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Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by Audie, Jun 23, 2013.
I have 14 amps now, but would just love to add a PRS one.
Here's a thought. I have a small acoustic amp (an Ibanez Troubadour, perfect for my personal level of playing and the limited use it sees) I run half of my Parker through. I have however discovered that the crunch channel on my Koch Twintone II actually sounds nearly as good. The clean channel is a bit too flat somehow. Of course no-one is going to believe it is an Angelus in a concert hall but I personally find it plenty good enough for acoustic/electric mix in a tune. Anyone tried this with another tube amp?
Before I owned my Loudbox 100, I used play my acoustic through my Ampeg SVT100T Bass amp with 2 8" woofers and a tweeter. It actually sounded pretty good, using my Zoom acoustic effects. The Loudbox does sound much better though. Much more natural acoustic tones. I have played my acoustics through many of my tube amps. It sounds okay, just not as natural as the dedicated acoustic amp. In the mix, it might be acceptable for some. YMMV
This looks like a nice acoustic amp; Very small, light...
Looks and sounds like a sweet little amp.
I tried several acoustic amps this weekend and ended up purchasing a Loudbox Mini. It has very true acoustic sound and is very small (though a little heavy). I already have an Acoustic AG60 that does sound really good, but I'd like to see a tube amp made for acoustic.
Congrats on a fine acoustic amp.
I wonder if an acoustic amp with tubes even exists? Unlike electric guitar where you have the interaction of the guitar to the tube amp, maybe that might not work with acoustic. The original poster of this thread would like to see PRS build an acoustic amp, but he says, " I would like to see it be 2 channel, 100 watts solid state of course," which is why I question this. We want our electric guitars to get that natural tube breakup. I don't think this is the case with acoustic, we want that clean, pristine acoustic tone, emulating how the guitar sounds unplugged, just at stage volume.
Anybody have any thoughts or comments on this?
Lots of people use tube gear for hi-fi, which is essentially what an acoustic amplifier should be - high fidelity to the source, as opposed to the amp contributing large amounts to the sound.
So in theory, you could use a high quality sound reinforcement speaker with something like the tube-powered McIntosh 275s (as the Grateful Dead did), and put out a high quality acoustic tone that would have plenty of oomph and might subjectively be a little "warmer" than a modern solid state amp.
I saw the Dead in the very early 70s at a medium sized venue (Detroit's Masonic Temple) when they were using McIntosh tube gear to power some of their sound reinforcement cabs in their live show, and they sounded very good indeed! In fact, it was the first rock show I sever saw that sounded really high fidelity. It was a beautiful thing.
McIntosh has reissued the 275 amplifier for around $5000. You can find old ones for nearly the same amount, if they're in good condition. An old Dynaco amplifier would also sound pretty good for this purpose, but it isn't as powerful.
Remember that an electric guitar amp is designed to break up, distort, and saturate quickly, while a hi fi tube amp is designed to play cleanly up to its rated power. Also, a guitar amp is designed to have a lot of distortion in higher frequencies, it doesn't have a full frequency response since a guitar speaker cuts off at around 5kHz instead of the 16-18kHz most hi fi speakers roll of at, etc.
So you can't successfully just hook a guitar amp up to a speaker and hope it will do the job. It won't.
Though...some bass tube amps, like the Mesa Bass 400+ actually have a much more linear frequency response than guitar amps; in fact, the Mesa Baron hi fi amp was really based on the 400+ I'm told. And some bass cabs have tweeters for extended frequency response, and speakers that distort less than guitar speakers. So there's that.
I've had sonic success using an Avalon U5 direct box (Class A Solid State), and a Demeter Tube Direct box (each runs around $500) with an acoustic guitar pickup. Note that by "success" I mean that the sound was as good as I thought it was going to get, given the sonic limitations of acoustic guitar onboard pickups, etc., which have never thrilled me.
Of course, the Avalon has the advantage of a built-in tone control with presets for acoustic guitar piezo and soundhole pickups. I've used these both live into the sound mixer's console, and in recordings as an adjunct to the miked guitar (running the parallel outputs into modulation pedals, etc). Both applications work nicely, and in my estimation, achieve nicer sounding results than any of the acoustic guitar amps out there I've worked with, but it's always good to try new things and experiment, so my ears and mind will remain open!
LSchefman - yes, sound reasoning. I would like to see a tube acoustic amp for the warmth that tube amps have (think old TV's, radios, and record players). When I was a kid, my mom had this big console record player that was all tube. The thing sounded absolutely awesome. That's the sound and vibe I'd be after. There's good acoustic solid state amps out there... I think there is room for something tube, to be different.
Les, thanks for pointing out something that I didn't even consider. It's always been a dream of mine to own a Macintosh stereo amplifier, but I always end up spending the money on other things, guitar related, etc. Thank you for a very informative post.
My pleasure! In the early 70s I was really into hi fi gear while still in school, and managed to acquire several McIntosh pieces. Of course, when I got my first McIntosh solid state amp/preamp, I was in absolute heaven, because it was clean and powerful!
At that time, you could pick up the McIntosh tube gear for nickels and dimes, everyone was dumping it and going for solid state.
Funny how the tube gear is the stuff that people lust after now, and those who sold their tube stuff wish they still had it!
My parents had an old tube Fisher system, custom built into a cabinet, too. It sounded pretty darn good, though it didn't have true hi fi speakers. Dramatic gains were made in the early 60s by companies like KLH, etc., that made sealed box (and other designs as well) speaker systems sound MUCH better than the stuff they were installing into cabinets, even custom ones. Unfortunately their house was built before these systems really took off in the marketplace, and they had an older style system.
So it's very possible that the same tube gear that sounded all nostalgic was actually higher fidelity and was limited by the speakers.
I am not completely oppossed to a tube acoustic amp. I sometimes use my 73 Fender Twin (not linear) with my archtop with good results. I have also been pleased with the Fender Deluxe for the archtop. Something seems to change though with the transducers or piezos found in flattops. Solidstate has seemed better to me for the transducers and piezos. I don't know why this is? That is probably why I use one of each at the sametime, sometimes, and one or the other, other times. The amps/gear mentioned are great, but I would like to see a product from PRS for acoustics, because Paul will/would have done his homework and knocked it out the park on all fronts, sonically, quality and visually. Now that I am in tune with PRS, I want nothing else for all my musical products. I have come to believe in them that much.
I played an all tube acoustic Rivera amp yesterday at our local shop and it was both warm and fantastic. I need to move out a couple of amps to make room (and to gather a few bucks), but I definitely see this one coming home very soon. That said, I'd still love to see a PRS acoustic amp down the road.