Dismiss Notice

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

Tubes Rule!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by westland, Nov 19, 2005.


  1. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Well, I don't know this for a fact yet, but I just ordered a Groove Tubes Brick, and I'm going to A/B (and /C) it for TB (with an MP3 Poll :eek: ... donchya luvit).

    Here's what I've learned so far (mini essay on tube vs. solid-state amps) :D
     
  2. I love the mini essay. Learned a lot. Now to get a tube amp......
     
  3. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Me too. I'm on my way, I suppose...
     
  4. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    There are all kinds of different classes/configurations of "solid-state" and tube amps. I don't think you get to a definitive answer with only a few samples of amps.

    But let's say you could.
    Let's say you find a preference for "tubes". Well some people are going to prefer solid-state.

    Let's say you find a preference for "solid-state". Well some people are going to prefer tubes.

    I think there's room in the market place for both.
     
  5. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    True, though for my purchases, it's my opinion that counts (after my wife's)
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wish I could still lift tube amps. My B-15N is easily liftable but it only puts out 25 w. I should fix my SVT up but it's not easily liftable. Oh well, my SWR does have a tube in it. One's better than none, I guess.
     
  7. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    well, I love tube amps for their tone but prefer SS amps for their feel.

    I still find it very interesting that so many people discuss amplifiers tone and debate about it but so very few discuss feel. To me, that is just as important.

    To me a tube amps feels like I'm driving a slalom course in a Ford F150 with bad struts/shocks.
     
  8. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    My V8 is tighter than the Mesa M-Pulse range. I find no delay/lag at all and when I thump on the strings it's right there to punch my in the nuts.

    Don't rule out all tubes :)
     
  9. specplyrz

    specplyrz Banned

    Nov 11, 2005
    "Tubes sound louder and have a better signal-to-noise ratio because of this extra subjective head room that transistor amplifiers do not have. Tubes get punch from their naturally brassy overload characteristics. Since the loud signals can be recorded at higher levels, the softer signals are also louder, so they are not lost in tape hiss and they effectively give the tube sound greater clarity. The feeling of more bass response is directly related to the strong second and third harmonic components which reinforce the "natural" bass with "synthetic" bass"

    The above was taken from the first posters "mini essay". I highlighted a very important characteristic about tubes. Their SOUND. Tubes have a "inherent or natural" sound all their own. That's why so many people crave them. In home stereo reproduction, studio use and for instrument use.

    "hasbeen,

    well, I love tube amps for their tone but prefer SS amps for their feel.

    I still find it very interesting that so many people discuss amplifiers tone and debate about it but so very few discuss feel. To me, that is just as important.



    To me a tube amps feels like I'm driving a slalom course in a Ford F150 with bad struts/shocks"

    I can understand Mr. Hasbeen's comparrison here. Let me elaborate. I had a high power s/s amp and used it with my 810e bottom. Now I have an SVT CL, all tubes. The difference I noticed was the s/s head was "snappier" or "quicker" than my tube head. This is directly caused by the "damping factor" that a s/s head has many times MORE than a tube head. This damping factor is the amplifier's ability to bring the speakers back to "home" or "rest" inside the cabinet. So Hasbeen's comparing a tube amp to a big truck with bad struts, is colorfull and a good comparison. It's "slowness to respond" is deffinetly noticed, say compared to a Corvette on the same course, (s/s amps).

    But here comes the fun part. I've owned Corvettes, and now I own a Cadillac. The caddi is much bigger, and plush....sort of like a tube amp sound.

    Using tube amps with SEALED cabinets, IMHO, is a MUST. The sealed cabinet has a higher damping factor than a ported cabinet and makes a HUGE difference in sound AND QUICKNESS of response.
     
  10. el_Kabong

    el_Kabong

    Jul 11, 2005
    Maybe if you're pushing the power stage of a tube amp really hard that's true. When it's running clean I find the opposite to be true, that a tube amp is more responsive than the ss amps I've played (and like you I find the feel an important characteristic).

    One reason I think tube amps get a 'bad' rap or are misunderstood is because they still sound good (or even great) to some folks when they are being hammered. What's the feel of a ss amp like when it's being driven so hard that it's clipping like buggery? People just don't do that though because it sounds bad. A big tube amp is only 300 watts or so, that's not really much power before it starts getting loose, not compared to what's available with ss anyway. Run within their limitations, tube amps feel great imo.
     
  11. specplyrz

    specplyrz Banned

    Nov 11, 2005

    An excellent observation, but remember, 300 tube watts SOUNDS like 500-600 s/s watts in output, without the shrill clipping of a s/s amp. :eyebrow:
     
  12. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio

    At LEAST 500-600 SS watts. Although a watt is a watt, is a watt,
    audible output seems SO MUCH higher on tube amps. I'm no scientist, but I assume it is due to the different way the amps clip.
     
  13. specplyrz

    specplyrz Banned

    Nov 11, 2005


    Exactly
     
  14. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    I was right there with you... I had a run with a couple of badly tuned vintage tube heads back in the early 80s. I quickly swore off all tube heads for bass because they were slow and unresponsive. I stood by the quickness of SS to the end of my breathe a few times over the years. I then had the opportunity to play through some top notch tube stuff with an opened mind and found that it wasn't anything to do with quickness it was more like playing tennis against the side of a building with yourself (SS) vs. the dynamic of a live match with an equally skilled opponent (tube). A tube head is very much another instrument to react with IMHO/E.

    .

    I was thinking Lincoln LS... but Caddi works :D

    I dislike sealed cabinets.... tube head or otherwise. They sound choked to me. Give me a properly set up tube head and a couple of boutique ported cabs anyday!

    like said before.... no science needed... if it seems louder it is louder :bassist:
     
  15. Yes, and no, percieved volume makes a difference (your ears dont pic up all frequencies and signal patterns at the same level) just not at the levels that people make out

    The majority of it is the fact that tube amps can run at about thier full pleasantly, whereas when being playing SS amps the signals get clipped harshly and it aint nice, thats why the headroom is needed with SS amps for the harder hit notes yadda yadda yadda
     
  16. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I know the science behind it... I'm standing by the fact that if something "seems" or is "percieved" to be something.... then it actually "is" that something relative to the person percieving the differences. :p
     
  17. specplyrz

    specplyrz Banned

    Nov 11, 2005
    Same thing as if someone asks me to "prove" I love my wife. I can't prove it, but belive me, the feeling is there. Sometimes you don't have to touch somthing to feel it. Think about that. ;)
     
  18. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I dig my tubes. Love the sound, and feel, of my current amps, though I haven't loved all the ones I've owned.

    Similarly, I love the sound and feel of my current SS and hybrid amps, though I haven't loved all the ones I've owned.

    I will have to say though... the SS and hybrid amps I'm talking about here are both Genz Benz. :cool: