What is your favorite amplifier technology and why?

What is your favorite amplifier technology and why?
24% (62 votes)
62% (164 votes)
Tube/solid-state hybrid
8% (20 votes)
6% (17 votes)
Total votes: 263

It was speaker technology last week, this week we go after amplifiers. What is your favorite amplifier technology and why?

alex's picture

Electronically speaking, only stupid hi-fi has tubes. LCD TV with tubes ? Yes, says Mr. Fremer, a real color!

Al Marcy's picture

I like electrical amplifiers. The acoustic amps in old wind-up phonographs were a clever novelty, but, things are even better with electricity.

Frank's picture

SS—more power and best control.

Warren's picture

Only solid-states are true amplifiers. Tubes are graphic equalizers disguised as amps.

Saso Kavcic's picture

Digital amplifiers, like the NAD M2, because of accuracy, efficiency, and cost.

willie's picture

Solid-state for not requiring changing of the tubes and, also, some solid-state equipment is starting to sound like tube equipment to a certain degree. At the end of the day, it is a matter of choice.

Earth Quake's picture

Krell amplifiers, hunks of steel that house enough power to jumpstart a small planet.

William's picture

Tubes equal distortion, distortion, and distortion.

Mike Agee's picture

Bi-amping with lower power, warmish tubes on top and SS on bass is the mode I seem to keep returning to. Easy level control of the more sensitive of the pair equals transparent tone control, and I have found, for my speakers at least, that the the same tube amp high output impedance that Mr. Atkinson frets so much about renders a tonal balance I truly love.

Keith's picture

A tube preamp with a solid-state amp seems to keep the best of both worlds. My experience is that a tube preamp ameliorates just enough of the harsh high-dominated aspects of the solid-state amp.

Dave's picture

No tube maintenance.

KBK's picture

Solid-state or tubed, but single-ended, high-power. Basically, my ideal amp would be solid-state, single-ended, high voltage, and transformer-coupled. Low output, high-bandwidth. Yes, it can be done. And there are perfectly sound reasons for all aspects of my "ideal amp" to be valid. Signal is single-ended, no need to push pull or to mirror signal—at all. As well, the ear works via micro changes in signal, all correlated to one another and that is the kind of distortion seen in all those other amplifier types, specifically balanced signal and balanced designs. So they create a "hyper real" landscape that is based on overemphasizing and distorting the micro components, and thus render themselves "unreal" in the process. Single-ended amps get that micro part right, even if they have other flaws in the barely relevant objective technical measurement sense.

Rod's picture

Tubes = Warmth of tone.

Mr Toobz's picture

Most of what it does is good.

Thomas Martens's picture

IMO, zero-feedback triode power amplifiers (single-ended or push-pull), if well-engineered, are in a class of their own. Personally, I have little present desire to own anything else.

John V's picture

Luscious and warm midrange. Plus I get to play with tubes!

Serpieri's picture

The current offerings of both tubes and solid-state has certainly closed the gaps of what one or the other used to have/lack to the point that you could live with one or the other with little, if any, regrets. I still lean toward the tube side of things, though.

Entrope's picture

Class-D: Absolute minimalist approach. Allows for ultra-short signal paths and you can say that, the shorter the signal path is and the less components there are, the less there is for the sound to be affected by external sources.

FiveDotOne's picture


oliver mergens / germany's picture

The triode's credible size of natural sound-sources is unmatched, emotionally unsurpassed, and, with the involvement provided, the speaker can outperform with 2Wpc.

Matteo's picture

Bitstream amplifier

Rubber Duck's picture

Love the detailed, yet warm, sound of a powerful SS amp.

Jeff W.'s picture

Love good solid class-A MOSFET amplifiers because they are as sweet as tubes without the maintenance.

Peter Noerbaek's picture

Low noise, low maintenance, low coloration, and high fidelity.

Ryan Philippines's picture

Solid-state amplifiers, because they are faster to become hot and deliver more current. Unlike tube amplifiers, where you get a better sound when the tubes become hotter. You wait for a while for them to to become hotter.

Richard Moore's picture

But with a difference; find a sympathetic speaker and output transformerless (OTL) designs can have the greatest transparency and speed.

Andrea Tubaro's picture

I moved from solid-state (Threshold T50) to single-ended triode (Audio Note Conquest) and there is no way to get back! A much more involving sound!

Stephen Scharf's picture

It's all that even-order harmonics and stuff.

krautrock2@terra.net.lb's picture

Lavardin amplifiers and YBA class "Alpha" output stages. Close to tubes, very close, with transistor power and grip in the lows and they are cool running as well.

Shane Eyanson's picture

All the new tech, still to this day, doesn't sound as good as a tube amp.