Letters to WTF: rectification

rectifier

Q:

What is your opinion on rectification?

A:

Tube vs SS rectification is a hotly contested topic in the audio world and what I tell you will be opinion.  That said, I’ve used both and never had a problem (eg here, here, here, here).  When designing from scratch, my choice is dictated by my power transformer, space available on the chassis, and whether a tube rectifier is in the budget. Sound quality is not really a consideration.
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Of all the parts in a Class A single-ended amp that contribute to the sound, I think rectification is one of the least important. If you end up with the right B+ voltage and you filter it so that there is no ripple, you’re 99.9% of the way there. The debate about tube vs SS rectification usually focuses on theoretical advantages or disadvantages without respect to whether a supply is well-designed and implemented.
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All things being equal, and space and budget allowing, I tend towards tubes because I like the way they look and I like knowing that the high voltage will start up just a little bit slower. All things being equal, others would go for solid state because it has a lower output impedance and allows for larger filter capacitors.
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There’s more emotion than measurement in either decision.
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274B borrowed from thetubestore.com and 1N5408 borrowed from PartsExpress.com. I claim Fair Use here and anyways they can get bent if they don’t like me linking to them in exchange for the pics.
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