Conrad-Johson Premier Four power amplifier Editor's Addendum

Sidebar 1: Editor's Addendum

While tubed and solid-state components are definitely sounding more like one another these days, I have yet to hear any tubed power amplifier that has as much extreme high-end energy as a good solid-state amp. Not only that, the character of the high end will be different. The amount of high end heard will depend on the loudspeaker's HF characteristics, but even when HF "quantity" sounds the same the tubes always seem to have a rather sweeter, more "consonant" quality than the transistors. The transistor amps seem better able to reproduce sharp attacks. Which of these high ends is more "accurate" is open to question since there is no way to tell what is actually inscribed in the grooves without listening to them, and you can't listen without an amplifier, be it tube or solid-state.

As usual we must ultimately judge the end product—the in-the-room sound. In other words, I am not as prepared as AHC to declare that either tubes or transistors offer more accurate musical reproduction in all, or even most, respects, with all loudspeakers.—J. Gordon Holt