What is the theoretical advantage of direct heated triodes? - diyAudio
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Old 28th November 2012, 11:56 PM   #1
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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Default What is the theoretical advantage of direct heated triodes?

I use DHTs like 45 and 300B myself, and they indeed sound better than indirect triodes of the same power class (only EL84 is a match for DHTs in terms of transparency). The specs of DHTs look inferior, and they hum unless you use DC heaters, which adds complexity.

What is the theoretical advantage of direct heated triodes? The specs look inferior.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:10 AM   #2
DUG is offline DUG  Canada
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fewer parts...easier to build??
Doug We are all learning...we can all help
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:12 AM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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Microphonics. People like that extra little "ting!" in their music.

Not to discount the nostalgia aspect, which undoubtedly plays a role. Disagree strongly about fewer parts- I'd argue that it's the opposite, which also attracts some people.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:40 AM   #4
iko is offline iko  Canada
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Let's be honest here for a moment. The real reason why people love dhts is because they have hotter cathodes!
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:42 AM   #5
kmaier is offline kmaier  United States
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The 45 is probably my favorite DHT, but only 2 watts or so output. I don't consider the specs inferior (but what is your comparison and/or benchmark?).

With a good quality 45, AC filaments can better 80dB s/n referenced to 1-watt (with a good design and proper layout and parts selection). The WE300b, no way... DC is required due to it's center-tapped filament.

Complexity varies with design topology and style choices of the "designer", while adding DC filament for a DHT will add another power supply section. I've done a couple clean sheet designs for the 45/2A3 and they're not complex... quite simple actually.

As for being microphonic, I'd say it depends heavily on your specific DHTs, both brand/internal structure and condition. Having a large collection of 45s and 2A3s, most of the better ST glass versions (Sylvania being preferred) are dead quiet and near mechanically immune, sans whacking directly on the tube. I have others (includes all early Globe types, some ST versions and new EML 45 solid plates) which are extremely sensitive. Playing a few trumpet notes (real trumpet, not a recording) within 10 feet literally blew the tubes about... audible when hooked to a speaker. A characteristic specific to either a bad or poor quality tube IMHO.

As with anything else, a clean simple design that has been implemented properly (parts selection, layout, construction and tube fitting) will have good measured performance, low distortion, wide bandwidth and a fairly neutral presentation. With proper parts election, they should run consistently and reliably for decades (sans a few tubes).

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Old 29th November 2012, 12:51 AM   #6
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Used in ZFB amps all tubes have rather unique sonic signatures. DHTs certainly not an exception.

http://www.bearlabs.com -- Btw, I don't actually know anything, FYI -- every once in a while I say something that makes sense... ]
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:53 AM   #7
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If there's any scientific advantage, it (of course) will be from direct heating of cathod.

1. DHT's cathod gets order of magnitude higher currents (a few amps) than indirect ones (a few tens to hundreds mA);
2. And it gets slightly hotter than indirect triodes.

Both may act to give better emission characteristics of electrons from cathod, but I am not sure.

What else?
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:59 AM   #8
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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the gigs up chaps, DHTs have been outed !
"The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed." Robert M Pirsig.
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:04 AM   #9
6L6 is offline 6L6  United States
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Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
What is the theoretical advantage of direct heated triodes?
When they were designed, the best minds in science and engineering were working on them, and they are designed for the audio range.

The designers had to work with materials and (much more important in my mind) geometry to get them distortion free.
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Old 29th November 2012, 02:33 AM   #10
wa2ise is offline wa2ise  United States
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I would have thought that the filament being heated with a few volts of AC would cause problems with 60Hz artifacts getting into the audio. Various nonlinearities not cancelling out even if you manage to balance the hum out.

There's some filament tubes intended for portable battery operated radios, like the 3S4 or 3V4, that were designed for DC on the filaments, and the filament pins were labeled as to which gets the positive filament supply and which gets the negative side.
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