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Tubes vs. Solid State power amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassGreaser, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking to get a new power amp. I love tubes, but not the weight. Is there a big difference betwen solid state and tube power amps...as far as sound and tone? I'm looking either and Aguilar for the tube amp, and Crest for the SS amp.
  2. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Tube amps "sound" louder than solid state amps but a meter may show they are the same volume.
    They tend to be warmer with better midrange.
    The downside to tube amps is weight.
    You could go with a Tube preamp and a solid state poweramp to get about the same sound as a Tube Poweramp.
  3. Mesa Boogie 400+ is a great all tube amp.
    I have a hardly used spare if your interested. I'm keeping at least one fo ever!
  4. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    yeah i've tried the 400+ didn't like how it made my bass sound. I'm looking at getting maybe the Ampeg Classic
  5. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    but thanks Big Strings
  6. No Problemo, good luck happy holidays
  7. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    same right back at ya
  8. pbassfreak


    May 2, 2001
    long beach
    I had the same situation..i tried all kinds of diffrent heads and ended up with a ampeg svt350h..it is solid state but its really warm sounding..i believe the b2r is the same amp without the the svt box..
    good luck
  9. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    In my experience, and this is certainly a generalization, whether or not an amp has the tonal qualities associated with tubes has more to do with the the poweramp than the pre-amp stage. Every company adds a 12ax7 in the pre-amp and advertises the tube warmth of their amp, but it's not really true. I've never really understood people worrying about the weight of their gear. Either you're gonna go for it or not.
  10. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    You're absolutely right. Poweramp has more influence to the tone than the pre amp. I own, VTBP, DB 680 and Glockenklang [preamp] and use them with Crest and Ampeg tube amp power section[SVT2]. The result is :
    Tube pre - Tube power : Fat and warm a lot of
    bottom , very fine high
    never brittle [ The best
    in my opinion ]
    Tube Pre- SS power : Not as fat and warm , but
    more attack and faster
    SS Pre - Tube Power : Better than tube pre
    SS power , warmer,
    faster attack , alot of
    punch , and fatter low.
    SS pre- SS Power : Clean, fast, dark punch
    a lot of definition

    I believe it is all amatter of taste,which one you like. The best thing to do is try them all, see which one you like.
    I play Jazz and old school , that is why i prefer the first, but I do not say the others are bad , they are all good, and also depend on the quality of the stuffs.
  11. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Does Ampeg make just a tube power amp with no preamp section?
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i have to agree with the satement that a tube power adds more coloration tham a tube pre....
    amped used to make a 300 watt mono tube block but i dunno if they still do
    the demeter and aguilar sound great........all that keeps me from purchasing either one is money and weight, so i use a stewart 2.1
    but, you plug an active bass into either one of those, or a passsive with a simple preamp (e.g. sadowsky), and the tone is unreral all by its lonesome.
    some day i'll get a tube power amp, but i think i'll pay my child support and alimony 1st
  13. A 300 watt tube amp will play at the precieved volume of a 1000+ SS amp. The fundamental and its' associated harmonics of each note are more clearly defined with tubes than with transistors. It is almost like there is space between the different components of a note. With transistors the components of the note are sorta gobbed together. As a tube amp goes above its rated output it starts into distortion. But this distortion is to notes what a soft focus lense is to a camera. The edges are rounded off and the tone actually becomes more musical. To a point. With SS the sound stays clean up to the point of rated output but once you go into distortion, its an ugly thing. It isn't musical at all. That is why a tube amp can appear to play much louder than a comparable SS amp. Tube amps are expensive. 300 watts will cost at least 1000+. Tube amps have to be retubed from time to time. That can be expensive and a real pain in the @ss. I play both. I use a big SS amp with a tube pre-amp. But I also just aquired a Eden VT-300A all tube. The Eden's tone is much more satisfying. I will probably switch back and forth between the 2
  14. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    No, Ampeg doesnot make power amp itself, but as I said, I use the SVT Pro2 power section only, that means I plug the send of pre to the return of the power [ I skip the SVT's pre amp section]
  15. The only all tube power amp I know of (although I know someone will know of others) is the Aguilar DB728 8x6550's 400 tube watts YAH BABY....:D
  16. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Greybeard says "A 300 watt tube amp will play at the precieved volume of a 1000+ SS amp."

    ooooh, I like the sound of that! I am totally and completely falling in love with bass playing all over again since getting my all tube Trace Elliot V6 (I know I keep raving about it, but it's just blowing me away) and I'm kicking myself for all the years I compromised my tone.

    The volume thing is true (and I reeally appreciate the technical explanation. We wer playing at a particular club where it's appropriate to really crank it up last week. Not only did my Hiwatt playing guitarist look uncomfortable when I turned my amp up for the first time (and only up to about 6, actually), but the soundman of the club next door said taht he could still hear my bass while another band was playing in his room. It's just a massive amount of low end. I play faltwounds on a hollow body bass, so I'm not known for my clear midrange anyway, but this was some serious dub warfare. Whether or not that is appropraite in a power pop band is another discussion.
  17. Ampeg used to make a 300 watt all tube power amp years ago, I have seen maybe two of them for sale on ebay.

    Hey corinpills, do you use the Trace Elliot 1248 or the 1528 cabs? I have really wanted to hear one of those rigs. How many pre-tubes (valves) 3-ECC83's?
  18. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    Do not understand :

    Aguilar DB 728 8 x 6550 produce 400 Watts
    Demeter VTHF 300 8x 6550 produce 300 watts minimum ?

    But any way I ordered Demeter because they are nicer people to talk to.