All Tube Amps v. Pre-amp/Power Amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jeff Corallo, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. Jeff Corallo

    Jeff Corallo Guest

    May 30, 2000
    A lot of postings have been made about the differences between all tube amps and solid-state/hybrid amps. Yet there are some who really like high-end pre and power amps. Are the higher end pre-amps and power amps (I would put SS power amps as a Mackie 2400 in this group) comparable in sound to tube amps or do they sound like other hybrid amps?
  2. Only tubes will sound like tubes. :D Those high-end amps you speak of are not really trying to sound like tubes, they're just trying to sound really good. So some multi-thousand dollar solid-state amp is not gonna get you the tube sound. Actually, the tube sound is kinda old and imperfect, and the multi-thousand dollar amps are trying to give the "perfect" sound, so they aren't using all that money to copy tube sound. Hopefully that answers your question.

  3. I need the power that is not available from tube power amps.

    I don't need the weight and retubing costs associated with tube amps.

    Since I'm not a guitar player, I don't worry about having to drive the power tubes into distortion to get a particular tone. I get mine from an Alembic F-1X tube preamp.
  4. Jeff Corallo

    Jeff Corallo Guest

    May 30, 2000
    Can you get an overdrive sound that is close to an all-tube amp without clipping the power amp?
  5. A big part of the all-tube sound is the heavy compression caused by power tubes. You could run a compressor between the preamp and power amp.
  6. I can't help you here... I have no need (yet) for this type of sound. I run an Alembic F-1X and that is fine for me.

    I'd think if you want that type of sound, either the Ampeg SVP-Pro or the SWR Interstellar Overdrive would be the ticket. My choice would be the IOD, but only for technical reasons. I have heard neither and not qualified to recommend.
  7. JimS

    JimS Gold Supporting Member

    I run my Sadowsky bass > tube Kern IP-777 preamp > solid state Crown K2 amp. For compression an FMR RNC; for a bit of overdrive or mild tube break-up sound a Roger Mayer Voodoo-1. I rarely play distorted for originals or covers: 97% of the time it's clean playing. Everything is in a 6 space SKB rack (extra spaces to cool the power amp) which I carry with one hand.

    The tone is better than anything I have heard. I have no 'wish list' for my amplification. Additionally, I take the Kern's DI out for recording and swooned the first time I heard the playback! "WOW! Is that me?!":D

    I wouldn't want the weight or hassle of power tubes for bass. I do use an all tube Soldano rig for my guitar but that's a different kettle of fish all together.
  8. I'm an all tube guy, but I work on my own stuff. It could get expensive and frustrating if you don't know how to service your own gear. You can get most of the tube sound using solid state gear with a tube preamp, and it's more likely to last forever.

    I'm still using tubes that I've been using for 10 years in some of my amps, and they are still putting out full power, so they aren't as prone to failure as people think. But I've had some tubes die after only a few months, so it's kind of a gamble.

    Plus, the old stuff looks a hell of a lot cooler, that's for sure. :D Observe:

    The classic Ampeg B25 stack, 50 Watts and 2-15's.

    My current rig with 2-15's and 50 Watts of power.

    Each of these is about 30 Watts, one with 2-10's and the other with a single 15. Cool jam amps.

  9. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Transistors can sound great and you can get pretty close with a good tube preamp. But if you want the all-tube sound, there's only one way to get it. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING really sounds like a Mesa Boogie 400+ or a vintage SVT but an all-tube amp. Weight, re-tubing, etc., all irrelevant if that's the sound you really want.