Toroidal transformer on tube amp

Why are toroids so popular in solid-state amplifiers but so uncommon in tube amplifiers?
They are said to send less EMI and interference to nearby components, among other benefits.

Is there a reason why solid-state designs are "so good" but tube amplifiers aren't?
Why not use them as output transformers?

I've never used EI transformers and have always relied on toroidals.
But, in any case, I've never built a tube amplifier.


No clue really but maybe it's just a packaging problem. A torus takes up more space than a cube. 

EI core transformers have inherent air gaps where energy in the magnetic field is stored, toroid transformers do not. If you get any DC bias on a toroid transformer, the inductance will change by a large amount. That’s bad. It will also stay magnetized after the DC bias is removed continuing to effect the inductance. The EI core transformer has more stable properties. I believe the EI is also more linear over a wider range due to the air gap, but I may be mistaken on that. I had the same question many years ago. I get the theory, but have not spent a lot of time thinking about it. I am sure others could weigh in in more detail.

Torroids are smaller and lighter, which is the main reason they’re used is SS gear. Using a torroid as a mains transformer on a tube amp is okay, but it has a wider footprint, so it’s a matter of allocating real estate that usually takes priority when deciding to use one. Torroids are not used as output transformers for one main reason: any imbalance in tube plate current or gain will alter the a.c. operating point and create lots of distortion. Also, it would have to be bigger in size to guard against saturation at low frequencies. But if every tube was identical and wore out exactly the same, then torroids would be far better output transformers.

R-Core can be an excellent design choice for power supplies in various tube gear.

How does Balaced Audio Technology get away with using them on their tube amps?

Roger Modjeski (Music Reference, RAM Tubes) brought up the topic of the employment of toroidal transformers in tube amps in one of his Burning Amp Festival amplifier design seminars, and was adamant in his opposition. Tim de Paravicini (EAR-Yoshino) felt the same. Perhaps Ralph Karsten (Atma-Sphere) will comment.


From BAT’s website for one model:

VK-90t also means there are no tubes to bias; no fuses to replace; no pentodes imitating triodes; and no direct current at the tube output stage. VK-90t is the sound of the future—and musical truth.

I don’t know if the no-DC is a feature of the circuit, or if they have a circuit that adjusts to prevent DC? I am sure there are some tube hacks that can weigh in.


Primaluna uses toroidal transformers in their integrated amps and power amps, just check their website.

There can never be dc at the output of any amp with output transformers.  Current is induced in the secondary (output side of the transformer) by the changing magnetic field induced by the primary; if the current on the primary is not changing (dc), there is no induced current in the secondary.

As far as I can tell from the Primaluna site, they use toroidal transformers only in the power supply to their hybrid and all of the output transformers are not toroidal types.