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tube vs. transistor

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by L1nt84, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. L1nt84


    Mar 28, 2014
    Central Louisiana
    I ran a search on the forum, but could not find anything. So, the answer may be there, but I'm not searching right.

    as far as volume goes, how do watts equate from tube to transistor?
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Try a search for Tube vs. Solid State instead. [​IMG]
    HolmeBass, skychief, GregC and 2 others like this.
  3. Watts are watts. Every amp has a different voicing. Good amps are good, bad amps are bad.
    HolmeBass, zontar, dmrogers and 5 others like this.
  4. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    300W solid state will be just as loud as 300W tube - AT THE ONSET OF DISTORTION.

    The difference is, when you turn up past that, 300W solid state will sound bad as it distorts, or, for some SS amps, they will attempt to emulate a good tube amp and may develop a more pleasant-sounding distortion.

    But when you turn up a good tube amp past the onset of distortion, the distortion will sound nice.

    In either case, all the parts of what you're playing that aren't the "spikes" in sound will get louder. So, a tube amp will seem to get louder if you turn it up past the onset of distortion - and it will still sound good. But, many solid state amps will not sound good and could damage your speakers if you turn them up past the onset of distortion.
    nukes_da_bass likes this.
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Step away from the firestorm. STEP AWAY!
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    The old saying was a 100w tube amp was as loud as a 200w SS amp - but that assumes you want a bit of crunch and also the fact that Ampeg underrates their tube amps.

    Sent from my iPad using TalkBass
  7. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    If you go with an all tube head, they can be back breakers. (And wallet breakers)

    Some folks go with an all tube preamp and an ss power amp. And then there are hybrid heads, they typically have one tube in the preamp stage and ss devices in the power amp stage.

    Go to some stores and try a bunch out. Make sure you have a reason for buying what you buy, don't just follow any hype.

    I have a tube preamp and a ss poweramp. Sounds good to me.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Perhaps you didn't find the answer that you were looking for because it is a difficult question.

    When a tube amp is pushed it sounds very different than most solid state amps. You can get more complex tone, spit, and fire out of a tube amp and less watts can go further. It isn't so much about wattage but the content of the signal.

    Tube and solid state amps fill different niches.

    Maybe a better approach is to tell us what type of music you are playing and how big the room is. Based on that, people will suggest what of the type, tube or solid state, would best suit your needs and how many watts they think that you need.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  9. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Depends on the bandwidth. Earlier the lows cut off, the louder stuff seems per watt. Generally, valve amps don't go as low as SS ones. SS ones tend to go lower than your cab can do, or you need.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I am not surprised; the search function was pretty bad with the old forum platform, it is far worse now IME.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  11. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Shorter more accurate version is that there is no direct relationship between watts and volume.
    Rickett Customs likes this.
  12. DreamError


    May 30, 2014
    Can we surviiiiiiiiive the blitzkriiiieg?? /Metallica
  13. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Remember the old Ampeg B15 tube amp? Served well in a lot of small rooms.
    Do you think you could do that with a 35 watt SS amp?

    skychief and StuartV like this.
  14. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Yep. Just have to be one that didn't suck.
  15. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I think this is a universal truth.
  16. Can I pick which cab I get to use?
    jnewmark and nshuman like this.
  17. Hi.

    With the same THD, the SS amp will be 10 times more powerful = twice as loud ;).

    Or more...

  18. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    I read in BP magazine that the reason Tube amps sound louder than ss amps given equal wattage...is because the bandwidth is narrower for a tube amp...and its power is concentrated in the audible range of harmonics...and a ss amp's range is much wider and expends much of it's power on the edges of the audio range...I don't know that it's exactly 2 to 1...but a 200 watt tuber eats a 200 watt ss alive...but I do know that tube amps are much heavier because of the giant transformers inside...and you can get a lot of that tube sweetness in a mosfet (or hybrid) style amp with a tube pre and a ss main amp...
  19. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    then this should be a very short list....which one doesn't suck?

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