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S.S. watts vs. TUBE

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Joseph Sheldon, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. I'm really interested in good information as to why tube watts are quote 3-5 times as loud as solid state watts. And are solid state cleaner in general or is that totally subjective? I'm buying a b4r next week and I don't got the greanbacks for it but I get the feeling a Mesa 400 is the loudest stand alone quality sounding head ever, is this the rizzle dizzle for shizzle????????
  2. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    well i think this is how it goes...

    tube watts just sound louder. they have a accented midrange or something that makes them sound louder than they really are... i'm pretty sure how that works. but yeah... try both, and see which one you prefer. if i were to choose, i would choose the 400+... i love tubes.
  3. Yep, a Watt is a Watt, but the sonic characteristic of a tube amp in slight overdrive make it sound louder. Chalk it up to compression of the waveform and accentuated harmonics, also known as distortion.

    If you had a 100 Watt tube amp, and a 100 Watt SS amp, and you drove them both to right at the edge of clipping - 100 Watts RMS output, they'd be the same volume through identical speakers. The magic is that the tube amp can be turned up some more and it won't sound too bad, actually good to some folks, so now it may be putting out 120 Watts, with some extra energy thrown into the harmonics of the original signal, which makes it sound louder (Distortion.) Most SS amps sound bad when going into clipping even slightly, so nobody runs them that way.

  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Not only that, a SS amp that's clipping cam do some real damage to your speakers. The distortion we're talking about it either on or off withh SS. Tubes bring it on more gradually and thus more musically.

    There are advantages and disadvantages for both.
  5. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    What romeoarmada said, plus a tube amp can be overdriven without producing square-wavish type signals. They just compress the signal instead of cropping the top of the waveform.

    The result is more musical peak power than a similarly rated non-tube amp.
  6. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    man, if only talkbass had a search feature...
  7. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Umm...look up in the upper left corner under Welcome to... and Registration....
  8. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Man, if only more people understood sarcasm...
  9. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    ahh, what are you gonna do? If we all decide that we just can't stand to address things that have already been posted, we may as well just shut down the forum. There are always going to be people getting curious about things and it's no big deal if it rehashes things- how many topics are there about playing bass, anyway? Right now, there's somebody out there who just heard Jaco for the first time and can't wait to let us all know how great he is. If it bothers you, don't click on the topic.
  10. Baofu


    Mar 8, 2003
    I would have to agree with corinpills, this forum seems really jaded towards "old" questions. Almost hostile. I mean, take the seymour duncan boards for example, there's a large influx of people asking questions that may have been answered before, more so than these on boards. Yet, rarely does the search function get mentioned, mostly the questions are simply re-answered or a link is provided to a similar question thread. I mean, some of the threads here that already answer the question are 2-3 years old, maybe someone has something new to say or add to the subject matter.
  11. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    yeah, no offense to anyone, but i wish instead of people saying "Use the search feature" actually answer the question being asked. just try and help everyone if you can.
  12. I know of the search feature and use it and it dosen't mean every topic has been addressed in all points of view that everyone can understand. I like to hear from differnt people all the time this is what makes this sight worth checking in all the time isn't it? I think some people live to be negative and feel better than by adding some condisending 50 cent, and they think they are cool or a real veteran of talkbass. Ive been playing 17 years and I think there is still alot for me to learn about gear and playing. But most of the time I get great positive feedback the is usefull and insightfull. Thanks guys ! Good luck negative boy....
  13. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Don't take is personally Joseph. I almost didn't even open up this topic because it has been discussed so many times in so many different places. I'm sure romeo is just tired of seeing it come up again.

    In short, watts are watts. The ratings are supposed to indicate the maximum amount of power output that the amp is capable of with a distortion level no greater than some predetermined level. Tube amps tend to have a more desireable form of distortion than solid state and thus can be pushed further before the listener hates the sound. Amp ratings are specified by each individual manufacturer in any manner they choose. So, don't count on being able to compare numbers for determining volume. Finally, each amp has a different impact on eq of the signal. Eq difference can make one system sound louder than another despite putting out an equal number of watts.