Tube amps, volume, and tone

Talk about guitars, amps and other gear.

Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby George Beasley » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:27 pm

One of the things that people always say about tube amps is that they sound "warmer" than solid state amps. A big part of this is the natural compression that is brought out when power tube amps are pushed hard. I've had numerous Fender amps that don't sound good until you turn them up to 6 or so...right before they start to break up. My Standel stays clean unless I turn it up all the way, but it also sounds better when it is pushed harder.

What are your thoughts on tube amps vs solid state? How loud do you guys like to play your amps? Any idea how loud Chet cranked his Standel when recording?

Thanks,
George
Thanks,
George
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby guitarchuck » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:50 pm

Hi George,
I've always thought that lower wattage tube amps sound better than the higher wattage amps. The Standel was 25W and a Fender Deluxe Reverb is around 22W I think. The higher wattage amps don't get pushed hard enough as you said. I like a clean sounding tube amp but if you have a high wattage amp it sounds too steril at low volumes I think.
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby George Beasley » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:09 pm

Chuck,

I agree with you about lower watt amps sounding better..mostly due to not being able to push the big amps hard enough. I think the era of the hi watt amps has passed. They came about when there was no good P.A. systems available...if you wanted to be heard, you needed a bigger amp With today's P.A. systems, you could play Madison Square Garden with an amp the size of a lunch box with no problem.

Thanks,
George
Thanks,
George
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:44 am

George and Chuck,

Since the Fender Deluxe reverb reissue has come to our attention, I pulled out my old '66 Fender Pro Reverb amp that I had overhauled with new tubes where needed, adj. bias of power tubes, and replaced coupling caps a few years ago. Playing my Gretsch 6120 CGP I was amazed by the sound of the amp, spring reverb and tremelo. I used a Boss RV-3 delay on the input. I had replaced the original dual 12" speakers with some alnico magnet low wattage type made by Eminance. It sounds even better when I use the extension output to the JBL 15" in my Peavey amp.

The Pro Reverb delivers about 40 watts via two 12" speakers as opposed to the Deluxe 22 watts and single 12" custom design speaker. I've yet to try the Deluxe but hopefully will soon for comparison. The down side is the Pro weighs around 50 lbs. compared to the Deluxe 40 lbs.; however, that's where a light weight hand truck comes in handy.

Let's see how this post works as I get used to the new format.
Thanks guys,
Ronnie Evans
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby mattburnside » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:58 pm

smokymtguitar09 wrote:I pulled out my old '66 Fender Pro Reverb amp that I had overhauled with new tubes where needed, adj. bias of power tubes, and replaced coupling caps a few years ago. Playing my Gretsch 6120 CGP I was amazed by the sound of the amp, spring reverb and tremelo.

I've got a '67 Pro that is really tough to beat when it comes to clean sounds, although I must admit that the closest I came to a Chet-like sound was with a (gasp!) solid-state Roland Jazz Chorus amp that I sold when I was temporarily insane. For crystal-clean sounds, I've gotten great results out of both tube and SS amps.
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby tyguy » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:14 am

smokymtguitar09 wrote:George and Chuck,

Since the Fender Deluxe reverb reissue has come to our attention, I pulled out my old '66 Fender Pro Reverb amp that I had overhauled with new tubes where needed, adj. bias of power tubes, and replaced coupling caps a few years ago. Playing my Gretsch 6120 CGP I was amazed by the sound of the amp, spring reverb and tremelo. I used a Boss RV-3 delay on the input. I had replaced the original dual 12" speakers with some alnico magnet low wattage type made by Eminance. It sounds even better when I use the extension output to the JBL 15" in my Peavey amp.

The Pro Reverb delivers about 40 watts via two 12" speakers as opposed to the Deluxe 22 watts and single 12" custom design speaker. I've yet to try the Deluxe but hopefully will soon for comparison. The down side is the Pro weighs around 50 lbs. compared to the Deluxe 40 lbs.; however, that's where a light weight hand truck comes in handy.

Let's see how this post works as I get used to the new format.
Thanks guys,
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby tyguy » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:18 am

My '65 Deluxe Reverb is probably 'bout 60lbs. now with JBL and Mercury Mag Axiom transformers.I'm 68 yrs. and I'm gonna get a cabinet for my Crate in a bag head(can't remember the name but it's tiny)when I have to play out of the house.Can't win and can't even break even! Ty M.
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby rsjean » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:11 pm

Really fast slew rate and the tendency of SS devices to go into hard clipping readily really makes them harsh in my opinion. They wreak havok with odd order harmonics which are the ones that really contribuite to listener fatigue. Having said that I also believe tube amplification is more colored in it's reproduction which is why various models and brands (even brands of tubes!) tend to have more of their own sound than do SS devices.

But I am a tube fan. Not only in guitar amps but in audio amplification as well.

Steve
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Re: Tube amps, volume, and tone

Postby Terry Tolley » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:59 pm

I have had several amps over my "career" in music. At this point...that is 51 years. With the exception of the newest amp I own, I have had to work on everyone of them for one thing and another. I have learned, both with my ears and with test equipment, that at low levels, solid state amps add virtually no color to the sound. Tubes will rather plesantly add something to the sound even at the lowest levels. At higher levels, the rate of distortion rises faster in the single supply solid state amplifiers than their tube counterparts. This has been true for me in Fender, Marshall, Gibson, Vox, Behringer, and a couple of other brands that are not coming to mind at this time. The Vox is the highest powered amp I've ever owned, and it was solid state. It had a dual-level supply and was 200W per channel. The lowest wattage amp I've owned is the Behringer which is 10W. In all cases - the amplifiers sound better to me at low levels. When turned up to higher levels, but before clipping distortion sets in, I have always noticed a loss of tone color. The produced sound seemed to me to be less "bright and clear" for want of a better set of words. I can only imagine what listeners hear. I go to a jam on a regular basis where 5 other guys have amps for their guitars. They always sound shrill to me, but that is also comparing various types of solid-body guitars to my Nashville Classic tone. No contest there, really. That aside, I do believe that even my NC would not sound so good to through the other amps, considering where the users set their controls. This is just my 2¢ worth. As has been said....you mileage may vary.
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THD 2X12 GUITAR EXTENSION CABINET

Postby Wes Southerland » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:14 pm

Hi Guys, Has anyone here got a THD 2X12 GUITAR EXTENSION CABINET? I got one coming here in a few days on the UPS and wondered what use I may get out of it. I think it is gonna be a great extension to my music man RD50 Amp Head. I can't wait to play through it!


check it out here and let me know your thoughts. It gets nice reviews for a twin extension. If it dont have the sound I want I have a pair of Vintage JBL D123's that I plan on putting in it. How cool is that paired with the MusicMan RD50 Head

http://www.guitarcenter.com/THD-2x12-Gu ... =439942642
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