Tubes are headed into a bright 21st century future
We wrote that we loved tubes in 2019.
In 2019, tubes were withstanding the test of time well. By 2022, they've been rejoicing in the scrutiny of time.
We love tubes, even more since the turn of the decade. Enough to spend an hour discussing them as amplification devices in a headphone amplifier at CanJam Singapore 2022.
There's reams and reams of knowledge about tubes, spanning almost a century, that we couldn't compress into a single hour. But then, at the end, we hope listeners, and audiophiles, took away the key message.
Transistor advancements have not led to them replacing tubes.
Tube amplifiers symbolise good, solid, audio design techniques that are as free from compromises as can be. Those are high bias, and big power supplies. Heavy hardware. Circuit linearity without over-reliance on negative feedback.
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Why we love tube amplifiers more in 2022 doesn't have to do with a particularly big tube design breakthrough. It's because we've seen the newer, very affordable alternatives that's come up in this time.
Replace tubes with those? Knowing what goes into making them ... nah, not yet. The seminar aims to expound.
We've seen the alternatives. Heard them, too. While increasingly convincing, they're not as compelling yet. Despite sheer test bench excellence.
Better listening is for those who can hear a difference. With our ears. Not our eyes, nor left brains.
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While what's written above sounds like we have an answer ... no, we couldn't be further from having a definitive answer on whether you should choose tubes or transistors. Choose which sounds best to you. Which suits your lifestyle now.
Above all, CanJam 101 seminars aim to be practical. Not philosophical. That's how Head-Fi Global and Zepp really help listeners.
By lifting the veil on complex engineering. So you really know what you're buying into – options laid out thoroughly and explained – and are equipped to make a better decision hence.
And, now that you know what goes into a tube amp is so much more than a hot glass bottle, tell us which amp you'd choose, and why it'll have tubes in it.