Solid state amps that sound tube like

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by vintage4, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. vintage4

    vintage4 Banned

    Are their any solid state receivers or integrated amps that sound almost tube like ? Looking to purchase a vintage amp 30-70 watts that can mimic the warm sound of a tube amp . Suggestions by brand appreciated . Thanks
  2. belgianbrain

    belgianbrain AK Subscriber Subscriber

    From the previous discussions, I think the closest you'll get is anything that runs in class A.

    Regardless, you're still not going to get the same amount of second order harmonic distortion from anything other than a tube.
  3. TNRabbit

    TNRabbit TN boy languishing in MD

    Carver M-500t. 250 wpc, large, analog meters. Beautiful to look at AND to hear~


  4. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber


    Maybe just rumor. Pioneer SX-1500TD, Sansui 5000(A or X). Other x000 Sansuis. Still working on understanding the difference in these. I think its in the coupling. I think these are capacitor coupled units.

    Just got a Pioneer SX-34B tube and working on getting it going. Then I can get some decent side by side comparison. (Hopefuly).

    But, they say only tube sounds like tube.
  5. orionkc

    orionkc Smooth

    IMHO Sansui AU-999 AU-7500 AU-8500 AU-9500 I am sure there are more but the consensus was that the head of Sansui after the transistion from tubes to solid state was trying to voice the solid states to sound like tubes. I have had friends over with tube setups and they agree that it is very close after listening to my AU-999 and AU-8500.
  6. icenine

    icenine Super Member

    Vintage Marantz from the 1970's tend to be described as tube like...I am sure others will chime in with the model numbers. As the owner of some Fisher amps and a Jolida however I do not think my Marantz 1060b sounds very tube like....although it does sound great with right speakers (EPI for example)
  7. titan57nl

    titan57nl Active Member

    Sony TA-5650
  8. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    The early '70's Sansui receivers and amps are extremely-tubelike (2000x, 4000, 5000x, as well as the Sansui integrated amps from the early '70's). I have a 2000x and it is fantastic. I actually remember someone saying it rivaled his old Fisher tube amp. And it has an outstanding tuner as well. One of the warmest, smoothest, most-tubelike solid-state receivers ever made. I am VERY-happy with mine. And the 1000x, 4000, and 5000x, among others, are from that same era, and sound very-similar to the 2000x. The only difference is that the sound is a little tighter on the higher-wattage ones. And speaking of wattage, the wattage rating on them is very-underrated. My 2000x does NOT sound like a 39w per-channel receiver - It sounds more like a 50 or 60w. Very, very-powerful for their rating.

    Tube or not, I'm enjoying music more now than I ever was (The "Best Of War And More" CD is playing right now, and I couldn't give a crap if my setup was tube or not because I'm getting fantastic sound and that's all that matters to me).
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  9. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I have a lot of the solid state stuff that is purported to sound like tubes. Sansui Au-999, 5000x, 9090db, McIntosh 1900, Marantz 2275, Pioneer sx-939, etc, and I have to say that in a simple head to head with my tube doesn't sound like tubes. If you are after a sort of veiled warmth, that sounds very pleasing, they all do that. But the tubes manage to have that lush, tactile sound while still retaining a lot of detail and clarity that the other gear doesn't seem to have, at least not in the same amount or quality. I wouldn't describe my tube gear as 'warm', but I would describe the early solid state stuff I have like that.

    The closest I have to 'tubey' solid state is my Sony TA-n86b Class A amp or my Robert Grodinsky Model 5 power amp. Even then, a short comparison with my Stereo 70 or Fisher SA-300b points out that there are still big differences.

    One things that has worked for me is running a tube preamp with a solid state power amp. It gives me a good dose of the best of both worlds.
  10. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Solid state amps cannot reproduce the soundstage expansion of tubes so that eliminates the vast majority of SS amps and receivers. Warm, tubby sound is too often confused with tube sound.

    I've compared many SS amps to my MAC tubes. The closest any comes to producing soundstage expansion is the Kenwood L-09M. The VFET Yamaha B-2 and Sony TA-5650 get honorable mention.
  11. MX117.MC7150

    MX117.MC7150 Listener Subscriber

    To my ears, the McIntosh MC250, MC2505, MC2100 and MC2105 all are very smooth and tubey sounding. My favorites would be the MC250 & MC2105. All would need to be recapped to provide the best in sonics.
  12. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber


    Since we have some attaction to both camps (SS/Tube). I'll attempt a thread hijack (sort of).

    Is there anyone that has experience with both SS and Tube that has tried the Tube device from Grant Fidelity? It has my interest. I love sound coloring devices (EQ, reverb, expander, Hologram generator). Just wondering how much effect the Grant device offers.

    I know the thread sounds like everyone that bought one and uses it find it great. Any detractors? Feel free to PM me.

    Now back to our regularily scheduled thread.
  13. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin.... Subscriber

    Nadda, none, zip... as was stated, you will not get the second order harmonics from any SS gear that you get from tubes that give them their own unique sound. It is unobtainable with SS.

    It's kind of like asking what US made car will give me the same feeling as driving a Diablo... just not gonna happen... But that's not to say there aren't any US cars that are better than driving a Diablo...

    Hope that clears up the question.
  14. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I have a GF B283 in front of my CD player. Adds gain, and really smooths out any nasty CD's. I think Ian is selling them for $125 since he has a new model.
  15. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Right now I'm running my restored 1978 GAS Son of Ampzilla as my main amp. It really has a nice tube like sound to it. I've said that for years. I am running it with a tube preamp though.

    I have two other tube amps for reference, my PrimaLuna (KT88), and a Sonic Frontiers Assemblage ST-70 (EL34).
  16. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin.... Subscriber

    I had a GAS SOA, and Sorry... not a winner for tube sound... Granted, they sound great, but I can say first hand they do not compare..
  17. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I did some work with Bob Grodinsky many years ago when I worked @ Koss. Great guy, did you know him?
  18. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    No, unfortunately he passed away right about the time I acquired his amp and learned about him. It's a fantastic amp, capable of imaging with my tube amps if mated to a preamp that it gets along with really well, like my Audire Legato. Friends of mine knew him, though, and speak highly of him.
  19. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I heard that all the build batches were not alike. This one was restored a couple years ago by Mark Wilson of Absolute Sound Labs in MN. Bongiorno wanted to hire Mark as his service mgr back in the day. He did that for another major audio company, can't think of the name right now.

    I used to work at Koss, that is how I acquired this unit. When companies sell gear to other companies they think they will be used at trade shows, so they like to put their best foot forward. This was one of them.
  20. BinaryMike

    BinaryMike Pelagic EE

    Tube amps often interact with speakers differently, because they typically have much greater output impedance. This effect is quite easy to experiment with -- just add a few ohms in series in the speaker line.

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