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. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The repeated claims that tube amps "required that much maintenance" is a curiosity.

    My SS amps have run about as long as my tube amps before breaking.

    The thing with getting those SS amps fixed though is that more often than not the cost of repair was not much less than the value of the well used SS amp.
    The tube amps though tended to be worth almost what they originally cost new, and in some cases more.

    But WRT "going forward", I can see a time when the poor quality tube amps that are cranked out and sold to the masses are representative of "tube tone" will be the same sort of problem.
    Lots of modern import tube amps are just as disposable as many 10-20yo SS amps are now when the are road worn and not working.

    All these cheaply made tube amps with tube sockets mounted on the thin pcb boards are not going to hold and increase value, not going to be the long term reliable amps that tube amps used to be, and may never have sounded as great as those old tube amps did.

    There are of course plenty of top notch tube amps built now, but for the most part the amp buying public snubs high quality amps as boutique, and won't even try them, never mind buy one $1500 amp instead of two $500 amps and $500 worth of pedals.

    As far as new SS amps sounding better than old ones, IME there were very good sounding SS amps decades ago, with names like Peavey, Polytone, Acoustic, Gibson and Roland.

    What SS has greatly improved on IMO is dirt which comes in pedals as well as amps, though not as good as tube dirt, and ultra light weight.
    The light weight feature may be what sends me back to SS amps one day.
    For now there are plenty of 15-18w tube amps that are light weight and sound great for $250- $500.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  2. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo Tele-Meister

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    see below
     
  3. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo Tele-Meister

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    This...in spades. Cheerio mate!
     
  4. GoldDeluxe5E3

    GoldDeluxe5E3 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been thinking about this very question lately. Here's what I've come up with:

    The great music of the great rock age was created using tube amps and small-batch, hand made guitars (for the most part, stay with me here). Each group or artist used different tube amps, so they sounded different from each other, but each sounded great.

    Now, we have digital amps that attempt to mimic the sounds of the great rock age. Not one of the sounds, ALL of the sounds.

    Sure, they are good. Sure, they mimic many of the sounds within certain sonic confines, styles, and volume levels. But, when the day is done, they only MIMIC the organic sound of a tube amp.
    They do a great job of impersonation, but a ****ty job of inspiration.

    A tube amp, by virtue of confining a player to a narrow tone response, forces a player to make the most of that amp's tonal character. Low volume cleans up the tone, higher volume ads break-up leading to distortion. That's where expression and inspiration kick in.

    Ultimately, digital and "solid state" amps mimic the sound of a tube amp, the sound of a great group of yore, the sound of a great instrument of yore, the sound of a great performer of yore.

    If you want to musically follow in the footsteps of the greats you grew up with, get a tube amp and work toward the same inspiration that they had. If you want to cut a new path and be sure you're doing something new, get digital. I'll be listening and hoping to enjoy.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  5. MrClint

    MrClint Tele-Meister

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    Who cares what people are adamant about? I'll play through a pocket amp. Some people will be ambivalent about my playing with or without a tube amp.
     
  6. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    How I've come to reguard SS as apossed to Tube amps is that they are both tools to be used in appropriate application , example SS have crazy quiet cleans and tubes can be pushed into overdrive with a smooth compression, solid state distortion isnt even remotely interesting to me, I have 4 solid state amps A fender Jam, a G&K 112, a Crown amcron DC300 A,and a fender Rumble 100 all sound fantastic, for tube amps I have a 65 twin BFRI, Marshall JCM800, 2X Beltone ap (12 & 24), a pineco , Sunn sonaro,

    each amp has its personality and foibles but in the right scenario each kick hiney in their own way
     
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  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like tube amps because (even the PCB ones) they're understandable and fixable.

    SS amps are almost without exception built to a price point. Once something goes ten years down the track, try finding a replacement part and someone to fix it. The repair cost is more than it's eBay price

    Old tube amps can be renovated. Transformers rewound or replaced. Of course cheap mass produced tubers are likely to end up as landfill or dusty storage locker fodder.

    But even the earliest professional tube guitar amps retain a value both for historical significance and because they sound good.

    I would say since the 70s the number of solid-state products counting headphone, practice/starter amps going up to JC120s would kill the number off tube amps. But barely a one of them struggles into 4 figures resale past warranty. I've seen Kempers, Helixes and Fractals come up for sale with desperate owners trying to move them and recover a significant part of their investment. Not moving.

    Whereas even though Silverface and Blackface big format amps have dropped in value for all sorts of reasons they're still worth hundreds if not thousands and mostly exceed their original prices. Ditto Marshalls - ridiculous prices are being paid for BF and SF 'practice amps'. Ten or twenty times new prices. Dud amps or oddballs that struggled to sell new don't sell secondhand - rare doesn't mean valuable. But hot moving small tube amps do.

    Why do we still have Blues and Greenbacks and Strats, Teles and Pauls? Why is Marshall re-releasing JTM, JCM and Silver Jubilee reissue amps in 5/20 watts for $1000+? Marshall themselves have modelling amps. Secondhand, they are slow movers.

    It isn't all boomer blooz daddies or dentists buying them. Far from. I think tubes sell for sound and feel - but also experience. As someone noted, the hot smell, the orange glow - and the tweakability. There's a certain heft and feel that tells you a good tube amp, even a single ended one, has transformers, a real speaker, solid wood or ply, high voltage switches and components.

    People love piston engine fighter planes from WW1 and WW2 and steam locos for the noise, vibes, smell - last century heavy metal. They're not usable or practical for the average person - you couldn't afford the upkeep if you got gifted one.

    But in tube amps, we have something that is very last century and with recognisable lineage and is usable and practical every day. And still.up to the minute in what it does, i.e. sounds great at a doable price.

    You can go out and play Hendrix or [insert guitar idol name here] and if you're good make a living from a $300 guitar and $400 tube amp.

    Manufacturers are still coming up with innovation around tubes. But also producing giggable small package amps that ape bigger classics for affordable dollars. It's keeping them relevant. And still at all.price points from a few hundred to thousands.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  8. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    Simple. Tube amps were what the legends used to get those classic, iconic sounds.

    However, I think a lot players get too hung up on tubes. Sure, most of their tube amps use PCB and most of them get their dirt from pedals, but at least it’s not solid state...

    I have a SF Super that I blackfaced (out of necessity), a JC120, a Peavey Bandit 65, and a Roland Blues Cube Hot. Yeah, the Super is my favorite, but the Peavey would be suitable as the only amp if I had to sell off the others. It does a surprisingly good job of getting sounds that fit what I do.

    The BCH is new to me, and it’s really the ultimate practice amp. I wanted a tweed amp I could play at 6:00am without waking anyone up, but also use for rehearsals, jamming, and small gigs. It’s not a Dr. Z, but it blows away a BF Vibro-Champ I owned nearly 30 years ago. For $315 shipped, it gets the sound and I’m not wasting tube life screwing around on guitar.
     
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  9. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My guitar instructor told me that if I truly love Tele's and that "Tele sound" that I need to have a tube amp. I got this and I love it.

    image.jpeg
     
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  10. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    Indeed, check out Dave Simpson, nailing it with an Orange SS head and a JHS Vintage V6 strat...great live sounds (IMHO, YMMV, FFS, WTF, etc)

     
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  11. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Meister

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    Get back to me when a SS amp really delivers the touch sensitivity of a tube amp. I mean really delivers that. On that day, I’ll admit they’re equal. Until then... nope. Sorry.
     
  12. Lotan

    Lotan TDPRI Member

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    Hi, good question!
    I have several solid state and tube amps, and used both types at small and large venues.
    Over the years, it's true that SS amps have improved their output immensely, and valve amps appear to now come smaller but still with great output!
    My take on SS/Valve is that a decent valve amp (once warm), adds a tone that a SS amp cannot achieve!
    If you go into your local music store, ask them to let you try out a few amps in their shop, you will definitely see/hear and feel' the difference I'm sure!
    These days, I tend to use my Orange 20RT, or 35RT for rehearsal's, and my Vox AC10, or Fender Blues Jnr for gigs! A valve amp really throws out tone!
    Hope this helps.. Chris.
     
  13. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

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    Because when Skynet gains consciousness solid state amps will rebel and all we'll have is tubes.
     
  14. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Friend of Leo's

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    They have too much invested, financially and emotionally, in their tube/valve amps.
     
  15. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

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    There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with SS amps. Same with modeling amps...pretty impressive these days. They both can, and DO sound quite good. It's just the little quirky things that tube amps offer, that SS doesn't. Sag with a tube rectifier, tube distortion versus processed, both pre-amp tubes, and power tubes. And warmth and tactile feel that SS doesn't emulate as well as tubes. They tend to sound a little bit sterile, (to me) but they still sound good. Also us tube amp freaks, (yes I am a tube amp guy), just love hauling an amp that weighs twice what it's SS counterpart weighs. (my back wouldn't have it any other way), LOL

    P.S. if you want massive amounts of clean headroom, SS delivers in spades!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Because it hasn't.

    Any SS I have heard sounds like a bad joke compared to my Tweed Deluxe,Marshall 1974x and Vox AC4HW amps

    They also sound like a bad joke compared to the high power vintage BF Fenders ,Rivera's and Mesa Boogie amps I used when I was younger and could actually carry them around :)
     
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  17. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Tele-Meister

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    It's so hard to put into words. Tube amps *feel* right.
     
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  18. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    The reason I didn't mention the Lab Series is it was too short lived and hasn't been in production for a long time.
     
  19. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Good job finding a Roland Blues Cube Hot for $315!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  20. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    By this, you mean a lesson about teaching?

    Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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