The euphonic distortions tube amplifiers produce is only one of the many reasons their sound is better. These are subtleties that only musicians and dedicated music fans would pick up on; casual listeners typically don’t even notice, though it’s not uncommon for wives to remark, “wow, that sounds much better” when their husbands use amplifier tubes at home. The higher sound quality and laboratory performance of tube amplifiers are the results of several reasons.
Despite the digitalisation of the recording business, tube pre-amplifiers have been standard in professional studio microphones for decades. Tube pre-amplifiers are used to boost the signals before they are digitised and used in modern systems. Amplifier tubes provide better-sounding music because they impart a softer, warmer, and cleaner sound.
The same holds for guitar amps used in a musical setting. The distortion produced by pushing a vacuum tube to its maximum is far more musical than the synthesised sounds produced by overdriving a transistor amplifier.
Disrupted Harmonic Order
Although tube amplifiers have a higher level of distortion, most of that distortion is of the second order, which is pretty melodic. To put it simply, this kind of distortion causes “harmonics.” Harmonic distortion at the second harmonic frequency is the original note played at a higher pitch. So too, with higher-order even harmonics, they’re just the same note a few octaves up the scale. Due to the pleasing nature of even-order harmonic distortion, the tube amplifier became a standard tool in recording and broadcasting studios during the 1970s. It’s still popular in modern times.
Alteration in Degrees
Not only does distortion from tube amplifiers have a melodic quality, but it becomes louder when the volume is turned up, much as it would in a live concert. More harmonic content is produced when instruments are played louder or as percussion instruments or piano keys are struck harder. The harmonic content of notes decreases as they fade.
Tube amplifiers produce the least amount of distortion at the lowest volumes. This is why a tube amplifier may sound fantastic even when played at low volumes, whereas transistor amplifiers often need loud volumes for optimal sound quality.
Maximum Energy Production
Tube power amplifiers typically range from 8 to 80 watts per channel, with the latter being more typical. Because of their increasing cost, solid-state amplifiers can have ridiculously high power ratings. Except for public address systems, no one uses or even has 300 WPC since so much power would melt a single speaker. These solid-state systems are not only heavy and expensive, but they also sound terrible at reasonable listening volumes.
Protects the Speakers Better
If the wires leading to your speakers are not fused, they will be destroyed in case of a shorted transistor or other issues with your transistor amplifier. The output transformers prevent damage to the speaker caused by shorted output tubes in a tube amplifier.
Again not especially good or bad, but tube amplifiers frequently feature some microphonics, meaning that any tapping of the amplifier will result in audible output. You can probably hear it if you put on some headphones and touch your amplifier. Although this usually is not noticeable, a microphonic amplifier placed near your speakers might cause a little echo or reverberation when the signal travels from speaker to amplifier (with a delay of roughly a millisecond per foot of separation) and back out the speaker again. Extra reverberation caused by microphonics may give the sound a fuller, warmer quality.