Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Physical Difference for Solid State and Tube Sound

Transistor sound vs. tube sound; a controversy that has been explained away by even and odd harmonics. But yet there are also differences in sounds of interconnect cables, power cables, and speaker wires that may be related.

What if the difference between tubes and solid state had nothing to so with the type of distortion each creates but rather with the wire used inside of the devices?

Let's look at the devices used in preamplifiers for now and compare the wire sizes inside the two most common devices found in each type (tube and SS). Below is an image showing the difference in the physical sizes of two commonly used devices.

Tube and Transistor Comparative Physical Sizes

Solid state preamplifiers that use discrete devices (not integrated circuits) typically use a physical package series called the TO-92 case. Tube preamplifiers used a physical package series called the 9-pin miniature. Let's see what the difference in internal wire sizes is between the two.
12AX7 (actual size) and TO-92 (highly magnified) Internal Wires
 Without going into the exact size of wires used to connect these two devices, it is easy to see that the solid state devices uses MUCH SMALLER INTERNAL WIRE SEGMENTS than the tube. Segment wires inside the SS device are so small that in order to see them you must magnify the image. Imagine that!

The tiny wires inside the SS device actually improve its bandwidth and studies of exactly what size these wire segments should be to get the widest bandwidth possible is an ongoing science. But what if in the race to achieve a wider bandwidth, this is where the characteristic sound of transistors comes from? Could it be that the wire segment itself causes this sonic signature?

It is my belief that this is the MAIN difference in the sound between the two. What differences have you heard when changing from small speaker wire to larger speaker wire? Just imagine how a tranasistor would sound if these wire segments were not so small.

Now that you know, what do you think?
Yours for higher fidelity,
Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style, it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.


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