Tube sound also known as valve sound is a sound that is associated with audio tube or vacuum tube based audio amplifiers. Once solid state amplifiers were introduced, tube sound was a logical complement the transistor sound because of transistor had some negative connotations because of some crossover distortion with transistor amplifiers.
The sound coming from transistors has improved vastly since the early days of its creation and for most transistor sound has simply become the norm. However, the significant of the sound that comes from audio tube amplification is still a subject that is still debated by many audio specialists and enthusiasts.
The type of sound that comes from audio tubes is still preferred by many electric guitar, bass and keyboard players who play a range of music from rock to jazz. Many of these musicians will claim that they would rather have the sound that comes from amplifiers that have audio tubes in them.
Amplifiers with audio tubes or known as tube amplifiers have a loyal following of audiophiles and musicians. Some of the amplifiers designs of these amplifiers have huge asking prices since they have been going through a huge revival as of late since both Russian and Chinese markets have opened up the production of audio tube in the global trade world.
One of the arguments regarding tube vs solid state amplifiers is that many musicians prefer the sound that comes from tube amplifiers due to the fact they feel that the sound is more natural sounding than the sound that comes from transistor amplifiers. Musicians also like the fact that sound can be distorted easier with audio tubes and those who play electric guitars and bass like this because they find it easier to reach their goal of audible distortion.
The sound that comes from amplifiers with audio tubes is said to have warmth and richness. This could be because of the linear clipping that happens with tube amps or because of the higher levels of second order harmonic distortion which is common due to the tube interacting with the output transformer.
There are those who insist on using this type of amplifier and the ways they use them will differ according to their own preferences. Some may use them and choose to restrict their use as active devices and others will choose to include them in the audio circuit and use the semiconductor gain devices in the power supply or use them as constant current sources. Still others choose to use them as their main amplification circuit and add some semiconductors for clipping purposes. All in all, these types of amplifiers are still quite popular in spite of all the advancement in sound production