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Hifi - Tube Corner

A JBL or TAD operates in intermediate registers to cover 500-10Khz, a super-tweeter and an 80-100Hz straight mid-bass horn with 10-15 bass "is another way."  The JBL surpasses the TAD in the sheer explosive, transient response department with music that has large-scale dynamics, but the TAD is no slouch either, JUST that the JBL does the JBL things in a more pronounced fashion. As I said, for sheer, clean, and DEFINITELY JBL bass slam, the 2226H is IT!


Speakers and Tubes

ďThere is no question that amplifiers do break in and sound ever warmer and sweeter as they get played,Ē says Brian Gerhard of Top Hat Amplifiers. ďI donít know how many hours it takes, but Iíve historically noticed an obvious difference after about two years, even referenced through new tubes and speakers.Ē

Of course, this kind of thinking might make you feel that a new amp is likely to be disappointing and that youíll only really start to appreciate it after two years of playing. But Gerhard emphasizes that thatís not the case. A brand new amp can and should sound superb if itís a good design that has been built right. The thing to be aware of is that it is only likely to get better.

ďWhen an amp is brand new, itís as stiff and harsh as itíll ever be, which is not to say itís stiff and harsh. It only gets better and better from there. Itís something to look forward to and another good reason to play your amp as much as possible, in the early days especially!Ē

As far as individual components that change with time, reputable tube dealers and speaker makers have told me that those parts certainly have their own break-in period. Players who are into speakers will be aware that many speakers that sound perfectly decent right out of the box will become better and better with several hours of use, and may take as many as 80 or 100 hours of playing-in before they reach their peak. Improvements often are heard in sweeter highs with less harshness, punchier lows, and a fuller, richer sound overall, all of which can occur as the cone and spider loosen up and achieve more fluid movement.

Tubes, Iíve been told, also may sound their harshest when first used, and can mellow and deepen somewhat after several hours of burning in. This seems to apply to output or power tubes in particular. The trouble here is that after a lot of use, meaning several hundred hours, tubes eventually will start to get duller and somewhat worse sounding, meaning theyíre on the road to replacement. The point is, I suppose, that you canít sit in that sweet spot forever. But you should certainly get a good long run with a quality set of tubes.

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