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tube vs. solid state...sound clips?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Foxworthy925, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. Foxworthy925

    Foxworthy925 Guest

    Feb 24, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    don't worry, I just did a search about this and couldn't find anything useful.

    anyways, I don't know much about higher end bass amps and whatnot, and don't get to go down to guitar center very often and try out the rigs, so I'm pretty curious. really literally speaking, how does a tube amp compair to a solid state. what's so different/better about them. with that asked, does anyone have some clips compairing a...lets say...solid state ampeg amp, to a hybrid ampeg amp, to a full on tube amp (ampeg)? I'm just curious about how different they'd sound. also, if anyone can post a sound clip of any kind of trace elliot rig, that'd be great. I'm really curious of what they sound like, and the guitar center in my area doesn't cary them...
  2. Crazykiwi


    Sep 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Horses for courses really. I'm a great believer in matching the amp to the bass.

    Valve amps sound very full and powerful with a lightly compressed top end. They're great with warm basses, particularly warm passive basses but I've had fantastic results from Fender P and Stingrays plugged into ampegs, mesa boogie bass 400+'s, fender bassman's and burmans.

    Solid state amps sound very clean and my GK amps match my Smith basses wonderfully because they preserve the mid range. A number of Smith bass owners use GK. SS amps also sound great with basses that have more of a mid-range or super hi-fi emphasis like Status, Jaydee, Alembic and MTD.

    The only ones I'd be more careful about in the future if I play anything other than a jazz sounding bass, is one of the hybrid amps like SWR/Eden. Competent amps but they have a fairly distinctive colouring that favours jazz basses. Same with Mark Bass too.
  3. something I'd like to add. I dunno whether you'd notice THAT much of a difference between the amps from a soundclip on a computer anyway! I don't have Fantastic speakers set up to mine- they're OK tho - & I have yet to be impressed w/ ANY soundclips showcasing different speakers,basses etc..
    This IMHO would be especially true with regards to your request of trying to notice differences in S.S., Hybrid & tube amps- all IMHO of course!
  4. The biggest difference between tube and SS amps is noticed at high volumes - tubes tend to sound better at high volumes IMO

    SS amps are easier and more consistent to work with, but they just can't capture that great sound that a Tube amp gets sometimes...

    it's a thickness and complexity to the sound that just can't be explained - it's the difference between thick golden syrup and plain honey...
  5. Liten


    Jan 26, 2007
    Amen to that!

    Sure it breaks your back carrying those tubes around.. but in my mind.. there is NOTHING like an ALL tube head..
    I recently got my mind set on a hybrid from EBS (Fafner) due to the fact that it powers your active basses from the amp.. GREAT .. no more worrying about batteries.. then I spent the better part of a day testing it out.. took som MAJOR tweeking to get it to sound even remotly good and "tubey" as they clame it does..

    Then I whent back and plugged the same bass into my Sunn.. (everything is set flat.. always has been.. :D ) ... Its like comparing a Pinto to a Mustang GT500.. or.. plain honey and thick golden syrup..
    EDIT: People will tell you the weight and durability of an all tube amp vs a SS one is not worth the hassle.. the difference is not that great and so on.. I say you MUST experience the difference and then decisde wether your sound is worth the weight or not..
  6. Crazykiwi


    Sep 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Valve heads also sound louder to some, but thats not technically true. My GK RB700 combos sound very loud with an additional 2x10 cab - even louder than my Eden WT800. Loads of smooth clean power. Its not as low-mid heavy but I don't need that with my basses since they're already heavy sounding anyway and it can get boomy in some of the places I play.
  7. Actually, it is technically true

    A valve head can be used much closer to its RMS rating, as RMS ratings are taken from a set sine wave. Bass playing is nothing like a smooth sine wave, its and has large peaks.

    These large peaks can cause clipping when the amp is turned up, with a SS amplifier, clipping is bad, and it sounds bad, and if it clips too much it can screw your speakers. With a valve amplifier it doesnt clip in such a harsh way, it actually sounds nice to alot of people (power tube overdrive people!), and this form of clipping isnt bad for your speakers (if it is it isnt anywhere near as bad as from SS clipping).

    Basically, if you want more info, look up stuff on this:

    Solid State amplifiers - hard clipping

    Valve amplifiers - soft clipping

    I've A/B's my 300 watt SVT running a 2x15 and 4x10 with my 700 watt peavey firebass running the same cabs (just switching between the two), and the SVT is definatly a bit louder, the firebass is a loud head, and the DDT protection is a great circuit, so thats saying something.

    The other reason they seem louder is due to the added distortion, but most of the reason they seem louder, is, well because they are pumping out more power than the equivilant SS amplifier can without sounding crap and clipping dangerously!

    To the tube vs SS question, i love tubes, at first i didnt notice a huge difference, but then i tried my SS amp, and everything just seemed to be missing!
  8. Crazykiwi


    Sep 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    This is a debate which has been had before. One for the pedants I think.
  9. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Hole in one! It's that definition and clarity that makes me love SS amps. I'm not saying Valve amps are bad, and if it's an over-driven rock tone you want then a valve amp is the way to go.
  10. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
  11. allenhumble


    Oct 22, 2004
    Acworth GA.
    What I did, and may not be all that accurate, was to go to Basstasters.com and plugged my computer straight into my bassbone and the into my IP and tried all the preamps on the site.
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Modeling is a good way to go.
    Pick up a copy of Ampeg Svx and try all the Ampeg gear models:
    If you find a combination you like, you can actually buy the same hardware.

    There are plenty of hardware and software modelers out there. Lots of great choices. Give some a try.
  13. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
  14. Well, i know its been had before, and everytime that point comes up because basically you will be pushing a higher wattage with a tube amp than you could with a similarly rated SS amp (without it sounding like crap or blowing something)

    I dont know there, ive listened to some really nice clean channels on valve guitar amps, and played my bass through a presonus eureka mic strip (ultra clean!) into my SVT-IIs power section. Valve doesnt mean dirty, thats what most people like it for, true, but the glistening cleans you can get are incredible too!
  15. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I just imagine that it sounds like all of your dreams coming true. That's how I bought my tube amp.
  16. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    There are great tube amps.
    There are great solid state amps.
    There are lousy tube amps.
    There are lousy solid state amps.

    I prefer solid state because I think it sounds better. 99.14987% of people, including diehard tube / hybrid / transistor dudes couldn't tell the difference in a blind sound sampling, including myself.
  17. Readymade


    Mar 1, 2007
    many people argue that tube amps sound MUCH better when you push them and solid states get too farty. not always true, but food for thought.
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    True - even for guitar players - here's a blind test from years back:
  19. I think that tube vs solid state is way to general.
    I have played SS amps that sound thicker and way more colored than my Mesa Bass 400+. I think that it depends on the actual amp you are playing and how it is voiced.

    The Genz-Benz GBE750 and 1200 have a channel with a tube in the pre-amp...I turned up the gain on that a little and I swear I was getting all the thick goodness of my Mesa from a SS. Also, an amp that seems to have been forgotten about here on TB, the Tech 21 Landmark 300 and 600 are very convincing at making a SS sound like a tube amp.

    Another example is, when I had both an SVT CL and my Bass 400+, I A/B'd them and can tell you that they sound very different. (that has been talked about a few million times here)...the point is that an ambiguous comparison will not really help you. Unfortunately, you will only be informed enough to make a proper decision by spending alot of time going to retailers and playing through lots of different heads.

    Now that I just said that...tubes rule! :)
  20. Foxworthy925

    Foxworthy925 Guest

    Feb 24, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    wow, lots of replies since yesterday. thanks for all the help.

    can anyone post a clip of any kind of mesa boogie amp?

    one last thing, is this normal?: my friend (keyboardist) has his dad's amp in his room that his dad originally got in the 60's, a Fender Princeston guitar amp. In these 40 or so years, he's never changed the tubes in it once and it still sounds great...