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Is all tube wattage > tube pre/ss wattage?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sanctum, May 26, 2002.

  1. Since I've been shopping around for a new head or a pre-amp/power amp config, I've noticed that all tube heads generally don't rate above 400 watts. Since I've combed the archives and many users seem to swear by all tube set-ups, I'm just wondering if there is a difference in actual power output of all tube vs solid state.

    For instance, the Mesa 400+ seems popular, yet the MPulse 600 is a config I'm more used too. Obviously I've never owned a pure tube head, so I have no long real world experience other than trying stuff at stores.

    I will be powering two Eden cabs, one 400 watts the other 350 watts, both at 8ohms. I'm not really looking for another "buy this or that" thread, just general information about tube power.


  2. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Rather than get into the tube .vs. solid state thing here, I suggest you go out and try a tube amp and solid state one. The Mesa Boogie 400+ is a good all-tube amp. An SVT classic or II is also all tube. (Jut be aware that most modern SVT's are hybrid amps.) For hybrid I would try Eden, SWR, and Ashdown. (There are tons of good amps in this category.) If you would like to try the same tube pre with a separate power amp, try Stewart, QSC, and Crown for SS. For tube, there is only one I know of that is available now, the Aguilar DB 728. (This is what I use.) It is generally hard to find and is very expensive new. (I bought mine used.)
  3. Before I bought my current tube amp, I was using a 600 watt solid state head. In order to keep up with my band mates, I would set the master volume at 6 and the input level at 5. I was running the amp in to two 8 ohm 410 cabs which placed a total load of 4 ohms on the head.
    Yes, I got a ok sound out of it and better yet it was real easy to move.
    But I couldn't get any warmth out of the amp. Its sound lacked the harmonics and nuances that only a tube amp can create. About 5 years ago I passed on a 400 watt tube amp and I kicked myself after I let it get away. A year later I found another one (same make and model). I bought it on the spot.
    Here is how I have the settings set on this amp, the master volume is set on 5 and input channel setting is set on 2. If I turn it up anymore, I drown out the rest of the band. There is no comparison to the sound or tone that I get from the amp as well. And yes, i'm using the same speaker cabinets that I used with my solid state amp.
    My experience has been that the only way a solid state amp can compete with a 300-400 watt tube amp is to have a output far in excess of the tube amps output, ie 800-1000 watts. But the solid state amp won't give you the warmth of tubes in sound quality.
    If you buy a tube head, just take care of it. Don't let it get knocked around. Most importantly, make sure that you use good quality power tubes in it. And make sure you let the tubes warm up for a few minutes before you use the amp and make sure you give the tubes 5 minutes to cool down before you turn off the amp. Do this and the amp will give you years of trouble free service.
    A fellow TalkBass member posted a pic of my amp on another thread on this board. Here's what a 443 watt rms amp that's not a Mesa looks like. It's truly a monster!

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