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Confused about tube/solid state hybrids

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Waspinators, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Waspinators


    Jul 22, 2007
    South Florida
    So the two biggest things I've seen people rave about with tube amps is the gritty tone and that they're much louder than solid state amps. But I've seen some people prefer an amp with a tube pre-amp and a solid state power amp. Does that mean that it will sound like a tube amp, but not be as loud? Someone help me out here...
  2. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    Sorry to confuse the issue, but I've heard an all tube head sound kind of thin & an all solid state head (Thunderfunk) sound huge and warm. Yep - tube 'watts' are louder. I'm sure explanations will follow.
  3. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    They're only louder than comparably rated SS heads. But take a good look at the SS head market... there aren't many pro level heads that are rated under 400W. Most are well above that. Most all-tube amps, on the other hand, are 300W or less.

    The simplified reason for why a tube amp is perceived to be "louder" has to do with how tubes react when pushed hard (feel free to do research on overdriven tubes, transistors, and even/odd order harmonics if you want the technical explanation). Generally, they overdrive more pleasantly than transistors, and thus you can push them beyond the rated average output of the amp. Solid-state amps tend not to sound that great when pushed hard... so the solution is more power. More power allows for more headroom - that can mean a "cleaner" tone at high volumes than what tube amps have. It can also mean comparable volume. But not all solid-state heads are created equal... some CAN sound good when pushed, so I wouldn't discount the power of a well-designed transistor to compete with a tube.

    If you think a 300W SVT is louder than my GK 2001RB (rated at 1080W), think again. For half the weight and the same price when purchased new, it IS just as loud, and IME, louder. ;)

    On hybrid amps... the idea behind a tube preamp is to provide that "tube" tone with the headroom of solid-state amps, but results vary with design. An important part of that tone is also based on an all-tube poweramp. So depending on what you're looking for, a hybrid amp could be perfect, or it might be lacking what you really want.
  4. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    There are many more advantages/disadvantages to the tube vs. SS debate. A hybrid head is an attempt to take the best properties of each and combine them. What you find is that a SS head does SS things better than a hybrid, and a tube head does tube things better than a hybrid, but you get some qualities of each.
  5. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Many of the hybrids can pump out well over 1,000 watts. They are loud. Pick whichever sounds the best to you.

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