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?

Jersey's picture

It's not the power, it's the sound, the warm, sweet sound, the simple design of the sound path, and the low number of components in it.

JohnMichael's picture

I am too neurotic for tubes. I would be listening to music and wondering if they sounded as good as last month. Oh, and I love my Krell S-300i.

Brad's picture

I build my own.

Leon's picture

Tubes: simply put, for the warm sound.

obieseven's picture

SS and P/P—Tubes have their strong points, but I keep going back to SET.

KC's picture

After listening to Conrad-Johnson in the late '70s, I never turned back. So decidedly superior to solid-state that I am surprised solid-state is still around.

Pete's picture

I don't want to fiddle around with electronic components that burn out, namely tubes. Solid-state runs longer at spec, and it doesn't add that "warm" quality that people associate with most tubey gear.

Jose I.  Barba's picture

I like the combination of tube preamp and solid-state power amp to get the tube sound with the solid-state power and bass control.

Hans Hinnekint's picture

Class-D. No heat, superb linearity (Lyngdorf).

Raffaele's picture

I use tubes for preamps and solid-state for amps.

Don Bilger's picture

For driving full-range dynamic speakers, the best amps I've heard have generally been MOSFET or bipolar transistor. I've also heard several excellent hybrid amps. Some of the best bipolar amps I've heard have quasi-complementary (all-NPN) output stages instead of the more common complementary NPN/PNP outputs.

Lous P.'s picture

My vote is for solid-state amplifiers. As much as I might be seduced by tube sound, the heat and expense is just too much. We are talking about at least $100/year for tube replacement, and heating up my listening room in the summer, when I am trying to avoid AC, is also counterproductive. In an ideal world, I would have a second system, where I could have a small(er) tube amp, which I could use for music appropriate for that kind of system.

Greg Stern's picture

Coincident Technology, E.A.R., & deHavilland tube amplifiers. Clayton & McCormack solid-state amplifiers. Arcam class-G amplifiers.

Austin Kuipers's picture

High switching-rate class-D has so much potential. It's the future.

Gerry's picture

Tubes. I have yet to find any tranny amp that has anywhere near correct timbre for violin.

Lars Elner's picture

If you listen to a broad variety of music, as I do, you might be able to find amplification that sounds different from my old Radfords, but hardly "better". At any price!

Paul's picture

Why? Accuracy! High fidelity. As is usual in the hi-fi sector, myths abound that falsely undermine the benefits of solid-state and champion tubes.

Zipped's picture

SS 1) friendly maintainence/usage, 2) Fast transient response, 3) Deeper low-frequency response, and 4) Less coloration.

WSE3's picture

I voted for tubes, but this is a difficult question to answer since I have liked a number of SS amps over the years and currently own one. Yes. I voted for tubes, but I no longer own a valve amp. Formerly owned several C-J amps and preamps. Will buy another tube set-up one day if I live long enough. I also greatly enjoyed the Precision Fidelity hybrid from the mid-'80s! Was it the M-8?

Ryan's picture


Michael's picture

If you get good enough solid-state amplification, you don't have to worry about tubes catching fire—and the audio is as good as I can ask for because I know that there is one way to get concert hall sound: In a concert hall!

Tim Rhudy's picture

Right now it's class-D. Love the small size, lack of heat, lower power consumption, and, oh, yeah: the sound!

Pierre Kennedy's picture

Using both technologies enables the listener to attain solid-state's control and neutrality allied to tubes' transparency and tonal "rightness."

Nidri's picture

I went through 8 SS amps from highly regarded manufacturers before I eventually tried a hybrid & liked it so much that it finally inspired me to take the plunge and I went all-valve. I will never go back. The only SS brand I've owned that came close was Electrocompaniet.

Mark's picture


jose m.  gomez's picture

i just love the sound of a tube amp.

Dean's picture

Good voltage gain on the front and FET outputs provide power without all the associated junk required by bipolar devices

Philippe Bélanger's picture

Solid-State for power, reliability and...bang for the buck.

Anonymous's picture

Claa D amps

N's picture

Single ended class A.....the First Watt and all that...