Vacuum tubes

John J. Francini
Sun Aug 28 16:10:04 EDT 2005

Actually, certain kinds of vacuum tubes that are popular in 
audiophile receivers are being made once more -- because of 
audiophile demand. One company, in fact, has licensed the Western 
Electric name and is making WE 300B triodes using the original WE 
tooling and designs.  There are other companies that are making tubes 
in Russia and China for the audiophile market.

In addition, one of the bases of what's called "tube sound" is the 
measurable difference in the distortion products of tube amps. 
Before they go into heavy clipping, a typical tube amp's distortion 
signature is rather heavy in even harmonics: 2nd, 4th, 6th, etc., 
while many solid-state designs' distortion products are odd-order: 
3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.  It is generally agreed amongst audio engineers 
as well as audiophiles that the even harmonics produced by tube amps 
are far more 'musical' (euphonic) compared to the odd harmonics from 


At 9:02 -0400 8/28/05, Dan Strassberg wrote:
>Is that old RCA receiver in a wooden cabinet? If so, that may explain the
>great sound to a much greater degree than do the tubes. That said, a group
>of (wealthy) audio enthusiasts believe that "tube sound" is real. The
>engineers I know think this is bunk and can prove it with all sorts of
>repeatable, scientific measurements. However, since tubes have become scarce
>and hence quite expensive, vacuum-tube audio equipment has become very
>popular among those who are unimpressed by science and who delight in
>spending lots of money to prove that they are true audio afficionados. These
>same people also spend hundreds of dollars on gold-plated speaker cables and
>other such claptrap. I wonder how many of them also believe in "intelligent
>Dan Strassberg,
>eFax 707-215-6367
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "A. Joseph Ross" <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 9:32 PM
>Subject: Vacuum tubes
>>  Last week I managed to get hold of an old RCA Victor table model AM-FM
>radio.  Despite
>>  the hum from a bad filter capacitor, it has a really rich sound, and
>(unlike newer sets) it has
>>  no trouble picking out WCRB from all the other strong signals around
>Brookline.  I've ordered
>>  replacement capacitors online, and when they arrive and I get them
>installed, I'll have a really
>>  great radio.
>>  In a conversation with a friend, the topic came up about the supposed
>great sound quality of
>>  vacuum tube receivers.  I've heard this before, but I've heard some pretty
>bad sound from
>>  some old vacuum tube equipment, too.  Is there really a different sound
>quality from vacuum
>>  tubes?
>>  --
>>  A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
>>   15 Court Square, Suite 210       
>>  Boston, MA 02108-2503          

John Francini <>
| "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; |
|  that two are called a law firm; and that three or more become a Congress.|
|  And by God I have had _this_ Congress!"                                  |
|                                                       -- John Adams       |

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