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Samsamp pbdi or a tube preamp

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Langueta, Jul 18, 2007.


  1. Langueta

    Langueta Guest

    Jul 9, 2007
    A friend of mine told me that tube preamps are better that those ones made with transistors....
    Vote this one...
    Wich would you choose and why?
    Wich is the difference between both?

    For wich styles you recomend a tube preamp and for wich ones a sansamp?
     
  2. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    It depends how much colour you want... and which colour you want. The sans amp has a unique tone that really doesnt sound anything like my ART Studio V3 which actually has a real tube you can see. The sans amp just uses emulation circuitry. I prefer the Studio V3, because the sans amp adds too much compression for my taste.
     
  3. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    When pushed hard, my Sansamp GT2 responds to playing dynamics almost like my tube amp IMO.
     
  4. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    False - it's entirely subjective. Tube amps simply have been the preference for decades, because they were around before transistor-based amps (also known as solid-state or "SS" for short). You really need to try some good examples from both sides before you can decide for yourself which is best.

    The SansAmp RBI and BDDI are unusual, though. They're solid-state, but they don't sound like it. The SansAmp series was designed to emulate a tube amp. Honestly, they do an excellent job of sounding like a tube amp without using any tubes at all.

    Other solid-state preamps usually aim to sound different than tube preamps, or they take a different approach to the warmth that many people believe only tubes can offer.

    Personally, I've never been too satisfied with tube amps, even though I play rock (where tube amps are the standard). I've normally used solid-state or hybrid amps. Right now, I'm using a GK amp for rock, and it delivers great clean and overdriven tones for my needs.

    It's hard to tell you which you'd like better, since you really need to try the gear first. But for rock, it's safe to go with the SansAmp since it emulates the all-tube rock standard - the Ampeg SVT.

    I don't know if you know this, but one of your influences, Flea, currently doesn't use tubes at all - he uses a solid-state GK amp, too!
    The newest album, Stadium Arcadium, was recorded with a GK 2001RB and GK RBH cabinets.
     
  5. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I have both a Sans Amp and an EBS Valve Drive. I much prefer the Valve Drive because of the warmth it adds to my sound. The Sans Amp is very good as well, just not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more of a tube guy.
     
  6. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I use a SansAmp for recording to replicate the sound of my SVT-CL (all-tube amp). It does a very good job.
     
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Important distinction: there are tube preamps, and "all-tube" amps where the power section is also tubes. The Sansamp is designed to replicate an all-tube amp. There are many products out there which call themselves "tube preamps" but where all they do is use one preamp tube that may (or may NOT) provide any "warmth" or any other good qualities. For me, I would rather have a well-designed and warm-sounding solid state preamp/amp, than a poorly-designed (usually cheap) tube preamp. So basically I'm saying not all tube devices are good or worthwhile; don't believe anyone who says tubes are better than transistors without exception.
     
  8. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Bongo is wise. This is a VERY IMPORTANT fact to be aware of. Many, MANY people fall into the trap of "tubes are always better". It's simple really...better is better, and don't believe the hype.
     
  9. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    Because the sound of tube power is recognized as more "musical", a lot of solid state electronics seek to emulate the tube sound. I play an Ampeg all tube amp, and no combination of transistorized pedals has ever come close to the sound of my amp. Many of them have that "blanket over the amp" quality that is not my amp at all, actually.

    Most of the tube sound comes from the pre-amp section of your amplifier. There are a lot of hybrid amplifiers out there with tube preamps and solid state power sections, and they're worth a look. But if you're set on getting a box, I would recommend a tube pre over the sansamp, but which tube preamp kind of depends on what you're looking for. Do you want a simple preamp or do you want more options for distortion? That's a big deal there because while there are both good tube and solid state amplification technologies, no transistorized distortion can beat good real tube distortion.
     
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I disagree with you significantly on several points there. :) Just sayin'.
     
  11. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    What points in particular? I don't think it would hurt anyone to discuss them.
     
  12. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    This is probably the wrong forum for that discussion, but I'm with Bongo on this one.

    I'll be brief:

    - Not all solid-state amps try to sound like tube amps. Some sound great with their unique voicing.
    - IME, all-tube amps tend to have that "blanket over the amp" quality, while SS amps tend to be clearer. And yes, the opposite has also been true sometimes.
    - If you think SS distortion = bad, then you probably haven't seen what overdrives tube sections in many amps...
    - SS distortion usually sounds much different than tube distortion, but that doesn't always mean it's bad - some of the most uniquely cool tones I've heard came out of that! It's all dependent on the amp.
    - If solid-state really was inferior to tubes, then that debate wouldn't be happening 24/7 in the Amps forum, and the Internet really would be a "series of tubes". :D
     
  13. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Man, I think I'm on a "sig material" roll today. :smug:
     
  14. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    First of all, let me be clear when I say I'm not here to argue or change anyone's mind. I think there are a lot of great players here, and if someone has an opinion different than mine, I want to hear it. Furthermore, I think discussing some of this stuff might bring out some information that could be useful to Langueta.

    I didn't say that there aren't great SS amps, in fact I think there are. I used to use some SS amps in fact, that I wish I could get my tube rig to sound like. My tube rig just fits the sound of my current band better, which is why I use it.

    While SS amps do tend to be clearer, I have to disagree about the tube amps have a "blanket over the amp" quality. I've used both tube and solid state amps that kind of have that EQ'd blanketed sound, and my current tube head (Ampeg V4BH for bar gigs) is actually quite clear, even when the preamp is driven, and without using the horns on my cabs.

    I didn't say or think that SS distortion is bad, in fact I've owned and used dozens upon dozens of SS distortion pedals. Moreover, if you want a heavily distorted bass sound, there aren't nearly as many options that use tubes for clipping. And I love fuzz, which pretty much requires transistors. I was trying to make a generalization about the classic "rock n' roll" distorted sound that has been handed down, and I know this is more in the guitar realm, but I don't think you can beat a cranked tube amp, like a Marshall JTM45, for that kind of sound. Moreover, even when I'm using a tube guitar amplifier, I will still use SS pedals to push the amp, such as a Rangemaster.

    I studied Electrical Engineering for three years at an Engineering University. Believe me, I know how transistors are superior to tubes for most uses lol!
     
  15. Langueta

    Langueta Guest

    Jul 9, 2007
    Can you name good preamps made of tubes?
     
  16. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    That's pretty much what I was saying! Good to see we agree on this one :)

    I thought you meant to say that SS amps were like that. I re-read your statement from earlier, and now I get what you originally meant.

    A vacuum-tube computer would still be cool, though :D

    ...but I don't have enough spare rooms in my apartment for it. :(
     
  17. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    The Amps forum would be the best place to research that.
     
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, so here's the areas where I disagree:
    ...by some people in some circumstances, but I wouldn't even say the majority. Sometimes absolute transparency is what's needed, rather than coloration or clipping of any variety.
    But the Ampeg tube amp is only one of many benchmarks for good bass sound. A lot of pros these days go for more of the Avalon U5 type pristine sound, or the GK type solid-state grind.
    False. Some of the sound comes from the preamp, but a tube power section can add a huge amount of coloration (depending on the design and how you drive it), and I believe that is almost always the case with Ampeg tube amps in particular. Additionally, there are many, many tube preamps where the single 12AX7 does little to no good for the signal; also, many where the tube circuit is designed for clean uncolored sound.
    Again, a really large number of tube preamps and hybrid amps are just badly designed. They are jokingly called "toob" gear in pro audio circles, where the tube is just there to look pretty and raise the retail price of the unit, and people are mocked for being such suckers as to fall for the marketing hype. Simply adding a tube in no way guarantees any sort of improved audio quality or musicality.
    That's just a matter of personal taste, not fact.
     
  19. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    When I'm talking about musicians thinking tube power is more musical, I'm mostly talking about guitar players, as there's so many of them, and the majority of people I talk to seem to feel that way. Bass is a different animal, as we know, and Tube vs. Solid State is generally a choice of application more than musicality for us low enders. Would you agree?

    And when I talk about no transistorized pedals coming close to the sound of my amp I'm mainly referring to pedals that try to emulate the "SVT Grind". There's a lot of great amps out there, but I'm mainly comparing on that basis, and on that basis, no pedals have come close to what I personally get out of my amps. Cool?

    And I should have specified that most of the "tube" sound that I am -personally looking for- comes from the preamp tubes. Tube and SS power sections do sound different, quite different. My point was that I personally prefer the sound of a tube preamp to a solid state preamp.

    And while I'm sure there's a lot of bad hybrid amps out there, as with any piece of equipment, I would only recommend something decent. When I get sick of replacing tubes in my non self-biasing amp, I'm going to go with the Ampeg SVT-3 Pro, which I do not feel is a "toob" amp.

    And lastly I did not say tube distortion is better as a matter of fact. I was merely presenting my own personal tastes. No need to jump the gun on it, I just didn't realize I need to attach anything that was a matter of opinion with a disclaimer lol!
     
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Right, and my point was that simply telling the guy to get any tube preamp in preference over any solid-state device, would be bad advice. If you want to say something like "I recommend X, Y, and Z tube preamps instead of the Sansamp because I tried them all and know from experience that X, Y, and Z sound better to me"... that's good advice. So for example you like your Ampeg V4BH better than the Sansamp, and that's perfectly good info. But it is a huge leap to extend that preference to all/any devices containing a tube.

    Edit: I'm re-reading all of our earlier posts in the thread, and it looks like I'm over-reacting. I apologize, I don't mean to be a jerk, I just wanted to clarify the distinctions I saw. But your points are good too. :)
     

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