Before I ask my question I have to state the appearance of the equipment designed around vacuum tubes is incredible and certainly appeals to my aesthetic values.
Now, that being said, other than just great visual appeal, which I fully understand, why are tubes desirable over modern solid state equipment which I believe is significantly more linear, introduces much less distortion, and is capable of large dynamic range. I agree distortion is frequently a desirable and intended property for the artist when making music (e.g. guitar amps driven into saturation, etc.), but why would anyone want add a non-linear response from the hardware if the goal of all the expensive equipment is to accurately reproduce what was recorded?
Tube amps need to be "matched" with the speakers on another lvl then solid state.
Speakers with low impedance or alot of phase shift are nothing most tube amps does not like.
But there are a lot of tubes/couplings all with there own plus and minus.
In that regard you will find alot of junk out there, tubes used the "wrong" way.
I agree to some extent that tubes intruduces higher distortion but thats it.
Take a tube amp rated for 8 - 10W and slowly drive it to distortion, will will find it hard to hear the point where its overdriven.
While a solid statet will complaint in a manor that will make you jump.
A good match will give you better dynamic (in my ears) then a solid state
When people say that they like the "tube sound" i flip
A tube amp should not sound in any special way, the same for a solid state or "digital" amp.
*add the transformers/or the lack of them in to it, they are often more important then the tubes*