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29Jul/18Off

Xiangsheng Pre-amplifier – Everything That The Rest Are Saying..

Tube amplifiers sound better as a result of euphonic distortions they add to the music, along with plenty of other reasons. I'll cover below. These are subtle effects most audible to musicians and extremely dedicated music lovers; casual listeners (those who "listen" with their eyes open while doing something different) usually won't notice, but sometimes the difference is so obvious that people's wives will comment that "wow, that sounds significantly better" when individuals use tubes in the home.

Tube amplifiers measure poorly in the lab specifically because of these added distortions, however, these distortions are often an integral part of what get them to sound better. Even today with an all-digital infrastructure from recording studio to SMSL Amplifier for decades and decades and decades used tube pre-preamplifiers inside the microphones themselves. Today their outputs are fed to tube preamplifiers prior to being digitised for recording, mixing and distribution. We use tubes since they make the music we create sound better: smoother, warmer and cleaner.

Ditto for guitar amplifiers found in creating music. The ways that tubes distort when pushed for the edge are much more musical compared to artificial sounds that can come from transistor amplifiers when overdriven. Some transistor guitar amplifiers attempt to mimic tube distortion, but that's a different article.

Of course these are all very broad generalizations, and this is just as much as a result of circuit designs used with tubes or transistors since the devices themselves, but do you know the distortions and other reasons tube amplifiers sound better?

Tube amplifiers have much more distortion than solid-state amplifiers, but a majority of of it is second-order, that is quite musical. That's why it's called "harmonic" distortion. Second-harmonic distortion is exactly the same note, an octave above. Ditto for higher-order even harmonics; they are also exactly the same note more octaves above. Even-order harmonic distortion can be so pleasant that during the 1970s the Aphex Aural Exciter was extremely popular in recording and broadcast specifically since it was created to create and add these harmonic distortions! You are able to still buy it today.

Not just is tube amplifier distortion harmonious, it increases as things get louder - exactly as they do in a musical performance. As instruments play louder, or as you hit a percussion instrument or piano key more strongly, they generate more harmonic content. As notes decay, the portion of harmonic content drops again.

Tube amplifiers mimic this. A great tube amplifier such as the Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies increases its distortion directly with output level across 30 years of voltage, or perhaps a million-to-one power range. In contrast, here's just how a typical solid-state amplifier, in cases like this a Crown D-75, lowers its distortion with level, and after that suddenly clips like crazy (the nearly vertical line on the right):

Note that the Woo graph is with regards to voltage output, and the Crown plot is in terms of power. In fact, the Woo plot covers an electrical selection of over 6 million to 1, as the Crown plot only covers a power variety of 50,000 to one. Using this progressive, "dynamic" distortion, tubes add sharp attacks while retaining long, floating sustains for each musical note.

Much like our ears, musical instruments and almost everything else natural, tube amplifiers hold the least distortion at the smallest levels. This is why a tube amplifier can sound great played softly, while with transistor amplifiers people are usually being forced to transform it up to have it sound best. Honestly, I don't bother using my dbx 3BX dynamic expander having a tube power amp, because it adds a lot of dynamic impact.

Meixing MingDa Valve Amplifier sound their best at the volumes where you really wish to enjoy them. The same as digital systems, solid state amplifiers measure and sound their worst at low levels, and possess their finest knhcnt at near to their maximum output levels where no one ever actually plays them. For normal use with normal music at normal levels, many of us enjoy our music at about 1mW ~ 1W long-term RMS, or about .01W ~ 10W peak. For the majority of applications, a 30 WPC amplifier is all about right.

What's sad is that the few consumer magazines that make an effort to publish lab results usually only plot performance as a result of 100mW, while in fact the most relevant power range where we enjoy most amplifiers is from 1mW to 1W. What will happen below 100mW is really important; that's right where most of our music lives!

Sadly even when you pay $150,000 for a set of overpriced frou-frou solid-state amplifiers, you'll see its reviewer said many nice reasons for it, but he still said "the more I cranked them, the higher they sounded" on page three. So for $150,000 they don't sound best in the levels I want to enjoy them? Follow the money; I don't take ads from manufacturers.

Don't let me hold you back if you wish Xiangsheng 728A Preamp, however you don't need it unless you love to crank it, use a big room or inefficient speakers, or enjoy very wide dynamic range classical music at concert-hall volume.

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