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Old 24th December 2012, 04:36 AM   #1
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Default Theories on why most hybrid amps sound bad?

I want to know why lots of hybrid amps supposedly sound bad. I know that solid state devices run with low voltages and high current, whereas tubes run with high voltage and low current, would having one driving the other make them perform below par? Any other theories?
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Old 24th December 2012, 08:12 AM   #2
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Quote:
I want to know why lots of hybrid amps supposedly sound bad.
Who says so?
How can you generalize in such a way?
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:19 AM   #3
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Impedance mismatch, tubes are generally high impedance wheres transistors are low impedance.

Hook a high impedance output tube preamp to a low impedance input transistor amp and you have a potential recipe for bad sound.
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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I reckon bad sound in amps is measurable as noise modulation, but haven't figured out a test sensitive enough for this yet. I'm working on the problem though Transistors are less linear at HF than valves so more prone to generate noise mod. I can see a future where transistors sound at least as good as valves, maybe even better because no microphony and also much cheaper because of huge economies of scale.
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:57 AM   #5
wahab is offline wahab  Algeria
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
I can see a future where transistors sound at least as good as valves, maybe even better
This would have been relevant if written in 1960 or so....
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:17 AM   #6
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Originally Posted by PsychedelicFish View Post
I want to know why lots of hybrid amps supposedly sound bad
worth to note you say supposedly

maybe this is based on rumors about the chinese 'efforts' ?
( commercially it have previously been 'chinese territory', mostly )

but 'hybrid' could mean anything
in hifi I reckon it is expected to be mosfets with a tube driver stage
but in PA/instruments amps hybrid mostly means a tube preamp with 'ordinary' solid state power amp, or even classD amp
in that sense, integrated chip amp with tube pre input could also be called a hybrid ... but is it ?
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsychedelicFish View Post
.........I want to know why lots of hybrid amps supposedly sound bad.......
This must be only because the two sections were not carefully designed to work with each other. However having an input tube stage without it being in the overall feedback loop will degrade the "measured" performance of the amp as compared to the SS section by itself. But it "could sound" better than the ss stage by itself even if it measures worse. But not all tube / ss stage combinations sound better than the ss stage by itself.

Not an easy subject to deal with comprehensively in a thread like this. You need to experiment with it yourself and come to a conclusion . There are so many permutations and combinations. But one can say that some combinations DO sound very good. Measurements will not tell you that !

I am listening to a tube front end with a ss output stage ( not a ss follower!).
Sounds very good ! But with an ac heater I get 'some' hum in the speakers if I put my ear right up to the bass driver! Not audible when I'm a meter or so away. Must be audible if it were placed in an anechoic room !
It sounds good and I hear no hum at any listening level and at normal listening distances. So I'm happy !
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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There is no valid reason that I have heard for any mix of technologies to result in necessarily bad sound. I have a Trivista buffered CDP, for example, that is nigh indistinguishable from an all solid-state version. Some claim it even sounds better. The question might be better put as "why do people compare poor or mismatched implementations of different audio technologies and infer that all such combinations will sound bad?"

The unhappy result you refer to may be due to lack of design experience and focus or the lack of premium equipment examples for reference but I would pin the blame on guesswork, misinformation and using slapped-together clones or making DIY designs that are perhaps too basic, compromised or ill-conceived.

In contrast, many better quality and even some very fine high-end amplifiers and preamps are now hybrid designs and this should tell us something. It's unfortunate that experimental work is not as straightforward as ss simulation or breadboarding, so getting hybrids to integrate properly and sound as well as they can (I am told) is no mean feat.

That suggests to me that few DIY design and build attempts will be fully successful as a result.
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Last edited by Ian Finch; 24th December 2012 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:57 AM   #9
balerit is offline balerit  South Africa
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Not sure what you mean by hybrid but my moscode amp will beat anything out there and why do i say this? because many people have brought their amps to me to try and pit against mine on my speakers and they all go home disappointed, he he he (maybe my speakers are also the best).

But hey if you like the sound of transistors then good luck, but you are missing out on a whole spectrum of sound.

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Old 24th December 2012, 11:16 AM   #10
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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You can make a bad amp using any technology. 'Hybrid' brings the added problem of the designer having to master two technologies, which may require two different ways of thinking.

Some hybrid amps manage to combine the worst features of the two technologies instead of the best.
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