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Old 3rd May 2005, 01:00 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Rectifiers: Tube vs Solid state..

I hope I am not starting a religious war by asking such a question, but are there good reasons to use tube rectification vs. solid state? (apart from subjective preferences)

The circuit to be powered is a mix of solid state and tubes. CCS's etc are solid state, I have chosen gas discharge stabilizers over zeners for noise performance (1/F noise, critical as this is a high-mu app), and also tubed mu-stage (as I feel good triode always better an op-amp), but I don't know about the right reasons for chosing the right rectumfrying in the PSU. Thing is I'll favor SS over tubes if performance is equal... it'll save me at least one toroid... Won't look as nice, sure, but I'm trying to make music on a budget here.. not art..
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Old 3rd May 2005, 01:18 AM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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The main advantage to a tube rectifier is slow warmup. Balanced against this are high DC drop, lower reliability, higher heat, lower efficiency, and poor regulation.

For all the theoretical noise benefits, in a series of measurements I've been doing on DC output rails (as opposed to measurements within the rectifier block), I haven't seen any advantage to tubes.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 01:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rectifiers: Tube vs Solid state..

Quote:
Originally posted by cathode_leak
I hope I am not starting a religious war by asking such a question, but are there good reasons to use tube rectification vs. solid state? (apart from subjective preferences)
Nope. None at all. Hence why it starts wars of religious intensity.

About the only reason anyone uses a tube diode is nostalgic... and the oft-repeated claim that soft start has some advantage somehow.

Quote:
The circuit to be powered is a mix of solid state and tubes. CCS's etc are solid state, I have chosen gas discharge stabilizers over zeners
Za??! Gas tubes are wayy worse, for the express reason that you CANNOT connect a large capacitor across one. I dare you to try it!

Tim
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Old 3rd May 2005, 02:21 AM   #4
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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I really have to agree with everyone so far. Gas regulators are way noisier than almost anything else. Use zeners and try to keep them cool.
-Chris
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Old 3rd May 2005, 02:26 AM   #5
SY is offline SY  United States
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Well, mainly, take advantage of the fact that zeners (and other good references) can be bypassed. It's not so important what a component's noise performance is, what's important is the noise performance of the circuit using the component.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 08:03 AM   #6
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Recently I tried out gas regulators to supply the driver stage in one of my amplifiers. Although I couldn't hear any hiss or noise, the sound seemed harder and tiring to listen to over long periods. Some fine detail in the music was missing. Reverting to the old (unregulated) power supply circuit brought the music back to life.
I have also tried mercury and silicon rectifiers with varying degrees of the same effect. To my ears, tube rectifiers sound significantly nicer than the alternatives.
A bit dissapointing really as I liked all the pretty colours...
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Old 3rd May 2005, 09:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Re: Rectifiers: Tube vs Solid state..

Thanks for the replies. Seems like i'll have solid state rect. then.

Regarding zeners vs VRs I remember reading somewhere (on this forum.. couldn't find it now) that Zeners have a somewhat white noise but with increasing 1/F noise, wich can and will be a problem in high-mu apps such as phonostages, dac O/P, etc.. And thus zeners are better suited for amps and such, while VRs are the better choice for mu-stages. This is wrong, eh?


Quote:
Originally posted by Sch3mat1c
Za??! Gas tubes are wayy worse, for the express reason that you CANNOT connect a large capacitor across one. I dare you to try it!

Tim
Relaxation oscillator? nop. I need it for regulating
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Old 3rd May 2005, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
Well, mainly, take advantage of the fact that zeners (and other good references) can be bypassed.
i wonder what would such an "other good reference" be..?

Edit: I found the forum text i was referring to in the last post:

Quote:
Originally posted by tubetvr


....snip...

VR tubes have much lower dynamic resistance than high voltage Zeners and therefore make better regulators stand alone than Zeners. In noise sensitive applications it should not be forgotten that Zeners give an almost white noise but with increasing 1/F noise below a few 100Hz, therefore it is not that easy to make them quiet in applications where this 1/F noise can be a problem for instance in RIAA stages, VR tubes dont have this 1/F noise problem, (1/F noise in Zener based regulators was a big issue when I was designing low phase noise oscillators for microwave)

...snip...

Regards Hans
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Old 3rd May 2005, 10:41 AM   #9
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Zeners are "low noise" the 5 to 6 v range. At 100 volts plus, it's all avalanche effect and noisy too! Whether bypassing is effective, I don't know.
The Tube CAD Journal has an article on regulation and shows a pseudo zener circuit that should be lower noise:
Tube CAD
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Old 3rd May 2005, 11:17 AM   #10
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by cathode_leak


i wonder what would such an "other good reference" be..?


Bandgaps, avalanches, LEDs, even current sources stacked on a resistor.

Again, the device itself is not as important as the resulting noise from the implementation of the device!
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