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    Triode or Pentode

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    bluemeanies

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    Triode or Pentode

    Post by bluemeanies on Thu May 11, 2017 12:23 pm

    I had the valves warmed up yesterday. Listening to some classical, jazz and blues. All in Triode.
    I was streaming TIDAL and started listening to some R&R.
    On some pieces I did not like what I was hearing. Lifeless...flat.
    I am running the 125's with two Sovtek 88's in each.
    Could the lack of quality been b/c I was in Triode mode?
    Everything else sounded pristine.

    Thanks,
    blue
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    corndog71

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by corndog71 on Thu May 11, 2017 1:21 pm

    bluemeanies wrote:I had the valves warmed up yesterday. Listening to some classical, jazz and blues. All in Triode.
    I was streaming TIDAL and started listening to some R&R.
    On some pieces I did not like what I was hearing. Lifeless...flat.
    I am running the 125's with two Sovtek 88's in each.
    Could the lack of quality been b/c I was in Triode mode?
    Everything else sounded pristine.

    Thanks,
    blue

    Are you sure it wasn't the recordings? They can vary a lot. Magic with one song and crap with another song doesn't point to the tubes or the amp. Maybe try the crap songs in ultralinear mode.
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    bluemeanies

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by bluemeanies on Thu May 11, 2017 7:36 pm

    corndog71 wrote:
    bluemeanies wrote:I had the valves warmed up yesterday. Listening to some classical, jazz and blues. All in Triode.
    I was streaming TIDAL and started listening to some R&R.
    On some pieces I did not like what I was hearing. Lifeless...flat.
    I am running the 125's with two Sovtek 88's in each.
    Could the lack of quality been b/c I was in Triode mode?
    Everything else sounded pristine.

    Thanks,
    blue

    Are you sure it wasn't the recordings?  They can vary a lot.  Magic with one song and crap with another song doesn't point to the tubes or the amp.  Maybe try the crap songs in ultralinear mode.

    Thanks everything sounded perfect today in both triode and ultra linear.
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    Tube Nube

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by Tube Nube on Thu May 11, 2017 7:48 pm

    I have yet to try a recording on which triode sounds better. It's not just quieter (because of power loss), the sound is muted. Less detailed. My speakers? My preferences? The music selectioms I've tried? I dunno. Im glad to have the option, but I don't jse it much
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    pedrocols

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by pedrocols on Thu May 11, 2017 9:02 pm

    I like pentode better with my magnepans 1.7s. I did like it better triode when I was using magnepans MG12s.
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    sKiZo

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by sKiZo on Thu May 11, 2017 9:33 pm

    It's all about the content for me ... if I'm looking for laid back (jazz, light listening, strings), I go with triode. Anything that needs some punch (prog rock, full orchestral) goes Pentode.
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    Kentley

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by Kentley on Thu May 11, 2017 9:54 pm

    BM writes "I am running the 125's with two Sovtek 88's in each.
    Could the lack of quality been b/c I was in Triode mode?"

    Remember, those big fat B&Ws have a reputation for being power-hungry. 35 WPC, which is what you're getting in Triode with two tubes per side, is borderline for these speaks. Most sources will sound fine, but as you are doubtless aware, B&W recommends a minimum of 50 WPC. Which translates in the real world to 25-30 tube watts. Borderline.

    Dogstar

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by Dogstar on Thu May 11, 2017 10:42 pm

    Most rock and roll recordings from this point back to when Phil Spector invented the 'Wall of Sound' and everyone began thinking it was the greatest thing actually made music sound flat and lifeless. The technique basically took away the directionality and dynamic range that good recordings had. Then they came up with the bright idea to compress the music even more because most people these days listen to music with ear buds or tiny tinny speakers and their phones. It's really a shame.

    That's my opinion anyway.


    Last edited by Dogstar on Fri May 12, 2017 2:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    bluemeanies

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by bluemeanies on Fri May 12, 2017 6:47 am

    Thank you everyone...
    I have to agreed with Kentley and sKiZo.
    Last night I went to use the Ultra linear mode while listening to some R&R and the recordings sounded much more open. As Kent pointed out I have BEASTS for speaker always hungry for power, however I really did not appreciate them with Emotiva's XPA1's which IMO gave me lots of headroom but the music REVEALED nothing. The results with the XPA's were that my music was loud.
    There was no emotion in the music. I felt the same way when I was listening to jazz, classical and blues.
    It was nor until I made the transition to the 125's that I heard all of those nuances in music, especially in jazz.
    In conclusion ongoing my formula will be the Pentode setting for R&R and Triode for Jazz, classical and blues. However, now that I have sort of rediscovered the 125's I will experiment with the later.
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    tubes4hifi
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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by tubes4hifi on Mon May 22, 2017 8:13 pm

    in general . . . . triode mode is great for midrange vocals, not so good for highs and not good at all for bass.
    Pentode (actually ultra-linear) mode has great bass, great treble, and very good midrange
    Triode mode is something that SET (single-ended triode) fans promote, and most of them use full range single cone speakers, that don't have much bass or treble anyway.
    For them, it's all about the midrange.
    For me, well, that's where a great tube preamp comes in !!
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    corndog71

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by corndog71 on Mon May 22, 2017 8:27 pm

    I like both modes and switch often depending on my mood and music. I don't worry about loss of bass because I have open baffle subs filling in there. afro
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    LeGrace

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by LeGrace on Tue May 23, 2017 7:11 am

    tubes4hifi wrote:in general . . . . triode mode is great for midrange vocals, not so good for highs and not good at all for bass.
    Pentode (actually ultra-linear) mode has great bass, great treble, and very good midrange
    Triode mode is something that SET (single-ended triode) fans promote, and most of them use full range single cone speakers, that don't have much bass or treble anyway.
    For them, it's all about the midrange.
    For me, well, that's where a great tube preamp comes in !!

    Agree fully with the subjective comments above based on attentive auditions between both modes on common source material. Leaving me unsatisfied with either. Bass too weak on triode, dissatisfied with the muted vocals on pentode. Curiously the solution to my quandary was right in front of me in the hardware I already owned, the works just needed rewiring.

    Now I run my M125's 100% in triode mode w/o sacrificing either bass or treble. Bass below 80 hz is handled by a powered sub.  Treble is in the hands of a 100/ch Marantz SS amp, ie took the strap off the posts on my towers so they are now biamped.

    Curious the differing ways the same system can be wired and how this can fundamentally alter sonic performance. Originally I had the preamp feeding directly out to the M125's, then the M125's to the towers, no biamp. Pretty basic. However now the sub is situated between the preamp and M125's, allowing use of the subs highpass crossover filter to pass only 80 hz and above to the M125's. And the aforementioned biamping change of course assigning the treble (>10khz) to the amp on my integrated. This arrangement allows me to enjoy the wonderful midrange character of triode, but no longer at the expense of diminished upper/lower ends. Same hardware, but not the same sound! Loving it!

    Would have responded sooner but as of late have been distracted by a tube related issue which I'm hoping has been put to bed, well as least for now it has Rolling Eyes Laughing
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by Peter W. on Tue May 23, 2017 8:17 am

    Hmmmm...

    Triode Mode: Less headroom. Therefore poorer transients. *Might* be less distortion when not driven to clipping (any given transient).

    Pentode Mode: More headroom. Better Transients. *Might* be more distortion when not driven to clipping.

    The human voice has few Transients.
    Snare Drums and cymbals are All Transients.

    Just my $0.05 analysis from 20,000 feet.
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    LeGrace

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    Re: Triode or Pentode

    Post by LeGrace on Tue May 23, 2017 9:18 am

    Peter W. wrote:Hmmmm...

    Triode Mode: Less headroom. Therefore poorer transients. *Might* be less distortion when not driven to clipping (any given transient).

    Pentode Mode: More headroom. Better Transients. *Might* be more distortion when not driven to clipping.

    The human voice has few Transients.
    Snare Drums and cymbals are All Transients.

    Just my $0.05 analysis from 20,000 feet.

    Hey Peter,,,interesting, possibly sheds light on something else I've noticed since changing up - improved sharpness lets call it, esp. at elevated volumes. In removing the burden of the lowest octaves from my M125's the headroom available for the high bass and mid band increases, by no small degree I imagine. Which in turn could be contributing to overall less distortion. Enlightening!

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