Originally Posted by 64Strat
Valves tend to accentuate even order and from my understanding, it has to do with the difference in parasitics of the devices.
That is true to a point. But here's the difference: Most tube distortion in the preamp or in true 'single ended' class A is asymmetrical which produces even order harmonics. Well known and documented.
SS distortion can be made to perform the same way (although it would not in simple 'back-to-back' diode configuration or with normally biased transistors.) And it can also produce even order harmonics in similar quantities.
This is a naturally occuring phenominen... not exclusive to valves. However, when the distortion depth becomes very heavy and the distortion starts to get symmetrical, then that even order benefit is greatly reduced... in both technologies.
So unless you are a guitar amp designer and bring forward the techniques we use to achieve distortion and let those EEs test that against their valve circuits they used, and there are many ways to bias those valves for different distortion, then they will never be able to see what we can see.
EEs don't necessarilly work in our field or understand the finer points. Yes clever they may be and armed with sophisticated test gear too, but they don't do what we do day in and day out.
As for valve power amps, any distortion sounds good at high volumes, due to the deception of the human hearing. That's part of the reason why power attenuators are not very good for getting 'that sound' at low volumes... and never will. The human hearing strips away bass (around 84dB down!!) at low volumes and, resultantly, exposes everything that is bad about distorted guitar sound in the mid band frequencies... for either technology!
So there is a multiplicity of coincidental things going on which need to be considered all together... from the input socket to the speaker cabinet at the end.
I have looked at wonderful sounding amps on osilloscopes and thought... "Hmmm, this can't possibly sound this good!" But they do, because something else is contributing to the sound we hear too! So it's much more than valves vs trannies... the designers 'attitude' in the design is hardly ever considered... and it jolly well should be!!
Needless to say... I have a very different view of what are the 'traditionally accepted' reasons. Which do little to convince me otherwise. And my own findings only add weight to my own thoughts on the matter.
If everyone simply accepted the 'staus quo', then nothing would move forward and nothing new would ever be discovered. It is the act of questioning what is accepted, by scientists, that brings us new cures for terrible deceases, et al.
So anyone's quest to employ solid state to it's best ought to be applauded. Because it's so cheap to run and maintain and it's sound will not change over time. And keeping your coverted sound is not a lottery decided by the last batch of 'blood suckingly' expensive iffy valves, which didn't turn out to bring that 'holy grail' sound after all!!
All of which I know you would agree with.
Keep stummin' and we'll get there!