tube questions for a noobie

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by profx, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. profx


    Jul 6, 2014
    Hey peeps, I'm a bass player planning in investing in some equipment to get more of the warm rich sound of dem tubes and less of the coldness of the SS. I've never owned any music gear with a tube before tho so I'm fairly confused about the topic. I've been thinking of getting an Effectrode tube compressor pedal and/or a tube preamp like maybe the Noble one, I really like what I heard from these equipment. Also I mostly do my gigs through a PA so it would be perfect if I'd just have a pedalboard for the sound. My confusion comes from how does the gear with tubes effect each other and solid state equipments. So for example if I get both the effectrode and the noble is that too much tubeness, is that a thing? Or is are they just going to make each other sound nicer?
    Also what happens if I combine the Noble with a GK 500 mb class D bass head. Does it make the bass amp sound more rich and nice too or it just helps a bit but still gonna sound like SS? Or it doesn't make much of a difference? Same question as what happens if I record with noble and with a cheap focusrite AI? Do I get the tubey sound or it would be lost because of the cheap focusrite? Thanks for any insights!
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    You seem to have a common misconception. Tubey is not a single quality. Rather, it's a range of of qualities that can be mixed in varying degrees. Also some tube amps are rather bright, but once you pair them with a traditional cab that rolls off the highs, they are perceived as warm. Part of this perception of warm sound is also because tube gear tends to have a bit more distortion than solid state gear. A final comment, different tube amps tend to have a fairly wide range of personalities. Ampeg SVTs, Hiwatts, and vintage Fenders all sound and behave significantly different from each other. I like all of them, but some people are tribal and defend their brand and say everything else sucks! It's sort of the fight between people who like Ford, Chevy, or Dodge trucks.

    It's entirely possible for solid state gear to have tubey qualities, and it's also entirely possible for tube gear to have qualities that we think of as solid state sounding. So, there is nothing wrong with mixing solid state and tube gear, but you definitely have to be careful with how you combine ingredients. Imagine if you were baking cookies and put too much salt or too much vanilla extra in the recipe :vomit:. It's the same thing when your cooking up a tone, too much of one ingredient and the flavor will be off.

    I suggest you figure out a define the specific qualities you want instead of chasing some undefined generic quality you are calling tubey. Try to really narrow in on what aspects give an instruments tone a tubey quality. Once you did this, then you can explore different recipes with different mixes the qualities you have identified.
    AGCurry and s0c9 like this.
  3. profx


    Jul 6, 2014
    Thanks for the insights! Sounds like I just have to start buying what seems to sound good and see how will it work together with everything else I use then so.
    Wasnex likes this.
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    When possible try before you buy is always a good idea.

    You can also read reviews and listen to video demos as well. When it comes to reviews, be careful because they can lead you astray. Unfortunately a lot of people who love tube gear never really get much past the hype. So when they find a piece of gear they like they just describe it subjectively with relatively meaningless hyperbole. Awesome, great, etc,

    The big problem is if you only understand tube delicious as a broad subjective quality, then subjective opinions are pretty much meaningless. All you learn is some people like tube gear; duh! When you start narrowing in on specific qualities that give the sound a tubey qualty, then you can really start to make more objective sense of it.

    Ampeg, Hiwatt, Fender are all tubey delicious, but all very, very different. So what good does it do to say they are all tubey delicious? You might love one and hate the next. But which one, would you love? But if someone described the frequency contour of each amp, how it transitions into OD, and the texture and character of the distortion, then maybe your starting to get an idea how each amp might sound and which one you might like.
    s0c9 likes this.
  5. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I run an Ampeg SVT7 which only has a pre-amp tube. I also have a couple of Pre-amp DI’s that I can make SOUND like the SVT. The point being that one can make tubes sound SS and vice versa.
    The play/feel is the major difference!
    Wasnex likes this.
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