Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 17, 2007

Are you a Vacuum Tube Audiophile?

at 9:25 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Are you a vacuum tube audiophile? Some audio nuts claim that there is nothing better than the sound of a vacuum tube amplifier.

With all of the latest break-through semi-conductor technology, why would anyone want to use 30 year old, or older technology???

Check out Tube Cad Journal for the answer.

John Broskie’s Guide to Tube Circuit Analysis & Design web site is packed full of data, software and audio kits that take you back to the era of the analogue nature of audio.

Why is vacuum tube better?

Here are a few quotes from one of John’s articles:

“The built-in vacuum tube preamplifier enables you to experience the highest quality sound
normally you can only find in premium Hi-Fi audio equipment.”

“Music is dynamic and is played to be heard by human ears. The analogue nature of
tube gives a more pleasing sound to the nonlinear human ear-brain hearing system.
Tube sound has less distortion than solid-state sound and audiophiles
always prefer tubes for their clean, warm and far more detailed and life-like sound.”

“Audiophiles find the tube preamplifier product a more faithful and detailed reproduction in
comparison to the solid-state preamplifier.”

So plug your ipod or Zune into a vacuum tube amp and hear the difference.

Or even better, build your own DIY vacuum tube amp.

The Tube CAD Journal


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8 Responses to “Are you a Vacuum Tube Audiophile?”

  1. Chris Says:

    …I don’t think plugging an Ipod into a tube amp would make it have better acoustics, considering it is coming from a digital, low bit-rate source.

  2. Joe Pitz Says:

    Chris, This may be true to some extent. But many portable audio people still use a tube based pre-amp and can hear a warmer sound.

    Purists still use vinyl or dvd formats. But many still can hear warmer tones with tubes.

    Check out:



    Joe Pitz

  3. DIY Audio Projects Says:

    I disagree with part of one quote:

    ” …Tube sound has less distortion than solid-state sound …”

    Tubes are _much_ higher distortion than modern chips and solid state devices. However, our ears seem to find distortion by tubes pleasant.

  4. Joe Pitz Says:

    I will agree with that. But if the human ear likes it than in this case more is good.


    Joe Pitz

  5. Bob Funk Says:

    I used to share lab space with a couple of AT&Ts audio guys. Early in the development of digital cell phones there was a “perfect” vocoder. Every instrument measured the same perfect reproduction from cell phone to base station and base station to cell phone. There was much rejoicing until some one actually listened to it. It sounded like crap. Mechanical, silibant and, for lack of a better description, one dimensional. There is now a deliberate distortion introduced. It seems that the human ear doesn’t like a zero distortion complex wave. Single tone, yes but not voice or music.

  6. Joe Pitz Says:

    Thanks Bob,

    Joe Pitz

  7. Alan Parekh Says:

    Great site! The audio definitions are very well done.

  8. Gonzalo Says:

    I’m a guitar player. For me tubes deliver that creamy distortion needed in the guitar tone in the pre-amp and power stages (to build the correct tone).
    They are not to use with hi-fi signals because they distort a lot. But that’s my point of view…

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