Why is solid state more popular when tubes are better?

Yes tubes are more involved and require periodic maintenance. Hybrid tube components need not apply, these are really solid state.

Tubes are better for multiple reasons and yet the world and the trade prefers solid state. Those rare audio shops that are geared toward stereo listening and serious connoisseurs tend to Focus more on tubes.  Those in business who like to improve volumes tend to offer solid state.  All the YouTube channels looking to improve their business tend to be solid state.  Maybe because tubes require much more expertise to sell, and there's lesser and lesser to go around. Solid state is more of a fast food commodity.

Tubes are difficult for businesses due to all the maintenance and complexity so you see it less often. Much much easier to sell hybrids or solid state.




I would posit that SS can sound "tubey" My Yamaha AS2200 is pure analogue. Sounds very good and may I say has a tube like quality.

My stable of tube amps is down to a Sonic Frontier SFS-80, and Allnic M-3000 Mk. 2's.  SS amps include Bryston 7B, Krell 300, Nad M33, Topping LA90 (to see what the hype was about), and I have a local tech putting together an amp with the latest Purifi modules for me (mainly to help him out). Like most I have had Macs pass through, Pass as well.

In my main system where I have the Lyngdorf, if I set it to flat, the tube amps are unmistakably different. They don't sound the same as each other either. The solid state amps sound pretty much the same, until you push them hard. The Krells have a ton in reserve. If I let the Lyngdorf do its thing, the tube amps and SS amps sound surprisingly similar. They are a bit warmer still even though the bass is not quite as good. If I cross the mains over at 80Hz, the difference gets even smaller.  (We had long lock-downs up here in Canada!). Then I looked at the correction data from the Lyngdorf. It was the same for the solid state amps, but different for the tube amps. It should have been obvious, but till you see it in your room, you don't expect the response to be that different for a tube amp.

The Allnics are art, and the Sonic Frontiers is part of Canadian history, so I don't think I will part with them, but they are relegated to less used systems, though with entertaining, the Allnics are getting used more. Tube amps are conversation starters.


If we limit this to sound quality I will answer.

Back in the late 1980s I did a day's auditioning with a friend.  Between us we had a lot of mainly Audio Research and Krell gear - one all valve, the other solid state.

We consistently found that valve pre-amps with transistor power amps did the business.  Krell pre-amps were notably grainy.  But Musical Fidelity's first product 'The Preamp' was SS and gave an SP10 a run for its (much much greater) money.

I have remembered that ever since and have stuck to tube front-end and SS power.  Mainly AR and for nearly 40 years Krell KRS200.  Oe recent deviation has been The Grail, the SS phono amp from vdHul, which sounds wonderful to my ears.

I had been a tube guy for over 40 years and never entertained the thought of a SS amp until a few years ago.   I decided in retirement I was going to fully investigate the possibility of switching to a high quality SS integrated.   I did end up buying a really nice quality SS integrated and I am very pleased with the switch.  My integrated is very musical and surprisingly I don't miss my tube gear at all.