Re: Sound of tube amplifiers (Tom Maglione )

Subject: Re:  Sound of tube amplifiers
From:    Tom Maglione  <maglione>
Date:    Tue, 7 Jul 1998 21:08:08 -0400 (EDT)

This is a pretty old argument, vacuum tube vs. solid state amplifiers. As I recall from the popular literature of 20-30 years ago, tubes were supposed to sound "warmer" due to the predominantly even-order harmonic distortion products however low in amplitude they may have been. In contrast, solid state amps were supposed to exhibit more odd-order harmonic products, giving them a more "raspy" sound in comparison. Other test domains seemed to consider issues due to negative feedback, like transient distortion, where the "edge" of a waveform is able to present a signal fast enough to "beat" the feedback, which by its nature must lag in time. Stereo Review was a magazine I recall from back then, I probably even have a few copies floating around my basement or attic, but I wouldn't necessarily cite them as "legitimate" academic sources! I would also add that as an electric bass player, I have both vacuum tube and solid state amplifiers, but my tube amp (Ampeg B15-N Portaflex) is still in great demand by guitar players for studio work. The B15-N also has a preamp out for that "tube sound" into further solid state amplifier stages. Happy listening, Tom Maglione Email to AUDITORY should now be sent to AUDITORY(at) LISTSERV commands should be sent to listserv(at) Information is available on the WEB at

This message came from the mail archive
maintained by:
DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University