Why do Tube Amps sound more romantic v SS amps

Question newbie on tube amps, why are tube amps according to people who own them say the sound is more say romantic sound vs SS amp ? 

What is better to own cost wise sound advantage single ended and push pull ?

Thanks guys excuse my inexperience on the tube issue.


This is a great read.  I really appreciate people, Engineers, Manufacturers, etc. contributing to a well thought out and discussed topic like this one.

I have to say, that I have repaired, serviced, designed, built tube and solid state amplifiers over my ehem..... 45 or more years as an Engineer and I have to say that many people that compare solid state to tube are not comparing apples to apples in terms of specifications on the amps.

Also, most I have encountered do not level match before comparing anything.  Then they attribute differences in volume to mean better or worst.

But, I have found that the specifications of transistors do indeed change over the years and usage.  Although the amp may work, those transistors are not like new.

Take a 15-20 year old (or older) amp and remove the output transistors. measure the characteristics, then get brand new (if you can find them) same transistors and measure them.  Won't be close.  Better yet, if you knew or documented the specs of transistors before you put them in the amp, then 20 years later removed them and measured them.... not close to original.

Anyone trying to tell you that transistors don't degrade is no accurate.

But, I have done A/B comparisons of tube vs solid state amps.  level matched and similar specs.  in the same systems.  let me tell you, for excellent tube or solid state amps.  I'll take either.  They both sound excellent.

And great designers have solved the major distortion problems with solid state amps years ago.  

There is some great stuff out there people.

Look at class D now.  @athmosphere (Ralph) is right.  I can't wait to hear his new Class D amp.  He knows people are going to A/B his class D amp with his tube amp to determine if they can decide which is best.  For him to market a Class D amp when he spent decades (still do) designing and marketing tube amps, well, it must be worth hearing.


As stated above about the SIT3 " better resolution and transient speed ". IME, these two characteristics, along with lower noise ( electrically, mechanically and acoustically ), having tuneful, robust control of the woofers ( along with the dog houses, to some Lascala owners....but not all ), and the ability to leave everything on 24/7, as I never know when I might want to listen to something ( generally daily, mood specific ). I dislike the warm up / break in time of most audio gear. These are reasons why I switched to ss many years ago. I believe I would very much enjoy Ralph's Class D amps, for they have tone and warmth ( as his tube amps ), but offer the strengths of good / great ss. Remember...this is me, as I understand how different each of us are, and people should buy what they like. My best to all, MrD.

It’s great that there is a choice.  One doesn’t have to be ‘better’ than the other…just ‘different.’  There is more to music enjoyment than just the sound, including enjoyment of the equipment.  It’s an individual matter of choice.  Also we may have physiological differences that affects what sounds good from person to person.


My approach is to use a hybrid. To my ears, Tubes are really good for Mids and Highs, and SS is good for Low. I drive my Midrange and tweeter with tubes (Class A SE 300b 20w x2), and the bass is handled by Subwoofers (Class D x2). For me, this gives me the best sound which works for diverse genera. It all bottles down to preference. 


Hard to generalize - horses for courses.

I just try a given amp out in a system and then compare with whatever else I have at the time and choose whichever set up sound s the best to me.

I run all tube into some big Wilsons, but solid state into a pair of electrostatics and also into some big Vandersteens.

I am less interested in trying to find a 'rule' about what sounds better and more concerned with using what does sound best in a given system.