Is tube sound louder, watt for watt?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by OldJackBloom, May 18, 2001.

  1. OldJackBloom


    May 12, 2001
    Reno, NV
    I have heard that tube sound is louder, watt for watt, "to the human ear". Is this true. And if so, how much louder?
  2. This has been argued time and time again.....

    I play through a tube amp, but I used to use solid state....

    I will not say that the tube has more power or is louder, but the tube amp does seem to be louder, because when pushed to it's limits, the tubes start to distort, but the s-s would probably cut out or start clipping.....

    That is just my $.02....
  3. captainpabst


    Mar 18, 2001
    i believe tubes can play louder without clipping- basically louder without sounding like crap. so yeah, watt for watt, tubes are more or less louder. at least that's the way it is with home audio. i haven't A/B's enuf tube amps with solid state to say for sure about bass equipment.
  4. I'm no expert, but in short:

    Tube amps distort with even-order harmonics, which are "pleasant" to the ear. Therefore we detect an apparent increase in volume without the distortion present being as noticable.

    Solid-state amps distort with odd-order harmonics, which sound nasty. Ever heard an SS amp clip? Ouch! So by the time we get an equivalent volume, the distortion makes it too unpleasant.

    So, same volume, different sound. :)
  5. Agreed, for sure...I was just offering a simple layman's definition to save searching the forums... ;)
  6. Old Blue

    Old Blue

    Mar 18, 2000
    You'll probably get nearly unanimous agreement that tubes are louder. I'm not going to say anything that will go counter to the trend, just my own personal experience. I have a 100 watt Ampeg B100R SS combo that's relatively loud. Noticeably louder than other 100 watt combos that I've played through(Fender, Crate, Trace Elliot). I also have an Ampeg V4 100 watt tube head. If I hook up the V4 to a single 15" cab, so the speaker set up is the same in both cases, it's no contest. The V4 will produce absolutley painful sound levels. If I hook up the 2x10 cab in addition to the 1x15, small items on table tops start to rattle around and pictures on the walls are at risk. Yes, tube amps louder. This is very true with guitar amps as well. 15-20 tube watts are much louder than 50 ss watts, in my experience.
  7. no more watts, no more SPL. It's psychoacoustics all the way. Our ears interpret the sound levels of SS and TB differently.
  8. yeah disregarding the first two "hi i'm new posts" your 538 posts discuss why tubes are louder....



    Bit like my 980 odd posts are just crap. see why can't i post good stuff????