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Diary of a Tube Noob: making the transition to tubes.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TwentyHz, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. In a few hours, I will (I hope) arrive home to my first tube head.

    I'm going to try to do something that I haven't really found in other TB threads, or haven't been able to easily tease out: I'm going to try to document my learning experience making the transition to tubes.

    I've read a fair amount of the SS:Tube stickies here and skimmed or followed a lot of the threads. I can follow along with some physics talk, but I really don't know anything. I'm a mediocre musician at best.

    If the UPS stars align, my journey will start tonight with a used 2010s-era Zinky Supro Mofo Bass amp. I'll be down in the basement if ya' need me.
    Novarocker, iondico, okcrum and 9 others like this.
  2. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Subbed! A worthy undertaking!
    TwentyHz likes this.
  3. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I predict the Mofo will be different than all the solid state amps you have played previously...it will also be different than any all-tube heads you will play in the future.

    I don't get too hung up on this whole tube versus solid-state tribal BS thing. I have a range of solid state, hybrid, and all tube amps that are all awesome for different reasons. Some of the hybrid and solid state amps have tubey qualities, and some of the tube amps are fairly solid-state sounding. IMHO, Learn the way different amps sound and respond to your playing. Then you can choose the right amp for the occasion.

    If you find you have a preference for tubes, awesome! All I ask is that you try to be objective about it and avoid spreading nebulous, misleading hype. Tube amps are awesome, but a significant number of people actually prefer solid-state. It's not personal or ignorant, different people like different colors, flavors, textures, temperatures, and amplifier topologies.

    Also, the often repeated claim that tube watts are 3-5 times as loud as solid-state watts is sheer nonsense. Performance can vary significantly from one model of amp to the next, so if you want to make a comparison, IMHO it's best to compare two specific amplifier models instead of making a broad generalization. For example, I have Ampeg SVTs rated at 300W and a GK RB700 rated at 380W. The GK is slightly louder at 4ohms than my SVTs, as the power rating would suggest.

    Congratulation on the new amp. I hope you love it, but if you don't, I suggest trying some other all-tube heads.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  4. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Looking forward to your NAD pic. :cool: I had heard of Supro before, but was unaware of Zinky Electronics' revival of the brand.
  5. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Bear in mind cab needs to suit. You prob want good sensitivity for the low power. Extension is not so important because valve amps are generally bandwidth limited on the low side, and benefit from top roll off when driven. Tweeters can sound bad, and crossovers can make for impedance issues if not designed with it in mind.
  6. I just hope you are not disappointed with the amplifier. :)
    TwentyHz likes this.
  7. Sub-Frequency


    Sep 19, 2017


    Attached Files:

  8. five7

    five7 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    Take some food with you to the basement, might not come out for awhile. Enjoy!
  9. Temporary sadness. Although my confirmation email from the seller had my correct address, the address they gave UPS was wrong, and they shipped it with full restrictions. Despite my best efforts today On the phone with each, its Return-to-Sender may not get overwritten by the shipper’s address correction submitted to UPS. See ya’ in a week.
    saabfender likes this.

  10. Yep, this May sound weird, but I didn’t pull the trigger on the assumption of ‘better’. Just want to go down the path.
    dralionux and Wasnex like this.
  11. Thanks, these things were sold with a matching 1x10. I’ll be playing through either a Hartke HyDrive 4x10 or PJB C8 8x5
  12. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Think the PJB is kinda low sensitivity. Hydrive is intended to be paired with big SS amp, so either might be not ideal.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Have fun with it. Let a tube amp do what it does. Don't try to force a square ped into a round hole.

    Great thread idea!
    TwentyHz and Manny Bernardez like this.
  14. saabfender

    saabfender Banned SUSPENDED

    Jan 10, 2018
    Man, it's getting loaded with mojo before it even gets to you!
  15. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    I've found that efficient 2x15 cabs pull a lot of volume out of low-wattage tube heads.
    bobyoung53, TwentyHz and Greyvagabond like this.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's not like it operates any different. Don't be scared :)
  17. 2tonic


    Dec 22, 2015
    Congrats on taking the plunge!!
    It's a brave new world in tubeland!

    To further address some of the fine points brought up by @Wasnex.........
    This. Amps are tools, and you can never have too many in your arsenal.
    Learn how to master them individually. Only then can you appreciate their uniqueness.
    To expound on the tool analogy, I've seen guys who can create unbelievable works of art with just a tablesaw, and others who couldn't cut a straight edge if their life depended on it. It's all about learning the idiosyncrasies of each.
    Don't start off dialing up settings just because "this is what sounds good on this other amp". Listen, and experiment.
    See above!

    To many people, tube amps sound louder than SS amps of comparable wattage because you can drive them deeper into distortion before it becomes objectionable. It just sounds more pleasant.
    THD approaching 1% in a SS amp sounds nasty, but plenty of tube amps make THD of 3~4% seem......ok.

    Best of luck on your journey!
    We'll be here awaiting your reports.
    TwentyHz, Greyvagabond and Wasnex like this.
  18. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    Smurf Village
    You will have to re-learn how to play bass.

    I’m joking. But if your tube amp doesn’t have power tubes, it’s just like any amp.
    TwentyHz likes this.
  19. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi TwentyHz :)




    Waiting is not funny


  20. Yeah really man, it's an amp not a life changing event. I've transitioned from tubes to SS to hybrids with nary a sleepless night. Now the UPS thing, that is scary!
    Enjoy your new amp!
    TwentyHz and JimmyM like this.

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