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Do You Prefer Tube-Based or Solid-State Audio Gear?

This debate has been raging since the invention of the transistor over 60 years ago. Tubes are big, hot, and delicate, while transistors and their solid-state progeny, integrated circuits, are small, relatively cool, and robust. Also, tubes are finicky, and they must be replaced periodically, which is becoming more difficult and expensive as the number of sources for these glass throwbacks continues to dwindle. Finally, tube-based power amps typically generate a fraction of the power offered by most solid-state amps, though this isn't really a problem with high-efficiency speakers.

Despite all their apparent drawbacks, tubes have retained a loyal following among audiophiles because of their characteristically warm sound. By contrast, solid-state audio gear is often described as sounding much more "analytical," which many consider to be a more accurate representation of the source content.

Which leads me to this week's question: Which do you prefer, the warmth of tubes or the accuracy of solid-state audio electronics? Keep in mind that I'm talking about analog electronics here—mainly preamps and power amps—not digital or class-D amps, which are a different story altogether.

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Do You Prefer Tube-Based or Solid-State Audio Gear?
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