Guitar Amp Myths Part 1 - Valve vs Solid State vs Digital Explained!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Thin white duke, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. OldGuy6873

    OldGuy6873 Tele-Holic

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    I just watched this vid and it was kinda related to the discussion about "real" amps vs. what some people use for plug ins and IRs. Listen to this!
     
  2. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I think rosewood tubes sound woodier than maple ones, and alder ICs sound better than ash ones. But, ebony transistors feel smoother than other types.
     
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  3. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hand wiring is not always simple. Yes, the root of everything he said is true, and if you want a compact amp jam packed with features and tons of channels, you need PCB, but to imply you can't have extra switching options and channels with hand wiring,(like they implied in the video) is nonsense. Look at the D*style ODS amps. Clean, OD, PAB, foot switchable. Bright switch, jazz/rock switch, mid/deep switch. FET input. Full TMB tonestack, presence, master volume, FX loop (sometime buffered in amp, by cloners) Occasionally, reverb..
    You can fit a ton of features in a hand wired amp... but if you want a lunchbox sized amp, with 4 separate channels, each with several voicing options and pots/switches, you need to miniaturize with PCB... but as they said in the video, even changing certain component's distance from one another can cause interactions in a guitar amp. 'Talk' among components is pretty commonly observed, IME, so cramming things together like that will affect things tonally, somewhat.
     
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  4. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I don't like hardly any of that stuff. I like amps with the features reverb and tremolo... but I can do just fine with volume and tone.
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    WRT "fatter in what way?", I'm thinking of a screaming distortion sound on the high strings that's fat thick and creamy but not gritty raspy or buzzy.
    And not a compressor sound either, though some compression is part of it.

    WRT "do you want less clipping on the lower strings/ frequencies?", yes, I'd like to hear a really loud Steinway grand when I play low notes on the wound strings.

    WRT drive channels, some do better than others at not mushing out the bass, and of course that sound I call mushed out distorted bass is AKA chunky rhythm sound.
    The best drive channels and non master distorted amp sounds I've heard and played still don't get a clean enough low end combined with a fat screaming high end.

    By screaming I just mean fierce cutting sustain, not Schenker thickness.
    Basically there are 1000 ways to get those high note sounds and 20 ways to get the lows, but no single amp does both at once.
     
  6. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the main aspects of Tube vs Solid State vs Digital Modelling amps is longevity and ease of repair.

    Have you ever tried to get a solid state amp repaired? Especially one more than 20 years old. Often the specific transistor or IC used in the amp is no longer available.

    Have you ever tried to get a digital modelling amp repaired? I'm sure you'd get funny looks from the tech. You be lucky if part of the power supply or power amp caused the problem - beyond that, there isn't much fixing it.

    On the other hand, there are "handwired" tube amps still going strong 70 years later.

    Maybe Solid State and digital modelling amps can get you close to tube tone, but they can't get you as close to reliability.
     
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  7. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    One of my reasons for adopting the Roland Blues Cube Artist as my amp of choice was weight! Even my old 90s-era BC-60 1X12 was a whopping 45 lbs, whereas it's modern cousin is only 35 lbs and delivers 80 watts. What's the weight of an equivalent power tube amp??? (ouch!)

    But mainly, the BCA with the NY Blues tone capsule gives me the TONE I'm after. And yes it is both analog and digital (reverb).
     
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  8. ucnick

    ucnick Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    FWIW... I use a Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 12 inch HD SS ANALOG combo amp a lot, and used it with a small pedalboard (which contains SS ANALOG dirt pedals and digital modulation and time effects) to audition for a band a few weeks ago. I went up against 6 other guys (with tube amps and pedalboards much larger tan mine) and got the gig. One of the reasons was my tone. They had a hard time believing that my little amp did not have any tubes. I have tube amps but usually end up using an analog SS amp and a small pedalboard most of the time. The little amp saves my back and is loud as all get-out.

    I also recently purchased a Quilter Overdrive 200 (again, a SS ANALOG amp), which I mated to a Blockdock 12 HD cabinet, and used it at a jam a while back, received many compliments on my tone. I was quite surprised when I found that the drive channel actually sounds pretty good, but when you think about it pretty much all dirt pedals are SS analog, except for those that use a vacuum tube in them.

    I do also use a modeler (a Helix) with the amp on occasion for cover band situations with a lot of different tones. It sounds great and the presets are really handy for multiple sounds and tonalities. But recently it has been the small pedalboard in most cases.
     
  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well done and informative. Glad someone chose to take the time to unravel all of this with an engineer and amp designer. Thanks!
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Are you suggesting that Quilter has surpassed the tones of their digital amps by going all analog?
     
  11. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve heard this point brought up quite a few times, and while upon first read it sounds valid, it actually misses the point of the issue. What is really meant by “warmth” in this case is how a tone is *originally created* from the instrument — not how it is ultimately recorded and played back. Big difference.

    Not bizarre at all. Perfectly understandable that those who are not technically savvy on the jargon, definitions, and circuit functionality would be a bit confused on these points. It may seem obvious to you or I after studying it or (in my case) working in the field, but these are not intuitive concepts to everyone.
    I’m positive that someone could present the technical aspects of, say, architecture nuances or seismic monitoring devices, using the obtuse terminology of those fields, that you (or I) would not grasp without some study.
     
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  12. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Didn't read all the posts but the hot tube SMELL simply cannot be replicated by SS or DSP or FWIW or AFAIK.
     
  13. Thin white duke

    Thin white duke Friend of Leo's

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    True but i need the sound not the smell. :):):)
     
  14. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

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    I have an Orange 35RT that sounds oh so nice clean. It takes pedals real well. Dare I say, tubey?
     
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  15. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    I think the possibly confusing thing about this claim is that it is poorly defined and explained. It isn’t that a tube watt is louder than a SS watt; if you drive exactly 1 watt from a tube output into a speaker, and then exactly 1 watt from a SS output into the same speaker, it will produce exactly the same db sound level.
    What should be stated instead is that tube *amps* (not watts) are generally louder than a SS amp of equal wattage.
     
  16. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Simple:

    • VACUUM TUBE = analog thermionic emission control.
    • SOLID STATE = analog hole flow control.
    • DIGITAL = binary logic (digital) numerical control.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah that's a fair explanation too, but in order to compare 1 watt to 1 watt we need to replace the guitar player with a signal generator!

    When adding the word "generally" to a tech explanation it kind of stops being a tech explanation, so to keep it tech correct we need to give longer explanations, and then of course take on all arguments over the accuracy of both the science and the language...
     
  18. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    The future of guitar amps is a hybrid of scratch 'n sniff and digital
     
  19. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    *scratchscratch* "Mmmmm! Smells just like the cat's litterbox that used to sit next to Jimmy's old Marshall stack in the basement! Ah the memories..."
     
  20. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of things are missed in that debate. I disagree that how something is recorded and played back is not relevant in this case. But I agree that it's not a apples to apples comparison. For one thing, it's very difficult to make sound comparisons, both audio and visually, without recording them first for reference. The recordings then becomes the "originals" for the sake of comparison.

    For the people who don't actually have access to both a tube amp and digital modeling amp compared in a controlled setting, youtube is as good as it gets. So while I agree that a youtube video is not going to tell the entire story for amp comparisons, it's gonna do a lot better in many ways than say, a cassette 4-track. Yet, there will always be someone to argue that a cassette recording of an amp is "warmer".
     
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