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Looking for a new Amp or Preamp? If you're after tubes, post over here.

Just my opinion of course but

I think you are better off with a good tube amp and easier to drive speakers than you are with speakers that are harder to drive and solid state amp that can do the job.

Here's why:

All amps (tube, solid state, class D) make distortion. Not only that but in all cases distortion is higher when driving lower impedance loads. You would think that distortion is inaudible but that is not the case at all!!

The distortion is audible and measurable too.

The human ear converts distortion into tonality! This is why tube amps generally sound richer and smoother (more lower ordered harmonics, less higher ordered harmonics) and transistors tend to sound leaner, brighter and harder (less lower ordered harmonics but more higher orders than tubes usually make).

In fact that's the tubes/transistor debate in a nutshell.

So when you are increasing the distortion by driving a lower impedance, in just about all cases the amp is making more of the higher ordered harmonics. This means it will be less detailed (more distortion masks low level detail due to the ear's masking rule) and harsher (due to the fact of higher ordered harmonics being added).

So any loudspeaker company and make their speaker sound smoother and more detailed at the same time simply by designing it to be higher impedance. Of course if the amp is solid state it will not make as much power, but if sound quality is your goal this is less of a concern.

So its something to think about:

If sound quality is your goal go with a speaker that is easier to drive and especially higher impedance.

If sound pressure is your goal there is a 3db argument for 4 ohms over 8 ohms if your solid state amp can double its power into half the load impedance. IMO/IME 3 db is not much of an argument.

But if you have a tube amp and sound pressure is your goal a higher impedance will serve you better.

So before getting an amp or speaker, first figure out where your preference lies- if you prefer tube amps, try to find a speaker that works with it rather than the other way around. Don't try to make it work hard to drive a difficult speaker, because even a powerful transistor amp driving a hard to drive speaker will never sound like real music, it will at best sound like a hifi. Instead, have the amp drive something easy, so it won't have to make distortion and then you will find the music there as well.

Good Luck!


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  • Just my opinion of course but - Ralph 13:35:35 03/23/17 (0)

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