Colin Wonfor’s Clinic: That elusive valve sound?

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Colin Wonfor

Hello Colin, please be patient with me because although I am an experienced listener I'm not very conversant with the technology that is available today. By this I mean I really just plug in and just listen. However recently I started to think about some of the units I use, In particular a Musical Fidelity Class A preamp and Audio Research power amp. I got to wondering if it’s possible, even desirable to combine the two technologies to make a really astonishing pre-for example? Quite possibly such things exist and I realise that you don’t get involved with valve designs but that isn’t to say you don’t appreciate the valve sound. Would you be prepared to share your thoughts about this please? Thanks.

Our dear, I do get involve in valve designs often, but not normally for the everyday listener. I also work on pro-kits which has tube and semi's crammed in tiny boxes.

As to valve sound ….. hmm, well … again different sound for different folks. Valve power amps, unless OTL like Crofts, do not impress me often; just no grunt, no balls and the slam and airwave shock is just not there for me, Preamps though? Yes much better. I love Croft again and Trilogy. It’s just a shame the noise of the boiling cathode sometimes masks the music.

Thank you for the question.

 

 

 

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  • Dingsking

    Hmmm, I can’t agree with your take on the lack of slam etc from valve power amps. There are plenty of Push Pull designs that have the very qualities you claim are missing and even some Single Ended designs with the appropriate high voltage valves achieve the same. I started in serious hi-fi with an Inca Tech Claymore. I now use a 300B push pull power amp. With my speakers it has all the grunt, balls, slam and airwaves shock In spades!