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Minimalist Audio


A Word on Amplifiers

It has been said that tube amplifiers are finicky things for purists only, needing frequent bias adjustment etc. Tube replacement is very expensive and once the tubes wear out, they can be hard to find making the experience of owning a tube amplifier more a labour than a pleasure.  That may be true of some tube amplifiers, but none of the above applies to the tube amplifiers we sell.  To own and operate a Decware, Ideal Innovations, or Glow audio tube amplifier is essentially the same as owning a solid state amplifier.  These amplifiers run for years without needing tube replacement, and when it is time to replace tubes they are inexpensive and usually easy to find. Decware, Ideal Innovations, and Glow Audio amplifiers are self biasing, and if you can change a light bulb, you can change a tube.  So there is now no excuse not to invest in the superior sonics of a well designed tube amplifier like the Decware, Ideal Innovations, or Glow Audio.

Generally speaking there are two types of tube amplifier readily available:
Single Ended and Push Pull. Each type brings different atributes to the table.

Single Ended amplifiers are known for their liquid, three dimensional, and ethereal presentation, but are generally lower powered and require more careful matching of speakers. They also do not have the damping factor that a push pull amplifier has, so their bass may not be as tight or as articulated as a Push Pull amplifier. That said, the low damping factor can actually be an advantage when a single ended amplifier is paired with the right speakers. The best single ended amplifiers in our opinion have only one power tube per channel.

Push Pull amplifiers, as far as their sound goes, they are one step closer to solid state than a single ended amplifier. Their strengths are higher power thus a much larger variety of speakers will work with them, they are punchy and dynamic in their presentation and will likely please a larger audience than a single ended amplifier. Their down side is they have a slightly grainier and drier sound than a single ended amplifier, but still warmer and more liquid than a solid state amplifier.

Solid State amplifiers: Although we personally prefer the sound (and look) of good tube amplifiers, there are many excellent solid state amplifiers available at almost all price points. Good sound is not limited to a particular type such as pure class A, class A/B, class D, etc. There are superb examples of all types. One great advantage of many solid state amplifiers is they are convenient to use, generally run cool, and of course need no tube changes. They are also far easier to integrate into an audio rack or room decore. Even though it is not our personal preference, it is the solid state amplifier that is being used as all in one amp, DAC, music streamer, server etc. making integration into the home much cleaner and simpler.

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