Discussion:
Do power amps make a difference?
(too old to reply)
d***@aol.com
2008-06-18 03:26:48 UTC
Permalink
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
Stephen Cowell
2008-06-18 03:46:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
Basically, it's whatever you're happy with... believe
me, the crowd won't care. Take my advice... don't
start playing a bunch of amps, what you don't know
won't hurt you... kinda like never trying cocaine or
heroin.
__
Steve
.
c***@gmail.com
2008-06-18 03:57:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Cowell
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
Basically, it's whatever you're happy with... believe
me, the crowd won't care.  Take my advice... don't
start playing a bunch of amps, what you don't know
won't hurt you... kinda like never trying cocaine or
heroin.
__
Steve
.
Nice Cowell. Pathetic attempt to preserve some room in the pawnshop/
eBay market. Which HAS gone as slack as Mulay's jaw. The toob amp loon
community NEEDS new blood. Quit chasing off potential victims, ah, er,
converts.
Chuck
Mr Soul
2008-06-18 16:06:09 UTC
Permalink
Woah - you misread Steve's post. He basically said & I quote:
"Basically, it's whatever you're happy with...".

Steve's dead on - the group won't care whether you've got a tube power
amp or not. Heck - did Al Demeola (sp?) just state in the latest GP
that he likes a modeling amp.

I'm partial to tube amps myself because that's asking a different
question.

Mr Soul
c***@gmail.com
2008-06-18 16:34:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mr Soul
"Basically, it's whatever you're happy with...".
Steve's dead on - the group won't care whether you've got a tube power
amp or not.  Heck - did Al Demeola (sp?) just state in the latest GP
that he likes a modeling amp.
I'm partial to tube amps myself because that's asking a different
question.
Mr Soul
Nope Mike. Steve's reply was tongue in cheek, as was mine. We've been
in agreement on the subject forever.
Chuck
It's that guy again <BITE ME.con@>
2008-06-18 20:22:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mr Soul
Steve's dead on - the group won't care whether you've got a tube power
amp or not. Heck - did Al Demeola (sp?) just state in the latest GP
that he likes a modeling amp.
He sure is dead on.

Hey, EVH played for decades (might still) using
a H|H MosFet power amp driving whatever cabs he
had onstage that were NOT empty. And EVH 'sold'
his sound via signature amps from 2 companies.

The G/Dead loved those massive Rack Mount McIntosh
amps, and they were as SS as anything can be.

Then again, the Mothers used Marshall guitar tube
amps for PA when the need arose. Noisy and limited.

JJTj







...2 much monkee bizness 4 me to bee a monkee....
c***@gmail.com
2008-06-18 03:47:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
The power amp has EVERYTHING to do with the tone of your amp. The
techs here will explain it a lot better than I can - but power tube
saturation and distortion is where tube tone comes from -not from a
lone 12AX7 in the pre-amp. From a guitar tone standpoint, I'd say
you're better of with a SS pre-amp section and a tube power section.
Several makers have tried this -Music Man, Legend, Peavey to name a
few, but the amps with a tube pre-amp section and a SS power section
are really just gimmicks IMHO. Any 'warmth' or mojo from that poor
lonely pre amp tube gets processed right through the SS power amp -
which is pretty much what happens to anything you play through the amp
as well.
Chuck
RichL
2008-06-18 04:24:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
The power amp has EVERYTHING to do with the tone of your amp. The
techs here will explain it a lot better than I can - but power tube
saturation and distortion is where tube tone comes from -not from a
lone 12AX7 in the pre-amp. From a guitar tone standpoint, I'd say
you're better of with a SS pre-amp section and a tube power section.
Several makers have tried this -Music Man, Legend, Peavey to name a
few, but the amps with a tube pre-amp section and a SS power section
are really just gimmicks IMHO. Any 'warmth' or mojo from that poor
lonely pre amp tube gets processed right through the SS power amp -
which is pretty much what happens to anything you play through the amp
as well.
Chuck
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid my
hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do something
different than what a guitar amp does.
d***@aol.com
2008-06-18 05:12:41 UTC
Permalink
Well I figured as much. It's just that I saw someone debating that a
poweramp is a poweramp is a poweramp, regardless what it's made for
and can't be specifically voiced for guitar. In other words, a PA
power amp would be just as good in a guitar rack. Which made me wonder
how much it contributes to sound at all. I've always used tube stuff.
But I'm just now experimenting with rack gear. I have a digital preamp
that I'm very happy with. I'm currently using a solid state guitar
preamp and it doesn't sound bad. I have a real classy tube poweramp on
order. And was just wondering what kind of difference I'll be seeing.
Lately I've been playing high gain metal. But sometimes I do have to
tone it down for some other genre gigs. And I notice I don't have the
dynamics I'm used to with my tube heads. Not sure if it's the pre or
the power amp a this point.
DeeAa
2008-06-18 07:30:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Well I figured as much. It's just that I saw someone debating that a
poweramp is a poweramp is a poweramp, regardless what it's made for
and can't be specifically voiced for guitar. In other words, a PA
power amp would be just as good in a guitar rack. Which made me wonder
how much it contributes to sound at all. I've always used tube stuff.
But I'm just now experimenting with rack gear. I have a digital preamp
that I'm very happy with. I'm currently using a solid state guitar
preamp and it doesn't sound bad. I have a real classy tube poweramp on
order. And was just wondering what kind of difference I'll be seeing.
Lately I've been playing high gain metal. But sometimes I do have to
tone it down for some other genre gigs. And I notice I don't have the
dynamics I'm used to with my tube heads. Not sure if it's the pre or
the power amp a this point.
It's an age-old question...in short, it's always a compromise of what you
need.

If you need a good and especially versatile sound @ a low volume level, it's
hard to beat SS.
If you need to play in tight spaces, use D/I feeds and/or perform with
several different groups, SS is also great.

If you want the best possible punch and kick from an amp, no SS amp can
deliver exactly like tubes.
If you want or need an amp that has very low hiss and noise yet very
powerful tone, only tubes will deliver.
All in all, for loud playing and best possible punch, sustain and 'feel'
when playing tubes just rule, mere pedals etc. will never have the same
punch and kick. (mind you I'm talking proper all-tube amps, not like rack
tube FX-ridden systems etc.)

Still, once your onstage or recording, an SS amp might be able to deliver
just as good a sound as far as the listener is concerned. For some
applications, even better. But I bet you'll need more than just an amp and a
pre, stuff like FX boxes and at least a noisekiller quite probably.

I've played any combination of amps there is probably, and for years I
played, for instance, only Fender tube amps. From there I moved to a
Marshall preamp into a PA (SS) head into a 4x10" and a PA system direct
(also recording) and it worked very well for me for years. But I had a
rackfull of stuff and it was a bitch to adjust, although mixers and audience
too loved it for its convenience and good sound at any volume.

Now I'm back to a simple tube head @36W and it's an absolute bliss to play.
But the mixers think it a tad too loud and it's very hard to mic aand needs
a cab that's tailored for it to sound great...and I'm at the mixers mercy in
any case. No matter how good it sounds to me playing in front of the amp,
the mixer can easily get a really crappy sound out of it to the PA. And
often doesn't even mix it into the PA very much because it's so loud onstage
already.

But back to the original issue: yes I'd love to use a tube pre and an SS
power amp especially for metal and such. It does away with so much of the
problems tube poweramps have (changing tubes, maintenance in geneal,
loudness, weight) and still yields very nearly the same sound quality or
better in some applications. AND allows for super easy PA mixing; just use
speaker emulated outputs/emu boxes).

But me, I gig so little and play for my own enjoyment, I ain't ever gonna
part with my 36W and the 4x12".

Cheers,

Dee
Stephen Cowell
2008-06-18 14:50:23 UTC
Permalink
"DeeAa" <***@dnainternet.net> wrote
...
No matter how good it sounds to me playing in front of the amp, the mixer
can easily get a really crappy sound out of it to the PA. And often
doesn't even mix it into the PA very much because it's so loud onstage
already.
*Never* point your amp at the sound man... use
kick-back legs or a gobo (baffle) in front. When
he hears it loud, he'll bring it down in the FOH
mix... if you're doing a FOH board recording, you
just disappeared.

Best idea yet... install a monitor output (DI) on
a small amp's speaker output, then run into a
bigger (SS, whatever) amp (or not!). This gives
you several advantages, including one less open
mic on stage.
__
Steve
.
DeeAa
2008-06-18 19:35:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Cowell
...
No matter how good it sounds to me playing in front of the amp, the mixer
can easily get a really crappy sound out of it to the PA. And often
doesn't even mix it into the PA very much because it's so loud onstage
already.
*Never* point your amp at the sound man... use
kick-back legs or a gobo (baffle) in front.  When
he hears it loud, he'll bring it down in the FOH
mix... if you're doing a FOH board recording, you
just disappeared.
Ayuh, I always try to point it into the stage. Sometimes that just
can't be done, though.
Post by Stephen Cowell
Best idea yet... install a monitor output (DI) on
a small amp's speaker output, then run into a
bigger (SS, whatever) amp (or not!).  This gives
you several advantages, including one less open
mic on stage.
__
Steve
.
Done that often...yeah there are some advantages but it gets
complicated FAST and there are some disadvantages too. Not worth the
effort, really.
Stephen Cowell
2008-06-19 00:02:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by DeeAa
...
Post by Stephen Cowell
Best idea yet... install a monitor output (DI) on
a small amp's speaker output, then run into a
bigger (SS, whatever) amp (or not!). This gives
you several advantages, including one less open
mic on stage.
Done that often...yeah there are some advantages but it gets
complicated FAST and there are some disadvantages too. Not worth the
effort, really.
On the stage we play on, one less mic helps a lot.
Ridiculously crowded... and of course, there's
craploads of mics. Strange things happen to the
band's sound sometimes... *really* strange.
Bar's laid out wrong, too... stage is on the long
side, shooting across the narrow dimension.
And, of course, the bar has many dimmers...
why the hell do they need dimmers? I wanna
single-coil, and I can't... buzzzzzzzzzz.
__
Steve
.
Rich Koerner
2008-06-19 15:30:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
Yes!

And, it depends on how much you ABUSE the devices (the transistors or the tubes where ever they
reside),... what the outcome is going to be.

The given is... tubes will take it, and the solid-state devices will protest the ABUSE.

All in the name of tone of course.

Otherwise, without the ABUSE, it doesn't matter which you USE.

All, in the name of tone of course.


The bottom line here is found in the degree of USE or ABUSE of the devices... that gives your tone
quest satisfaction.

Hint - Tubes take ABUSE far better that solid-state devices.

It's all about signal levels, and where in the chain they are found.
Post by RichL
Post by c***@gmail.com
The power amp has EVERYTHING to do with the tone of your amp. The
techs here will explain it a lot better than I can - but power tube
saturation and distortion is where tube tone comes from -not from a
lone 12AX7 in the pre-amp. From a guitar tone standpoint, I'd say
you're better of with a SS pre-amp section and a tube power section.
Several makers have tried this -Music Man, Legend, Peavey to name a
few, but the amps with a tube pre-amp section and a SS power section
are really just gimmicks IMHO. Any 'warmth' or mojo from that poor
lonely pre amp tube gets processed right through the SS power amp -
which is pretty much what happens to anything you play through the amp
as well.
Chuck
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid my
hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do something
different than what a guitar amp does.
Today's new breed of bass players have fallen into the audiophile concepts and approach to the sonic
reproduction of their string's vibration, and in the so doing.... severely limited the sonic tone
versatility at their command.

The one trick pony is the result.

The non natural sounding ultra-linear antiseptic *clean* machine.

Which, *they* and their *instrument*... are not.

So, what's left?

Pickup selection?

EQ?



http://www.timeelect.com/400-faq.htm

http://www.timeelect.com/400-owners.htm



Bass players, like guitar players to a lesser degree, suffer blindness from their technology rapture
at the unknowing expense of the tone possibilities no longer at their command.



Regards,

Rich Koerner,
Time Electronics.
http://www.timeelect.com

Specialists in Live Sound FOH Engineering,
Music & Studio Production,
Vintage Instruments, and Tube Amplifiers
RichL
2008-06-19 16:10:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Koerner
Post by RichL
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid my
hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do something
different than what a guitar amp does.
Today's new breed of bass players have fallen into the audiophile
concepts and approach to the sonic reproduction of their string's
vibration, and in the so doing.... severely limited the sonic tone
versatility at their command.
The one trick pony is the result.
The non natural sounding ultra-linear antiseptic *clean* machine.
Which, *they* and their *instrument*... are not.
So, what's left?
Pickup selection?
EQ?
http://www.timeelect.com/400-faq.htm
http://www.timeelect.com/400-owners.htm
Bass players, like guitar players to a lesser degree, suffer
blindness from their technology rapture at the unknowing expense of
the tone possibilities no longer at their command.
If I were primarily a bass player, I wouldn't rely exclusively on one
amp to begin with. But as a guitarist who dabbles in bass, the SVT-3
fits the bill for me. I get what you're saying about the audiophile
thing though; my SVT 410HE bass cab has a horn, which I usually switch
out. I like lots of bottom, and yeah, EQ largely does the trick for me.
Besides, you *can* overdrive that tube preamp, and it's *not* like
overdriving a SS pre.
Rich Koerner
2008-06-26 19:45:21 UTC
Permalink
My news reader crashed, and on the reload, found your reply sitting here.

I hate computers when they fritz out.
Post by RichL
Post by Rich Koerner
Post by RichL
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid my
hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do something
different than what a guitar amp does.
Today's new breed of bass players have fallen into the audiophile
concepts and approach to the sonic reproduction of their string's
vibration, and in the so doing.... severely limited the sonic tone
versatility at their command.
The one trick pony is the result.
The non natural sounding ultra-linear antiseptic *clean* machine.
Which, *they* and their *instrument*... are not.
So, what's left?
Pickup selection?
EQ?
http://www.timeelect.com/400-faq.htm
http://www.timeelect.com/400-owners.htm
Bass players, like guitar players to a lesser degree, suffer
blindness from their technology rapture at the unknowing expense of
the tone possibilities no longer at their command.
If I were primarily a bass player, I wouldn't rely exclusively on one
amp to begin with. But as a guitarist who dabbles in bass, the SVT-3
fits the bill for me. I get what you're saying about the audiophile
thing though; my SVT 410HE bass cab has a horn, which I usually switch
out. I like lots of bottom, and yeah, EQ largely does the trick for me.
Besides, you *can* overdrive that tube preamp, and it's *not* like
overdriving a SS pre.
For the player of any amplified electric stringed instrument, who is looking for all the tone
possibilities from a single given amp, the more vacuum tube stages in the chain the more the
posibilities through level ABUSE... each stage having different contributing sonic characteristics
to the final result.

Because of the limited user tonal tastes, the music store is filled with a stable of maybe 6
different one trick ponies that seem to appear in the music for the last 30 years.

As a result, it's very easy to find an amp in the music store to cover the current flavors of 6 one
trick ponies. But.... for the player who is looking for tones that come from outside of the box,
there is not much selection to travel the uncharted territory in the tone universe yet to be
explored.

Few look to challange the pull of gravity that holds us in place.



Regards,

Rich Koerner,
Time Electronics.
http://www.timeelect.com

Specialists in Live Sound FOH Engineering,
Music & Studio Production,
Vintage Instruments, and Tube Amplifiers
RichL
2008-06-27 01:22:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Koerner
My news reader crashed, and on the reload, found your reply sitting here.
I hate computers when they fritz out.
Post by RichL
Post by Rich Koerner
Post by RichL
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid
my hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do
something different than what a guitar amp does.
Today's new breed of bass players have fallen into the audiophile
concepts and approach to the sonic reproduction of their string's
vibration, and in the so doing.... severely limited the sonic tone
versatility at their command.
The one trick pony is the result.
The non natural sounding ultra-linear antiseptic *clean* machine.
Which, *they* and their *instrument*... are not.
So, what's left?
Pickup selection?
EQ?
http://www.timeelect.com/400-faq.htm
http://www.timeelect.com/400-owners.htm
Bass players, like guitar players to a lesser degree, suffer
blindness from their technology rapture at the unknowing expense of
the tone possibilities no longer at their command.
If I were primarily a bass player, I wouldn't rely exclusively on one
amp to begin with. But as a guitarist who dabbles in bass, the SVT-3
fits the bill for me. I get what you're saying about the audiophile
thing though; my SVT 410HE bass cab has a horn, which I usually
switch out. I like lots of bottom, and yeah, EQ largely does the
trick for me. Besides, you *can* overdrive that tube preamp, and
it's *not* like overdriving a SS pre.
For the player of any amplified electric stringed instrument, who is
looking for all the tone possibilities from a single given amp, the
more vacuum tube stages in the chain the more the posibilities
through level ABUSE... each stage having different contributing
sonic characteristics to the final result.
Because of the limited user tonal tastes, the music store is filled
with a stable of maybe 6 different one trick ponies that seem to
appear in the music for the last 30 years.
As a result, it's very easy to find an amp in the music store to
cover the current flavors of 6 one trick ponies. But.... for the
player who is looking for tones that come from outside of the box,
there is not much selection to travel the uncharted territory in the
tone universe yet to be explored.
Few look to challange the pull of gravity that holds us in place.
OK, for the sake of argument...
I get the Old School stuff with guitar amps. Currently I have an AC-30,
a JCM 800, and a Fender Twin (plus a Blues Jr. and Valve Jr. for getting
semi-ok overdriven tones at lower volumes) and old school guitars
(mainly Gibson, Gretsch, Rickenbacker) to match.

My current bass (only one) is an Ibanez SDGR (active circuitry). And as
I said, Ampeg SVT-3 amp & 4 x 10 cab.

If I were to replace the amp/cab with ONE tube amp (and possibly the
same cab, possibly a different one) which *ONE* would you suggest?
Rich Koerner
2008-06-27 07:25:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by Rich Koerner
My news reader crashed, and on the reload, found your reply sitting here.
I hate computers when they fritz out.
Post by RichL
Post by Rich Koerner
Post by RichL
I'd agree with you Chuck, with a prominent exception for bass amps.
I've got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro that has that tube pre/SS power
configuration, and it's one of the finest bass amps I've ever laid
my hands on. But you're basically asking a bass amp to do
something different than what a guitar amp does.
Today's new breed of bass players have fallen into the audiophile
concepts and approach to the sonic reproduction of their string's
vibration, and in the so doing.... severely limited the sonic tone
versatility at their command.
The one trick pony is the result.
The non natural sounding ultra-linear antiseptic *clean* machine.
Which, *they* and their *instrument*... are not.
So, what's left?
Pickup selection?
EQ?
http://www.timeelect.com/400-faq.htm
http://www.timeelect.com/400-owners.htm
Bass players, like guitar players to a lesser degree, suffer
blindness from their technology rapture at the unknowing expense of
the tone possibilities no longer at their command.
If I were primarily a bass player, I wouldn't rely exclusively on one
amp to begin with. But as a guitarist who dabbles in bass, the SVT-3
fits the bill for me. I get what you're saying about the audiophile
thing though; my SVT 410HE bass cab has a horn, which I usually
switch out. I like lots of bottom, and yeah, EQ largely does the
trick for me. Besides, you *can* overdrive that tube preamp, and
it's *not* like overdriving a SS pre.
For the player of any amplified electric stringed instrument, who is
looking for all the tone possibilities from a single given amp, the
more vacuum tube stages in the chain the more the posibilities
through level ABUSE... each stage having different contributing
sonic characteristics to the final result.
Because of the limited user tonal tastes, the music store is filled
with a stable of maybe 6 different one trick ponies that seem to
appear in the music for the last 30 years.
As a result, it's very easy to find an amp in the music store to
cover the current flavors of 6 one trick ponies. But.... for the
player who is looking for tones that come from outside of the box,
there is not much selection to travel the uncharted territory in the
tone universe yet to be explored.
Few look to challange the pull of gravity that holds us in place.
OK, for the sake of argument...
I get the Old School stuff with guitar amps. Currently I have an AC-30,
a JCM 800, and a Fender Twin (plus a Blues Jr. and Valve Jr. for getting
semi-ok overdriven tones at lower volumes) and old school guitars
(mainly Gibson, Gretsch, Rickenbacker) to match.
My current bass (only one) is an Ibanez SDGR (active circuitry). And as
I said, Ampeg SVT-3 amp & 4 x 10 cab.
If I were to replace the amp/cab with ONE tube amp (and possibly the
same cab, possibly a different one) which *ONE* would you suggest?
There are a lot of tonal possibilities using:

The Sunn 200S with the real Dynaco tranny's.
The Sunn 2000S with the real Dynaco tranny's.
Dual Showman Reverbs
Ampeg B-25
Ampeg V4's

A pair of tricked out Marshall 100 JMP Super Bass heads on a pair of Marshal 1552 500 watt cabs.
I mention this on this page. http://www.timeelect.com/RichAmps.htm

I've done some amazing tones for bass using my Super Reverb and a 2x15 JBL K-130 cab together.

There are a pile of tonal possibilities for the electric bass guitar that have been around for years
that today's bass play would never even approach using. An open mind is not common with today's
bass player.

One of the best recording rigs I have used was a Peavey Delta Blues single 15 amp with a Kohles
(sp?) ribbon mic.

I used it *though out* the whole Circus of the Sun CD. All those Bass Tones on that CD came from
that Delta Blues amp. Imagine that.

Listen to the bass on the title track "Beware Of Giants" from their CD.

http://www.timeelect.com/credits-acc.html Killer bass in that cut.

How many bass players would think that possible?

Imagine me posting that in AGB.

Not to mention the sub bass sounds were also produced by detuning the low "B" string on a Warwick 5
string bass, soft touched, through the same Delta Blues amp.

Believe it or not... that is how that sub layer was recorded for the ending. Check it out. I ain't
shittin ya. Put an RTA on that track and check the low end that sits in that track's ending. That
ain't a synth or some pedal doing it. That's a detuned Warwick 5 string bass on a Delta Blues with
that amazing Kohles ribbon mic.

There is nothing conventional in my approach to the possibilities of producing great tones to be
used in music production in the studio, or in LIVE music.

Why limit yourself?

You want hear a tone that hasn't been produced from a guitar or bass before... talk to me.



Regards,

Rich Koerner,
Time Electronics.
http://www.timeelect.com

Specialists in Live Sound FOH Engineering,
Music & Studio Production,
Vintage Instruments, and Tube Amplifiers

boardjunkie
2008-06-18 14:46:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
The power amp has EVERYTHING to do with the tone of your amp. The
techs here will explain it a lot better than I can - but power tube
saturation and distortion is where tube tone comes from -not from a
lone 12AX7 in the pre-amp. From a guitar tone standpoint, I'd say
you're better of with a SS pre-amp section and a tube power section.
Several makers have tried this -Music Man, Legend, Peavey to name a
few, but the amps with a tube pre-amp section and a SS power section
are really just gimmicks IMHO. Any 'warmth' or mojo from that poor
lonely pre amp tube gets processed right through the SS power amp -
which is pretty much what happens to anything you play through the amp
as well.
Chuck
Exactly. A SS pwr amp will amplify whatever goes into it without the
coloration we expect from tube pwr amps. Theres an interaction between
the speaker and output transformer that can't be duplicated with sand.
Many have tried several times. It don't work. I can take the same tube
preamp I build for outboard use and while it sounds great with tube
pwr amps, it sounds like ass with SS.

We need to remember that the amp is a part of the total system...
together they are an instrument. There's a reason we have more tube
amps available now than there was in the 60s.
Liberty NymShifter
2008-06-18 19:25:39 UTC
Permalink
MusicMan :-) mvm

SS pre, beautiful power amp.
Post by boardjunkie
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
The power amp has EVERYTHING to do with the tone of your amp. The
techs here will explain it a lot better than I can - but power tube
saturation and distortion is where tube tone comes from -not from a
lone 12AX7 in the pre-amp. From a guitar tone standpoint, I'd say
you're better of with a SS pre-amp section and a tube power section.
Several makers have tried this -Music Man, Legend, Peavey to name a
few, but the amps with a tube pre-amp section and a SS power section
are really just gimmicks IMHO. Any 'warmth' or mojo from that poor
lonely pre amp tube gets processed right through the SS power amp -
which is pretty much what happens to anything you play through the amp
as well.
Chuck
Exactly. A SS pwr amp will amplify whatever goes into it without the
coloration we expect from tube pwr amps. Theres an interaction between
the speaker and output transformer that can't be duplicated with sand.
Many have tried several times. It don't work. I can take the same tube
preamp I build for outboard use and while it sounds great with tube
pwr amps, it sounds like ass with SS.
We need to remember that the amp is a part of the total system...
together they are an instrument. There's a reason we have more tube
amps available now than there was in the 60s.
Jim
2008-06-18 19:40:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes?
Yes.
Post by d***@aol.com
Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
"It depends."

Some guys claim that "tone" only comes from the power amp. These are the guys
that say that preamp gain only causes buzz. I disagree with that, and I'd ask
them if they've ever played an early master volume Marshall JMP with mullard
preamp tubes (as an example). Plus, even the traditional lower output
humbuckers easily put out signal in the hundreds of mV. I'd have those in "that
camp" feed the preamp of their favorite amp a few hundred mV of 200 or 400 Hz
sine wave and check it at the PI stage for accuracy with the preamp volume up to
a point that'd make the power tubes sing. Even old Marshalls are a MIX of
preamp and power amp distortion at that point.

Amps that rely heavily on preamp tone like the Mesa Rectifier or Mark series are
still influenced by the power amp, when you put some volume out. I think if
anybody other than a "tin ear" A/B/C'd the Mesa studio preamp into (A) mark
series output stage, (B) rectifier output stage, and (C) high power quality SS
power amp, the differences would be there.

With a rather clean preamp output, the differences would smack you in the face.
Tube power amps in the typical ranges (say 18 to 100W) should sound "warmer,"
because you'll get tube compression and distortion at volume. Swap out that 18W
tube power section for an 18W SS power amp, and you'll get clean to a point,
then an awful sounding mess. Yeah, I know that there are designs (like MOSFET)
that attempt to sound "tube-like," but the ones I've tried miss the mark.

The least amount of difference would be in high powered amps at lower volumes.
Either tube or SS would be fairly transparent played well within their clean
headroom (although tube GUITAR power amps are usually far from flat response,
which means it may still sound less harsh).
Les Cargill
2008-06-18 22:31:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
They're all a little bit different. When you hit rail on an
SS amp, they get *real* different.

--
Les Cargill
t***@gmail.com
2008-06-19 10:06:44 UTC
Permalink
Sigh... This newsgroup is too haste to generalize everything –
especially when the (what seems to be) never-ending discussion about
differences of SS and tube amps pops up. Since it hasn’t been stated
yet, I need to remind that differences between various types of amps
are always case-specific issues. Generalisations can be helpful but
they can also mislead and promote prejudice. For example, even though
the majority of this NG always seems to believe otherwise there are
plenty of solid-state > power < amplifiers that soft clip as well as
there are solid-state amplifiers > that have output transformers < !
Not all tube amps are identical either – if they were there wouldn’t
be hundreds of different models of them. There are plenty of them that
sound very awful when clipping - or happen to be “voiced” extremely
badly – or in a manner that doesn’t work in certain music genre. Then
we - as individuals – prefer different things so what sounds great to
me may sound horrible to another person – and vice versa.
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
I’m afraid I just have to answer both these questions “maybe”. I could
make this a long, electronics theory - oriented story but why? If you
are really interested then there's plenty of literature where you can
find the same information. You pretty much just need to go out there
to the music stores and try a bunch of equipment to make up your own
mind about them and find out what you like. And remember: Just because
one, two or several SS -or tube amplifiers sound like [insert
adjective] doesn’t mean that the rest will. There are plenty of ways
to do things differently - although in the end you often have to pay
for that difference in some way.
Jim
2008-06-19 18:44:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by t***@gmail.com
Sigh... This newsgroup is too haste to generalize everything –
especially when the (what seems to be) never-ending discussion about
differences of SS and tube amps pops up. Since it hasn’t been stated
yet, I need to remind that differences between various types of amps
are always case-specific issues. Generalisations can be helpful but
they can also mislead and promote prejudice. For example, even though
the majority of this NG always seems to believe otherwise there are
plenty of solid-state > power < amplifiers that soft clip as well as
there are solid-state amplifiers > that have output transformers < !
Not all tube amps are identical either – if they were there wouldn’t
be hundreds of different models of them. There are plenty of them that
sound very awful when clipping - or happen to be “voiced” extremely
badly – or in a manner that doesn’t work in certain music genre. Then
we - as individuals – prefer different things so what sounds great to
me may sound horrible to another person – and vice versa.
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
I’m afraid I just have to answer both these questions “maybe”. I could
make this a long, electronics theory - oriented story but why? If you
are really interested then there's plenty of literature where you can
find the same information. You pretty much just need to go out there
to the music stores and try a bunch of equipment to make up your own
mind about them and find out what you like. And remember: Just because
one, two or several SS -or tube amplifiers sound like [insert
adjective] doesn’t mean that the rest will. There are plenty of ways
to do things differently - although in the end you often have to pay
for that difference in some way.
After posting my lengthy answer to this post, I reread the question: "Do (sic)
the power amp have much to do with the tone of YOUR amp?" [emphasis supplied]

From that basis, do YOU own a guitar amp with a SS power amp, and how would you
answer the original question? Do you also own guitar amps with tube output
sections? If so, please compare them to the SS output amp. If not trying to be
a dick, I'd like your opinion.

I can only remember owning one SS guitar amp that was supposedly designed to
clip "like tubes." It was an earlier 30W Marshall valvestate 10" combo that had
no tubes at all (not even a preamp tube). I bought it cheap, for a nephew that
was just starting out. The transition to clipping is too fast, and there's too
much edge to the distortion tone. The next time he asks me to clean the pots
(weak link in those amps), I'll scope it. I also might just dig through my box
of old crossover parts to see if I can find a coil that I could put on a switch
in series with the speaker to roll off highs when he does crank it up. That
might help it a bit, along with a compressor in the loop. But it does NOT sound
like tubes.
d***@aol.com
2008-06-19 21:15:22 UTC
Permalink
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold me
over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube power amp.
I made the post wondering how much difference I can expect when the
Randall gets here. I was starting to think that maybe the preamp was
where the tone of an amp came from, and the power amp section simply
amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player in a
high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music I'm
playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to, but I
don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp enough (I'm
just using factory presets at the moment). But even though it does
sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix much more than
usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
RichL
2008-06-20 00:22:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold me
over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube power amp.
I made the post wondering how much difference I can expect when the
Randall gets here. I was starting to think that maybe the preamp was
where the tone of an amp came from, and the power amp section simply
amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player in a
high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music I'm
playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to, but I
don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp enough (I'm
just using factory presets at the moment). But even though it does
sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix much more than
usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
Although it's a bit of an oversimplification, it's not too far off the
mark to say that the closer you are to that extreme in distortion, the
less the differences between SS and tube amps matter. SS amps can be
quite useful for that ultra-gainy style that you like, and as you say,
things that are normally perceived as tube advantages, such as dynamics,
compression, etc. are no longer so significant.

Personally, I play a lot of my stuff much closer to the onset of
distortion, and to me the difference between tube and SS amps makes a
huge difference in my sound (and I'm not saying this because I'm a tube
fanatic; I have a Roland Jazz Chorus 77, which is SS, for some strictly
clean work).

teemukyttala is correct in principle about SS amps being able to
soft-clip; the problem as I see it is that the percentage of SS guitar
amps actually on the market that can do this as well as replicate what I
see as the other advantages of tube amps operated near the distortion
threshold is pretty small.
d***@aol.com
2008-06-20 02:05:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by d***@aol.com
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold me
over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube power amp.
I made the post wondering how much difference I can expect when the
Randall gets here. I was starting to think that maybe the preamp was
where the tone of an amp came from, and the power amp section simply
amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player in a
high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music I'm
playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to, but I
don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp enough (I'm
just using factory presets at the moment). But even though it does
sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix much more than
usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
Although it's a bit of an oversimplification, it's not too far off the
mark to say that the closer you are to that extreme in distortion, the
less the differences between SS and tube amps matter.  SS amps can be
quite useful for that ultra-gainy style that you like, and as you say,
things that are normally perceived as tube advantages, such as dynamics,
compression, etc. are no longer so significant.
Personally, I play a lot of my stuff much closer to the onset of
distortion, and to me the difference between tube and SS amps makes a
huge difference in my sound (and I'm not saying this because I'm a tube
fanatic; I have a Roland Jazz Chorus 77, which is SS, for some strictly
clean work).
My preferred tone, as a player, is that semi-distorted rock tone.. ie.
AC/DC. I find that to be the most beautiful.. and nothing can do that
but a tube amp in my experience. It just so happens that I'm also a
fan of extreme music. And my career has taken me to the path of
playing mostly that type of music. To do that, I need ultra saturated,
high gain sounds. A lot of tone freaks seem to equate that with bad
tone, and therefore their advice on what amp to play is somewhere
along the lines of "who cares.. it all sounds like shit. Just turn the
gain up to 11 and go to hell". But there are differences in those high
gain tones. After touring with a lot of these bands, it seems to come
down to getting as much distortion as possible while retaining
definition.. which is tricky. My other guitarist plays a Mesa Road
king, and his tone regularly blew the openers out of the water, night
after night. There are differences.
RichL
2008-06-20 05:09:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by RichL
Post by d***@aol.com
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold
me over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube
power amp. I made the post wondering how much difference I can
expect when the Randall gets here. I was starting to think that
maybe the preamp was where the tone of an amp came from, and the
power amp section simply amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player
in a high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music
I'm playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to,
but I don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp
enough (I'm just using factory presets at the moment). But even
though it does sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix
much more than usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
Although it's a bit of an oversimplification, it's not too far off
the mark to say that the closer you are to that extreme in
distortion, the less the differences between SS and tube amps
matter. SS amps can be quite useful for that ultra-gainy style that
you like, and as you say, things that are normally perceived as tube
advantages, such as dynamics, compression, etc. are no longer so
significant.
Personally, I play a lot of my stuff much closer to the onset of
distortion, and to me the difference between tube and SS amps makes a
huge difference in my sound (and I'm not saying this because I'm a
tube fanatic; I have a Roland Jazz Chorus 77, which is SS, for some
strictly clean work).
My preferred tone, as a player, is that semi-distorted rock tone.. ie.
AC/DC. I find that to be the most beautiful.. and nothing can do that
but a tube amp in my experience. It just so happens that I'm also a
fan of extreme music. And my career has taken me to the path of
playing mostly that type of music. To do that, I need ultra saturated,
high gain sounds. A lot of tone freaks seem to equate that with bad
tone, and therefore their advice on what amp to play is somewhere
along the lines of "who cares.. it all sounds like shit. Just turn the
gain up to 11 and go to hell". But there are differences in those high
gain tones. After touring with a lot of these bands, it seems to come
down to getting as much distortion as possible while retaining
definition.. which is tricky. My other guitarist plays a Mesa Road
king, and his tone regularly blew the openers out of the water, night
after night. There are differences.
Oh, sure, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. There are some tube
amps that can do that ultra-gainy thing well and some that can't. Same
with SS. All I'm really saying is that there isn't anything intrinsic
about either SS or tube amps that would make them inferior for that.
Obviously, within each type, there are considerable variation.

Interesting that you mention AC/DC. I got my Marshall JCM 800 *exactly*
for the purpose of capturing that type of sound. My other tube amps
tend to actually be on the milder side, distortion-wise. But then
again, I cut my playing teeth in the 60s following the old British
invasion bands, which had considerably cleaner sounds although still
"tubey". My favorite amp is still my old Vox AC30.
Les Cargill
2008-06-20 17:56:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by RichL
Post by d***@aol.com
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold
me over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube
power amp. I made the post wondering how much difference I can
expect when the Randall gets here. I was starting to think that
maybe the preamp was where the tone of an amp came from, and the
power amp section simply amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player
in a high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music
I'm playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to,
but I don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp
enough (I'm just using factory presets at the moment). But even
though it does sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix
much more than usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
Although it's a bit of an oversimplification, it's not too far off
the mark to say that the closer you are to that extreme in
distortion, the less the differences between SS and tube amps
matter. SS amps can be quite useful for that ultra-gainy style that
you like, and as you say, things that are normally perceived as tube
advantages, such as dynamics, compression, etc. are no longer so
significant.
Personally, I play a lot of my stuff much closer to the onset of
distortion, and to me the difference between tube and SS amps makes a
huge difference in my sound (and I'm not saying this because I'm a
tube fanatic; I have a Roland Jazz Chorus 77, which is SS, for some
strictly clean work).
My preferred tone, as a player, is that semi-distorted rock tone.. ie.
AC/DC. I find that to be the most beautiful.. and nothing can do that
but a tube amp in my experience. It just so happens that I'm also a
fan of extreme music. And my career has taken me to the path of
playing mostly that type of music. To do that, I need ultra saturated,
high gain sounds. A lot of tone freaks seem to equate that with bad
tone, and therefore their advice on what amp to play is somewhere
along the lines of "who cares.. it all sounds like shit. Just turn the
gain up to 11 and go to hell". But there are differences in those high
gain tones. After touring with a lot of these bands, it seems to come
down to getting as much distortion as possible while retaining
definition.. which is tricky. My other guitarist plays a Mesa Road
king, and his tone regularly blew the openers out of the water, night
after night. There are differences.
Oh, sure, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. There are some tube
amps that can do that ultra-gainy thing well and some that can't. Same
with SS. All I'm really saying is that there isn't anything intrinsic
about either SS or tube amps that would make them inferior for that.
Obviously, within each type, there are considerable variation.
Interesting that you mention AC/DC. I got my Marshall JCM 800 *exactly*
for the purpose of capturing that type of sound.
Just to be a noodge :)...

"For the Ballbreaker world tour AC/DC purchased 12 1959SLPs (100 Watt
re-issues) and 24 1960BV "

http://www.crabsodyinblue.com/acdcmarshallamps.htm

The 1959 is a very different beast then the JCM 800.

This does help prove your point - I could probably pick a JCM800
versus a 1959 blindfolded, so there are two Marshall tube amps
with very different sounds.
Post by RichL
My other tube amps
tend to actually be on the milder side, distortion-wise. But then
again, I cut my playing teeth in the 60s following the old British
invasion bands, which had considerably cleaner sounds although still
"tubey". My favorite amp is still my old Vox AC30.
--
Les Cargill
RichL
2008-06-20 21:02:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Les Cargill
http://www.crabsodyinblue.com/acdcmarshallamps.htm
The 1959 is a very different beast then the JCM 800.
Just how much different depends on which JCM 800 you're comparing with.
Mine's a 1981, the first year they were made. And although I have
nothing really definitive on this, Jim and I have discussed it, and it's
likely that it's much closer to the earlier JMP 2204 than most of the
800s out there. In fact, when I bought it, there was also a JMP
available and I a/b'd them, side by side. Couldn't really hear a
distinct difference, but for whatever reason I preferred that particular
JCM. Same guitar (one of mine), same speakers. The only thing I could
think of is that the tubes were different.
jh
2008-06-21 09:18:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by Les Cargill
http://www.crabsodyinblue.com/acdcmarshallamps.htm
The 1959 is a very different beast then the JCM 800.
Just how much different depends on which JCM 800 you're comparing with.
Mine's a 1981, the first year they were made. And although I have
nothing really definitive on this, Jim and I have discussed it, and it's
likely that it's much closer to the earlier JMP 2204 than most of the
800s out there. In fact, when I bought it, there was also a JMP
available and I a/b'd them, side by side. Couldn't really hear a
distinct difference, but for whatever reason I preferred that particular
JCM. Same guitar (one of mine), same speakers. The only thing I could
think of is that the tubes were different.
Rich,

what Les proapably wants to point out is the diff between a 2203/2204 to
a 1959/1987/JTM45 kind of sound *).

AFAIK AC/DC also used the MV amps, regardless whether thy were JCM or
JMP and the article he cites clearly mentions, that Angus bought a
2100SL-X at the same time. Hey - it's even reported that the development
of the 6550 Monsters of Marshall with 300W RMS were driven by AC/DC too.
And - Angus relied on is stone age JTM45 all the time.

Conclusion: there's obviously a whole lotta truth out there and a MV
Marshall works pretty well to capture AC/DCesque tones :-)


just my 2 cts

Jochen


*)
BS: though these 3amps show some similarities, they have their own
unique sound pattern. Esp the JTM45
RichL
2008-06-21 12:07:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by jh
Post by RichL
Post by Les Cargill
http://www.crabsodyinblue.com/acdcmarshallamps.htm
The 1959 is a very different beast then the JCM 800.
Just how much different depends on which JCM 800 you're comparing
with. Mine's a 1981, the first year they were made. And although I
have nothing really definitive on this, Jim and I have discussed it,
and it's likely that it's much closer to the earlier JMP 2204 than
most of the 800s out there. In fact, when I bought it, there was
also a JMP available and I a/b'd them, side by side. Couldn't
really hear a distinct difference, but for whatever reason I
preferred that particular JCM. Same guitar (one of mine), same
speakers. The only thing I could think of is that the tubes were
different.
Rich,
what Les proapably wants to point out is the diff between a 2203/2204
to a 1959/1987/JTM45 kind of sound *).
AFAIK AC/DC also used the MV amps, regardless whether thy were JCM or
JMP and the article he cites clearly mentions, that Angus bought a
2100SL-X at the same time. Hey - it's even reported that the
development of the 6550 Monsters of Marshall with 300W RMS were
driven by AC/DC too. And - Angus relied on is stone age JTM45 all the
time.
Conclusion: there's obviously a whole lotta truth out there and a MV
Marshall works pretty well to capture AC/DCesque tones :-)
just my 2 cts
Jochen
*)
BS: though these 3amps show some similarities, they have their own
unique sound pattern. Esp the JTM45
Thanks for the clarification. I never really had the opportunity to
check out any of those older Marshalls up close.
Les Cargill
2008-06-20 18:06:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by RichL
Post by d***@aol.com
I've always used tube amps. I just recently started using rack gear
that's digital based. I have a Rocktron Voodu Valve preamp that I
really dig. I made the switch because I'm playing heavier music and
needed a wider variety of tones.
I got a Velocity SS power amp. It was kind of a stop point to hold me
over while I await shipment of a much classier Randall tube power amp.
I made the post wondering how much difference I can expect when the
Randall gets here. I was starting to think that maybe the preamp was
where the tone of an amp came from, and the power amp section simply
amplified it's volume into the speakers.
To throw an added thing into the equation, I'm playing heavy, heavy
high gain music. But I'm still a bit of a tone freak. Another thing
I've been reading is that most heavy musicians are using solid state
amps. So again.. I was wondering if the power amp is a big player in a
high gain setting.
What I've noticed with my current rig is that there isn't a ton of
dynamics, which is fine (as stated, I don't need much in the music I'm
playing). The sound might be slightly thinner than I'm used to, but I
don't know if it's because I haven't tweeked the preamp enough (I'm
just using factory presets at the moment). But even though it does
sound thinner, it's also cutting through the mix much more than
usual.. and seems to retain it's definition better.
Although it's a bit of an oversimplification, it's not too far off the
mark to say that the closer you are to that extreme in distortion, the
less the differences between SS and tube amps matter. SS amps can be
quite useful for that ultra-gainy style that you like, and as you say,
things that are normally perceived as tube advantages, such as dynamics,
compression, etc. are no longer so significant.
Personally, I play a lot of my stuff much closer to the onset of
distortion, and to me the difference between tube and SS amps makes a
huge difference in my sound (and I'm not saying this because I'm a tube
fanatic; I have a Roland Jazz Chorus 77, which is SS, for some strictly
clean work).
My preferred tone, as a player, is that semi-distorted rock tone.. ie.
AC/DC. I find that to be the most beautiful.. and nothing can do that
but a tube amp in my experience.
Boy, I dunno... I've managed something *like* it with lots
of different amps. The amp may have to have a master volume
and F/X loop, so I can patch in stomp boxes to
provide different gain setups than what it came with.

I use a Fender Super Champ XD, and #8 on that, with the
volume on the guitar rolled way down does a passable AC/DC.

AC/DC is a 1959 head thru a cab w/ Greenbacks. But that's
close to all that setup will do.
Post by d***@aol.com
It just so happens that I'm also a
fan of extreme music. And my career has taken me to the path of
playing mostly that type of music. To do that, I need ultra saturated,
high gain sounds. A lot of tone freaks seem to equate that with bad
tone, and therefore their advice on what amp to play is somewhere
along the lines of "who cares.. it all sounds like shit. Just turn the
gain up to 11 and go to hell".
Tone freaks tend - *tend* - to think the Beano tone is the ultimate.
Post by d***@aol.com
But there are differences in those high
gain tones. After touring with a lot of these bands, it seems to come
down to getting as much distortion as possible while retaining
definition.. which is tricky. My other guitarist plays a Mesa Road
king, and his tone regularly blew the openers out of the water, night
after night. There are differences.
Yeah, IMO, very distorted tones are quite a challenge. I don't fully
understand how they work, myself. Have you tried a VHT Pitbull? 3
channel amp, and all three channels sound pretty good. But I'm
not a specialist in ultra distorto tone. "Blue Samba Ala Silicon"
on my Soundclick is what my old Fender Performer 650 would do.

--
Les Cargill
t***@gmail.com
2008-06-21 11:43:44 UTC
Permalink
If not trying to be a dick, I'd like your opinion.
I’m not trying to be a dick. I apologize if I sounded like one. I have
heard enough of different amps to make up my mind about them and all I
can say about that was already mentioned in my post: The differences
(what ever they are in each particular case) are always case-specific.
There is no universal guideline and you can pretty much expect
anything. Amplifiers are far from being equal or identical and
generalisations really are not that helpful. Take two guitar amps and
the chance is that they both sound and behave differently. If the amps
are designed for linear reproduction of the signal the chance for
having differences is naturally smaller – yet you can still find them,
especially when the range of linear reproduction is exceeded (which
will undoubtedly happen in most cases). All I can say is that if one
amplifier in comparison to another sounds or behaves like [adjective]
it does not mean that the third, fourth or fifth amp you bring in to
the comparison does. If someone is reluctant to try various SS amps
because someone said they do not soft clip or sound anything like tube
amps then he might miss a lot of great amps. Some of them even soft
clipping and some quite “tube sounding” (whatever that latter
characteristic means) - some of them great regardless the lack of
those characteristics. (And for similar prejudiced reasons one should
not be afraid to try tube amps either). However, I must admit that if
one picks a “budget-grade” SS product the chance for it sounding nice
or having those characteristics is not very good, though.

Have you seen the schematic to that 30W Valvestate you mention? I
think I have seen it (VS30R I presume) and from the looks I can tell
that it’s a really basic, cheap solid-state amplifier that does not
employ any technique that could soft clip the output stage (or several
other stages). None of the Marshall Valvestate amps employ something
like that and if Marshall ever claimed so it's just the same thing
that 99% of other manufacturers claim as well.

Like you say, the VS30R does not have the vacuum tube gain stage that
most of the amps in that line up have but even if it had the whole
series of those hybrid amps is a good example that a tube itself does
not create the classic “tube sound”. It’s all about the implementation
of the tube(s) - and certain other things. And when it comes to that
concept… A SE HiFi triode tube amplifier does not sound like a cranked
PP Marshall, which in turn does not sound like a Vox, Hiwatt, Diezel
or whatever. So what the hell is “tube sound” anyway? There is no
archetypal “tube sound” as well as there is no archetypal “SS sound”.
Those things are always case-specific and depend on things such as
circuit architecture and speaker system.Compare that 30W SS Marshall
amp to, say, a 30W Valvetronix, which is a whole different circuit
introducing different characteristics and tones. Then compare it to
third, fourth and fifth 30W SS amp and likely they all have their
differences. Insert more money to equation and audition amps with more
output power and you find out more differences.

So, I’m not trying to be a dick here – I’m just saying that making
generalisations about characteristics of different amps is, in my
opinion, quite meaningless.

Want to know the difference(s) between amp A and amp B? Well, pretty
much the only way to find out is to try those amps. I don’t see how a
generalisation made by comparing amp C to amp D would help at all in
answering that question. At best you can only -assume- that the
difference between amp A and amp B –probably– is characteristic this
and that. That assumption may as well be totally incorrect.
boardjunkie
2008-06-22 21:11:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim
I can only remember owning one SS guitar amp that was supposedly designed to
clip "like tubes."  It was an earlier 30W Marshall valvestate 10" combo that had
no tubes at all (not even a preamp tube).  I bought it cheap, for a nephew that
was just starting out.  The transition to clipping is too fast, and there's too
much edge to the distortion tone.  The next time he asks me to clean the pots
(weak link in those amps), I'll scope it.  I also might just dig through my box
of old crossover parts to see if I can find a coil that I could put on a switch
in series with the speaker to roll off highs when he does crank it up.  That
might help it a bit, along with a compressor in the loop.  But it does NOT sound
like tubes.
Aye.....and someone needs to direct me to that SS amp that can
"swirl"....'cause I ain't heard it yet. I don't like 'em...no
character and too perfect to be useful to me.
Ether
2008-06-24 06:29:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Does it make a difference whether your power amp is solid state or
tube as far as tone goes? Do the power amp have much to do with the
tone of your amp?
Crank up an old Marshall, and then crank up an amp with a solid state
power amp. Then tell us what YOU think.

--E
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