NEW TB 5.1
Tube Buffer

"I was absolutely amazed at how much improvement the [TB 5.0n] tube buffer made. It completely transformed the dry, flat and nasal sounding AVP2 to a wonderfully musical, expressive, open, wide sound field with rich harmonic textures."

The TB 5.1Sc

TB 5.1Sc Tube Buffer Technical Specifications

Frequency Response: 10-50kHz, +1/-2dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): 0.2% @ 1kHz, -20dBV, A-weighted

Dynamic Range: Better than 90 dB

Signal to Noise Ratio: 100 dB

Channel Separation: 80 dB @ 1 kHz, 65 dB @ 10kHz

Tube Complement: (2) 6922 type Tesla E88CC tubes, Gain -1dB

Dimensions: 17.5” x 10” x 3 3/4” high

Weight: 10 lbs

Price: $1895

TB 5.1Sc Tube Buffer Design Features

A number of impressive design features in the Audio Horizons TB 5.1Sc contribute to its superb performance. They include:

   • All inner wiring uses Teflon silver coated wiring to provide optimum performance for many years, and to protect those who live in environments with high humidity.

   • All gold plated Teflon RCA jacks insure low connector loss and high signal transfer

   • RF shielded balance/XLR connectors option eliminates contact impedance, insuring the lowest possible noise floor.

   • A Furutech gold plated IEC.

   • Film caps in the power supply, much lower noise floor

   • Choke loaded power supply, smooth out the ripple harmonics

   • Choke loaded for much higher transfer ratio

   • Pure tube individual phase buffer

   • Point to point hot wiring in the signal paths

   • Allows one to order it either in SE or balanced

   • Silver plated tube socket ensure trouble free operation

For XLR versions add $250.

Add a Little Tube Warmth

If you’ve ever wished your expensive solid state sound system were just a little less harsh sounding and just a little warmer sounding, now you can add a little tube warmth to your sound system without what you consider to be the shortcomings of tube electronics?

Consider adding Audio Horizons’ superb TB 5.1Sc tube buffer stage between your solid state preamplifier and your amplifier, or between that digital source that you have to live with but that displeases you by its hard edge.

Designed by Joseph Chow, whose electronic designs have won praise both for their superb performance and for their great value, this handsome seventeen inch wide Audio Horizons TB 5.1Sc tube buffer stage contains only two Tesla ECC88 tubes and yet it adds an immense amount of the harmonic richness and lyrical musicality that characterize tube sound without masking any of the detail you so appreciate in your solid state equipment. It’s true. The TB 5.1Sc will not compromise a single virtue you so appreciate in your solid state sound system.

With an S/N greater than 100 dB, a THD of 0.2% in stereo, and a -1dB gain, it slips almost imperceptibly between one component and another without adding either noise or coloration.

We’re so confident that you will be pleased with the hint of sweet warmth and added harmonic richness the new Audio Horizons TB 5.1Sc adds to your sound system that we offer qualified audiophiles a free 10 day home audition. Best of all, we’ll even prepay the freight to you.

Tubes versus Solid State

One of the oldest debates in high end audio is between the proponents of tube equipment and those committed to solid state designs. There are arguments to support each position.

Solid state equipment is hassle-free—there's no need to replace tubes at periodic intervals; warm up time until reasonable performance is briefer than it is for tubes; and the component can be left on for long periods of time (and oddly, this will improve performance) without exhausting the finite life expectancy of tubes. More significant in terms of performance, solid state equipment has better S/N figures than can usually be achieved by tube equipment, in part because of the inherent residual noise level of tubes. Solid state equipment produces crisper edges, and thus sharper transients, because solid state IC's and transistors have a faster decay time than tubes. Finally, far lower Harmonic Distortion figures can be reached with solid state equipment than can be reached by tube equipment, again in part because of the residual higher distortion levels of tubes. There are other areas, such as Dynamic Range where solid state equipment again usually excels over tube equipment, but the first three produce the greatest challenge for tube designers.

At first glance, this is an impressive list of advantages, whose sonic effects would weigh in favor of solid state designs. But there are certain advantages that tube designs have over solid state designs that make the choice more complex.

Tubes produce a rounder, fuller sound than do solid state components. For many this adds a pleasing warmth and body to the music not easily achievable with solid state equipment. In addition, tubes are better able to capture those higher order harmonics that distinguish the reedy quality of an oboe from that of a clarinet, the resinous quality of a string bass from that of a drum bass, and the sound of a soprano's breathy vocal chords better than solid state equipment. For tube aficionados, this too is a big plus. Finally, tubes, because of their inherently slower decay times, are better able to capture the musical rise and fall and ebb and flow of live music, which does not turn on and off the way solid state component parts do but instead flows imperceptibly from one rising or falling phrase into another. For many listeners, this slower decay time of tubes enhances the listener's experience of the music—that is, the music sounds more musical and involving when played over tube equipment.

Must one choose between these two opposing excellences? The answer is no. If the designer is insightful and creative enough, he can minimize the shortcomings of tube equipment while still preserving their excellences. In effect, he can narrow and almost eliminate the advantages unique to solid state equipment. The TB 5.1Sc achieves that design goal.