for a longer period of time, which I think could help me make better choices while mixing.

Do any of you use tubes in the signal path between your mixer/daw and your transducers (them's your speakers or headphones)?

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Old 26-12-2016, 12:00 PM   #2
liquid_air
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Re: What's your opinion on using tubes in your audio amps?

I am using a tube compressor (DBX-566). I find that driving it hard into its limiter gives a very warm distortion. It is also quite well suited to smooth out harsh high pitched transients on my 303 clones with a similar tape saturation type coloration as you've described.

I've been eyeing Shiit stuff for a while and would love me one of those Valhalla headphone amps and one of their DACs.

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