Debate/argument time.

mad dog

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 27, 2005
Posts
3,802
Location
Montclair, NJ
I like them all. Favorite amps right now: DV Mark Micro 50 CMT head (SS) with oversize 1x12 pine cab. 1968 Deluxe Reverb, now a 1x15.

There is no better/best here. Depends entirely on your personal taste and musical mission.
 

LeicaBoss

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Posts
714
Location
New Jersey
I use none, a lot of the time. I got rid of a delay because the preamp put a little bit of that ss plasticky crunch on the attack. The one I have now has a pretty good sounding preamp, but it's still best with it off.
I don't know why running through a solid state stage in a pedal can sound ok or even good, but a solid state amp doesn't (to me), but ultimately I don't know anything except what I like.

Sounds like you run things more like me. Minimal pedals, feel and tone from the amp. In this case I'm completely with you.

The other side of the spectrum is a board where all the tone and feel comes from a "pedal platform" - that's basically designed to plug into anything with headroom and get all the feel from the pedals.

A really good compressor for some squish, and carefully chosen gain stages (like a Tchula or Distortion) feel natural and tube like and have that bounce that feels so good - these are pretty nice and allow you to put drive pedals in the chain and play higher gain stuff without fizzing out. It's really only in this context where a "tighter" or more flat feel from the amp can actually be a benefit.

Anyway, none of this really matters. I just play tube amps all the time, often just plugged directly in.
 

Digital Larry

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 30, 2017
Posts
3,592
Location
Silicon Valley, CA
I talk about my setup all the time so you're probably memorized what it is.

I did a tubes vs modeler test for a year in my recording, err... "space" (which is very small). But it was just for recording via an attenuator rather than cranking to any volume at all because I value what's left of my hearing.

I sold that tube amp (took quite a hit on it) and the attenuator and the FX box and moved some stuff around and now I have 6 more square feet of floor space which I am really digging.

Things I DON'T like about some solid state amps.
- For some reason I bristle at the Roland Cube settings "Crunch" "Metal" or whatever they call them. It's like "Suzy Homemaker for guitar". I feel like the manufacturer has concluded that I am too stupid to figure out these types of sounds given things like "gain", "master", etc. and has had to dumb it down for poor me.

- I also do not like the "four effects on one knob" thing that both Roland and Yamaha have done. In a way, it's clever, and in a way, it's "Suzy Homemaker" again.

Given that your typical tube amp doesn't include these things, I find them more "honest" or "usable by people who understand how these things work".

Since I still don't know which one is best for me (assuming there is one "best") I have two SS setups (bedroom and a modeler in the schudio) and a small tube amp also in the stchooodio. I've set the tube amp up with nothing in the effects loop so it's just whatever it is capable of doing. We'll try this for another year and see what happens.

My conclusion at this point is that "sound" and "feel" are aspects of using these devices but not the only ones.
The tube amp is easier to use because it doesn't have a billion settings.
The modeler is way more flexible in what it can do (and not THAT hard to use, but it's more like a computer).

I'm going to think real hard before ever buying anything that has a "crunch" or "metal" or "blues" setting on it. If I want to play metal tones in my blues tunes, I pity the fool who tries to stop me! Maybe that's why I sold the Boogie... it had "Clean, Crunch, Blues, Burn" preamp options. I tried not to hold that against it but...
 
Last edited:

Harry Styron

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 2, 2011
Posts
3,358
Location
Branson, Mo
I much prefer tube amps.


But much of this may be the power of association, as I'm a probably absurdly nostalgic person. I feel at home only in old houses and apartments, most of our furniture is (functional) antiques, I'd rather not catch fish with a Jitterbug than catch 'em with newfangled lures, I love kayaks and hate jets, etc. The idea and look of tube amps really entrances me. Little cities of rounded fenders glowing in there, on rainy nights. Fedoras in the shadows! If I did an A/B of tube/non-tube...I dunno. Maybe tubes would seem less entrancing, less vital to me. After all, I've heard lots of stuff that, as it's produced and processed with good taste on entirely digital devices and systems, sounds great to me.

Because it sounds tube-y.

Round and round I go, so I'm gone.


I caught some bass early one morning on a very old Jitterbug not too long ago, and I had an Arbogasm. Unfortunately, the hula skirts on my Hawaiian Wiggler had disintegrated, so I couldn’t go down for that special subsurface thrill.
 

Ebidis

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Posts
2,430
Age
55
Location
Alabama
I have both, I use both, both work just fine.

I used to be a tube amp snob, because back in the day, solid state sounded bad. Now, with digital modeling, I really can't tell the difference.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
33,023
Age
62
Location
Maine
I love how people debate this as if there's one tube sound/feel and one ss sound/feel. It's so silly.

Agreed, though I'd more specifically quibble with the nutty idea presented in the video that we should look at the devices in the amp doing the amplifying, and choose a SS amp because some SS amps sound like some tube amps to his ear with his playing and his guitars, then illustrated to us via digital media.

If I was in any given GC and handed $5000, then told that my house burned down and all my amps were lost, I might not be able to find an amp I love, not matter what components were inside.
I could probably spend the money and get something useful, but my chosen amps are not defined by the components inside. Meaning that while my amps have tubes, most amps with tubes sound like crap to me when I play them.

Sure, I haven't had a SS amp I loved using since the early '90s, and then I loved Polytone clean sounds, sorta almost as much as some of my tube amp clean sounds.
And sure, I have at least 20 tube amps, most of them hand wired because I've been buying them since pcbs were only in cheap amps or '80s style amps.

The thing about "being a musician" that "plays electric guitar", is that as often said and soon forgotten, the amp is the musical instrument.
That's more extreme than the more common claim that the amp is PART of the electric guitar sound.

Anyhow, because I hear no electric guitar sound from a Tele or Strat, when playing music I'm playing THE AMP.
If it's the amp I'm playing, conjuring my shades from, moving from delicate to angry to sweet or whatever, choosing that instrument/ that medium, is really almost a part of making the music.

Just as a painter choosing brushes and paints is in the process of making the art as they select the specific examples of media.
Of course to the layperson, at best they might know one painting is in oil and another in in egg tempera while a third is watercolor and a fourth is acrylic.
Then they buy an inkjet poster based on the appearance, not based on the medium used by the artist.
When we as musicians make our artistic decisions as we choose what to express ourselves, (whether pretending to be KISS in the basement, getting codgers dancing at the VFW, or making original work in an arena), presumably our decision is a combination of personal, artistic, financial, practical, and yootoobial.

But because youtube videos don't respond to our touch on the guitar in the room with us and the amp, all the endless blathering on youtube has only a tiny little bearing on our ultimate lasting preferences in medium.

And not only do we wade into the pool based on watching youtube crap audio replay, recorded with who knows what and EQ's who knows how, through computer speakers, but we even consider popular opinion among nuts like us who like to chat about gear on gear forums???

I'm not 100% certain I can blame gear forums, but when I had a room full of holy grail classic tube amps that were all affordable, my sound was better.
In particular, my dirty sounds were better when I refused to use any battery operated crap in my signal chain.

My end takeaway is that the gear market of today has made my sound options more varied but less great.
Mostly because in the old days my favorite amps were the very best the top amp makers of the birth of Rock could produce.
The sound I miss most was a combo of Plexi Marshall and BF Fender.
The Marshall was the same amp as EVH used on his first few albums.
By accident, I only found out years later and didn't even like Eddie at that time.
But it took years of buying classic tube amps to find my favorites.

Now I'm stuck in this stupid youtube marketing world of little Chinese toob amps and SS pedals.
Meanwhile I spend some of my possible playing hours watching guys attempting to get ONE SOUND from a vintage Marshall that's pretty close to one sound from a $400 pedal board amp sim.
I can't go back though because my old Plexi 100 is worth probably $6000 and there's no place that will let me turn it up live.

"Tubes us SS"?????
No man, epically great amps vs the latest popular cheap = under $1500 import gear that OSHA approves of.
 
Last edited:

bottlenecker

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
5,511
Location
Wisconsin
Sounds like you run things more like me. Minimal pedals, feel and tone from the amp. In this case I'm completely with you.

The other side of the spectrum is a board where all the tone and feel comes from a "pedal platform" - that's basically designed to plug into anything with headroom and get all the feel from the pedals.

A really good compressor for some squish, and carefully chosen gain stages (like a Tchula or Distortion) feel natural and tube like and have that bounce that feels so good - these are pretty nice and allow you to put drive pedals in the chain and play higher gain stuff without fizzing out. It's really only in this context where a "tighter" or more flat feel from the amp can actually be a benefit.

Anyway, none of this really matters. I just play tube amps all the time, often just plugged directly in.

I've tried the jfet amp-based od pedal thing to try to get an ss amp to sound good, and it just didn't work for me. I'm looking for maximum sounds from my fingers, and it just gives one sound, it seemed like.

I like to play on the edge of breakup, and be able to go from jazzy to twangy, and (on a perpendicular continuum) clean to gritty, just with my fingers on a single pickup guitar. That's what I miss from the best sounding SS I've used, and from OD pedals. They just sit on one sound no matter what I do. I can't get much to change without turning a knob or hitting a switch.

But lately I've been playing a bassman on about 3, and it's clean clean, but so big and beautiful. I was just playing it yesterday just for fun, and it's such a good sound, even with zero grittiness available.

With that much headroom, it should be like playing an archtop into a polytone or similar, but it's just not. It's so much more responsive with so much more range of sounds available. I think the ss jazz amps rely on the acoustic timbre of the archtop to get it's range of sounds, like amplifying an acoustic, whereas the the bassman can do that, but offer up it's own range of color. Maybe that's too much for an archtop player that wants to keep the range of tone within the realm of the acoustic part of the instrument. I think that's why jazz guys went ss.
It's all good if it sounds good.
 

Dennyf

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 9, 2011
Posts
1,753
Location
Mt. Holly, NC USA
I've been full-circle from solid state to tubes and now back to solid state. When it comes to getting a tone I like and a volume level I can actually use, solid state is just easier. (I have yet to delve into modeling.)
 

bluescaster72

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
Posts
921
Location
pennsylvaina
I'm on the side of whatever gives me the sound I need at time. I no longer use tube amps. I have a Roland Cube 30 that gets me a Fender sound, or a Marshall sound or a vox sound or a Mesa Boogie and all the effects I need . Can't say tube amps are that impressive to me . There are a couple that stood out though. Super Reverb and a Vibrolux . But for my needs Solid state or modeling suites me fine.
 




Top