Tube amps...why?

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by Boogie, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR If nobody saw it, it didn't happen.

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    There's my Tone Yoda! I love this stuff! Explain it so I understand, you do...:D
     
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  2. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    I like tone
    And I like pie
    I really have them both
    But I don't know why

    I guess it's cuz
    I've lived my life
    Always looking for the new things
    That satisfy

    But you can say
    I'm full of crap
    I've only fallen into
    The latest trap

    It's your opinion
    And I don't care
    Cuz you're happy with your tone
    And we're both... already... there!

    "Cue crescendo with backup singers wailing the final note".:)
     
  3. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Hmmmn....
    First off, the Dover piece CLEARLY contains top notch playing. No question there! However, after about the 3 minute mark, I really dislike the sound of his tone (not talking about his playing). In the other clip, I really like neither tone or playing. But I don’t want to get into criticizing a player. Just not my thing.

    More to the point, however, the “intermodulation distortion” that you mentioned (I’ll have to research the phenomenon) is definitely something I experience on tube amps. I bought a TK imperial a few months back. It does a few things that I LOVE. None of them involve driving it very far. On that amp, for example, if I play the simple progression below, with anything greater than a slight overdrive to the amp, it just sounds like a mess. The motions loses all power and clarity of direction. This is just a simple example. Please forgive my appalling manuscript!
    [​IMG]
    Now, I can’t speak very highly of my playing. I may be the most dire guitarist alive, or very close. Still, my playing has lots of stuff of similar degrees of dissonance and similar voicing. And I guess what I’m learning is that the thing that people love tube amps for just doesn’t work for me
     
    #43 BWV548, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  4. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    It depends on what one is seeking tone-wise. I think that both of those guys have very good clean and distorted tone.

    By the way, is the first chord Gmadd11/Bb (i.e., the first inversion of Gmadd11)?
     
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  5. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Well, on its own you could certainly be correct hearing it that way. However, I took it out of a larger context, where there is an Eflat in the bass. See the highly simplified example below. Also, for a bit more context, the D is a non harmonic tone of retardation, which resolves to the E flat of the next chord (there’s music before that first sound.)
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Poetry always gets me verklempt.

    Here’s the thing: I really think everyone should make themselves happy with amps. Whatever that is, it is. Tubes, modelers, whatever.

    I think perhaps I give the impression that I have something against modern stuff. Actually, I do a lot of things for humorous reasons.

    I go a little overboard to stimulate conversation, too. Does that make me a jerk? Probably! ;)

    “Les, you’re a jerk.”

    “I’m glad you noticed. While I do like tubes, I also like attention. Please talk to my psychiatrist, Dr. Freud.”

    “What’s up with this guy, Dr. Freud?”

    “He’s nuts.”

    “Thanks.”
     
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  7. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. django49

    django49 New Member

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    Are you going to the modern Dr. Freud? I heard he is Japanese and leading a tribute band called Pink Freud.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    You know, you’re a very clever man, right? :)
     
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  10. CandidPicker

    CandidPicker Feed & Seed

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    Les,

    Perhaps you need try to put things in order and organize.

    Peace.
     
    #50 CandidPicker, Jul 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    You’ll never understand my sense of humor. You won’t be alone, either. ;)
     
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  12. Tucson Thump

    Tucson Thump Mint Heavy Relic

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    This is like some contemporary George Bernard Shaw dialogue
     
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  13. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    http://www.tonestack.net/articles/guitar-amps/tube-vs-solid-state.html

    I don’t know nearly enough about the topic to effectively verify or dispute what’s written. Moreover, I lack the equipment to do any such testing. It does, however, state some things that I’ve suspected and wondered about. The most basic of which is the general target audience, and resulting build/component differences.
    Curious to read what those with more knowledge than I think
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 New Member

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    .

    At the end of the day ... I have no desire to own or play on tube amps due to their fragility and maintenance demands (tube replacements and every decade cap replacements due to the higher voltages required by the tubes). Even the majority of players feed their amps a raft-full of pedals where their tone has nothing to do with the amp and everything to do with the pedals. So I avoid all that and just stick with solid state amps that can famously "take pedals well!" and I'm ok with that.

    Tube amp circuits and the parts in them are actually more simple and should be less expensive than solid state but the market craves the tube circuits and because of that they can command the buyers to pay a higher price for them. How many products exist out there where the customers are clamoring for 'yestertech' rather than the latest and greatest upgrades? Do you want to drive this 50s car with no seat belts, no airbags, lance-like steering columns, and only an am radio or this latest one with seatbelts, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and the capability to sync with your phone to play all your mp3 songs?

    .
     
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  15. django49

    django49 New Member

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    Of course, you probably already guessed that their lead guitarist is David Gearmore.......
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Another winner! You’ll be here all week right? :)

    I can’t think of anything funnier than this to top ya. I bow to your sense of humor, sir!!
     
  17. CandidPicker

    CandidPicker Feed & Seed

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    Strangely enough, I do get it, but I sometimes wonder if you're not just recycling old material. Kind of the same way the Earth works, but on a smaller scale. o_O
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Nothing wrong with your choice of amp types, that’s a personal thing; however, the fact is that running pedals through a tube amp has a LOT to do with the amp, and here’s why:

    Just as a tube amp colors the sound of a guitar without pedals that’s run through it, it colors the sound of the guitar with pedals that run into it, both in front of the amp, and in the loop.

    When you consider that even “clean”, most tube amps have 10-20% total harmonic distortion - that is, the tubes are adding harmonic overtones in addition to the signal, and these overtones add color - you can see that when not even addressing the issue of pedals overdriving the tubes, you get plenty of tube processing of a pedal signal.

    Of course, overdrive pedals are designed to overdrive the amplifier. Which, used as intended, they do. The amp adds another layer of compression and grit, and colors the overdriven signal.

    A purely solid state (not modeling) amp distorts differently, which is why solid state amps sound different from tube amps. Instead of predominantly second order harmonic distortion, you get predominantly third order harmonic distortion, which often sounds harsh, because the intervals don’t work the way second-order harmonics do; second-order harmonics are kinder to the ear.

    If you run a solid state pedal into a tube amp, yes, you get the sound of the tube amp on top of the pedal. Lots of players think that’s harmonious, and it’s why so many recording players have played tubes, despite the fact that very nice solid state amps were available on the market from about 1965 on (Vox, Kustom, Standel and numerous others all offered them).

    I’m not arguing that you should switch from solid state to tubes - far from it! You should play what you like. But it’s good to understand what happens when a signal runs into a tube amp, be that from a pedal, a guitar straight in, or what-have-you. :)
     
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  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    You don’t get it.

    But yes, humor recycles old themes all the time. That’s not a bad thing.
     
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I’d like to expand on my solid state vs tubes post a little, because one of the things jvin248 said was that he doesn’t understand why a tube amp should cost more than a solid state amp. Here the answer is pretty simple:

    A transistor amp doesn’t need output transformers The input transformer on a SS amp is also a different beast. Tube amps generally have chokes made for tube amps.

    These are important to the sound of a tube amp, and they cost.

    A set of quality Mercury Magnetics transformers and choke costs about $500-600 from an electronics supply house if you want to buy them. Replacing transformers is an expensive proposition!

    Because the chassis of a tube amp needs to be able to support the weight of the heavy transformers, the chassis needs to be more robust. While some amps support the output tubes on a circuit board - which has to be heavier to support the tubes and tube sockets and the force needed to install and remove the tubes - the circuit boards have to be supported better and are often thicker.

    The better amps have the output tubes mounted to the chassis, and in many cases, the preamp tube sockets are chassis mounted as well. Hand-wired tube amps take more time to build. Hand-populated circuit boards take more time to build, Not all tube amps are built this way, but many are.

    Solid state amps are more likely to have circuit board mounted knobs for control; tube amps are more likely to employ leads from the circuit to chassis-mounted controls, which is a stronger way to do things.

    Because of the heavy output transformers, tube amps weigh more, and cost more to ship.

    In any case, you can see that the differences in cost between solid state and tube amps have more to do with factors that most folks aren’t aware of. This is why money-saving, inexpensive amps at the low end of a manufacturer’s product line (Fender is a good example) are usually solid state.

    OK, so why would anyone put up with the extra maintenance and cost of a tube amp? Well, they sound different, they react differently to player input, and lots of people like that difference and are willing to pay for it. Speaking only for myself, I’ve never owned a solid state instrument amp in 48 years of playing. It’s not because I’m a traditionalist - I could care less about that. It’s because that’s the sound I prefer. YMMV, and that’s absolutely all right!
     

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