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Will My Ipod Benefit Through a Tube Amp?

jobsworth`

Member
2008-03-24 2:48 pm
Hi,
This is no doubt the first of several lame questions. I am looking to build a valve/tube amplifier, it is primarily being done as a hobby. I would like to know if my mp3's will benefit being played through a valve amplifier, will the digital-ness (no such word) be removed?
I have never heard music through a valve amplifier, is it the holy grail as some of the posts might suggest?
 
I'm happier playing my mp3 player through tubes than my solid state amp...
I got new speakers at the same time as the amp, so it really isn't a fair comparison.

Some low quality compression tracks are really bad and I can hear all the digital artifacts. Higher quality music sounds really good. I don't want to say "round" or "smooth" like a lot of people say about tubes, but I would say that it is very clear. The separation between the different instruments/tones, whatever, is very distinct. I am, in fact, hearing things that I never noticed before. Little background sounds that just got lost w/ my last amp.

The glowing factor, more so than the sound improvement, is what has impressed most of my friends :)

most people these days don't notice digital artifacts :(
This is a great article someone posted here a month or so ago on that subject
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17777619/the_death_of_high_fidelity
 
jobsworth` said:
Hi,
This is no doubt the first of several lame questions. I am looking to build a valve/tube amplifier, it is primarily being done as a hobby. I would like to know if my mp3's will benefit being played through a valve amplifier, will the digital-ness (no such word) be removed?
I have never heard music through a valve amplifier, is it the holy grail as some of the posts might suggest?

It would help tremendously,I would like to make one point though,I have gotten away from downloading MP3 music files,I download music from iTunes,which are AAC formated,BIG DIFFERENCE!!.

I have been using my iPod for a source for about six months and I must say,not much difference between it and My CD player,I started out running the iPod directly to my amps,the sound was decent,then when I built my first tube preamp,the sound completely changed,more authority,soundstaging was phenominal,from top to bottom the sound was truly lifelike!!
 

jobsworth`

Member
2008-03-24 2:48 pm
Cheers for your replies, I am intent on building this amp for several reasons.
1) A new challenging hobby
2) I enjoy my music and am always looking for improvements, wherever they may come
3) I think the amps are aesthetically beautiful.

Incidentally, a tip I found out at www.russandrews.com recently was to place my cd/dvd's in the freezer compartment of the fridge for 72 hours, followed by 24 hours in the fridge. Try it, you will be amazed the difference it makes, apparently it removes all the tension in the surface the information is written.
 

ray_moth

Ex-Moderator
2004-01-27 8:55 am
Jakarta
The better the reproduction system, the more obvious the flaws in the sound source. Quite a few of my old vinyl recordings, as well as some CDs, were exposed as inferior once I got to hear them on a decent amp and speakers. The reasons were many: poor studio recording, poor audio processing, poor pressing, surface damage, etc. The good ones sounded better but the bad ones sounded worse.
 
I agree with Ray,

the tube amp really helped for MP3s with high bitrate. Lower bitrate which used to sound ok on SS gear, was unbearable on my tube system. Some recordings showed a quality I never noticed before, others are exposed as junk. Expecially high compression (for the "always loud effect") on the source material is so obvious that it makes listening to some CDs no fun anymore.
Interestingly these are usually the one-hit-wonder CDs that show this bad mastering most frequently.

Martin
 
Re: Amp - Ipod

jobsworth` said:
Right,
I have decided to make a simple se from tubelab.com. I take it the volume/eq on the ipod will be sufficient, it wont need to go through a pre-amp?


The Line Out from the iPod is sufficient and much better than using the headphone output if possible (you need a dock for this). That way you can use a better volume control (stepped attenuator) in the amplifier itself if you like.

My Simple SE is set up for use with an iPod dock and it sounds fantastic. I used larger transformers for better bass response. A higher quality preamp tube will make a difference in sound quality. I haven't had the chance to try anything more expensive than my EH KT88's yet, but that probably would have an effect as well.