Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Tube vs. Solid State (or Mosfet)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fivestarharbor, Jun 6, 2002.


  1. fivestarharbor

    fivestarharbor

    Jun 6, 2002
    I'm needing some help deciding what amp head to get. I'm new to the whole tube amp thing, because all I've ever played on before was an SWR Workingman's 2004 and Ampeg BA-115. I heard that tube amps have more output than solid state. Like one guy said that 300W of tube power is about the same as 5000W of solid state (I realize it's an exaggeration, just using it as an example to explain what I'm talking about.) Is that true? If so, does anyone know how much louder tube amps are than solid state amps rated at the same wattage? I'm asking because I'm looking into buying one of three amps - Ampeg V4B, B2R, or SVT-CL. I've played through an SVT-350 (same as B2R) and it had plenty of power, but if tube amps are as powerful as some say, I'm gonna go with the V4B. I may even spend the extra cash and get the 300W SVT Classic. Any opinions on which would be better as far as power rating? I know tube sounds better, I just want to know which would be most powerful.
     
  2. I'll let someone else handle the volume part of it.

    But if you are looking at the SVT-CL, it has a brother, the SVT-2. It's got more features, same power. Just letting ya know.
     
  3. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    Ever hear the one about how five pounds of feathers wheigh less than five pounds of lead?
     
  4. chienmort

    chienmort

    Aug 15, 2012
    Don't start bringing mass, aerodynamics or any other science into what is clearly a subjective and prejudiced discussion.
     
  5. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    +1!! Why when we can spout theories based on no experience? The fact that we can say them with conviction makes them true.

    Also don't let the "scientific" ruin your day. By channeling known facts they've had their fun. The fact that they feel smarter than you is not lost on them. So let them have their fun in the known universe while the innovators who think and think outside the box keep bringing us more than meets the eye. The scientific will adopt the new theory and hold onto it like a bad rash. They are destined to repeat the process because their fun is in the holding of that info against any revision until the last nanosecond. :)

    If anyone takes this personally, try not to.:)

    Here come the rains and wind.
     
  6. blastjv

    blastjv

    Jan 8, 2010
    Philly Area
    It sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse here. There are many great tube amps for bass, and there are many great solid state amps too. Play lots of amps, find one you love, buy it, and enjoy!

    -JV
     
  7. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    Solid state and tube amp power output is rated at relatively low distortion levels. When
    amps of each type with equal power ratings are used within this limit, the power output
    is virtually identical.

    Many (most?) avoid overdriving a SS output stage, while many might not object to, or
    even prefer the sound of an overdriven tube output. The usable output can be greater
    in this case.

    However, now we are no longer comparing the amps on an equal basis. The 300 watt SS
    amp might be providing 300 watts at rated distortion, but the 300 watt tube amp might
    be providing greater than rated output at greater than rated distortion.

    A bigger difference might be in headroom. The SS amp has a strict upper limit because of
    the way that it begins distorting abruptly. The tube amp has a "softer" limit. You can get
    away with occasionally driving the tube amp beyong rated power. This means that you
    may be able to use a higher overall or average level with a tube amp.
     
  8. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Buy an amp based on how it sounds, not it's topology.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think this latest flurry of posts would have been awesome 10 years ago.
     
  10. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    The Dr. was concerned about that so it was removed by a Topologist.
     
  11. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    10 year old thread
     
  12. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    My 100-tube-watt Ampeg VT-22 has WAY.....WAAAAAY more power than my 220-solid-state-watt BA-1125HPT. WAY more. 300 tube watts will crush 500 solid state watts like a twig. IMHO. YMMV, but I doubt it.
     
  13. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Oh....and for solid state, Mosfet is best. Again, my humble opinion.
     
  14. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    No kidding.
     
  15. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    Who reads post dates?
     
  16. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    This one again huh?


    Honestly, go and TRY ONE OUT. I fall on the tube supporter side of this argument, but not everyone likes the tube sound for bass. If you have a buddy with an all-tube amp or a store that has some all-tube amps to play through, then you need to give it a try with one of your own basses. I bolded "all-tube" because a hybrid (tube preamp, SS power section) amp is not a "tube amp". Some people like hybrids, but they can't be considered a "tube" amp just by putting one 12AX7 in a SS amp.

    I can tell you this though, many of the bass recordings you've heard from back in the day to the present have been done on an ampeg tube amp of some kind. It's a classic sound and the amps are well-known as well. You will not have a hard time reselling it if you find out it's just not for you. I'm a light guy, so the SVT is a bit heavy for someone my size. Traynor YBA200-2, Orange AD200B, Fender Bassman 100T/Super Bassman 300, and Peavey VB-2 and VB-3 are all great tube amps with a little less weight than the Ampeg. I will say this about testing tube amps though, you need to play them live and at a nominal volume to get the most out of them.

    The cab is every bit as important as the amp, so try the head on some good sized cabs as well. I prefer 2x15's, but you can't go wrong with 4, 6, or 8x10s, 4x12s, or even 1x15s if they are well made. You can put a tube amp through any cab, but I've had the best results with 2x15s and 4-8x10s. YMMV!
     
  17. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    *facepalm*

    Good point, Jimmy :atoz:
     
  18. 1958Bassman

    1958Bassman

    Oct 20, 2007
    Well, ya know, a lot changes in ten years.:bag:

    How many Class D amps were available in 2002?
     
  19. [​IMG]