When tube production ends one day...

Alex_C

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Imho, it would be hard to sell something like a Helix if it can’t SAY that it can sound like great tube amps. Modeling, no matter how good it is, is an approximation…a simulation.
Why someone would want to model a JC120 is beyond me, but it takes all kinds.
I agree, a modeler can only approximate the sound of a certain amp. In reality, if you play through two of the same exact model of tube amps, they have subtle differences in their sound. If they are years apart in production, those differences are more noticeable. This is why a modeled JCM 800 sounds different in a Helix vs a Fractal vs Quad Cortex, etc. If the originals are not consistent, then the models are all going to vary due to the original amps inconsistencies.
 

tfarny

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Imho, it would be hard to sell something like a Helix if it can’t SAY that it can sound like great tube amps. Modeling, no matter how good it is, is an approximation…a simulation.
Why someone would want to model a JC120 is beyond me, but it takes all kinds.
Your arguments are quite the slippery slope! I was only responding to your claim that they are all trying to model tube amps by pointing out that it is not true at all. Maybe you don't like JC120, but lots of people do, and Helix can emulate that sound pretty well.

Modeling is not only an "approximation" or a "simulation." It's digital processing of your signal that can then be fed into a power amp. The digital processing can be, and usually is, used to try and come close to some classic tube amp, but only because that is what consumers tend to demand. Line 6, which the only company whose products I'm at all familiar with, has a whole range of "amp models" that don't have a real world equivalent. Their newest one is called the Ventoux and was included in their recent firmware upgrade. People seem to think it's got some cool and unique sounds to it. I haven't messed with it.

I don't care whether you embrace the stuff or not. I've been using modeling about half the time these days. I think it can sound really good and can also be a bass amp, an acoustic DI/EQ and lots of other things that are useful to me, all in one box.

But you are saying a bunch of stuff that is just plain wrong on a forum that gets a lot of eyeballs.
 

guitarbuilder

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I haven't read though all these pages, but I'd imagine like old cars, you'd have old parts amps to harvest parts like at a audio junkyard. There will be tubes...just at a higher cost than now...and who knows maybe some electrical wizard will offer tube rebuilds...you never know what the demand can create. I think I saw a video of a custom tube being created too.
 

PCollen

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...will there be "modelling tube" upgrade kits you can stick in the sockets instead?
If you can invent and patent that idea, you may make a fortune on it. Weber sells a solid state tube rectifier emulator that is housed inside a tube-like metal housing and plugs into a tube rectifier socket ..I use one in my JTM50 clone (my only remaining tube amp). Works great, never a problem. Can't tell the difference between it and a GZ34. I bought it when my GZ34 failed ....18 years ago.
 

Mowgli

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I just had a thought, if we all go SE we will extend the tube supply. You're welcome. :p
Intuitively one would think that it would extend the tube supply and it might in the short term but…

When one compares the “duty cycles” of a single power tube employed in a Single Ended (SE) amp versus a “push-pull” 2-tube amp, the life spans of the individual push-pull tubes should last longer than the single SE tube because the duty cycles of each push-pull tube are considerably diminished (I don’t recall the %) thus extending the lifespan of each tube considerably. In contrast, the duty cycle of a SE tube is 100%; it’s basically operating 100% of the time.

Thus, all other things being equal, 2 SE power tubes used consecutively should weaken and fail before either of the two push-pull AB power tubes weaken and fail.

I hope this makes sense.
 

Alex_C

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Intuitively one would think that it would extend the tube supply and it might in the short term but…

When one compares the “duty cycles” of a single power tube employed in a Single Ended (SE) amp versus a “push-pull” 2-tube amp, the life spans of the individual push-pull tubes should last longer than the single SE tube because the duty cycles of each push-pull tube are considerably diminished (I don’t recall the %) thus extending the lifespan of each tube considerably. In contrast, the duty cycle of a SE tube is 100%; it’s basically operating 100% of the time.

Thus, all other things being equal, 2 SE power tubes used consecutively should weaken and fail before either of the two push-pull AB power tubes weaken and fail.

I hope this makes sense.
It does make sense. I believe the duty cycle of a AB is 1/2 that of the SE. I was joking about the SE saving tubes thing. I figured someone would come back with the Laney LH50 (SE) which uses 5 EL34s in the output section!
 

Mowgli

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It does make sense. I believe the duty cycle of a AB is 1/2 that of the SE. I was joking about the SE saving tubes thing. I figured someone would come back with the Laney LH50 (SE) which uses 5 EL34s in the output section!
Glad you know this!

As with many things, some people may not know this so it’s better to explain so people can learn.
 

msalama

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Modeling, no matter how good it is, is an approximation…

So what? I've got this cheapo Roland Cube 80X COSM I bought for a song a while ago, and even that approximates tube amps well enough. No, its presets are not 100% reproductions of anything, but who in their right mind even thinks they are?

Take its Blackface emulation, for example. Not a dead ringer for any original Fender I've played - and yet, compresses and breaks up pretty convincinly when you add some gain, so it's actually a good model of generic low-wattage tube combo characteristics. And all this without breaking the bank... or your back when you schlep it around :D

So what's not to like if you're not suffering from an uncurable case of corksniffery?
 
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Wally

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So what's not to like if you're not suffering from an uncurable case of corksniffery?
I am not a cork sniffer. I play guitars. I have been listening…closely….to my electric guitars and amplifiers since 1963. I have owned more than 100 tube amps….maybe more than twice that number. Who counts?? I have worked on more than that. I have owned a few solid state amps….two were bought new in my younger days. The Lab series L5 came very close to creating tube-like harmonic structures, but it fell short. The Lab Series is the only Ss amp I care to hear a guitar being played through.
We each have our own ears. I have yet to hear any solid state amp..including modelers….that yield what I am accustomed to hearing. That does not impact you. If you are happy with whatever amp you find to use, that is fine by me. Your decisions and your ears do not impact me and my conclusions based on my experiences, not do your decisions have anything to do with my stated opinions which are biased on my long and varied experiences.
Cork sniffing??? I would posit that some guitarists’ pejorative use of this term is a sign of classism is an attempt those people to ridicule the experiences of those who pay very close attention to details….sonic in the case of guitars and amps. The wine world ‘sniffs corks’ so as to use all of the senses to understand what is being consumed…or not in the case of a wine that has ‘turned’. Guitarists use their ears to make the same type of decisions…to determine what sonic qualities does an amp have and do those qualities suit the player’s purpose. What another person drinks or plays does not bother me. I do not have to drink with them or listen to whatever sounds they make. I prefer to use the senses I have to the fullest extent of those capabilities. Ime, the great players also make these choices….with their ears after ‘sniffing the corks’ of various amps. I find that those who do not use their ears cannot possibly make music that I want to hear Because quite simply music is an aural endeavor. I encourage people who want to play guitar to develop their ear. The wine world encourages people to use their sense of smell and taste. If one does not want to ‘sniff these corks’, then they are lucky in one sense. They can buy very cheap wine, guitars, and amps.…and be happy. They need not even buy new strings or have a guitar properly set up…because paying attention to such details would be sniffing corks, eh?
play Guitar….and enjoy.
 

msalama

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play Guitar….and enjoy

Hey, all I said was just that they're a pretty good and usable approximation, NOT that they're the same thing. OK, the cork-sniffing bit was probably out of line, but I still think they're not half bad for the price and luggability.

And yes, I've played professionally in the past, so your insinuations of my being a tone-deaf Thunderbird guzzler do fall very wide of the mark indeed. But hey, you do you and I'll do me.
 

loopfinding

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True. But given the year-over-year rise in vinyl record albums, there are “digital ears” either re-discovering or discovering their “analog ears”. So there is hope.


It’s just a consumer fad. Laypeople can’t even tell the difference between two pitches that are 50 cents off. My parents who listened to vinyl for 40 years can’t tell the difference between like 96kbps and 320kbps MP3s, much less CD vs vinyl.

We as musicians actively train our ears. So do recording engineers. That a layperson thinks they have done the same work through passive listening is at best laughable, and at worst arrogant.
 
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loopfinding

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imho, the biggest threat to tube amplification or perhaps the proverbial final straw is the reality that there is a generation of ‘digital ears’ that is now becoming ascendant. They have grown up hearing nothing except digitally recorded music that is reproduced through nothing except solid state/digital equipment. The ear knows only what that ear has heard.

i agree with this to some extent, but i don't think it's a bad thing. no different than "analog ears" vs "mechanical ears." plus, especially with electronic music, putting out music made by digital means on vinyl just seems silly or overly sentimental to me.

we can still keep the old stuff for the old music. we don't have to throw out either of those. i enjoy a little tweed amp and a single pup p90 archtop for jazz, and it's better sounding/more appropriate to me personally. but i also enjoy the distortion sound of a beta lead in some heavier styles, maybe even better (it's just nastier/more aggressive sounding). so i wouldn't just say that a tube amp is imperative across the board.

i make a lot of music on guitar that is closer to electronic music aesthetic than "guitar" music. i definitely try to record it through tube amps, tube amp emulations...but honestly sometimes i just use pedals straight into the board, not even any IR either. it just works for the aesthetic. what's wrong with moving towards new conventions?

in the synth realm, there are so many analog purists. moog/roland/etc. synths, roland drum machines. over the past 5-6 years, i have figured out i honestly just prefer FM/wavetable synthesis most of the time, or digital drum synthesis (like nord drum, elektron machinedrum, not sampling). it just allows me to really get into the weeds of it and go to different sonic places.
 
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Wally

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so your insinuations of my being a tone-deaf Thunderbird guzzler do fall very wide of the mark indeed. But hey, you do you and I'll do me.
I did not insinuate such a thing. I said nothing that directly describes you…since I don’t know anything about you why would I???
What you drink and what you play is up to you, and not having spent time drinking and/or playing music with you there is no way I could comment upon either of your personal choices. (;^)
Thanks for the Thunderbird…

Good morning here on the Third Rock…..
 

archetype

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Just to set the record straight for people referring to "cork sniffing." Such a thing has been done, but it's of little purpose.

In this household we're definitely not experts, but we enjoy better wines and have sought education on the topic. We've schooled a bit with some of the best in the world and not one of them sniffed corks or mentioned the practice as part of tasting a wine from corked bottle to a swish in the mouth. Not one sommelier, steward, or server has ever offered us a cork.

If the cork is soft or soaked, it's visually obvious when the bottle is opened. In a good restaurant, the bottle is immediately replaced. In practice, you don't eat the cork, you drink the wine instead, so a bit of it is poured into a glass and you can tell by nose and taste if it's right.

On deaf ears, perhaps, as folks seem to throw around "cork sniffer" as a favorite pejorative for people who have individual tastes and preferences, damn them.
 
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Mowgli

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1. I wish I could recall the source of the following for the purposes of both accuracy and precision (they are not synonymous). Regardless, here it goes…

A while back a group of wine experts was assembled and asked to opine upon on a group of wines. They were blind to any information about the wines. Long story short, some wines with marginal reputations were regarded very highly and some highly regarded wines were panned.

2. I had an old friend and mentor who passed away a few years ago. He was a wine aficionado and I wasn’t. Every time I would visit and we went out to a restaurant he would bring one or two bottles of wine from his cellar. I’m not a fan of most alcoholic drinks and rarely drink (alcohol is a known carcinogen). In fact, I don’t like most wines I’ve had. But every single wine he brought to the table over many years tasted fantastic. — That’s my opinion; the opinion of someone who is NOT a wine expert but liked what he tasted.

Take home messages here?

Some people are legitimate experts and some aren’t.

Some may not be experts but recognize subtle things others don’t because of their education and experience.

Determining expertise is tough because it usually takes other “experts” to decide or determine standards of expertise. Often it’s a fool’s errand because there are no real standards!

Determining expertise is truly a game pregnant with shortfalls and corruption. For example, belts in martial arts are usually awarded by “experts. “ But I’ve seen a yellow belt from one Martial Arts school easily dispatch a black belt from another school. Talk about the corruption of “selling belts” and a lack of universal standards.

Who determines who is a true wine judge and by what reliable standards?

Usually it’s a like-minded group of self-appointed/anointed people who are seeking recognition for purposes of politics or stature. The above true story demonstrates that expertise in wine tasting is pretty flawed.

Within a group of any size, if one person demonstrates more knowledge than the others regarding a subject matter, that person is usually branded “the expert.” —- I invite anyone to research the Todd Willingham case in Texas and tell me that the local experts “got it right” in his case. He’s dead now because some local “forensic arson” experts weren’t real experts.

Who determines what amp sounds good or even better than the next?

I’ve read that George Benson used a solid state Polytone amp on his Breezin’ album. For me, that’s the quintessential warm clean jazz guitar tone. I’ve heard many dozens of Polytones on jazz records and they usually sound good to great. Most I’ve heard live sounded sterile to great and it wasn’t always the “hands of the guitarist” at fault when the tone suffered. I chalked it up to the room acoustics… but I’m not an expert. Regardless, that was the only variable that differed! Some studios sound sterile and others sound “live.”

So screw the experts if their opinions don’t make sense to you AND… you can make a coherent argument to support your view.

If your ears like something different from others then have the courage to stand by your conviction.

It’s a matter of taste, not intelligence or character.

Lastly — The term “cork sniffer” is often used as a pejorative and usually without qualification. The inferences of wine, wine tasting, etc are invoked. That’s why I mentioned 1. and 2. above. There’s the tacit implication that the person has illegitimate elevated tastes and is a condescending jerk. So it is akin to a classist epithet and often rife with bravado depending on the context. Thus it doubles as ad hominem, in my opinion. As such its usage adds nothing constructive to the discussion.

I apologize for the length.
 

hepular

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1. I wish I could recall the source of the following for the purposes of both accuracy and precision (they are not synonymous). Regardless, here it goes…

A while back a group of wine experts was assembled and asked to opine upon on a group of wines. They were blind to any information about the wines. Long story short, some wines with marginal reputations were regarded very highly and some highly regarded wines were panned.

2. I had an old friend and mentor who passed away a few years ago. He was a wine aficionado and I wasn’t. Every time I would visit and we went out to a restaurant he would bring one or two bottles of wine from his cellar. I’m not a fan of most alcoholic drinks and rarely drink (alcohol is a known carcinogen). In fact, I don’t like most wines I’ve had. But every single wine he brought to the table over many years tasted fantastic. — That’s my opinion; the opinion of someone who is NOT a wine expert but liked what he tasted.

Take home messages here?

Some people are legitimate experts and some aren’t.

Some may not be experts but recognize subtle things others don’t because of their education and experience.

Determining expertise is tough because it usually takes other “experts” to decide or determine standards of expertise. Often it’s a fool’s errand because there are no real standards!

Determining expertise is truly a game pregnant with shortfalls and corruption. For example, belts in martial arts are usually awarded by “experts. “ But I’ve seen a yellow belt from one Martial Arts school easily dispatch a black belt from another school. Talk about the corruption of “selling belts” and a lack of universal standards.

Who determines who is a true wine judge and by what reliable standards?

Usually it’s a like-minded group of self-appointed/anointed people who are seeking recognition for purposes of politics or stature. The above true story demonstrates that expertise in wine tasting is pretty flawed.

Within a group of any size, if one person demonstrates more knowledge than the others regarding a subject matter, that person is usually branded “the expert.” —- I invite anyone to research the Todd Willingham case in Texas and tell me that the local experts “got it right” in his case. He’s dead now because some local “forensic arson” experts weren’t real experts.

Who determines what amp sounds good or even better than the next?

I’ve read that George Benson used a solid state Polytone amp on his Breezin’ album. For me, that’s the quintessential warm clean jazz guitar tone. I’ve heard many dozens of Polytones on jazz records and they usually sound good to great. Most I’ve heard live sounded sterile to great and it wasn’t always the “hands of the guitarist” at fault when the tone suffered. I chalked it up to the room acoustics… but I’m not an expert. Regardless, that was the only variable that differed! Some studios sound sterile and others sound “live.”

So screw the experts if their opinions don’t make sense to you AND… you can make a coherent argument to support your view.

If your ears like something different from others then have the courage to stand by your conviction.

It’s a matter of taste, not intelligence or character.

Lastly — The term “cork sniffer” is often used as a pejorative and usually without qualification. The inferences of wine, wine tasting, etc are invoked. That’s why I mentioned 1. and 2. above. There’s the tacit implication that the person has illegitimate elevated tastes and is a condescending jerk. So it is akin to a classist epithet and often rife with bravado depending on the context. Thus it doubles as ad hominem, in my opinion. As such its usage adds nothing constructive to the discussion.

I apologize for the length.
lots of wine folks can't tell the difference between $20 and $2000 bottles. (Almost any fool could tell the difference between New Belgium's abomination of a dubbel and Westvleteren or St. Bernardus, tho . . .)

up the ante: world class violinists can't tell the diff between strads and modern instruments.

but: "cork sniffer," given the $$$$ barriers to entry into super hifi goods and the world of vintage and boutique amps is probably better characterized as coming from class, or at least $$$ ENVY. if only the folks (sorry for the impending thread-jack) who worship nos paper-in-oil capacitors or who think that shoving perfectly good new filter caps into old cardboard sleeves (which, in addition to being really time consuming, is also potentially confounding to the NEXT person who works on the amp) didn't justify the characterization.
 




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