Anyone has a reference system where amplification is SS ?

I never heard of audiophiles whose reference system had transistor amplification. It is always tubes. But maybe there are exceptions.


A "reference system" is simply an audio enthusiast’s primary system that they use as a comparison (or a "reference") when auditioning new electronics, speakers, cables, etc. Being one’s "reference" does not necessarily mean the system is anywhere near state of the art/science.

I do not understand how someone with over 7K posts here could say they have,

never heard of audiophiles whose reference system had transistor amplification

Just check the virtual systems for an answer to your question.

I had a system I felt justified the term reference system about ten years ago. The amplifier was a solid state Pass x350. The reason I called it my reference system was the instant I put anything on I could tell everything about the venue and recordings… mastering. While I had an outstanding tube preamp the other sources were clean and very clear and solid state.

I did not realize it at the time, but all the very obvious forward presentation of detail and heavy bass slap was masking a real lack of midrange bloom and rhythm and pace. So, I loved listening to it… you know, I can hear the violinist in the third row move his foot… isn’t that cool! But after 45 minutes I would get bored listening and go do something else.

I mentioned this elsewhere, but I upgraded my headphone system to a very powerful 300B amp. I could not believe the increase in realism and musicality. I felt the need to move with the music… it sucked me into music. I then went and turned on my main system expecting better sound… what I heard was horrible, cold, anemic, lifeless sound.

Over the next year I swapped my Pass X350 for an Audio Research Ref 160 tube amp , my DAC for Audio Research tubed one and now get sucked in to my main system just like my headphone system. All the details are there, but set in correct proportion to how the sound in a real musical venue. My system is an order of magnitude better, more satisfying, and musical. I listen three hours a day and have to drag myself away. But I do not feel inclined to call it a reference system.


I know it is a question of what reference means to each of us… that is what it means to me.


Can this be done with solid state? Good question, solid state continues to improve. I have yet to hear it in solid state. But maybe,

We cannot generalize ONE experience as a rule for all system...

I myself own a powerful Sansui Alpha 607i to drive my picky headphone from the headphone out ...It is my reference system over my small speakers so good they are now ...

I never experienced a mid range blooming so beautiful and realist in my life with anything i heard with speakers and headphones save with the K340 well done and optimized because it is the most hard to figure out headphones there is , being the more complex with his dual chambers, and his hybridration crossover point  for his 2 different  cells, electrostatic and dynamic ,  and 5 tuned  passive resonators ... and  with a complex  demand and hard to drive sensitivity of 87 dB/mW and 2 cells of 400 OHMS impedance each ...

I tried to upgrade the S.S. Sansui with one of the best regarded tubes technology in the world ... I returned it the same day ...This blooming of the mid range was lacking and the out of the head headphone soundfield so characteristic of my optimized K340 was no more there ...

Could i say the reverse opinion of ghdprentice and pretend that my experience is a universal fact and a future rule for all ears, all systems ? No ...I must be as cautious as ghdprentice here ...

Even if i believe completely the testimony of ghdprentice , i had the reverse experience ... No design rule alone , it must be implemented acoustically, electrically and mechanically , and be synergetical with the other components ...


is this a tube verses solid state thread?

must be a slow day at work for the original poster. wants to watch a food fight.