Solid State vs. Tube

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by teleginger, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    They nabbed him....
     
  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'll use either. I experimented heavily with SS and gravitated mostly back to tube. For some reason it's just easier for me to get a sound and feel I like, that also cuts through without excessive volume.

    For some reason most SS amps I've tried (1) seem quieter than the rated wattage of a comparable tube amp (even controlled by using the same speaker) and (2) don't seem to "cut" as well - by which I don't mean to dominate the mix, but to find their own sonic space.

    I felt like I was banging my head on the wall trying to make SS work for me, so I gravitated back to mostly tube. Probably user error. The one exception is my used Peavey Studio Pro that I got mint for $99. It's the red stripe model, whatever that means. Popped a C-Rex in - loud, proud, sounds good to very good. Not great. Nice workhorse. I leave it at the rehearsal space, because we might go acoustic for practice months at a time. I don't feel bad just letting it set but when I plug it in I always smile.

    Re: the AC4. I can't imagine relying on places (1) to have sound reinforcement that extends to guitar amps, (2) a sound guy with a good ear, and (3) all of equipment to work right. So it wouldn't be a good option in my head. Even if 1-3 are all in place, I really don't like guitar in my monitor unless it absolutely has to be there. Maybe because I'm always singing lead or harmony, I prefer just VOX and maybe some floor/kick if I'm not standing right in front of my drummer. But I know some guys love guitars in their monitors so I guess we're all different.
     
  3. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you like your Mustang, why not a bigger one? The III is 100 Watts. If you can afford it, a Deluxe Reverb is the best gigging amp, IMO. 22 Watts tube sounds like 100 Watts SS.
     
  4. buddhuu

    buddhuu Tele-Meister

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    LOL! Luckily not!

    Anyway, as I was about to say when my non-tube-police visitor arrived...

    I've been playing guitar (not terribly well) since the early 1970s. I've had quite a few amps, both tube and analogue solid state.

    Tubes, watt for watt, mostly seem louder than an equivalent SS amp, but that's not a universal rule as two tube amps of the same power may also produce quite different maximum volumes. Tubes also seem pretty dynamic. Crunch will often clean up with a lighter pick attack or a slight backing off of the guitar volume, so it's possible to go from clean to overdrive without touching a single knob on the amp. Some solid state amps don't achieve this well - but an increasing number do.

    People say that SS amps don't sound like tubes. But the variety of tones one experiences across the spectrum of tube amps is so wide that it is possible to find a solid state amp that sounds more like tube amp than a different kind of tube amp does. The same is true of the dynamics of the amps.

    Tubes amps tend to be heavier than similar sized SS ones but not always - my solid state Orange Crush Pro CR60C is bloody heavy for a 1x12".

    Tube amps need maintenance if they are to perform at their best. Biases need to be set, tubes need to be replaced, the amps need to be moved and handled with a certain amount of care - especially while the tubes are hot. A new set of tubes can be expensive.

    Oh, that's another thing: tube amps tend to be much more expensive than the nearest equivalent SS. Not always, but overwhelmingly. Again using my Orange as an example: the Crush Pro circuitry closely follows that of Orange's Rockerverb tube range. The main difference is that transistors are used instead of tubes. The 50w Rockerverb RK50C combo costs more than £1000 more than the 60w Crush Pro 60C.

    Actually, those two amps are a pretty handy comparison. When I picked up my CR60C I also played the 120w Crush Pro SS head in the same range and the all-tube Rockerverb 50C. I couldn't crank them in the store so I can't say what difference there is between the max volume of the CR60C and the RK50C. But I can comment on the tones.

    Sorry, solid state fans, there is a difference. The transistor Crush amps don't sound exactly like the tube Rockerverbs. There's a certain thickness and substance that just isn't there in the solid state amps. There's also a slightly different quality to the crunch and drive tones.

    Sorry, tube fans, that difference isn't huge and I'm sure many people wouldn't notice it unless they heard the two amps one after the other! The Crushes definitely do have that Orange sound - the nice, slightly softened highs.

    I'm also unsure of how much difference is due to the Rockerverb 50 MkIII being a 2x12" against the CR60C being 1x12"

    Would I like a Rockerverb? Hell, yes. But only if someone gave me a grand to fund it and also promised to pay for re-tubing when the time comes. Oh, and if they help me carry it!

    I'd also like a Vox AC30 like the one that was my first "real" amp in 1979. But cost and weight mean that I'd be almost as happy with Vox's hybrid AC30 VR. I've tried one of those (it was the alternative I considered to the CR60C) and, again, they really are not that far from the real thing - except in price.

    For a player on a budget needing a good sounding, reliable first gigging amp I, personally, would recommend a Peavey Bandit which is SS.

    If you have the money, tubes are great. If you don't, solid state is great.

    We are very lucky, it's all good. There are fantastic tube amps and, for less money, there are slightly different, but also fantastic, transistor amps.

    For my part, I'm currently having one of my tube-free periods. They happen every now and then. I can honestly say that I'm equally satisfied with tubes and transistors. I can also say I get equally frustrated with tubes and transistors.

    Apologies for Postzilla.
     
  5. SirJackdeFuzz

    SirJackdeFuzz Friend of Leo's

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    imho, if you are not using a Quilter or Polytone Mini Brute SS amp, get a valve (tuub) amp !


    PS : i'll admit the little known Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight amp is pretty bloody good too

    http://www.dv247.de/assets/products/41558_l.jpg


    My 2cents ;)
     
  6. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    If I have a big gig where I need a full sound with some volume, I use a tube amp (usually a tweed Bassman LTD, but I also have a Blues Deluxe.) However, if I am playing a small setting I might bring out my Vox Pathfinder 15R. I have never played another solid state amp that I liked enough to purchase. I have heard a few others that sound decent, but do not suit my chosen sounds. The little Orange amps sound very good for solid little rockers.
     
  7. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    All of this.

    I play a Rockerverb 50 watt 2x12 combo at the rehearsal space. Belongs to the other guitarist. He leaves it there, and said I could use it rather than haul an amp back and forth.

    I also have my Crush 35 RT. They aren't the same amp. And they don't sound identical by any means. But they are both really great amps, and I don't mind playing through either of them.

    Like he said, I'd love to own a Rockerverb. I would not love to haul it around. Not worth it.

    Now if it were the good Ol' days, and I never had to move my own amps, why not? Maybe I'd get six of 'em! Lol.


    I still have tube amps. But I use my Crush a LOT. It sounds great, and it's so much lighter and smaller. It's just easy. And really, although I do prefer my hand wired tube head for dynamics and touch, and yes, even for tone, I prefer the Crush to pretty much all the small consumer grade tube amps I've tried.

    My AC15 had an edge in the tone department, but it cost $600, more for decent tubes, and weighed 50 lbs. It also didn't have as much clean headroom.

    My hand wired tube head is better. It costs $1800, and is too loud even at 18 watts to hit the "sweet spot" at most of my gigs.

    I have an Egnater Tweaker head that I adore. It's not head and shoulders above the Crush, and even bought used, was more than twice the price after playing with tube swaps and some other stuff.


    The Crush was under $300. It paid for itself, and bought sushi, the first week I had it. And I LOVE playing it. It's fun. It sounds good.

    I've previously tried a lot of small tube amps. I can say without reservation that for sound it destroys every 10-20 watt 1x10 or 1x12 tube amp I've ever played for under $1000. Except the AC15C1 after new tubes and slight modding.

    And it has much more clean headroom than any of them.

    Will I sell my tube amps? No. They certainly have their place. There are some things that they do that the Crush doesn't. And vice versa.

    Everything in its place.
     
  8. buddhuu

    buddhuu Tele-Meister

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    Ah yes. With all those words I used above, that ^ is what I was trying to say. :D
     
  9. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Waving the Peavey Bandit flag here!

    If you're looking for a giggable SS amp at a reasonable price then search the local Buy-Sell ads in your area and you'll likely find a US-built Peavey Bandit. These have great cleans, take pedals very well, and a built like a tank (and almost as heavy!) I'm a tube sniffer, but really like to play my Bandit 65.
    If you don't like it, you can most likely sell for what you paid.
     
  10. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The newer red stripe and silver stripe USA Bandits with the T Dynamics control are great amps. Some of the most touch sensitive and great sounding SS amps around. I've seen them as cheap as $80 in good shape.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Why the choice between 4w tube and 100w SS?
     
  12. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    In thinking it's because the prices are comparable. But that's just a guess...
     
  13. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    If you like the Mustang I, at least try out the Mustang III.
     
  14. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1.

    the day someone in the audience can tell the difference between my mate's tube and my SS is the day I'll think about tube.
     
  15. buddhuu

    buddhuu Tele-Meister

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    Don't underestimate the current Chinese Bandits. The cleans and the "Classic" voicing of the overdrive channel are great. Personally I'm not as keen on the "Modern" and "High Gain" settings (which get a bit hissy) but then I'm not a high gain kind of player. From Clean through to classic and hard rock the current Bandit does the job very well. What's more, at 80w (100w with an extension cab) they're loud enough for pretty much anything.

    I just sold one. The buyer loves it. I would have kept it but the lack of a master volume was bugging me. The other problem is that, for me, the Bandit has just too many voicing options - 3 on the clean channel, 3 on the drive channel and 3 damping settings. I just couldn't stop fiddling. :lol:
     
  16. ZZB3

    ZZB3 Tele-Holic

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    I sold all of my tube amps but one and bought a $80 used red stripe bandit (chinese). It is the only amp currently being played. Take the time to dial it in and smile with all of the money and hassle you have saved.
     
  17. Buckman

    Buckman TDPRI Member

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    I'm pretty impressed with the MT. IMO it comes closer to tube vibe than any hybrid I've used. And the difference when I swapped out the lone bottle was significant. Quilters and Kempers and AXE-FX don't have bottles, and pros swear by them these days.
     
  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    ^^^ This. ^^^

    Oh, I’ll admit, I’ve played through some tube amps that tempt me to own one. But for me, a tube amp is just not necessary. Nice, perhaps, but not necessary.
     
  19. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    To the OP, even a Mustang I amp can work at the right gig. A few years ago a friend’s band booked a coffee shop gig. A small venue, obviously, small “staging area” and shop, with 30 or so people for an audience. Normally a 6-piece band with a drummer, they were short a couple of bandmates, going with some percussion but no drum kit, 2 guitarists and bass. My buddy played his MiA Strat through his Mustang I, straight to the room (not mic’ed). You could hear him fine, and it sounded good.

    And as someone else said, if you like your Mustang but want more wattage output and/or a larger speaker for larger gigs, then look at the Mustang III.
     
  20. Pcaluaru

    Pcaluaru Tele-Meister

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    Since most of us use a pedal rig and don't rely on the amp for all our tones..

    With emphasis ON AFFORDABILITY!
    I'd recommend.. (these are tried and true gigging amps as demonstrated by the plethora of users currently gigging in a bar near you!!!)

    Peavy Clasic 30 or the Delta Blues 115 (serious work horses!!)
    Fender Hot Rod Deville (probably the best pedal platform for the money)

    If solid state dependability is your bag... Roland's Blues Cube
     
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