I honestly can't hear a difference between tube and solid state amps.

TheCheapGuitarist

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I should add here that I am in no way "anti-tube", I've had tube amps that I loved, solid state amps that I loved, and the opposite of each. I'm also pretty sure I could tell all my amps apart, blindfolded. I just can't distinguish between tube and S.S. guitar amp tone, feel, etc.
 
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Rocky058

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brookdalebill

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I completely understand tone chasing.
I’ve done it, and so have lots of my friends.
I separate my work tones from my home tones.
I require a clear, almost hi-fi tone at my mostly country gigs.
I add a few subtle effects.
The modern-ish Roland Cube 80XL give me what I seek.
At home (I play a lot), I try for a good, warm clear jazzy tone.
Clear is my favorite word to describe what I want to hear.
Tube amps rarely give me that clarity.
I have heard it with EL34 HiWatt, and high power older Orange amps.
They’re big, heavy and not cheap.
I’ve been shopping locally.
I’ll find one.
 
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beyer160

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Audiophile: Man this $500 receptacle and $4000 power cable really made my stereo sound better!
Me: But the power supply to the amp is exactly the same, an oscilloscope shows there’s no difference.
Audiophile: Bah! Human ears are better than an oscilloscope and anybody can hear the difference, it’s like night and day it’s so obvious.
Me: I can’t hear a difference.
Audiophile: Bah! You obviously don’t have good ears.
Me: But you just said anybody can hear the difference, it was like night and day. How about double-blind testing to see if you can hear a difference?
Audiophile: Bah! You can’t apply double-blind testing to audio, it would be flawed.
Me: But DBT is the gold standard and…
Audiophile: Be gone, you heretic!

Solid State Guy: I can't hear a difference between a Quilter and a broken Epi Valve Jr, so no one else can, either!
Me: Uh, I totally can.
Solid State Guy: I don't believe you! I insist you submit to a battery of scientifically designed tests that take into account relative humidity, the cycle of the moon and what you had for lunch!
Me: I don't need to, thanks. I believe you, why do you refuse to believe me?
Solid State Guy: BECAUSE MY NARROW WORLDVIEW CANNOT BE CHALLENGED!!!!!!!
 

pmjennin

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I'm also pretty sure I could tell all my amps apart, blindfolded. I just can't distinguish between tube and S.S. guitar amp tone, feel, etc.
This statement just seems so completely contradictory. Do you mean that you cannot distinguish a preference between them?

Edit: Wait, I get it. You can tell one from another but you cannot tell which is tube or solid state.
 
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msalama

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You guys know what? This thread is nothing but full of stupid, and yes, this naturally includes my own so-called contributions as well. Because WE ALL KNOW there's no one true answer to this, and folks not belonging to this small cabal of ours don't give a crap one way or another anyway. Why, just make sure you sound OK to them when playing live and Robert's the brother of yer Dad again...
 

msalama

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PS. And yes, my opening comment here was admittedly a tad provocative, so mea culpa as well.
 

ReverendRevolver

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At the end of the day, whatever works for you works. If you can't hear a difference, enjoy all the benefits your amps provide over the dinosaur technology us tube guys deal with. In my applications though I can tell a difference, and it's usually pretty obvious. There will probably come a day when the technology gets to a point where I can't, and honestly I look forward to that day, but it hasn't come yet.



One of the great marketing scams in MI equipment history was convincing the public that clipping a 12AX7 was "tube sound", and you didn't need all those hot, heavy, expensive output tubes and their associated circuitry. You do, though.


Why do you care?

I like the idea that everyone gets to make their own choices. Pretty simple. If you’re having fun and enjoying your own choices, leave it at that.

I run a wet-dry/dual mono rig at the moment using a Quilter Tone Block 202 for the wet side into a 200W bass speaker and a custom 50W tube amp into a 2x12 fitted with JBL D120F speakers.

This pairing is really great for this setup as the Quilter is super clean so the reverb and delay sits nicely understand the more driven tube amp.

I have tried it with the Quilter dry and tube amp wet and I just didn't like the Quilter driven, too buzzy for my taste.

Although does anyone know of a high end solid state amp that goes for similar money as a boutique tube amp?

Question: why do people get so worked up about this? There's a lot of strong opinions, it seems like, reading through this thread. But what you choose to play through makes NO difference to me. Knock yourself out. Solid state is definitely a practical choice if you don't hear a difference between that & tube amps. I've been playing for a [email protected] time and I use tube amps because that's what I'm used to, especially on stage. I have a Fractal FM3 that's a great practice / recording tool. Horses for courses.

A good amp is a good amp, whether it’s tube, solid-state, hybrid, digital, whatever.

Having said that, I’m very happy with my ‘63-reissue Vibroverb.

Yall mean people should play what sounds good to them and works best for thier own applications?
Use the right tool for a given job?
10 pages, and all you yahoo's dare contradictbthe ineffable views of people who say solid state sounds the sane as toobz and is lighter? Or that toobz hold the magic and SS and digital never will?

Hogwash! Plainly personal taste means nothing and we should all play the amps someone we've never met in real life says we should.
Because THE INTERNET.

;)

@Wooly Fox I've only ever seen Evans custom amps, boutique hardwired SS amps steel players love. I played through one with my 50s Fender double neck console steel, and it sounded better than most of my SS Peaveys (but they had preferable reverb in tbier favor). Heavy sucker. I think the (IMO overpriced) company Milkman makes a boutique SS steel amp too.

It's apples to oranges directly comparing SS amps designed as perfect Steel amps to tube guitar amps made for 6 string.

I play tube amps for everything I do currently other than noodle in the basement (because that's where the 4 SS amps are). The SS amps, specifically the Nashville 400, do better than my tube stuff for steel, because I'm not trying for the same sounds as with a regular 6 string. My 5e5 also goes great with the steels, and is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY lighter than any of the SS amps I've got. But it's not as practical for my butchered attempts at Hawaiian sounds or country stuff.
My actual play in front of people endeavors with my 6 string guitars are all various tube amps, and have been since I was a teenager and replaced (you'll never guess) a SS Peavey with a big Fender that was louder and weighed about the same.

This debate will never end.

Play what sound good, makes sense I assume?
 

RetiredUnit1

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I completely understand tone chasing.
I’ve done it, and so have lots of my friends.
I separate my work tones from my home tones.
I require a clear, almost hi-fi tone at my mostly country gigs.
I add a few subtle effects.
The modern-ish Roland Cube 80XL give me what I seek.
At home (I play a lot), I try for a good, warm clear jazzy tone.
Clear is my favorite word to describe what I want to hear.
Tube amps rarely give me that clarity.
I have heard it with EL34 HiWatt, and high power older Orange amps.
They’re big, heavy and not cheap.
I’ve been shopping locally.
I’ll find one.
I've built six Hiwatt DR504's. Very difficult to build compared to a Marshall or Fender..... They're built to British military standards....

Mine has original factor Tesla EL34's in it. And all Hammond branded Mullard pre-amp tubes. *Amazing* harmonics....
 

The Angle

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I doubt the harmonic content is the "main reason". If even-order harmonics were the key, the Harmonic Percolator fuzz (which is a solid-state distortion device that filters out all the odd-order harmonics and outputs almost pure even-order harmonics) should be like a "holy grail" for great tube-like guitar tones and it would be used by almost everyone. And I think we all know how nasty that beast sounds like (and how "unknown" it is).

On the other hand, I think odd-order harmonics are as important as even-order ones. They're part of the tonal identity of many wind and reed instruments like flutes or clarinets, which are used regularly in a conventional orchestra. Even more, they're integral part of the clean guitar tone itself! Specially when playing near the mid part of the fretboard to the last frets and using the neck pickup. If you don't believe me, just use an oscillator and a spectrometer. So, I think blaming odd-order harmonics as "unmusical" is a complete nonsense.
This isn't the thread to go into all the details, but the idea that "tubes produce musical even-order harmonics and transistors produce harsh odd-order harmonics" is a myth. It's an alluring idea that gets repeated everywhere online, but it doesn't hold up to rigorous technical examination. In fact, harmonic spectrum plots show that push-pull amps actually reduce even-order harmonics. It doesn't matter whether the amp uses tubes or transistors. It's an inherent feature of push-pull amplification.
 

beyer160

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This thread is Gear Page worthy.
Not enough bragging about expensive gear- "When I plug my Collings into my '72 Superlead (with the Scumback loaded cabinet) I can hear a difference between it, and my Kemper and Helix played back through my Genelecs"
Budvar? I remember that from peeking inside my fridge just now. Mmmm...
Here in the states we have to call it "Czechvar" because of those guys who make the watery beer with a name that also starts with "Bud".
 




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