Best tube amplifier: specifications and reviews
Many music lovers prefer to listen to their favoritetunes using tube amplifiers. What is the specificity of these devices? Based on which criteria it is possible to choose the optimal model of the corresponding device?
What is interesting tube lamp amplifier?
The amplifier is one of the key componentsacoustic infrastructure, which is responsible for increasing the power of those signals that come from sound sources, switching of appropriate devices, adjusting the volume level, and transmitting a signal whose power is amplified to audio equipment intended for playing melodies.
In tube amplifiers as a keyelement of circuit technology, radio tubes are used. They serve as reinforcing elements. As a rule, tube amplifiers provide a lower level of distortion of sound. As many music lovers note, for the corresponding devices is characterized by a warmer, soft reproduction of melodies - especially when playing medium, as well as high frequencies.
Another major advantage of a tube amplifier- in providing in many cases a more saturated sound in comparison, for example, with transistor devices. This is possible due to the unique properties of the lamps themselves, which, for example, are adapted to operate without auxiliary correction, which is necessary to maintain the work, in turn, of semiconductor devices.
Single-cycle and push-pull devices
Lamp devices are most often classified into 2the main categories are class A and class AB. The first are also called single-cycle. In them, the amplifying elements stimulate an increase in the powers of both half-waves in the signal, both positive and negative. The second device is also called push-pull. In them, each successive cascade of power increase involves the use of different elements - one can be responsible for the positive half-wave, while the other - for the negative one. Amplifiers class AB is usually more economical and productive, often - more powerful. But on this score among music lovers sometimes there are discussions.
Considered devaysy in many cases areis much more expensive than transistor analogs, despite the fact that their design is quite simple. Many music fans are assembling their own devices on their own - although you need to try to find the best circuits of tube amplifiers - on 6P3S, for example, or other popular lamps. For connoisseurs of music played with the devices in question, their price is often marginal - if it is decided not to assemble the amplifier, but buy it. At the same time, the characteristics, of course, play an unquestionably significant role in the choice of the device. Consider what they can be, as well as examples of popular models of the corresponding type of device.
Amplifier ProLogue EL34: specifications and reviews
According to many experts, the best tubeamplifier, or at least related to the leaders according to the appropriate criterion (from those related to the budget segment) - the ProLogue Classic EL34 device. This device can function using two types of lamps - actually EL34 or KT88. In this case, the user does not need to reconfigure the amplifier.
According to experts - reviews reflecting theiropinions, can be found on many thematic portals - one of the main advantages of the device is its equipping with interfaces that allow loading the lamp smoothly, which increases its service life. The amplifier is equipped with an effective volume control. The device has a rather large power, which is 35 watts.
Another amplifier belonging to the categorybudget - the device TRV-35, produced by the Japanese brand Triode. The fact that it is assembled in Japan, largely determines the quality of the product. The amplifier is universal - perhaps it is the best tube amplifier in its segment from this point of view. Lamps that can be used on the device - EL34, in some cases, it is possible to use ElectroHarmonix elements manufactured in Russia.
According to experts, among the most notable options of the amplifier in question is the possibility of connecting to modern home theaters.
Another famous product of the Japanese brand Triode- device TRX-P6L. As some experts note, this device is the best tube amplifier in the Triode line in terms of functionality. So, in it there is, in particular, a quad band equalizer, which is designed to optimize the timbre of the melody sound taking into account the specific acoustic situation in the room, as well as the parameters of the sound systems used. Device, in question, allows the use of different categories of lamps - EL34, 6L6, as well as KT88. The device is equipped with a regulator of the depth of feedback. The amplifier can function in 2 modes - triode, as well as ultra-linear.
Another notable device, produced under thebrand Triode - amplifier VP-300BD. Many music lovers ask themselves a common question: "A single-ended or two-stroke tube amplifier - which is better?" They can, by choosing the VP-300BD, which belongs to the devices of the first type, remain very pleased with the purchased device. The device in question is a triode device, it is classified as an open type amplifier. It can be noted that the output stage of the device operates on triodes 300B, which are classified as direct channel.
Audio Research VSi60
Among the most famous brandslamp amplifiers - the American corporation Audio Research. The most technological products include the device VSi60. Many music lovers are convinced that tube amplifiers are better than transistors, and the device manufactured by the American company allows to put forward a strong argument in favor of the first type devices: according to experts, the amplifier under consideration provides the most impressive scale of the sound, which is quite comparable with the parameters of transistor devices. The main lamps with which the American device works are the KT120. The volume control for this amplifier is electronic.
Unison Research amplifiers
Another well-known brand-name device manufacturer,which are in question - Unison Research. The most effective solutions, which are developed by this corporation, include the S6 amplifier. Perhaps it is the best tube amplifier, or at least related to the leading solutions, in terms of the combination of characteristics that are characteristic of the A-class devices: a high power of 35 W, and a significant damping factor. The device uses 2 straight-channel triodes located in each channel.
As experts note, this amplifier is characterized by the highest quality of sound in terms of detail and purity of the reproduced melody.
The next known product, produced under thebrand Unison Research - amplifier P70. In turn, it is two-stroke. Melomaniacs, wondering why a single-tube tube amplifier plays better than a two-stroke amplifier, somewhat change their perception of the effectiveness of the corresponding devices, listening to music when using the device in question. Developers of the P70 amplifier managed to provide exceptionally high quality of sound with a very impressive power of the device - more than 70 W.
As experts say, the device canConnect to an acoustic infrastructure that generates quite an impressive load. The device in question is also characterized by genre universality. If we consider the best tube amplifiers for listening to rock music - the device P70 can be rightly attributed to the leading solutions.
Among the known single-cycle products,produced under the brand Unison Research - device Preludio. It also functions in class A. It uses the powerful tetrodes KT88. Power devaysa is 14 watts. Therefore, the amplifier requires connection to an acoustic infrastructure that has a sufficiently high level of sensitivity.
Another well-known brand that produces amplifiers -American corporation McIntosh. Many music lovers, wondering which tube amplifier is best, primarily associate the highest quality products with those devices that are produced under the McIntosh brand. This corporation is among the most recognized in the world sound equipment manufacturers in the Hi-End segment.
It can be noted that the MC275 product from McIntoshfirst appeared on the market in 1961. Since then a number of improvements have been implemented in it, but it is still produced under the historical name. In principle, this amplifier belongs to the legendary devices, among the best products in the world in the Hi-End segment. The device uses KT88 lamps. The power of the amplifier is 75 watts in the stereo playback mode.
Another well-known brand in the market of amplifiers -Audio Note. Among the most popular of his products are Meishu Phono. Perhaps this is the best tube amplifier in its segment, if we consider the relevant devices in terms of compliance with the purity of technology. So, it does not involve any semiconductor. In the structure of the power supply device, there are 3 transformers, 3 kenotrons, and 2 chokes. In the output stage, triodes 300B are used. In the design of the amplifier there is an effective tube phono corrector. The device in question has a rather modest power, which is 9 watts. But nevertheless, the device is compatible with many modern types of floor acoustic equipment.
Determine the best tube sound amplifierbased on the subjective perception of his work is quite difficult. However, it is possible to approach the solution of this problem by comparing these or other models of devices with the main characteristics, and also analyzing the corresponding parameters.
Choose the best amplifier: model comparison parameters
What parameters can be considered as key? According to modern experts, the most important characteristics in this case can be:
- frequency range;
- level of harmonic distortion;
- signal to noise ratio;
- Support of communication standards;
- level of energy consumption.
In turn, these parameters can be compared with the price of the device.
Select an amplifier: power
As for the first indicator - capacity, itcan be represented in the widest range of values. Optimum for the decision of the majority of the problems characterizing use of a tube amplifier, the indicator of an order of 35 W is. But many music lovers are only welcome to increase this value - for example, to 50 watts.
At the same time, many modernhigh-tech devices of the appropriate type work well and at a power of about 12 watts. Of course, in many cases they require a connection to a high-performance acoustic infrastructure. But the use of effective audio equipment is one of the mandatory attributes of the application, in fact, of the devices in question. Why a tube amplifier is better than more modern modifications of devices is a question that is not particularly relevant for many music lovers, as they have repeatedly been convinced in practice of the objective superiority of the corresponding devices in key parameters. Therefore, they try to test and practice the use of tube amplifiers on pre-prepared equipment that meets the highest requirements.
Regarding the frequency response of the amplifier -it is highly desirable that it be in the range of 20 to 20 thousand Hz. Although, it should be noted, quite often modern manufacturers of devices, in question, supply amplifiers to the market, which do not meet this criterion. It is difficult to find equipment in the Hi-End segment, which would not reach the specified frequency parameters. Anyway, when buying a tube amplifier, for example, from a little-known brand, it makes sense to check what range it supports the frequency.
As for harmonic distortion, it is desirable,so that they do not exceed 0.6%. Actually, the lower this indicator - the better the sound. The best tube amplifier in a given segment is often determined primarily from the harmonic distortion index. It should be noted right away that the corresponding figure is not the most significant from the point of view of ensuring a good sound quality. However, this parameter characterizes the reaction of the acoustic infrastructure to the input signal. It is quite difficult in practice to provide stimulation of the acoustics response when measured in the same way as it is performed when real signals are played. But modern manufacturers of tube amplifiers try to provide the lowest harmonic distortion index. Prestigious models of devices can provide it at a level not exceeding 0.1%. Of course, their cost can be incommensurably higher than competing models that have a higher rate of harmonic distortion, but for a music lover the issue of price in this case may be of secondary importance.
Signal to noise ratio
The next parameter is the signal-to-noise ratio,modern tube amplifiers most often correspond to an indicator of 90 dB or more. In general, this value can be considered very common when comparing the characteristics of various devices, even if they are presented in different segments. Therefore, if the task is to choose a good single-cycle tube amplifier or, for example, a two-stroke amplifier, the parameter in question will not always reflect objectively the competitiveness of one or another device. Anyway, the higher the corresponding figure - the better. It is desirable that it is not less than 70. Some top model amplifiers provide a signal-to-noise ratio of more than 100 dB. But their price, as in the case with harmonic distortions, can be impressive.
Other parameters - support of those or othercommunication standards, energy consumption, are significant, but secondary. On them, it makes sense to pay attention, all other things being equal in terms of those indicators, which we considered above. Anyway, for a modern amp, the support of a sufficient number of stereopairs, about 4, of the audio output for recording sound, can be considered typical. Regarding energy consumption - its optimal value is about 280 W.
Undoubtedly, when considering the question, whichthe tube amplifier is better, many subjective factors also play a role. Most music lovers appreciate the relevant devices, based on their design, build quality, sound level, ergonomics.
All the above parameters can be comparedwith the price of the device, which can be represented in a very wide range of values. But the person for whom the tube amplifier is not so topical is better than the transistor amplifier, since he knows the answer to it, the price, as we noted above, can not always be considered as the most important criterion when choosing a device to organize listening to your favorite tunes.</ p>>