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Quantum mechanics and SS amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by St Drogo, Apr 20, 2010.


  1. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    Netherlands
    So I just watched a short documentary about the history of quantum mechanics which I thought was very interesting. They used the evolution from vacuum tubes to transistors as an example. Not specifically in amps though, but in telephonelines.

    Turns out the whole wave/particle duality that quantum mechanics revolves around was used to solve the problem of inefficient tubes. Tubes were too bulky and produced too much heat, so they wanted to find something that does the same as tubes, but without the vacuum. It was quantum mechanics that made that possible. How about that! I thought that was quite cool.

    Seriously, it's only 30 mins long and very interesting, this film. You can find it here:

    http://www.documentary-log.com/you-are-watching-uncertainty-principle/

    By the way, I'm no physics whiz or anything (I failed maths in school, hehe), I just find it an intriguing subject. I thought I'd share.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    if only there weren't sonic considerations, tubes would have been out the door 30 years ago. but i think as long as people want to listen to and play music, tubes will always have a place. in the last 3-4 years, ss has made great strides to unlock the secrets of tubes, but it's still not there entirely and i doubt it ever will.
     
  3. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Tubes didn't go away 30 years ago because the Soviets kept them for use in military hardware, as they are immune to EMP. It's no mere coincidence that most tubes still come from Russia and China. Tubes are the electronic equivalent of the AK-47.
     
  4. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    Netherlands
    Oh yeah, I'm there with you. Music had different criteria than telephonetraffic or microwave ovens. I'm not posting this to show the superiority of transistors over tubes, I jsut thought it was quite interesting.
     
  5. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    Netherlands
    Heh, would that mean guitarists and bassists with tube amps are the musical equivalent to russian bad guys in every eighties movie ever?
     
  6. Rockman

    Rockman

    Mar 2, 2006
    I think thats its rather likely that a SS amp should be able to be designed to sound and act exactly like a tube amp, I see no reason why it shouldn't. The only reason it is being done at all now is because they realized it could and that people would want an amp that sounds like a 100 pound vintage SVT but weigh less than a toaster. Now, will it ever be the case that someone will think there is a difference in the sound even though he/she could be showed that the outputs were exactly the same that the tube amp sounded better? Definetely, but that would be a matter of someone being preconditioned.
     
  7. SpamBot

    SpamBot

    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    We don't even need to get to that point. Once we are unable to identify tube amps in double-blind testing, there wouldn't be any rational reason to prefer them, other than looks and the cool factor. This moment might already be upon us, but that doesn't mean I'll stop using tube amps myself. :cool:
     
  8. +1 almost every military power will have valve back ups to everything incase of emp
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i've done plenty of blind listening tests on here where listeners absolutely couldn't tell the difference between an ampeg tube amp and a vt pedal, or an ampeg tube amp and the svx plugin (i didn't do that test, but i got fooled). but when you're onstage and playing it yourself, you can absolutely tell the difference, and that's why i'm back using an svt or b-15 when i could use a vt and a small power amp. has zip to do with being preconditioned. has to do with the bigness of the feeling you get when you play it. for some it's not important. didn't used to be as important to me as having a smaller more modular rig that fit in my car, and now that i use a van, it is.
     
  10. Rockman

    Rockman

    Mar 2, 2006
    Ok, so have we moved from a talk about amps to talk about cabs? Because I agree, big cabs typically make people on stage happy. But I refuse to believe that a solid state amp can't do the same job in exactly the same fashion as a tube amp. The amount of things that are accomplished every year by engineers I cannot believe that this is impossible.
     
  11. SpamBot

    SpamBot

    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    JohnK claims that his 6176/power amp rig recreates this feeling with an SS power section, and you know as well as I do that he knows his amps. Seems to me that we aren't too far off from a completely SS amp that behaves exactly like a tube amp would.

    The 6176 isn't exactly new either! ;)
     
  12. Rumblefisher

    Rumblefisher

    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    and b/c they sound better than military transistor back ups :bag: jk
     
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    nope, not talking about cabs, but my svt does come with an 810 and i wouldn't use it without it.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    well john certainly knows his stuff. don't know how to answer this, though...i've played a lot of ss and hybrids and never got that feeling out of them, but haven't tried that particular rig. maybe it does and i'm wrong. but since i haven't tried it and i've never gotten that bigness out of a rig like i do with my svt, i'm sticking with my original statement ;)
     
  15. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    yes, i finally feel that i've found a way to make a SS power amp sound and feel like an SVT, but the way that i'm doing is to not let the SS amps' 'sound' become part of it by having gobs of power. i'm getting the huge SVT tube 'tone' from the preamp, and 1176LN compressor is supplying the 'feel' or response of output tubes compressing.
    it may not be 'exact', but sometimes it actually sounds more like an SVT than a real SVT.

    but keep in mind that i'm still using tubes in the LA 610's front end to do it.

    i actually think that i might be able to get a 100% solid state preamp to do it if i get my hands on an API 7600, a neve 8801 or an SSL E signature channel (with their 'harmonc drive circuit). and i have come within a gnat's whisker using a Sansamp PSA-1.

    so, at least for me, it has to still be analog since i've never been able to come close with digital modeling devices.
     
  16. SpamBot

    SpamBot

    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    Well John, you say the 1176 compressor gets you the feel of a tube amp, and Jimmy says a VT Bass gets you the sound.......

    Perhaps VT Bass + 1176 + power amp is this mystical SS rig we've all been working towards! :D
     
  17. TortillaChip520

    TortillaChip520

    Jun 3, 2008
    AZ
    And they get more power per watt out of them ;)
     
  18. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    that combination would probably actually work very well. ;)

    but i have to say that there's something going on in the LA610 preamp that is also very crucial for its attack, color, and response too.
     
  19. hall1k

    hall1k

    Jun 14, 2009
    For some reason this made me lol. The bad guys in movies always used AK-47's simply because the bad guys IRL also used them.
     
  20. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    SS and Tubes are different animals. Should not/ can not be compared side by side. Let me give it a try though.

    I love tubes, so dynamic, distortion is so musical.

    I love SS tons of clean horse power.

    I hate SS cuz they're hard to work on.

    I hate tubes, they sound the best when all controls are dimed (did you ever have to tell a gui**** to turn down?). Turn them down and they sound........er.....uhm...... like SS.
     

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