Will tube amps ever become obsolete?

PRSfanboy46

Don't lick doorknobs and stay in school
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
392
Location
Maryland
Tube is obsolete to me. Still cool though. I am enjoying my Fractal FM3 immensely. It sounds amazing, and my boogie MK IV sounded pretty awesome, but the Fractal nails it and 280 other amps too! Plus it plugs straight into my computer for recording. I don't regret selling the Boogie, and I don't miss the weight!
Well there are things a digital modeller offer that an amp doesn't, but in the end, the amp will sound better. I feel like one day I will get a fractal or a kemper or a helix or an axe FX 8 for giggles just to see what I like. I could find what type of sound I want and then buy the amp.
 

CandidPicker

Building with Fireproof Materials
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
4,685
Location
NW Connecticut, USA
So much of it is in the speaker/cab.

Thanks, Dave.

At the moment (in between writing checks) I'd been perusing YT for channels that suggest cab IRs for various platforms. Gotta say, when you do the research you can find plenty of websites that offer cab IRs or bundled packages thereof that won't add significant debt to you. Once you've paid for and downloaded the IRs, they reside permanently on your device or computer until you deem it necessary to clear the device of HD space.

It's really not that difficult. Most people want to get paid for what they sell. If their product has value, more people will buy it. Conversely, if that they're selling is lip service and worthless, why buy? You won't need pay something. Only thing you need to pay for is what you've already put on credit.
 

Tone-y

New Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2018
Messages
1,061
Location
UK
Well Ox boxes and things like that are attenuators and let you crank a tube amp at bedroom volumes. I think that a tube amp, even though loud is just worth it personally.
But they are more than just attenuators. We've had those for years. The new products these days essentially convert your old analogue tube amp into a digital solution allowing you to record silently, add IR cabinets etc. They allow the flexibility of the modelling amps with the tone and response of the tube amp.
 

dmatthews

Dave's not here...
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,555
Location
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
But they are more than just attenuators. We've had those for years. The new products these days essentially convert your old analogue tube amp into a digital solution allowing you to record silently, add IR cabinets etc. They allow the flexibility of the modelling amps with the tone and response of the tube amp.
With the added benefit of additional weight!
...
...
Oh weight...

Just kidding. I hear nothing but great things about OX. Had I not gone Kemper I'd likely have one for my tube amps.
 

Tone-y

New Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2018
Messages
1,061
Location
UK
With the added benefit of additional weight!
...
...
Oh weight...

Just kidding. I hear nothing but great things about OX. Had I not gone Kemper I'd likely have one for my tube amps.
Yeah they still don't address a lot of the short comings of tube amps. Size, weight, temperamental and expensive valves etc. But they do allow for amps that would otherwise just end up in storage to become viable again for many people
 

Herr Squid

I was severely impressed
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
1,955
what about tube mic preamps? total garbage?

No, if they do things you like on the way into whatever medium you lay your tracks down on. People will probably use 'em until the last one dies. Which is true of an awful lot of technology, really.
 

Outlier22

New Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
331
Well they sound pretty darn close if you ask me. Heck Steve Vai owns one and tours with it.
Right, it’s difficult to seriously say digital modelers blow tube amps out of the water when they are trying to mimic said tube amps. ...unless of course you are saying they are so close that they are indistinguishable yet lighter, more portable, and easier to use. In that case I can see your point.
 

Bolt-on

New Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
24
I guess it's all kinda relative as once upon a time the tube amp was cutting edge but I feel the tube amp keeps things feeling like art
 

CandidPicker

Building with Fireproof Materials
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
4,685
Location
NW Connecticut, USA
Real tube magic will never be truly replicated by an IC.

You may be correct, yet take it with a grain of salt that digital I/O's and A/D/A converters compromise tone simply because converting analog to digital and back again causes loss of tone quality. True analog devices are for the most part unhindered regards carrying signal or producing sound waves.

What about digital effects? These, too, have A/D/A converters built in, but because many choose buffered bypass, some of the lost signal tone is recovered. What actually is occurring? Is guitar signal "strengthened", as some might perceive, or are certain tone frequencies being restored?

My point is, digital devices may have advantages regards compact size and weight constraints. Yet regards how they sound may be less lifelike and, as some have said, "more digital." Tubes, by default and definition, have a warmer tone quality because they are analog.

My feeling is as the bit resolution quality of digital devices increases over time, so will the tone quality of digital devices. The integral frequency curve will be smoother in relationship so as to improve tone and sound quality.

P.S. My previous paragraph may be in error. Hopefully, what I meant to say was the quality of tone and sound would improve because of the increased bit resolution. I realize what I've written "doesn't read well." Take it with a grain of salt that they're words to be taken at face value, not with some deeper meaning.
 
Last edited:

Rockabilly69

New Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
38
I never thought tubes could be replaced, but in the last few months, I've been using my Origin Effects Revival Drive Custom Pedal, and it's been turning all of my amps into fire breathers at the lowest volume levels. The way it brings the tones of vintage tweed Fenders, and all variants of Marshalls to whatever I'm plugging it into, is just amazing. So as preamps go, I can say tubes have been replaced for me. I'm sure somebody will build a power amp with these kind of tones soon. I still love amps and the Revival Drive makes them sound great at lower volumes that I've ever recorded at before!
 
Last edited:

68reissue

New Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
118
Location
Erie PA
I think it will happen, but part of the fun of playing for me is having a Marshall with tubes. I came of age in the 70s, and its cool to have (in my case) a living room friendly version of the amp my heroes used.

I do think tube amps may become a specialty/nostalgia item in the future, like vinyl records are now. Something for aficionados. They're definitely getting very close to getting the tube magic without glass. I'm personally impressed by the NuTube technology that Vox uses.
 

mr_spoons

New Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
38
I've seen many blind test videos such as this one where the guinea pig can't tell the difference, or even prefers the modeller/profiler.


Can anyone point me to a recent-ish video where the opposite is true?
 
Last edited:

aphantomvaper

Cogent Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
1,816
Location
Illinois
Tube amps will become obsolete when there are no longer vacuum tubes being made. This may be a while off and due to the economy of scale, but a tube has a finite life and eventually need to be replaced.

There ain't nothing like a hot glowing tube though. As a kid I'd buy old radios and take the chassis apart so when I listened to the radio at night I could watch the tubes.
 
Top