Do tube audio buffers work?

July 21, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

4 comments on “Do tube audio buffers work?”

  1. With the high(er) voltages of sources, one can run a single-stage tube buffer with a gain attenuator in lieu of (and not as an addition to) a preamp. Keep it simple as possible, but not simpler (thx Albert). And it works very nice driving solid state amps.

    (But don’t expect much of anything good from a cheap unit).

  2. I tried the Musical Fidelity tube buffer 15 years ago and it was a total disaster. It turned very noisy with hisses,spitting and static. Returned it twice for retubing to no avail. Total waste of money-happy when I sold it.
    If you have crappy digital equipment and are using unbalanced interconnects, maybe the new tube buffers may improve your sound. Otherwise, don't even think of it, IMO.

  3. I put a tube buffer after my DAC which is fed by a CD transport. It really made the sound more organic. Strings sound more realistic. I enjoy the sound more with the tube buffer in the chain than without. I realize that I’m technically degrading the signal but if it’s more pleasing to the ear than a pure digital front end, isn’t that a win? There’s a philosophy at play here: Is it more important to have the purest signal possible or to have a sound signature you enjoy?

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