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difference of tone in solid state compared to tube

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nunk6, May 10, 2001.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i have never heard bass through a tube setup of any kind, and considering adding a tube pre amp only to my solid state amp, should i expect any changes in my tone?
  2. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Tube's generally warmer. I perfer ss.
  3. Not radically. Your tone may open up a bit, but most of the tube sound comes from the power tubes, not the preamp tubes.
  4. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I think Matt W's right. I always figgered ya' get that
    sweet compression/distortion from tubes overdrivin' tubes,
    not tubes pushin' mosfets or transistors.
  5. Tube amps have more (apparent) volume, due to how they break up as you push the volume.

    As everyone says, tubes give a "warmer" ("fuzzy" to some, but not "fuzzy" like a Big Muff! :D ) sound. Another goodie is the natural compression you achieve with tubes.

    A tube preamp on an SS poweramp will give you some warmth without compromising total reliability (SS amps are generally more reliable than tube).
  6. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    so if its a tube tone i want, its a tube amp i should get?.........
    anyone know where to find bass tube amp schematics? certainly not going to buy my own when i can try and build one.
  7. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Try dogpile.com. Enter the following (use quotes)...

      "bass tube amp"+schematics

    You could also try www.gbase.com .
    Select "Bass Amplifiers" from "Type" and click
    "Search". They usually list some old B15's for
    less than $1k.
  8. Pretty much, yep. You can get a similar tone from some hybrid amps (tube pre into a SS power, like an Eden WT series), also by using something like a SansAmp Bass DI (provides emulation of different bass amps, nicely) into a decently powerful SS power amp.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    (psssst! notduane ... MOSFETs ARE transistors)
  10. If you don't know the difference and haven't compared the two, why build one?
    Look, the difference in tone is really minimal unless you really know what you are listening for.
    Just get a good sounding amp and work on being the best player you can be. The SS vs Tube thing is worn out.
  11. But that's the whole point - to many people (me incl.) the tube sound is where it's at; SS doesn't cut it.
    What I may consider a "good sounding amp" could be completely arse-backwards compared with what you'd choose...
  12. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Duhhhh...O.K. :p Gosh oh gee. I'm glad you pointed that out :)
    What does mosfet stand for again?
  13. While there may be some preferances concerning someone's favorite sounding amp, I'm suggesting the focus should be on playing.

    I doubt Magic Johnson developed his skills by demanding the use of his preferred basketball or shoes. I suspect he spent his energy practicing and playing with what he had, and learned to appreciate better equipment as his economic status rose.

    If any bassplayer has a decent gig, is playing with people they enjoy, and is making music they are happy with, I doubt the tone of MOST modern amps would distract from his/her experience.
    T Jay
  14. Fair 'nuff...focus for ANY player should be on playing, but when the original poster was asking about how different amps sound... ;)

    I think the bottom line is that you need to try plenty of different rigs, both tube & solid state, and find the tone that YOU like.
  15. I'm not certain that there's a great difference betwen the sound of tubes and SS. Not under non-distorted playing conditions, that is.

    If you overdrive tubes they sound - well, we've all heard a Marshall, haven't we. Trannys, on the other hand behave very differently. They square the signal dramatically when overdriven. Result=dreadful sound.

    There's a lot of mystique about playing tube amps: almost as though one's not a true musician, or something, if not playing tubes. I don't accept that, period.

    Anyway, I doubt that many people could tell the a tube amp from a tranny amp under those normal conditions.

    My own view: I don't care very much whether it's tube or SS. SS's fine for me.

    Also, of course, tube amps tend to be more costly to (buy and) run because of the cost of new tubes every so often.

    Having said all that, I don't gig. I play just for enjoyment so stage use doesn't figure in my comments.

    Best regards.

    Rockin John
  16. Oh yeh.

    MOSFET=Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor.

    They are transistors but they're not bipolar transistors (the ordinary sort of transistor).

    Electrically, the MOSFET act quite like a tube.

  17. In the end, it will be more expensive to build one yourself, unless you can find some used power and output transformers in good condition.
  18. I go with Matthew.

    The output transformer in particular is crucial to a tube amp. You will really need to get the right one for any given circuit. I'm sure that to buy new it would cost a great deal of money. You can have these things especially wound if you know the exact specification. Again, though, lots of money.

    I guess buying a used amp would be the cheapest option.

    Building your own does bring a good deal of satisfaction but it's a hard slog.

    Best of luck.

  19. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    im looking for a "creamier" tone if that makes sense, i cant deal with the "metallic" sound im getting from my SS GK400, i usually use overdrive and roll my treble all the way off
  20. Makes perfect sense. Maybe it's your current rig? GK's are notorious for a biting clanky treble that's great for punk and slap, but (I find) too clanky for much else. Especially the 400RB...are you bi-amping it?
    Creamier? Try an SWR or Eden head - more expensive, yeah, but with a tube preamp/SS poweramp you'll have the best of both worlds. Both give a fairly hi-fi sound but the EQ options on either allow you to dial in almost any sound. Ampeg SS heads sound nice and smooth but a bit chunky and undefined to some people.

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