1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Tube watts vs solid state/hybrid?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by brokenfinger, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. brokenfinger

    brokenfinger

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey there,
    I've been playing for 28 years always with solid state/hybrid amps. I've heard that tube amp watts are more powerful, is that true? Very interested in the new Mesa tube amps coming out but concerned that 250 watts may not be enough power. Currently playing through a Mesa M6 Carbine and 2x Mesa 15's.
    I'd be thankful for any input!
  2. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    17
    A watt is a watt.
  3. Metalman X

    Metalman X

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    my understanding of it is tube watts seem louder because of the particular harmonics a tuber power section emphasizes, versus a SS power amp. And there is definitely truth to this. I know in terms of guitar amps, my Randall Cyclone and V2 heads are 300watts and 400watts... and each is roughly as loud as an all tube guitar head rated at 100watts (well, the V2 is capable of going a bit louder still... but obviously never needed). And in terms of bass amps, the only SS heads I've ever heard be of roughly the same perceived volume of say, a 300 watt all tube SVT, are usually up around, if not over the 1000 watt range.

    There's other issues to consider too. Like, a watt may be a watt, yes... but electrically speaking, I believe tube and SS amps transfer that power 'differently'. Somebody else with more knowledge on that should chime in.

    Also the other issue is just how the amps respond. Tube amps break up and compress differently than SS amps.... as your probably aware. And that makes a difference in perceived volume as well.

    For example, with my guitar amps, the reason I use heads of such wattage is because I like my high gain tones to remain tight, and clear. If I need to turn the master volume up over 6 or 7, the tone just becomes a harsh, disgusting mess once I push the SS power amp that hard. And with a 100watt SS amp, chances are your gonna have to push it that hard to be heard over a drummer, unless your using a super, painfully boosted midrange tone, or using a super clean tone... otherwise your just not gonna cut. Tube amps OTTH, you can push that hard and they usually sound good, some even better that way. But chances are you wont be pushing a 100watt tube guitar amp that hard unless your looking to go deaf and piss off your bandmates. So, with a higher wattage SS head, I can get roughly the same volume I need to cut but without pushing the power stage into clipping. And the same theory holds true with bass amps, because of that. Especially if you like a really clean tone, you dont wanna be clipping that powerstage.
  4. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    The 600W from the Carbine is a LOUD 600W (having owned one, and an M9, which was just ridiculous).

    The Mesa Prodigy (the 250W version) is going to be plenty loud.

    The Prodigy will probably be louder than your M6, by my estimates of how Mesa rates their watts and loudness, and by a decent stretch. You will be fine going with the Prodigy.
  5. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    7
    A watt is indeed a watt. A tube amp and a SS amp will be equally loud at the same level of distortion.

    And here we go again!!
  6. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    6
    Disclosures:
    Applications Engineer, QSC Audio
    I've always wondered why this topic has never come up before.
  7. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    23
    Yah, you would think the "Amps FAQ" would be filled with that question ;)

    OH WAIT it IS!
  8. Metalman X

    Metalman X

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, you are correct for the most part.

    Thats why I like the term 'percieved volume'. While a watt, as a unit of measurement ( Volts X Amps yadda yadda) is a constant, it's a whole slew of other variables that really come into play on how loud the amp will actually be. So really, an amps posted output wattage is really only a ballpark idea of how loud it will actually be.

    Things like speaker type, size, efficiency, let alone the cabs there in, plus how the amps output transformer responds/reacts, natural EQ curves, and so and so all play a large factor in how much volume we actually hear.

    For example... a Vox AC30 is an all tube 30 watt amp. They can get plenty loud by themselves in a band context. However, a 30 watt solid state amps actual volume? Well... you can use it for home practice amp, maybe annoy your neighbors a bit if you live in an apartment, but it will never really be heard over pretty much any drummer, let alone a full band mix. Just ain't happenin'
  9. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    23
    And again! :rollno:
  10. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    0
    LOL!!!
  12. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Likes Received:
    2
    Disclosures:
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Bandwidth is probably as important as harmonic distortion. Both the amp and the cab work happier with limited bandwidth, and valve amps will tend to have much more limited bandwidth than SS ones.
  13. nashvillebill

    nashvillebill

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2002
    Likes Received:
    3
  14. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thanks Bob. I enjoyed the LOL. :D
  15. skychief

    skychief Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    I prefer tube watts over SS watts.

    I get it they're the same. It just sounds cooler with tubes.

    :hyper:
  16. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Likes Received:
    13
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    It's all the magic smoke that they put in the tubes. It magically turns watts into uberwatts.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, brokenfinger, we're giving you a bunch of crap you probably don't deserve.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/a...overunderpowercabs-diy-techtalk-links-166225/

    This is the thing you need to do a lot of reading in. This topic comes up here about every twenty minutes or so. That is why a bunch of guys are giving you crap.

    For what it's worth, I have yet to play a gig that my 100W Ampeg V4 (all tube) won't cover. It will take your face off. But there are MANY FACTORS that go into volume/perceived volume. Watts is just one of them.
  18. Scottkarch

    Scottkarch

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Not to derail the conversation but how much cone area do you have powered by your 100 watts? Always been curious about more speakers vs more wattage into the same size speaker. At some point adding speakers to increase volume feels like magic. Where is the power coming from to move the additional speakers. Maybe the speakers don't actually put much of a load on the amp output and the voltage has little problem powering 2 or 4 or 8 speakers as long as you get your impedance correct.
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fear not. You are not derailing anything but a potential argument here anyway. Either that or a bunch more guys giving the OP crap over posting in the first place.

    I run an old Ampeg B40 sealed 4-10 that I refurbished and put Eminence Legends in. It really throws out some volume. Now, being sealed and 10s of course it throws more low mids than pounding lows. But it will get down right ballsy if you tell it to. It is a great combination, if not a little heavy.
  20. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    7
    My statement is correct in every part and please don't lecture me on the AC30. I grew up with them and can draw out their schematic from memory.

Share This Page