A valve amplifier enables you to play the sound of great quality that is why you will see statements like ‘sound like a valve amplifier’ from manufacturers of transistor amplifiers. You will hear relatively harsh sounds from transistor amplifiers when they are playing sounds from modern crystalline and dynamic CDs. This harshness sometimes results in a sibilance especially when female vocals are played. The reason why valve amplifiers are better is that they produce higher harmonic frequencies. Thus, you will hear sounds with reduced harshness when valve amplifiers are used to play the sounds in place of transistor amplifiers. Here is what you need to know more about the valve amplifier:
Before stepping into more details about valve amplifiers, you need to know some prominent differences between valve amplifiers and transistors amplifiers which are also known as solid-state amplifiers. Valve amplifiers consist of vacuum tubes that are handmade. This enables valve amplifiers to have better control over the power with a varying impedance that is measured in ohms. This gets quite difficult in the case of solid-state amplifiers. The impedance of the speaker or float is dependent on the musical input, that is why you will observe speakers labelled as Nominal 4 Ohms or 8 Ohms.
Another difference that shows an upper hand of valve amplifiers over transistor amplifiers is that a short-circuit between leads of speakers has no effect on valve amplifiers while on the other hand, it can actually destroy transistor amplifiers. This is especially true for some “cost-effective amplifiers” used these days. This stands very true for some home theatre amplifiers as they are notorious for getting destroyed because of a minimal short circuit in the leads of speakers. They are notorious for this because these systems include a number of amplifiers which are poor in quality.
The output transformer of valve amplifiers acts in buffering the amplifier electronics of some difficult to drive speakers. On the other hand, in the case of solid-state amplifiers, electronics are connected directly to the speaker. This means the electronic faults occurring in valve amplifiers are not transferred to the speakers while it is totally opposite in the case of transistor amplifiers. Thus, with valve amplifiers, you are less likely to experience speaker damage due to faulty electronics of amplifiers. Direct current latching especially is capable of destroying speakers costing you a handful of money in terms of repair or replacement.
Classes of Valve Amplifiers:
There are two classes of valve amplifiers, one is class A while the other one is class A/B. Class A is considered most of the linear amongst classes. This means that the output of an amplifier belonging to class A is an identical representation of the input signal. This is because the output valve conducts electric power for the entire cycle of the input signal once. In simple terms the class A amplifiers are known to regenerate the identical waveform while giving output. On the other hand, amplifiers belonging to class A/B are the popular ones because they inherit many characteristics of class A amplifiers. They also have the efficiency of class B amplifiers. They also use power more efficiently because of their push-pull design.