No tubes for me

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by seamonkey, Nov 23, 2005.

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  1. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Let me preface that my amp was a POS and your tube amp is fantastic and doesn't suffer from any of the woes. And I shouldn't generalize all tube amps the same. It's just bad luck on my part. I have good luck with solid-state amps. Except for I never really blew up a tube amp - hmmmm - maybe I should have before I gave it away.

    But I did it! I got rid of my tube amp. I gave it away to charity - with a box of spare tubes.

    After subjectively listening to it, I decided it's got to go. And the charity truck was in the area.

    I'm a solid state guy from now on.
    Why no tubes for me.
    The way instrument amps are designed - they emphasize a "tube" sound which is nothing more than distortion. You can't get rid of all the distortion.
    Your sound changes depending at what level you're playing at. (Thus why there exist things like "power soaks" so you can get just the right distorted sound at lower levels.
    Tube amps change their sound over time - you put in new tubes and it sounds different. Most people don't bother to re-bias the new tubes. I've got enough problems with strings getting old.
    They're not green - they use up a lot more energy than they put out. They're heavy to carry and transport. I didn't like to lug it around.

    I decided if I need tube sound I can do it with signal processing, but I don't think I need it anymore.

    Articles that swayed my opinion if you're interested.
    (Read this if you're pro tubes and want to feel good about tubes)

    These if swayed me away.

    Just one creatures opinions and actions.
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You could have always donated it to a TB member, so it would get appreciated.... Like me...
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    very cool, I started in 1980 on an Ampeg fliptop. I hated everything about it's nasally underpowered buzzing tone. I went to solid state and for 20 years never looked back.

    I now run 100% tubes exclussively and have found the fidelity and clarity I was hunting for the last 2 decades :bassist:

    it takes all kinds of gear to please all kinds of players :bassist:
  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    The tube bass amps of today are a far cry from that they used to be. Now they are designed for headroom, rather than a guitar amp that has some lows.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    You are a case for charity - but I wouldn't have got the tax write off.

    Absolutely right!

    They sure don't make 'em like they use to - thank gawd. But it seems like there's this class-a/b standard design that seems to be predominant on for instrument amps.

    That'd be me. I'm weak.

  6. I still dont get that either, oh my nooo, the tube amps are soooo heavey . . . no they arent?
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Multipe trips to the car and back are for drummers not for me. I setup and grab some refreshments.
  8. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    At the risk of throwing gas on a fire... this sounds like a 'lead singer' attitude..... "I brought my mic in, I'm done."


  9. [/B]

    I wouldn't say that of all tube instrument amps but yes this is probably true for a lot of them. There are also lots of solid state instrument amps with high distorion too, though.

    All amps do this to some extent, but I see your point especially if one is after a distorted tone from a tube amp. You can't really get that tone until you're overdriving the power amp/saturating the OT.

    Solid-state amps do this too. Take a 20 year old solid-state amp and put new output devices in it and tell me it doesn't sound different than it did. Bias drifts in solid state devices too.

    Better get yourself a class D amp if you actually want appreciably better efficiency. The only difference in the efficiency of a class AB tube amp and that of a similarly biased class AB solid-state amp is in the filaments. On a 300W amp, it's maybe a couple of percent in the difference. The amplifiers themselve are both 50% efficient.

    No argument about the weight.

    Good luck accomplishing that. ;)

    Fair enough. There are lots of great sounding solid-state amps out there and there are lots of great sounding tube amps. Go with what you dig, but I hope you used your ears and not the advice of some magazine editor to make your decision...:D

    Personally, I'd love to go with a nice light class D amp, but until they make one that sounds like an SVT, I'll be lugging the beast around.
  10. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    Well just so us toobe heads don't get labled as nancy boys too I shall attempt to repel the ss heathan....

    Well you could say most any piece of equipment in the signal chain that is engineered to have a 'voice' distorts the sound, ie where the signal that goes in is different (other than perhaps in amplitude) to what comes out, including cabs. Why single out tube amps?

    SS amps change their tone depending on what volume you play at too. Operate one outside it's performance envelope and it clips, just like tubes. So why single out tubes again? Difference is ss clipping sounds so bad you'll turn it down right away. Power soaks exist for tube amps because some people like that sound, so those folks look at tube overdrive as a bonus not a flaw (I'm not into it personally).

    Time to change to flatwounds! Wot's that, you don't like the sound of flats? I guess you that's why you put up with all the string changing.... ;)

    They're not green? Jeez I don't think they're biodegradeable either! You really are glad to have seen the back of your old tube amp by the sounds of that.

    Ahh, just isn't the same though, well not yet anyway....

    Nah, it's my ears that have swayed my opinion. Actually I have nothing whatever against non tube technology, it's just the best sound I've experienced so far has been from tubes, so at this point I'm prepared to put up with the negatives. Tube amps have their cons as well as their pros, but what doesn't? Yer makes yer choice and yer pays yer money!
  11. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I do have Class-D. Well PWM amps.
    And if I hook up the right speakers, and play back a recording of someone playing through a tube amp - I don't even hear the PWM amp in the signal path.
    I don't have golden ears though.
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I admit, I don't have golden ears. My ears are connected to my brain, and my brain has opinions. It took me reading and discovering other opinions that let me listen in a different way. Which convinced to not stick with tubes. Who knows, in 20 years I may be singing a different song, but for now PWM (using solid state) is the way for me to go.
  13. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Just wondering, what tube amp did you have?
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It's my attitude too. At most of my gigs, there is not a lot of shared equipment. If there is a PA, it is provided by the bandleader. It harms nobody else if I can load my gear in just one trip.

    Shared responsibility for band gear has its pro's and con's. I don't object to lending my fellow musicians a helping hand. But if they want to load themselves down with a bunch of big, heavy gear, then it shouldn't be my problem. Likewise for the cost of that gear.
  16. 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
    You are close enough to enlightenment to consider yourself a Bodhisattva. You are on the doorstep of Nirvana.
  17. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Just to clarify... your attitude mirrors my own. I haul my gear first, it's my responsibility, I bought the heavy bastard, I lug it... but when I finish, I help whoever still has gear to haul (usually the drummer) get their gear on stage, and especially when coming off a stage, getting on and off stage in a hurry simply shows respect for the next band and the venue.... shuffing your combo off to the side and going for a beer while the drummer toils alone for an extra 10 minutes before and after a set does not....

    It also shows respect for the rest of the band... I'm not a solo artist, I rely on my bandmates (and by extension their gear) to get my band's sound... all the parts may be individually owned, but it is one rig.

    The attitude you describe (my gear first, then I'll help with yours) is far different than the attitude I was attempting to describe in my post.


  18. Fair enough, you're getting a good savings on energy (and weight!) over any other class of amp tube or solid state. :D

    Yes, well designed solid-state power amps should be pretty transparent in their linear ranges. How they behave at/beyond their limits separates the men from the boys though, and most PWM amps I've heard/measured have a ways to go in that department....

    Who claimed to have 'golden ears?' Certainly not me, though I do think some people are better at processing auditory information than others. Whether it's learned or innate, I'm not sure. Probably some of each. I certainly don't hear any difference between high dollar boutique cables and regular good quality cables, despite working in the hifi industry (which is rife with that BS). I can certainly hear that nothing else captures the sound of an SVT and a sealed cab, though.... Too many idiosyncrasies for current DSP technology to truly model. In my opinion, of course...

    Anyhoo, if you dig your current amplification, whatever devices are in it, have fun with it!
  19. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I know, but in order to get the rest of the way there, I have to become a lead singer.

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