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Re: Shedding some more light...

IOW, watts are still watts and so distortion is distortion. Tube amplifiers make more distortion in general, but actually less of the distortion we don't like.

Not sure that's the case.

Our ears just do not like odd-ordered harmonics.

If that's the case, how can we stand to listen to music at all given that many musical instruments produce prodigous amounts of odd-ordered harmonics?

Tube amplifiers follow the rules that our ears have evolved to a bit better then transistor amplifiers.

Still not sure that's the case.

Some examples (if you don't look at all of them, be sure to go down to the last one).

Here's the spectra of the Musical Reference RM200. Its spectra is predominantly odd-ordered (indicated by the red arrows), including some stuff above the ninth as well as well above the ninth.

Here's the spectra of the Hovland Sapphire. Yikes! 'Nuff said. :)

The BAT VK-150SE.

The Cary 280 in triode mode.

The Wavelength Gemini 45.

The Lamm ML1. Another example of odd-ordered dominant spectra, though it tapers off rather quickly without any really high order stuff.

The Sonic Frontiers Power 3.

The Nagra VPA. As with the Hovland, yikes! :)

The VAC PA 80/80.

The Lamm ML2.1.

The ARC VS-110.

The Air Tight ATM-211.

The Manley Neo Classic 250 in triode mode.

The Quicksilver something or other.

For the last image, the Final Labs Music 6.

This isn't a tube amp. It's a battery powered solid state amp that uses inexpensive monolithic power opamps. It's spectra is actually even-order dominant throughout most of the spectrum (owing probably to the asymmetrical quasi-complimentary output stages used by monolithic devices), with odd-order overtaking at the 11th and 13th harmonics.

Bottom line, both in terms of odd-order and high-order distortion, it's no worse and even better than most all of the tube amps above.

So maybe it's not just "transistor amps." Maybe it's all those big-ass discrete, fully complimentary transistor amps. :)


P.S. I believe my use of distortion spectra graphs from Stereophile falls under the fair use doctrine as I've used them here. I'll leave JA and/or The Bored to make the final call.


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