Why are tube amp people so adamant. Solid state has much to offer.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Cheap guitar guy, May 30, 2019.

  1. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a less desirable 4210 JCM800. I had an amp tech take out the clipping diodes and it sounded way better. Great way to get
    the "desirable" JCM800 at a much lower price point.

    While it is true that you can put Kemper profiles on a thumb drive, I suspect that the sound guys do additional tweaking. Every venue has a certain
    amount of natural reverb, and natural EQ profile. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they start with their saved profiles but then dial it in a bit, at least adjusting
    reverb and EQ a bit. Of course, it is possible that they do all additional tweaking from the P.A. and just use the dry signal coming out of the Kemper rig.
     
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  2. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    I don't much care what YOU play through.
    I have plenty of opinions I could share, but I'll keep most of those to myself.
    What I object to is the snotty, "you're just too invested etc." line. What is that about ?
    Is that the offensive way of being defensive about not being able to afford a real amp ? Who cares ?
    I didn't buy the '68 Princeton as an investment ( it was mildly expensive) . I buy amps to play.
    As far as the Image, I do identify myself with a Fender type amp, but that is because I like looking at them,not because I think YOU like looking at them.
    And I didn't buy it to impress anyone, since in the 2+1/2 years I've had it it hasn't left the house.
    I bought it for the sheer bliss of the sound pouring forth in lush tones that record beautifully and just sound great. It makes me feel good . And it sounds very good, objectively.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  3. Marquee Moon

    Marquee Moon Tele-Meister

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    not true, especially regarding rock music. I'm young and I know people even younger than me(18-20) who say that music,especially rock music, is not as good as it was in previous decades. It is so common in fact that some teenager posting" i was born in the wrong decade" on classic rock videos on youtube has become a meme. It is much more comforting to pretend that music has not declined, and that older people " just don't get it." That is not the case. If you like music that is heavily edited,quantised, and auto tuned, you will love music from this time period.
     
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  4. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    Wow, there is so much passion being displayed on this whole subject!

    I'm bringing my own perspective to it.
    I've mentioned that after decades as an amp-less person, I'm going to get back into it. I used to own Marshall gear (couple of 4-hole Plexis and 4x12s) and also various other tube amps. So I know how a good amp sounds/feels/smells like.

    I've been trying a lot of gear recently, and if I was going to be gigging again then I would probably be getting a tube amp, probably a Marshall (OK, call me a traditionalist...) and ideally a roadie to move it around ;).
    But for what I actually need now, it's probably going to be a Katana, which doesn't particularly sound like any other amp, and it's not really supposed to.

    I like the Katana sound, and the flexibility, etc. that it offers...that's what will decide my choice. I personally couldn't care less what's inside it, tubes, transistors, surface mounted capacitors, chips, hamsters, whatever (OK, probably not all of those)

    IMHO, the whole 'sounds just like amp XXX' thing - when it mostly doesn't - is what is actually holding back wider acceptance of digital/SS amps, the marketing folks seem to think that no-one will buy them unless they sound like particular tube amps (I wonder why that is?) Maybe they should just sell them as good sounding amps with their own character and voice? It's OK to sound 'different' to Fender or Marshall or Vox or whoever, so long as it sounds good.

    FYI - I have discovered that the Marshall CODE amps sound vaguely like Marshall's being played through transistor radios. The most 'convincing' amp sound I heard was an 'Orange' model in one of the Vox modelling combo's. I didn't try anything like Kemper or Helix, as I can't afford/justify those.

    Given that most folks are quite happy to run their signal path through extensive pedal boards full of solid-state components in front of their tube amps, I think it's a bit much to moan about the presence of a few extra components in the actual amplifier.

    Use what gear you've got/like, so long as it inspires you. :)
     
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  5. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So... if young people think today’s music isn’t very good comparatively, maybe some of them should step up and create some that is.
     
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  6. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's

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    I’m calling it an argument, @bftfender . I thought that was clear. Maybe we have a different perspective on what an argument consists of. Neither am I cowering to mass opinion. I’ve already weighed in on this subject right on this thread. My opinion, in review, is that both SS amps and Tube amps have their place in my world. Both amps I use are excellent. Cave to the mindless sheep? One example of that is to subscribe to the belief that you have to line up on one side or the other of any given argument (there, I used that word again). I don’t believe the world is made up of black and white. There myriad shades of color. Everything doesn’t boil down to us and them.

    Finally, I defer to one of my role models here, and the unofficial matriarch of TDPRI, @FenderGyrl . “Life is short, just be kind.” It’s right in my signature.
     
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  7. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    it's weird, i am an M fanatic but skip the 800,after a jmp i think they are thin & compressed without being boosted, my fav 800 is a jcm900 SLX all tube path.everyone modded the 800's anyways...the SLX is amazing take on a modded 800 in my mind..extra tube pre to goose it with out the diode if you want,,,but since it says 900 on badge..people badger it..always was a heavier player but lately..jtm45& jtm50 have been recording so well..the jtm45 is so big & open ..gives you back exactly what you put in. gear works differently for all of us..glad there is so many choices..1 thing from lots of studio sessions..finding out..the early circuits .. for recording..dont have the modern compression going on..and when you record..i think a lil compression happens & dif gear can compound that process to really make a tone change or get buried in a mix..it took me awhile of stubbornness to keep going backwards in amps & realizing less is more in the signal path..my studio guy took my board last year..best thing ever happened to me..learned the amp & guitar knobs way better
     
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  8. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    that was my point ..i wasn't actually directing at you..the point is its not an argument..it can be a discussion without going into an argument..even if you are black and white sided..there is a way to converse..hopefully we all never agree.being individuals with dif perspectives allows us to stay unique...keeping dialogue open..allows for not making a fence to be on one side or the other,,but a topic that really does matter...allows to be discussed. most of us will sound like us ..no matter what we plug into..its the confidence & familiarity with a certain piece of gear that has us choose our favorites & passionately defend it or make honest comments from experience. It's all good !!
     
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  9. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have tube amps, well a couple of them are hybrids I think, and I have owned a couple of SS. For me tube amps sound alive for lack of a better description. My Strat sounds like a Strat, my LP like an LP, etc. With SS they all kind of sounded alike. I mean, there was a little difference but by and large a bit of a generic sound
     
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  10. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    That was the biggest factor why I picked a Roland Blues Cube Hot. It sounds great and has the traditional simple tube amp controls.
     
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  11. bluebirdrad

    bluebirdrad Tele-Meister

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    I think there is some confusion about what we mean by "solid state". Well-designed solid state amps offer high power and headroom with intelligent tone stacks in a small package. Classic examples are Polytone for jazz and Evans for pedal steel; the Roland JC-40 does the same thing. Some country guitarists like these for the same reasons. And they take well to pedals. But these are to me a different category than the contemporary modeling amps I think most of you are talking about. I have played many gigs with a Line 6 POD or HD 500 direct to the mixing board with no amp at all with excellent results; sometimes I put it through my solid state Genz Benz acoustic amp and it sounds great -- but my use of these is to simulate a tube amp. I've tried many of these devices starting with the Yamaha DG Stomp since 2003. And Mark Knopfler is going on his next tour with Kempner amps -- no tubes in there -- but tube simulation. I still prefer my Blackface Fender Deluxe but I doubt anyone in the audience or probably even the band knows the difference.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  12. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm having flashbacks of my old Digitech GSP21 Legend (bought new in 1994). It was pretty good for what was available at the time, but it overpowered (for lack of better terminology) any tonal differences from guitar to guitar. The technology has advanced dramatically since then.
     
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  13. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    That's true, and that's a good thing. It's also part of what makes tube amps actually fun for a lot of people. You play the amp as well as the guitar. Things change. It's a fight sometimes. A great fight. Dial in your sound every time instead of just lazily running on auto pilot.

    I'm sure there are guys that want the sterile consistency of trying to sound identical every time they turn on. That's fine, but do they really sound identical every time? No. Rooms are different. Stages are different. Monitoring is often different. Are we talking elite pros? Okay, in their in-ears they sound the same to themselves night after night. Out in different venues they will sound different even if they use the same 1s and 0s every single time. I guess if you're lucky enough to be in a position where you just have to sound just like the record or the peeons will revolt, then that kind of consistency matters. Once again, to me, that isn't very rock and roll. That's very lame. I'm glad I'm not a sucker for bands like that.
     
  14. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Holic

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    Amen to that!
     
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  15. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted

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    Honestly not aware of anyone who refuses to acknowledge how far solid state has come. It certainly has. I do know of lots of folks simply prefer tube amps for some or all situations.
     
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  16. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    The Greta Van Fleet hate makes less sense than any other band hate, ever.

    Zep fans are perfectly fine with Led Zep stealing almost everything they did, but they hate GVF for stealing Led Zep? Makes no sense.
     
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  17. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If not confusion, then definitely a less than accurate generalization. Solid state simply means no tubes (all components are solid-not hollow glass).

    There is analog solid state (based on transistors), which hit the market in the mid-late 1960s. Those early amps were designed by engineers, not musicians, and they were cold, flat, and sterile. Their negative impact on people's opinions has held on right up to modern times.

    Most modern "non tube" amps are digital, and date back to the late eighties/early nineties. The earliest stuff was barely useable-not much dynamic range (which most refer to as "feel"), noisy in higher gain examples, and just generally, well, not so great. But again, the stigma is quick to take hold and extremely slow to diminish.

    The first Fractal Axe-FX hit the market in 2008 or 2009, and it was instantly a game changer as far as sound and "feel". However, Fractal is factory direct only, so there aren't any in brick & mortar stores to try out. Kemper came out in 2012, and is a completely different approach compared to traditional digital modeling. Though there have been countless software updates (primarily for effects, the profiling engine was essentially mature upon release and has had minimal, if any, updates), the hardware itself is completely unchanged from the original units.
     
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  18. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Zeppelin's first two albums were full of borrowed or outright plagiarized material, but by their fourth album there isn't really much to cry foul over (okay, except maybe the stoner hippy hobbit lyrics).
     
  19. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    Okay but why so much GVF hate? They are the new Nickelback, and I don't see why.

    Old timers should be rejoicing that kids are playing rock music. I'm not a fan myself, but I'm not fan of LZ either, so the comparisons mean nothing to me. They're just a rock band...in an era that really needs more bigtime rock bands.
     
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  20. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    Yep. There will always be a certain amount of 'voodoo' involved when you manipulate electrons inside a vacuum tube. I think of it as a bit like playing a theremin, but using the guitar as the manipulator of those electrons.

    I reckon that this effect is largely what is 'missing' in the direct comparisons between tube and non-tune amps, and why they will never be 100% alike.

    That's why I reckon we shouldn't do direct comparisons. Apples & oranges, and all that, despite what the marketing departments tell us.
     
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