An Amp's voice: circuit vs tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bohemianbrian, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. dave_mc

    dave_mc Member

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    hehe

    (a) that's rubbish. most high gainers have several channels, some with fewer gain stages, some with more. If anything you can get a far larger range of tones out of them.

    what's a more versatile amp- a mesa roadking or a fender champ?

    now, the fender champ will doubtless do teh fender champ thing better than teh roadking will, but the roadking will make a stab at the fender champ thing while the champ won't be able to get to places where teh roadking will.

    (b) now you're just being intellectually dishonest. I said in black and white that I agreed that majority rule meant very little.

    Also, I never said a deluxe wasn't versatile. Or sounded bad. I'd be the first to agree that most of those vintage amps sound awesome. you're the one who's claiming vast numbers of classic (they're classic now, face facts) amps sound terrible. Not me. Stop trying to muddy the waters to discredit me by trying to make it look like i'm just as close-minded as you- i'm not, and i don't appreciate it. i have no problem with vintage-style amps. they're great. so are modern high gainers.

    but there are two different types of versatile- 1) can it be used for different styles of music? and 2) can it be used for completely different types of tones?

    a deluxe certainly passes for teh first type of versatility, but i'm not sure it passes for the second- at least compared to the kind of multi channel amps we have now, where you have a fendery clean channel, a marshall od channel and then a more modern distortion channel.

    I also completely disagree that a high gain amp is the same as a stompbox. There's a reason why your average high gainer is $1000+ and your average stompbox is $100 (well... it is if you ignore TGP!). And it's not esoteric unobtanium components TGP reasons, either.

    +1

    i'd say that falls under user error, then. I can clean up my high gainers pretty well just by playing more lightly. No, it's not clean (or anywhere close), but it's noticeably less distorted and sounds different.

    also, it's an unfair comparison. dial in a lower gain tone with those high gainers and they're just as responsive (or almost as responsive) as vintage type amps. dial in the same amount of preamp dirt on a champ (if you could... or say with a pedal) and it won't clean up any better than a high gainer set to brootalz will.

    It's not really the amp design so much as how the thing's dialled in. Just because a champ won't let you set it to teh idiot setting doesn't necessarily mean it's a better amp. it just means you have to not be an idiot when using a high gainer. (Just to clarify... i'm not saying it's nothing to do with the design. those high gainers tend to have a stiffer power supply etc. so the whole thing doesn't fall apart under masses of preamp distortion. I just think it's unfair to claim a high gainer isn't responsive when you dial in an idiot setting with maximum gain and then claim a vintage amp is more responsive when, by comparison, you've dialled in a light crunch.)

    Plus I mean for some things you want that absolutely roaring supersaturated type of tone.

    Maybe you think it sounds terrible. that's fair enough. I veer more towards 80s hot-rodded marshall tones than modern brootz, i'm no 5150 or recto posterboy. But that doesn't mean they're useless, or worse amps, or whatever. It just means you don't like them. And claiming there's no point in them says more about you than it does about me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  2. DeaconBlues

    DeaconBlues Member

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    I haven't read any posts in this thread, expect those on this page(9). Sorry to interrupt your argument guys. Interesting topic.

    To answer the OP's question, an amp's circuit is the amp's voice. Tubes just give it an accent/a flavor. The combination of the two gives you a certain "tone".

    This may be just repeating a prior poster's thoughts.
     
  3. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks Member

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    enlighten me about the innacuratecies.

    how do you get your tubes to distort?
     
  4. VacuumVoodoo

    VacuumVoodoo Member

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    The tube itself doesn't distort, it's the amplifier stage that does. It's designed in by choosing the tubes operating point and dynamic plate load such that resulting amplifying circuit will generate overtones without tube entering grid clipping or cut off. The easiest way to design this is with graphical methods.
    A lot of relevant literature is easily found on the web.
     
  5. Onioner

    Onioner Member

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    The signal that comes out of a tube is significantly different than that which went in, no matter how clean you play. it's been distorted.
     
  6. bohemianbrian

    bohemianbrian Member

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    HUH??????

    What happened here! I leave you guys alone for one second, and THIS happens? Where'd all my stuff go?!! I've given birth to the hairy armpit of TGP!
     
  7. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    :spit

    ugly - ain't it???
     
  8. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks Member

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    crossing paths here vaccyvoo.

    really...how in the world is that relevant to what I said and what you responded to.
     
  9. Onioner

    Onioner Member

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    What is confusing? Would it help if I quoted all the relevant posts together?

    So, how do I get my tubes to distort? I run a signal through them. Regardless of how strong that signal is, it will be distorted. Not sure how that can be seen as irrelevant to the quoted text.

    Unless we're having a little grammar lesson here, and the objection is to the syntax, as tubes don't distort, the signal does, but that seems a bit too pedantic for a TGP thread. I presume that's not your objection, but I can't see how else the statements here could be misconstrued.
     
  10. recycledsound

    recycledsound Member

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    So if what you are Asking is "what are the tonal difference between 34s and 6Ls" all other things being equal, in a given amp.....

    I think it has been said "subtle" is an apt description. Unless you have incredibly trained ears on the order of Eric Johnson....
     
  11. sled

    sled Member

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    Not really.... ok maybe partially :)

    Depending on whether the tube is being driven to cut-off or grid-current-limiting, the output will be different than what is seen at the input. Tube Bias is equally as much a determinate as is the signal input magnitude.

    I guess one can make the argument that based on bias, if the tube stays in cutoff or grid-current-limiting a lot of the cycle that the tube is is being overdriven, but a change in bias could possibly then output a signal with very little distortion for the same input.

    A point almost universally missed when alternates are recommended for a 12ax7 for lowering gain e.g 12at7, 12ay7, 12au7. The bias for these tubes is totally different. A 12ax7 is really a voltage device and has a very narrow bias range. The other tubes function more as a current device and requiring a significantly different bias. Just replacing a 12ax7 with another "lower gain tube" is pretty much a shot in the dark and one gets a lot more than they bargain for i.e. just less gain.
     
  12. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks Member

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    man nothing like looking at stuff you posted a your ago. :D

    Onioner is right.

    I can't go back and read through the whole thread right now but I think I was referring to the gross harmonic distortion that you can hear as overdrive distortion.

    There is of course thd from tube non-linearities.
     
  13. dave_mc

    dave_mc Member

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    ^ haha man i look at some of my old posts and cringe

    that being said, I stand by what i said in this thread. At least over the last couple of pages (i couldn't be bothered reading back any further).
     
  14. Abandoned

    Abandoned Tweed Tube Tone Purist Silver Supporting Member

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    An amps' voice is more determined by circuitry vs power tubes on most amps.
     
  15. ekp

    ekp Member

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    I designed and now build solid state amplifiers that are usually judged as good or better than tube amplifiers. Since the tube sound is not native to solid state, the circuitry had to produce the effects found in tubes. On the other hand, a component of the voicing certainly is not in tube effect circuitry. So I can say that both the tube characteristics and the circuitry each have impacts upon the amp characteristics.

    For example, the treble characteristic of Marshals is due to the circuit components, such as small (for cathode bypass) capacitors in parallel with the cathode resistors, such as the large bright capacitor on the volume control, and by a filter that mixes the two channels. On the other hand, the harmonic content of not-clipped signal is due to the internal characteristic of the tube. The cut-off clipping character is substantially due to the increase of plate resistance as the tube current goes to zero. The saturation characteristic is a combination of driving circuit character and the grid conduction character, at least for triodes. Sag is created by the interaction of the power stage and the power supply regulation or the lack of regulation. Although, it is also possible to create sag via bias shifting of a grid signal.

    My experience, which now exceeds two decades, found that one can not design an amplifier without either of the two considerations, tube characteristics or appropriate circuit considerations. In fact, you can produce a better amplifier by exaggerating those characteristics somewhat.
     
  16. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    This is the most iteresting and provocative post. I especially understand and appreciate your recognition of the pre-clipping harmonic distortion that makes tube "clean" so musically appealing. In particular, your more detailed discussion on your Web site about why a Telefunken smooth-plate ECC83 emulation does not appeal as much to most players mirrors my own experience with the actual tubes.

    Great stuff!!! Thanks for posting.

    - Thom
     
  17. splatter

    splatter Supporting Member

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    To my ears its 90% circuit, 5% power tubes and 5% preamp tubes.
     
  18. splatter

    splatter Supporting Member

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    Just out of curiosity what brand ss amps do you design ? If i could get a ss amp that sounds like my modded JMP i would be all over it .
     
  19. hading

    hading Member

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    ekp is Eric Pritchard of Pritchard amps.
     
  20. Chas

    Chas Member

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    I hate to say this but it depends on what circuit we are talking about.

    My 5E3 will sound very different with tube swaps. This topic has been talked about a bunch so I will go no further.

    I also have a Vox AC15C1. I removed the stock pre-amp tubes and spent some cash on some real deal Mullards. Was there a change? Yes........ but it was not a night and day type of deal. Same story with the EL84's. Removed the stock glass and put in some new JJ EL84's and the high end harshness went away but not enough for me.

    The key IMO was the speaker with the Vox. Removed the Greenback, which was nice but I like a softer feel from an alnico. Got a Celestion Blue and I found this swap to be a real deal difference maker. Yes they are expensive but in a Vox IMO I can't think of a better speaker to bring out the best in that amp.
     

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