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Tube emulator in front of real tube?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by TOM274, May 1, 2010.

  1. TOM274


    Dec 17, 2007
    In an article titled "the golden age of metal" of this month's Bassplayer, I noticed that the players had a tube emulator in front of real tube preamps.
    e.g: Chris beattie has Sansamp bass driver in front of SVT-2PRO; john campbell has a Sansamp bass driver infront of mesa boogie
    Why do they use tube emulators while they could afford real tube amps?
    Thx guys, u all helped me learn more.
  2. In my own limited experience, an SVT2-Pro is a much different beast than a real old SVT. A tube pre-amp is only half the way to that. I have tried that amp and I do play an SVT3-Pro live just because it weighs 1/4 the weight of the vintage SVT head but it doesn't respond the same way to your playing. The whole tube power section imparts something that is hard to put in words. Somehow not clanky like a solid state amp??
  3. calebbarton


    Aug 25, 2007
    I manufacture for several companies including but not limited to: Bridge City Sound, Catalinbread, more.
    yeah its just not the same. its really hard to describe unless you have a tube amp and you a/b a tube vs a solid state amp. it just sounds that much more amazing.

    as far as why they use tube emulators infront of a tube amp, im not sure. maybe for more eq flexibility? maybe they like the effect of fake tube distortion? not sure.
  4. sending a 'tube' styled signal direct to the PA ?
  5. snapple


    Nov 25, 2003
    Victoria-Vancouver Canada
    Endorsing Artist: PCL Vintage Amps
    I run a sansamp in front of my SVT-CL, and did the same thing when I was running SVT-II Pro's. Yes, tube amps sound absolutely amazing, but the sansamp just provides a bit more "oomph" to the sound.
    outoftune likes this.
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    This is the #1 reason. They want an SVT-like sound going to the PA, and they will get that from the Sansamp with its built-in DI. Any extra grind it gives them through their amp rig is gravy.
  7. alangoldstein


    Jul 23, 2007
    Charleston, SC
    Endorsments: Aguilar, Hartke, DR strings, Analysis Plus "Oval" Cables
    it cant hurt. i use a 12ax7 pre and a vt bass ( sansamp ) and the tube emulator switch on the ebs compressor i use.
  8. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    I like it! I play a P Bass Amer with actv.through the SVTcl into the 810E. I just played my vt bass box and it is a great way to get more out of the tube rig. I usually don't use too much in the way of additives but this is a great way to control the tube sound and color it. I usually use this Vt box with my solid but its great with the tubes as well....
  9. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Some guys also use the BDDI as a distortion 'effect'. That buzzy grind (not very tube-like in my opinion) has kind of become a staple in heavier genres.
  10. IMHO tube preamps are nothing but a gimmick. What sets tube amps apart from SS is the power section. People say a tube pre can add warmth and tube feel, i don't see it, hear or feel it. And and overdriven 12ax7 sounds like crap. If you wan tube overdrive you need to get the power tube going. Tube emulators are usually designed to emulate not only the preamp section but also the power section of the tube amp. Therefore someone playing a SS amp with a tube pre might what to add the emulator to try and get closer to the all tube sound.
  11. shaolinwhat


    Jun 5, 2005
    Yea it just doesn't sound the same. I did a fill in tour a few years back where I used their bass player's SVT-CL with a sans amp in front of it. The guy I was filling in for had a very bright driven tone, and that set up just made it super easy to get that tube grind regardless of my levels and what not.
  12. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    How do you feel about the tube preamps in the typical all-tube amp? ;)
  13. same way. I prefer the preamp stay relatively clean, the really nice distortion comes from the power tubes. Guitarists know this, not sure why bass players think they can get a tube sound with a preamp.
  14. They're more than a gimmick. I'll admit that an overdriven tube pre, by itself, is nothing to write home about. Good if setup right, but not holy grail good. When solid state distortions are run into a clean tube pre, they sound amazing. I've tried to dump my English Muff'n over and over again, but I can't. All the distortion on my M13 sound dull without my Muff'n and full of life with it. No solid state dirt I've tried delivers the same response. Maybe not the same as a proper power section, but not just a gimmick.
  15. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Not always true. It depends greatly on the design, overall. Example, the Mesa Walkabout. Only 2 little 12AX7's, but you'd be hard pressed to find a "tubier" sounding amp. On other designs, maybe not so much. But as an aside, and more to the op's question, I run both a tube compressor AND a tube preamp/overdrive into an all tube amp, with great results.
  16. pmano


    Aug 26, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    Scotch, what kind of bass you got there on your profile? Looks like a P Bass with a maple fingerboard, and is that a thumb rest above the E String? I love that. The new 50 anniversary Jazz bass has that but I hate the rosewood neck and the block inlays. Yours is a very cool looking bass. What is the year and model?
  17. Agreed, but the Mark Bass LMII also has the same reputation and it uses not tubes at all. My guess is that the tubiness is a function of the voicing of the amp more so than the pre amp tubes. The MOSFET power section also plays a big role in the Mesa's sound.
  18. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah, mosfet's kick it. Aside from an all-tube amp, mosfet powered amps have the warmest, richest tone of any solid state device.
  19. It's just an easy way to get a consistent distorted tone. Driven tube amps are great but to get the exact sound you want you need to be playing at exactly the same level - not always possible from venue to venue to rehearsal space.

    The question is - why wouldn't you
  20. mattq


    May 23, 2006
    Santa Cruz, CA
    granted it's not an svt, but my yba200 sounds like garbage with my sansamp bass driver in front of it. but it's still on my board so the FOH gets the tubey sound i want them to have

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