going from tube preamp to solid state

just toying around with this and it might not even happen.

have a tube preamp now and while i might sell this later on and get another preamp.......have there been members that have had a tube preamp, sold it and went to a solid state preamp and kept it ?          or did you prefer the tube preamp sound and went back to it ?

maybe got a tube preamp that uses different tubes than the previous one did ?     

the preamp i have now, i like the way it sounds, but just not a fan of the 6sn7 and never really have been.   i prefer the 6922, 12au7 / 12ax7 tubes better.   




If you really love great sound quality you really deserve to own a great tube preamp. It is easy to develop a list of potential problems with a technology and stay a way from it.

For several decades I stayed away from tubed amps. For me, it was a real mistake. The “problems” were so minuscule and the benefits so large it isn’t funny. I have owned tubed preamps for decades and tube amps for only about 5,000 hours of listening time (the last 4 years). I wish I had allowed myself to get a great tube amp decades ago.

My experience. But most of the audiophiles I know switched to tubes late and never went back to so,I’d state,

OK, so you have PBN speakers (someone mentioned that you owned them but I didn't see it in a search), they are 42 inches from the front wall and they are firing straight ahead and your room is 12x11x8.  Fairly small room for PBN speakers, it seems.  I looked at the PBN website and most of their speakers are large and horn loaded in the high frequencies. Their smallest speaker has two eight inch woofers and a ribbon high frequency driver and the ribbon seems to be mounted in a waveguide/small horn as well.  Not sure if you know, but horn speakers are very directional and in your smaller sized room, a lot of the high frequency information may be going right past you, straight to the back wall.  A lot of set up advice tells you to keep speakers away from the side walls.  For most speakers that have dome tweeters, this is very good advice.  In your case, not so much.  Horns and dipole speakers (electrostatics, planars, etc.) can be placed much closer to side walls without adverse effects.  I would try moving your speakers closer to the sidewalls (maybe a foot and a half to two feet away, experiment) and toe them in a bit, not pointing at your ears, but maybe at your shoulders and see if that helps.  Toe-in too much and the soundstage will close down and get smaller, too little tow in and the sound can sometimes become more diffuse.  I currently own a 6SN7 preamp, and it has a marvelous soundstage, but then I am running some Sylvania "Bad Boys" from the early 1950's, so that helps. They were a dramatic change from the Chinese tubes that it shipped with.  I have also owned  preamps with 6922's and a couple of preamps with 12AX7"s. They all had an excellent soundstage.  I have also run several SS preamps, and they also threw a quite decent soundstage.  In a room your size I would personally try some monitor speakers that are known for their imaging and a sub woofer or two, depending on how much bass you like.  The only other thing I can think of to suggest, is to reverse the phase on one end of your speaker cable.  Just swap positive to negative on each speaker and see if that works.  If that works, rock on and let us know.  If not, don't forget to change them back.  Hope this helps.

As everyone else here, I have been through this journey with fairly intense involvement (I mean spending on average at least 3-4 hours every day) and making changes (after careful research, audition, discussion) over period of 4 years to ultimately get my current set up (still not 100% yet, but quite there: always room for improvement). In my opinion changing different components has major impact on certain very key factors: I have spent ample time and money on every component diligently (speakers, amps, preamps, dac, streamer, cables, footers, stands, room treatments), I mean a lot of experimentations (changing one component at a time to know exact impact of each). You have to follow logically, else, you get frustrated. I am not telling you have not done your part: In fact, I am assuming you might have done better than me.

Having said that for soundstage, besides speakers and amps, biggest and major factor playing huge role is Room treatment: I learned this painfully and expensively. Trying to change gears after gears with some (but not major) impact, until I paid good time and attention to room treatment. Room treatment can make expensive gears sound cheap (or politely put suboptimal). I am sure you have done your room treatment, but if you are struggling with soundstage, I would pay attention to room treatment again. Changing electronic gears (preamps, dac, streamer) does change soundstage, but they do change more of tonality (and other characters which I am not going to talk). Another important thing to help with soundstage (can compensate for suboptimal room treatment) is addition of subwoofers (I am not using it, as I have had very good results with my room set up without subwoofers). I was heavy SS guy and now I am all tube guy.  

Just to be pre-amp specific: I have tried a bunch of tube and solid state Preamps: ultimately ended up with Aries Cerat. They are very expensive, but in my opinion, end game gears. If your budget stretches, try them or hear them. I have Aries Cerat Kassandra Mk2 dac and incito S preamp (eventually will change to ageto preamp and ianus essentia amps). 

My response is based on my observation in my set up. Ultimately, music is subjective and you change things to make your ears happy/ satisfied. There is no right or wrong answer: just preference. 

I am very busy lately and have not posted for a while. I am on vacation now and thought to help out our fellow friends who are going through this "audio/music nirvana". If I don't respond again, it is not I am ignoring or rude. I just have enough time in my plate. Remember it is "your ears, your money and your music". 

For my money the 6SN7 is the far superior tube, and they’re a much larger variety of them in NOS. Plus you can swap them for a CV181. The 6922 is far more limited, imo. But to each their own. 

I have not read all the posts in this Thread and after approx' 30 Years of use Tube Amplification no longer use a Traditional Design Tube Pre-Amp.

Valves that are mentioned in other Posts, I have got a familiarity with and have even Rolled types as Vintage thought to modern versions.

I have been demonstrated Tube Pre-Amp's that are carrying a substantial retail cost, 'for my budget anyhow'.

A complete turnaround occurred when I heard a Basic Pass Nutube Korg B1 Pre-Amp as a Basic Model. 

The impression made was quite something, not too further on, I was demonstrated a re-think on this design, where upgrades were produced.

The upgrade Version Blew me away, and a few others who were at the Debut Demonstration.

I have now been loaned a Korg B1 for a considerable period, which had minor tweaks to the circuit over the standard design.

Within my system this has been A/B compared to Pre-Amps owned and loaned. It has stood out as a very worthy device.

I have also had the earlier mentioned Upgrade Version compared to the loaned Korg B1, and the Upgrade has been superb.

This Pre- Amp has made a big impact on the Local HiFi Group and there are now Five Versions in use excluding a Balanced Version produced.  

At present I am having a Balanced Version produced for myself, that will incorporate all the circuit upgrades that has been extremely impressive to experience.

This is not an expensive option, there is lots of support to be found, but might need a support from a EE, as I have chose to.