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Are power tubes like radial tires?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rockbobmel, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. In the sense of-are we splitting hairs with this issue? So think of it. Radial tires work on the level that they basically perform a major function very well. They all claim to be worlds above the others, basted in juicy language, that they will be a game changer.
  2. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I had a set of Firestone 500's on a Pinto, so...…………..
  3. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    There is probably some validity to your analogy, but the two products differ in an important way: it's difficult to quantify how well an individual tire performs, but a tube's electrical performance can be measured pretty accurately. In some cases, two seemingly identical tubes from different sources may have been manufactured by the same assembly line, but have been tested and sorted according to different tolerances, and therefore don't deliver the same performance. That said, the differences in the aural properties of various tubes are the subject of more 'cork-sniffing' discussions than anything else among the 'bottle-babies', and I regard a lot of that as something other than hair-splitting...it's more like psychoacoustics or, in some cases, self-delusion. :D
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    I used to work with a guy who had a primer colored Vega
  5. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Radial tires are mostly tubeless.
    Al Kraft, tzohn, Jim Carr and 62 others like this.
  6. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Well, I wouldn't compare power tubes to tires. Good tires are much more important, and there are significant differences between bad tires and good.

    I do believe that power-tube rolling is mostly a waste of money and energy. Tubes coming earlier in circuits have much more effect on tone.
  7. Nah. Your analogy is backwards. Tubes are old tech, just as bias ply tires are old tech.
    I suppose you could put bias ply tires on your go fast, if you could find a set, but that would be a step backwards.
    Solid state and radial tires are the way ahead.
    Solid state electronics and radial tires have been standard equipment on their respective products for the past five decades.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  8. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Just like them, in fact. They are both round, warm while in use, and eventually, wear out and need to be replaced.

    Hope this helps.
  9. Well, how about tires in general.
  10. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Yes and no. Yes, they are alike in that they are both solid states of matter. No, in that tires are rubber and tubes are glass.
  11. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    For many, visiting a mechanic is right up there with taking an amp into a tech. People go in kicking and screaming and have no idea how much it’s going to cost.

    In many ways tubes are like tires in terms of wear. Like tires, choosing which tube make to buy is always confusing.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  12. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    "The tires are the things on your car
    That make contact with the road" - Phish
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  13. mexicanyella


    Feb 16, 2015
    Troy, MO
    Radial tires don’t exhibit the same failure symptoms as electron tubes do. I have experienced both and man, it is not the same thing at all.
    agedhorse, equill, imabuddha and 2 others like this.
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    As a general statement, for the average driver, "all weather" radial tires are safer than old-fashioned bias ply tires for moderate driving in that they retain better traction, flexibility, safety, and wear characteristics in adverse conditions of traffic or weather, so long as they are rotated and balanced properly, and the automobile owner keeps the automobile maintained properly, including brakes, shock absorbers or struts, and alignments.

    I can see the analogy: unless pushed hard, vacuum tubes do have an indeterminate life, but due to the heat they produce, the amp must be vented and biased properly and periodically as the tubes, capacitors, and other parts start to wear and "drift" in their specs.

    But I agree with the above: especially with modern power stage MOS FETS, I prefer their reliability and no need of maintenance, and that for bass tone, separate from guitar tone, a vacuum tube in the preamp will have more effect on tone and warmth than in the power stage, especially if high-wattage amps with 6550 power tubes are used.
  15. iTired - There's a nap for that! :)
  16. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    ahhhh... they are both round shaped..... is about all I can come up with. And they do wear.



    Do I win something????????????

    Attached Files:

  17. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Radial tires are to kick. Don't do that to your power tubes.
    spvmhc, SactoBass and BassmanPaul like this.
  18. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010

    No. but the 1st poster that said it might. ;)
    pellomoco14 likes this.
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Leaks are a common failure mechanism of both. Just sayin'
    pellomoco14 and SactoBass like this.
  20. You had to see this one coming.

    I would never go back to biased ply tires, versus modern steel belted radials. Nor would I back to lugging around all valve (tube) amp heads. I'll keep my D class Aguliar head and neo super light cabinet, thank you very much.
    Al Kraft, agedhorse and imabuddha like this.

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