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Solid State and Digital Technology Progression

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 4514, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. classicplayer

    classicplayer Tele-Meister

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    [QUOTE Will The guitar still be THE weapon of choice for music... it nearly died in the nineties with boy/girl bands and has taken a major back seat in youth culture and their music! Will there be enough customers to keep valve production viable. It's all stacking up against valves now. But anyhow, what will happen with guitar as an instrument in time? You can't build a secure industry based on such wildly changing 'fashions.' And music is all about fashion!![/QUOTE]

    Exactly! It seems the instrument of choice from the 1930s right through the end of the 1950s was the saxophone. When was the last time we heard or witnessed a solo on that instrument in Rock and Pop music? Not too many....
    Lots of current bands used guitar only as an accompanying instrument and many of those are acoustic guitars, sometimes but not always amplified.

    Classicplayer
     
  2. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Meister

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    I have several very nice sounding low power tube amps and I also been using a Vox ToneLab LE straight to the house system a lot lately. I have been very pleased with the results. I think modelling is getting better....

    .... Then, there is the idea that a solid state amp could just be a great amp... not model anything... just be a great sounding amp, like a JC 120. (just one that comes to mind)

    ...In a way, we guitarists might be our own worst enemies due to our reluctance to let go of our beloved hot glass and support new offerings.
     
  3. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    SS is light years ahead of where it was even 20 years ago. I had a Fender Princeton Chorus almost 20 years ago. I liked it...until I discovered tube amps at the local shop. Ditched the PC for a Blues Deville. Heaven sent tone.

    Recently, I bought a fender g-dec 3. For versatility and sound, this thing is amazing. Sounds very warm and tubelike. The reverb is crazy good sounding. A couple weeks ago I got a blues junior i(i) and have played that exclusively only because it's new (to me). I look forward to plugging the g-dec in this weekend. It is sooo much better than that princeton chorus ever thought it could be.
     
  4. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Solid state will never respond to touch and pick attack like a tube can.
    SS sounds great just to the point that you plug in a "real amp" and play side by side.
    Perfectly clean = steril and cold.
    Its the extra harmonic richness that makes tube amps sound so good.
    I keep seeing comments like my SS works every time, like tube amps don't.
    Sounds like a sales pitch to me and i aint buying.
     
  5. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^^^^^^^

    Heh heh, shark-bait. ;)
     
  6. HOBBSTER01

    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like you sir are in the know when it comes to tone
    I totally agree.


    What's that? A Peavey Special 130?
     
  7. classicplayer

    classicplayer Tele-Meister

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    That sound to me, seems like it is a solid state amp. You can tell by the compression. The sound is "immediate". That is what I like about SS and why I've played them for some time now. I've played through Bandits and owned a Special 130.....both very good, but I hear a great advance in technology when I listen to my Roland Cube 20X. Of course, a lot of the tone is in the fingers and I have heard tones from Peavey SS amps on occasion where I was hard pressed to determine if it was SS or tube! I attributed it to the players fingers and style of playing. I never got close to the "tube" tone, but I still appreciated my Peaveys.

    Classicplayer
     
  8. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Crikey! He's totally in the know about all non-tube amps as well as what the future holds in store! How could he not be in the know about tone, too?
     
  9. Carvalho Diablo

    Carvalho Diablo Tele-Meister

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    Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.
     
  10. PaddyWagon

    PaddyWagon Tele-Meister

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    The only thing I know for sure about predicting what electronics will be capable of is to Never Say Never.
     
  11. HOBBSTER01

    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

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    lol
     
  12. J Hog

    J Hog Tele-Holic

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    One of the BEST SOUNDING solid state amps was built by one of our own. Stewart Ward!!! The Sessionette sg 75 was a GREAT sounding amp, and it's a SHAME that he isn't building them anymore. I own two of them and love them. And I'm a dyed in the wool tube head!!!
     
  13. ricks1950

    ricks1950 Tele-Meister

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    I'm making these observations after a long career working in the electronics and telecommunications industries, for equipment manufacturers.

    I think your conclusions are a little off. Tube amps are expensive because tubes, transformers, sockets and chassis and through-hole circuit boards are expensive to manufacture. They are also quite power inefficient, requiring large power transformers and power supplies. All of this adds up to a high base cost, regardless of the base quality of the device.

    Analog solid state amps of comparable quality and power cost roughly 1/4 to 1/3 as much to build as tube amps.

    Digital amps are rewriting the cost equations by using software to amplify and mix, and add effects through digital components that cost mere fractions of what analog solid state components cost, and the cost of these components is falling steadily, while the power and capability steadily increases. (See Moore's Law in Wikipedia)

    The actual feature set comes down to software. Ultimately your sound quality is going to come down to speakers and cabinet and the analog power output stage. Solid state output watts have gotten quite inexpensive lately, as well.
     
  14. ricks1950

    ricks1950 Tele-Meister

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    I sat around with some engineers who also happen to be musicians, and we could not agree on a definition of amplifier dynamics, what most guys refer to as touch or attack. It is one of those things that varies with the turn of a tone knob, or even the placement of the speakers in a room.

    I kind of agree that most modeling amps have their own dynamic qualities that differ from the amps they model to some degree. I just don't think it matters that much, because the modern digital amps sound good in their own right. I personally do not try to mimic the sound of something else, anyway. I work with the presets and controls to get the sounds I want.

    I have been using a Fender Mustang for the best part of the last year, and it is far from perfect in many ways, but is light years more advanced than the solid state Randall it replaced, and holds it own when I play with guys with Fender and Traynor tube amps. One of my buddies has a Fender Blues Deluxe and ZT Lunchbox, and hasn't fired up the Fender in months. The little amp with a 6" speaker hangs in the mix with the rest of us quite well. When he hooks it to an external cabinet, it roars -- what is it, 150 watts?? Great tone, by any standard.
     
  15. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    If we look at a good mid-price tube amp, Hot Rod Deluxe for example, it costs $699 retail, the matching extension cabinet sells for $299. So we are left with $400 amplifier cost. But out of that $400 you still need input jacks, knobs, pots, a chassis, power input wire a switch. So the tube related stuff probably doesn't cost more than $300, which puts you at about $100 for an analog amp of comparable quality and power. That is before you add any modeling in. So the way I see it you are only about $200 cheaper in hardware, and software tweaking and programing to get the emulation right is big bucks.

    A Fender tube RI '65 twin reverb sells for $1400. A Fender SS Cyber Twin sells for $1300. A Roland JC120 sells for $1200. The actual amplifier sections are not the big cost drivers here.
     
  16. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    Nice compressor in the VidCam.

    Nice sparkle added by the VidCam mic.

    Wonder what it sounds like live?
     
  17. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    The retail price of a Fender Twin is based on what the customer will pay for it! I.E... "if it's a valve amp, we can get 'this' for it." :D

    Also take into account the 'power' in the maker's badge, the size of their distribution setup, how many they could sell because of the speed they can get them into the market worldwide.

    R&D cost will be amortised over the whole operation abilities and efficiencies. It's not just a simple cost + markup

    A few important 'Standard' marketing rules to bare in mind too:

    1. Reversed Justification - Customer justifies the cost by "If it's expensive it must be good!"
    This is what makes you buy a Mercedes over a Hyundia!

    2. People never buy what they need... they buy what they want.
    Many like to drive the Mercedes to show the world that they earn enough to warrant spending this amount on a car... same with pro players and their gear! "Hey man, take note... I've arrived!"

    3. "Simplicity = popularity = money in the bank." - (Eastman (Kodak)).
    Applies mainly to the bottom end of the market place where people tend to think "It's good enough for me." There are many potential customers with low self esteem who think like this and they are targets too!

    Sorry, it doesn't please me to talk about these markteering ploys... but I can't change the fact that this thinking, and more, happens in advertising agencies the world over. They fit you to a band of known 'life style' models.

    Don't think for one minute that adverts in guitar mags are for information alone! They are there to entice you into their world and attempt to transfer money in your bank into theirs! This is the SOLE purpose of advertising. :lol:
     
  18. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    Stewart, is this what you were doing when you ran all those Session ads in the 80s?
     
  19. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    Hey, I'm not saying SS is better than valves. But I would question whether valves actually behave like you claim.

    Not all valve amps are good, most aren't. Not all valve amps are designed the same or indeed, have the same quality/type of parts that might enable many valve amps to work the way you claim. Certainly those with valve rectifiers can respond more like you claim... but the vast majority of valve amps have solid state rectifiers. So that might blow that 'universal' theory right out the water!

    I don't like words like 'all', 'do', 'will' or any other 'universally' used words that imply a complete inability or willingnes to present a balanced or flexible view. I prefer the highlighted words above. Further, I think of people who do this as 'verbal terrorists' who want to instill their personal views upon everyone else.

    So long as you are happy with valve amps, then use them. Fine. Those that are happy with SS, I say the same. But try not to ridicule anyone for not using what you think is best!

    Progress marches on. Sometime you and I will be dead and the progress will continue regardless. Tomorrow's youth will likely not ever experience valve tone... and they could have fabulous new technologies that, in their minds, would make them wonder how you ever managed with such unreliable and limiting technology.

    Young successful musicians respect the music and technology of the past. But already, they seem to be mixing modern and old to create new directions and sounds. Eventually, the old technologies might be set asside in favour of creativity, convenience and reliability.

    Hey, how many of us would pay $100,000 for a car with a side valve engine, no electronic engine management, no radio, CD, USB input, heater, aircon, sat nav and only leaf sping suspension... in fact a Model T. Yes we look on them with affection... but would you want it now, with our levels of sophistication, when its -20°C and you have a 100+ mile journey to make? Maybe young musicians might be thinking this even now?

    My case rests, Sir. ;)
     
  20. Stewart Ward

    Stewart Ward Banned

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    YES!!!! You bet! And I would do it all again.

    Well, you all know I'm an honest guy and say what I believe to be right. ;)
     
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