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It’s that time audio enthusiasts! Registration for the 2019 Speaker Design Competition is now open! Visit midwestaudiofest.com for details and to list your speaker project. We are excited to see all returning participants, and look forward to meeting some new designers this year, as well! Be sure your plans include a visit to the Parts Express Tent Sale for the lowest prices of the year, and the Audio Swap Meet where you can buy and trade with other audio fans. We hope to see you this summer! Vivian and Jill
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"Tube Amp" Headphone Amp

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  • BTRaulerson
    started a topic "Tube Amp" Headphone Amp

    "Tube Amp" Headphone Amp

    I ordered the "Little Bear P2 Headphone Tube Amp" from Amazon months ago. It is made by Douk Audio. I wanted to experience the legendary "tube sound". Are these really tube amps? I mean, it has a pair of what appear to be tubes in it but there are LED lights in it to give it the tube glow and the tube don't get very warm. Plus, there seems to be a lot of noise. Static, crackling, and humming that comes and goes. The sound is nice when all the extras clear up. I also have a FiiO A3 portable headphone amp and it is pretty impressive. It really adds the extra power that good headphones need to portable devices.

  • guitar maestro
    replied
    Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    IMO what constitutes a good amp is transparency, as in the old saying 'a straight wire with gain'. Doesn't matter if it's tube, SS, Class A, A/B, D or whatever. If you're a devout minimalist and believe the fewer parts the better you may think that nothing else approaches the supposed sonic purity of a 3 watt SET into a single driver. I lean more towards Duke Ellington's philosophy, that if it sounds good it is good.
    Can you give your definition of "transparency" in terms of quantitative specifications pertinent to amplifiers?

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  • fpitas
    replied
    My pet theory as to why transistor amps used to be inferior to tube amps has to do with crossover distortion. Early class AB transistor amps did not generally do a good job controlling output stage bias under varying conditions. As time went on, clever designers developed schemes to better control bias, but the damage was done, and tube amps developed a mystique. The ultimate has to be class A, with no crossover distortion, but practically speaking modern class AB transistor amps are fine for anything except perhaps horn drive, where you're only using maybe 10mW of average power.

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  • billfitzmaurice
    replied
    Originally posted by guitar maestro View Post
    BF, if would please enlighten me: What constitutes a good SS amp?
    IMO what constitutes a good amp is transparency, as in the old saying 'a straight wire with gain'. Doesn't matter if it's tube, SS, Class A, A/B, D or whatever. If you're a devout minimalist and believe the fewer parts the better you may think that nothing else approaches the supposed sonic purity of a 3 watt SET into a single driver. I lean more towards Duke Ellington's philosophy, that if it sounds good it is good.

    Leave a comment:


  • djg
    replied
    Yeah, my amp and preamp are covered, the ST35 has a perf metal cover so you can see inside a bit.

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  • fpitas
    replied
    Originally posted by djg View Post
    I tried tubes. Apparently I don't have the ears to tell the difference.
    They are pretty darn cool looking.

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  • djg
    replied
    I tried tubes. Apparently I don't have the ears to tell the difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • fpitas
    replied
    Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    IMO the only thing magical about SET is its ability to convince seemingly otherwise sane individuals to spend insane amounts of money to buy them.
    I'm sure it changes the sound. Whether you want an "effects box" to change the sound is another question.

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  • guitar maestro
    replied
    BF, if would please enlighten me: What constitutes a good SS amp? I know about the "typical" specs like low Noise, THD, IM, crosstalk. What else should one consider?

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  • billfitzmaurice
    replied
    IMO the only thing magical about SET is its ability to convince seemingly otherwise sane individuals to spend insane amounts of money to buy them.

    Leave a comment:


  • fpitas
    replied
    Originally posted by PWR RYD View Post

    Only a poorly designed SET amp has large amounts of distortion. Properly designed HiFi tube amps are very clean.
    Well, I agree in principle. But the "magic" of a SET amp isn't because it has hi fidelity.

    Leave a comment:


  • BTRaulerson
    replied
    This thing is weirdly made. To change the LED light show, you turn the thing upside down and take a pen or paper clip to press the recessed button on the bottom. The tubes are removable but I have no idea what a different tube would do. Also, in the center there is a small removable chip. I'm thinking that this is the processor or something. It is advertised that this also can be removed and exchanged with a different one. The strangest thing for me is the non-polarized AC plug with AC output. The plug then has an adapter/reducer on it to fit. The thing seems well made but has cheap extras.

    Leave a comment:


  • PWR RYD
    replied
    Originally posted by fpitas View Post

    This can't be stressed enough. The only exception I can think of is SET tube amps, where the amp has large amounts of even-order distortion (and concomitant intermodulation distortion) under normal conditions.
    Only a poorly designed SET amp has large amounts of distortion. Properly designed HiFi tube amps are very clean.

    Leave a comment:


  • fpitas
    replied
    Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    Unless pushed to clipping one can't tell the difference between a good tube amp and a good SS amp. When pushed into clipping the natural compression of tubes sounds very different from SS, but you only do that in musical instrument amps.
    This can't be stressed enough. The only exception I can think of is SET tube amps, where the amp has large amounts of even-order distortion (and concomitant intermodulation distortion) under normal conditions.

    Leave a comment:


  • fpitas
    replied
    Originally posted by wogg View Post
    Little guys like that run as a "Starved Plate" design. They don't run at normal tube voltages, and the LED's are there to hide the fact that the heaters are not used. This is common in effects pedals, and other low voltage musician / pro audio gear. Supposedly they still have the same distortion profiles, but I'm a bit skeptical.
    I've read that some of these "tube sound" boxes made in China don't even use the tube. Just there for show. No idea if that's true, but I can believe it.

    Leave a comment:

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