Why Tubes?

by on Feb.01, 2003, under Electron Tube Audio

Why thermionic electron emission devices (valves to our friends in the UK)?  Well, I grew up listening to my LPs, cassettes, and the radio through a 6V6GT push-pull instrument amplifier and eventually found that I really missed its sound.  I actually didn’t know what it was I didn’t like about my audio system until I fired up that old amp again.  The brash, gritty sound was gone.  See my Thomas 6V6GT PP amp for more about that.  I don’t consider myself to be an audiophile, however the difference to me is noticeable.  For an excellent article with a bit of empirical evidence, take a look at Tubes Vs. Transistors by Russell O. Hamm.

The other part of the answer to this question is that I enjoy the challenge as much as (if not more than) the results of my efforts.  In terms of components in the signal path, electron tube amplifiers are about as simple as it can get.  Perhaps some of the healthy fear involved in working with lethal voltages has something to do with it as well. 🙂  Finally, tubes are just damn cool.  They operate on such a macro scale that you can actually “see” the process take place inside them that is providing you with service that you took the time to design/modify.  They’re also pretty to look at….

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