Pro's and con's of a tube amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Bluetelecaster, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I prefer analog processed music. In every manner of reproduction. It sounds, to me, natural...more like the way it originated at the moment of ... 'creation' I guess is the word.

    When the fingers or pick or bow or diaphragm initiate the first effort the note, through the down or up stroke or the first waiver of vibrato.

    A digitally processed signal has just never "felt" right to me.

    But...

    There is a lot to be said for the physical element. When one is carrying their own equipment into a venue of perhaps "questionable" repute*, where the audience might be more interested in acquiring a companion with which to share their bed, than the subtle nuances of tone and timbre...

    Digitally processed solid state is one hell of a lot lighter.

    *where no one cares, from the "electrician" who jury-rigged the stage circuits, to the fellow who's had one too many and determined to show it ... sort of venue.
     
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  2. Linkjr

    Linkjr Tele-Meister

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    Not sure the age/experience of the op but In my experience i learnt to appreciate ttube amps more later on after trying solid state amp/s for years and not investing money in getting anything past digital effects.

    Later on these past few years I could afford more expensive tube amp, you jump straight in you may not “get” tube amps.
     
  3. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    The interaction between the player and the amp is one of the main reasons for Professionals to use tube amps. Quite different compared to Solidstate/digital anplification.
     
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  4. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Meister

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    Pretty much sums it up!
     
  5. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo Tele-Meister

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    Dear OP my $.02,

    I am a die hard tube amp advocate. IMO, when using any of the classic Fender or early Marshall circuits (essentially Fender derived circuits) the two main variables that effect sound are the speaker and tube choices.

    The tubes yield a "feel" and a "variable continuum of distortion" that I prefer. While swapping (rolling) tubes can alter tones to some degree, the biggest tone contribution is the speaker. When you find the right tube and speaker combination the result is nirvana for many.

    A non tube amp will lack the same feel and distortion continuum that a tube amp offers. Not saying that non tube is bad; I am saying that it is different. If you play both amp types for awhile, then you will understand best what the words are trying to describe in the various posts.

    You can read about the differences between Porsche and Audi all day long. But, as soon as you drive each one, you will immediately understand. Same with tube versus non tube amps.

    Buck
     
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  6. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Except for the fact that quite a few pros are using digital these days. Knopfler and Metheny both use Kempers live, and there are a lot more out there running Kempers, Fractals, and the Line 6 Helix.
     
  7. Bluetelecaster

    Bluetelecaster Tele-Holic

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    Lots of good advice! Another question. What's the difference in a blues amp?
     
  8. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Holic

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    yes, that will be your next big passion after you found a good amp...but they're fun and small...so there's no limit
     
  9. reckless toboggan

    reckless toboggan Tele-Meister

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    Well, for one thing, they're blue...obviously.
     
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  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    For the budget home guitarist, the modeling game changer is IR (impulse response) cabinet sims. Until I lost my Mooer Radar in a recent lightning strike I didn't notice how big a difference there was. I recently replaced the Radar with a Hotone Binary IR Cab and it's much better. I wouldn't recommend buying any modeling unit without this feature.
     
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  11. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    just to go back to the original question: most of the bedroom / barroom players in the last 50 years have gravitated to tube amps, for both sound and for feel -- a kind of elusive quality. But a good tube amp becomes part of the instrument, responds to player inputs in a predictable but non-linear way, kind of like a good acoustic guitar. I have not experienced this with a lot of solid-state or digital amps. I'd love to check out a Kemper sometime to see if they've squared the circle. But for now, I'd rather have a Blues Junior or an AC15 or an Origin 20c -- all mid-priced tube amps that can be had for pretty cheap secondhand.
     
  12. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm reading through the thread looking for a reference to a "blues" amp...

    Pro: I guess if you were B.B. King or Stevie Ray Vaughan anything you plugged into would be a "blues" amp.

    Con: Pardon me but if you were B.B. King or Stevie Ray Vaughan you would be deceased.

    :oops: :oops: :oops:
     
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  13. Marquee Moon

    Marquee Moon Tele-Holic

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    Pat has allways used SS as far as I know. Jazz players tend to be afraid of sag, is what my drummer buddy told me.
     
  14. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tell you what I think is the best compromise between tube and (not tube):

    The Tech 21 Trademark 30.

    First the good news: It's an all analog circuit built around what is essentially a Tech 21 SansAmp pedal.

    More good news:

    The Tech 21 Trademark 30 is the ultimate worship band amp as far as I'm concerned.

    Now the bad news:

    Being as it's essentially a pedal with a built- in amplifier it's built like a pedal. There is a lot of surface mount crap inside that's difficult for mere mortals to repair. It's difficult just to remove the chassis from the cabinet. There's a trick to it although it becomes obvious that Tech 21 never intended for anyone to remove the chassis.
     
  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    As far as stability goes, I have a Dumble clone (Quinn) that I have left on continuously for over a year. I play so frequently and unpredictably that I thought this was better than cycling it off and on throughout the day.

    (When I leave the house for more than a bit and when it storms, I'll shut it down.)

    My Quinn is 15-w with an aluminum chassis and has a 12" Jensen neo. The cab is pine. The total weight is 24 lbs.
     
  16. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I’ve said it before, but I’ve had some great tube amps, including a Super Reverb, a digitech tube preamp into an all tube power amp into a 4x12 Sheffield cab (loved that cab), among others.

    They have all come and gone, but my original Peavey Bandit I got used 35 years ago is still with me. Using my latest generation Zoom modelling preamp into the power section of the Bandit, which is now equipped with an Eminence Private Jack speaker, is hands down the best tone I have ever had. It breaks up naturally, goes from clean to mean just by changing picking dynamics and sustained notes bloom like a good tube amp. This setup sounds good and feels good. I firmly believe amp modelling has arrived, but if you take any good preamp, tube or SS and put it through a crappy, underpowered amp and cheap speaker, it’s not going to sound optimal.

    What I haven’t experienced yet is cabinet modeling (yes I tried the redwirez, celestion and ownhammer IRs :) ) that I feel is authentic - it feels like a compromise to go direct, so I mic up my amp still. The modelling amp and Bandit do not feel like a compromise at all.

    Just my experience, of course!
     
  17. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I use the clean channel on my Bandit 65 as a pseudo-FRFR. It works well in that role although I'll probably replace it with a Headrush 112 at some point. The funny thing is that the Headrush and Bandit weigh almost the same, right around 36 pounds.
     
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  18. Cerb

    Cerb Tele-Meister

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  19. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sound, weight, maintenance needs and costs ...

    Tube and SS amps both offer good and bad qualities ... What will work for you is a personal choice ... Choose well !!!
     
  20. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    IMO it depends a lot on your use.
    If you can push the volume, the main pro of a good tube amp will be the tone and the feel you get out of it. For me, it surpasses the cons (weight, maintenance care, price, etc.).
    But at low volume, the tone and especially the feel of a good digital modeling amp will often be better than most tube amps when set too low volume-wise. In this case I think there is only cons to tubes, minus the joy you can get out of owning it (which you should not neglect because it can inspire you to play).
     
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