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AudioFiles: The Inner Mounting Flame

Tube audio gear is (once again) the rage among audiophiles

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Go to any hi-fi show this year and you’ll see rooms illuminated by little more than the warm glow of vacuum tubes—the same technology 1950s jazz fans used for their first listen to Saxophone Colossus.

Why do audiophiles still love products powered by vacuum tubes, when solid-state gear is smaller, less expensive, more reliable and technically superior? Some claim tubes have a warmer, more natural sound—especially in the midrange, where the ear is most sensitive. Other audiophiles counter that tubes can’t provide the power, punch and precision of solid-state.

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