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Solid State Vs Hybrid Vs Tube

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by slapmachine, Apr 2, 2011.


  1. slapmachine

    slapmachine

    Oct 4, 2010
    PV, Kansas
    Hey guys I was wondering if someone could help me differentiate the differences between the three types of heads and or cabs n such. I'm a slap player as many could guess and like some thumpy sounds with a full overall mix between lows mids and highs. I'm currently using an acoustic b210h with a b410 cab along with a warwick 115 pro cab. I like the sound but like any other bass player i got bad G.A.S. and beano can't fix it.

    Does the tube power make it sound different? Or the hybridization? Thanks!!!:bassist:
     
  2. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Generalizing big-time here, but.......

    Solid State- Generally clean, bright, tight, and quick. A slappers dream! Extremely portable/light.

    Hybrid- Generally like solid state, but can be adjusted to add some tubey "grit". Still pretty quick, and tighter than all tube. As close to a "best of both worlds" as you can get. Probably the most versatile. Weight varies by manufacturer.... lightweight to medium weight.

    Tube- Big, round, full, gritty, overdriven at loud volumes, not as quick but very authoritive. That 60's/70's sound. Usually heavy. The sound can vary greatly by manufacturer. Ampeg SVT vs. Mesa 400+, for instance.

    That's a very vague discription.
     
    Ed Byrnes likes this.
  3. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound

    Nov 29, 2008
    Well said; I think that some hybrids have very little effect with a tube while some are very tubey
    For example; my SWR SM400 has very little tube tonality, sag, etc.
    Mesa Walkabout - much greater tube qualities and the closest I've found to an SVT
     
  4. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Good point. My Mesa Titan is another "tubey" hybrid. While my Ampeg B100-R solid state combo has a very tube-like sound. Their really are so many exceptions to the "rule".
     
  5. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    A lot of slappers seem to be loving the Genz Benz Streamliners...lightweight, 3 pre amp tubes, but still very clean and detailed...I've never tried one, but I do have a GB ShuttleMax 12.0 which I love...1 pre amp tube, tons of detail, loud as all get out and weighs under 7lbs
     
  6. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I am also a Genz endorser, so take my somewhat biased opinion with a dose of salt :)
     
  7. I have been playing a solid state Ampeg for 5 years and I love it. It has never failed me, and I like the sound. My room mate has "the" 1969 Blue line SVT and that too sounds awesome. For recording...I loved the thing, tubes do have THAT sound.

    The deal breaker for me is two things: 1. The weight. The SVT, in a high end road case, has got to be closer to eighty pounds. It sucks having to move it gig to gig. I have a large pedalboard, plus a 2x15. I am losing friends asking them to help me move my stuff. 2. The overall sound in a live mix. I do most my bass playing in a live setting and I myself can't tell that much of a difference. If you are an adequate bassist, your actual talent should be more of a factor versus your head. Case in point, whenever my band plays with my room mate's band, both of our basses sound like basses. No night and day difference.

    However, the hybrids I have played with were closer to "the best of both worlds" as previously mentioned, and I am looking to buying one as my next head.
     
    Ed Byrnes likes this.
  8. BassmanAd

    BassmanAd

    Mar 19, 2008
    UK
    This is a great description. Should be made a sticky - it'd save a lot of arguments. Sounds to me like the OP would be best suited to a SS / 410 set up.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i don't get the "quick" part. you play a note on any amp, it comes out instantaneously. how is that not quick?
     
  10. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    With a tube amp, some of them seem to sound thicker in the higher frequency world (1khz to 8khz) while solid state heads typically sound brighter and a little more forceful in the same range. I think the big difference here is the compression of the power tubes versus much less compression in the solid state heads. In the end though, I am with you JimmyM. The note is coming through at the same speed as any other head. The sound may be different, but the audience will never know.
     
  11. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    All the nonsense shorthand talk around here concerning quick and slow is related to what's going in in the frequency response domain, in almost all cases. Brighter, climbing response will seem quicker because attack transients are easier to hear in the higher frequencies.
     
  12. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Texas
    What you say is correct greenboy, but for those who don't have an expert's grasp of the frequency domain and acoustic theorey, I can see how these subjective shorthand terms can still be useful in a discussion because players can recognize and relate to those tone profiles for comparison without having to be concerned with the details behind them. However, anything you can add as to why things sound the way they do is appreciated and provides a better understanding.
     
  13. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    No, actually they corrupt the understanding. If they didn't, people wouldn't always be asking about them. Like just happened.

    EDIT: And frankly, I've seen a lot of people who should know better from all the time they've spent around music, but also having been around these terms, who actually think some speakers are markedly slower at reacting than others.
     
  14. MarkusBass

    MarkusBass Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    California Coast
    Graphic Designer: Lakland
    There is that certain rubber band quality I love with tube amps and my Walkabout. Full solid state don't have that to my ears.
     
  15. GrowlerBox

    GrowlerBox

    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    It is a great description, except that it uses wooly terminology that can mean almost anything ("authoritative"?), and the parts that don't are untrue for at least half the amps I'm aware of.

    For example, most of the hybrid offerings from Markbass and Genz Benz (prior to the Streamliner) are not "gritty" at all. The fully solid state TCE RH450, and from my experience of the pedal version, the Aguilar TH500, are very "voiced" (albeit in very different ways) and can get very gritty. High-powered tube amps can be exquisitely clean right up to the point where they're not.

    Like most rules of thumb, it works while it's jammed up your a$$, but if you remove and inspect it, it's actually pretty sh!tty. :)
     
  16. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Most hybrids could easily have the tubes replaced by tube emulation and actually end up being better. But it's a marketing thang. And it gives people something to play with - aka tube rolling - an involvement which often ensures they bond with the gear.

    And we all know bonding is warm and fuzzy - just like TUBES!
     
  17. MarkusBass

    MarkusBass Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    California Coast
    Graphic Designer: Lakland
    I kinda felt that way about my Fusion 550, but not the Walkabout, for sure.
     
  18. I agree with this, a tube pre-amp is nothing but a marketing hype. this "best of both worlds" is nonsense. with the exception of maybe the Mesa hybrids i have never heard one that i liked. And the mesa probaly sound good because of the MOSFET power sections and not the preamp, you could put a SS pre infront of the Walkabout and it would likely sound just as good. All this talk about a tube pre adding warmth and grit is really exagerated, quite franky you would get better results with a nice OD pedal or tube sim like the VT Bass.
     
  19. NewLaw83

    NewLaw83

    Jun 26, 2009
    Boston, MA
    To me a hybrid has a very clean "hi-fi" sound to it. I feel the pre-amp tubes just give it a little more punch than a normal solid state. But maybe my ears are being fooled.
     
  20. BigOldHarry

    BigOldHarry

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Big caveat here:

    What you are describing is modern SS design... Many old SS amps are not clean, bright, tight and quick - they are muddy and flat with little tone or soul. There are brands to dig and brands to avoid.