Tubes are LOUDER

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jammin'John, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. Why do you think that is ?
    It seems that you have to get a substantially more powerful transistor head to get as much punch as a tube head.
    Of course a tube head is very heavy & has to be re-tubed every so often.
    For bass I don't think that tubes are AS important as they are for guitar 'cause you're not lookin' for distortion & sustain.
    I only play bass PT & my rig is not that great.
    I am going to upgrade it some day and when I do I would like it to be tubes.
    From talkin' about this with other players it seems that in the real world bass players like to have 300 - 500 watts of transistor power along with several different cabs to choose from to cover all situations (yes I know that lot's of you go to Front Of House with a line out).
    So here goes.............
    Do you think that a Traynor YBA 200 (4x6550) head would have as much earth shakin' punch as a 350w SWR,Hartke,GK, etc. ? JJ
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    This has been covered a few times. It is not actually louder in the amount of sound energy it puts out. But tubes amplify and add even order harmonics. We percieve this as louder.
  3. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    so an 830watt tube amp would "sound louder" than my 830watt QSC?
  4. YES.............if you could carry it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  5. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    None of the SLM/Ampeg tube heads I've owned were as loud as my QSC amp unless I pushed them to distortion.

    If you prefer a warm, slightly distorted tone: All tube amp.

    If you prefer a bright, clean tone: Solid State amp with a lot of wattage.

    If you prefer a warm tone that's clean with fast attack: Tube preamp with a high wattage solid state amp.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    Yes, with the right speakers. I'm trading 1100 watts of SS power for 400 watts of all tube [8x 6550].

    Will I be as loud.... no!
    Will I have as much clean headroom .... no Never!
    Will I still overpower guitars and drums... :smug: heck yeah!
    Will I have the slower, round, open tone I crave.... I think so :bassist:

    Arthur nailed it in his post mostly IMO though that is not set in stone. My SS Yamaha pre is warmer and rounder then a lot of tube pres out there and I jammed with a guitarist using an all tube Crate 1/2 stack that was so brittle it hurt my heart to hear it.
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    That sounds about right. My 1200 watt WW Ultra is just about as loud as an SVT through a fridge at full volume. But with the WW I get the clean headroom that the tube amp won't deliver. When it comes to tube amps, 6550's are definitely the ticket. They'll deliver that booty shaking bottom, and 200 watts of it (4 of 'em) should be enough to get heard. 8 of 'em would be enough volume for a big stage.
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Once you hit the threshold of distortion, however, some people find the 6550s to be a bit harsh when compared to 6L6s. More headroom, yes, but not as musical a clip if you ask me.
  9. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    They aren't louder, they just sound like they are. Tubes will work well into clipping and not sound bad, where SS pushed into clipping sounds really awful, so you're not likely to do it. When the signal is clipped tubes act as if they were being run with compression, and that makes it subjectively sound louder. A proper compressor/limiter on a SS amp can have the same effect.
  10. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    When I posed this question to Aguilar they responded that in general, the perceived loudness between tube and SS is about other words a 500 W tube amp would have the same perceived loudness as a 750 W solid state amp (not clipping of course). That whole "dude, my 300 watt SVT is louder than your 5500 watt QSC" is garbage.
  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hmm... yes, well, that's where the particular "brand" of tube can really make a difference. For instance, in the 6550 world, the GE 6550A is widely renowned to have the best breakup characteristics of all the various new and old 6550's. And for a modern equivalent, the Svetlana "Winged C" 6550 has the best reputation in that regard. The vaunted TungSol "big bottle" 6550, while superb in hi-fi applications, is a rotten tube for a guitar or bass amp, because of the way it sounds "right at the point of breakup". It doesn't have a "smooth" characteristic at that point like most 6L6's do, or like a GE 6550A does.
  12. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I just generally find 6550s to be a bit glassy on the high end when they start distorting, and can be a little harsh. Different strokes for different folks!

    God bless tubes.
  13. [​IMG]

    It's been covered. Tubes ARE louder. To find out why, use the button.