Are valve amps with simple circuits / few components more likely to sound good?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 5F6-A, Jul 19, 2019.

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  1. Yes, I think that it is difficult to mess up with few components

    51 vote(s)
    54.3%
  2. Not sure as many simple designs do sound bad

    14 vote(s)
    14.9%
  3. No, the more sophisticated the better

    3 vote(s)
    3.2%
  4. Other. Please explain

    26 vote(s)
    27.7%
  1. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Member

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    I mean, simple time-tested design, a few but high quality components, the best valves you can afford for the job and a decent speaker should make up for a good sounding classic amplifier. Right?
     
  2. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    It really depends. No amp does 'everything' but certain amps do certain things very well. I always see things more on an amp by amp basis than paying attention to the simplicity or complexity of it. I really like Mesa amps and I find they work really well despite the extra complexity over say an older Marshall or Fender amp, but that doesn't mean it does everything better than those amps.

    Basically I think with the right amount of R&D put into an amp/circuit design you can almost make anything really good no matter how simple or complex it is at the end of the completion.
     
  3. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Member

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    I agree but in the absence of "the amount of R&D", a simple circuit might be easier to "get sounding right"... maybe...
     
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  4. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    Oh sure, in general that is probably true. It makes sense considering how many Fender/Marshall/Vox circuits have been copied/re-worked over the years by many boutique brands. Simplicity is definitely an excellent foundation and I would say overall it takes most likely a lot more work to get a complex amp doing good on all fronts.
     
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  5. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    Depends on your definition of good ... if you like '50s music, you'll probably love amps with a relatively simple circuit.
     
  6. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    Generally the simple circuits Do sound the best. The shorter path usually keeps all the original content and the tubes add their color.
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Most people have a dance floor full of pedals to hop around on so it really doesn't matter how sophisticated the amp is -- it just needs to properly transcribe the wacky pedal tone to a louder volume.

    .
     
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  8. goddot

    goddot Supporting Member

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    Jim Marshall used to say the more you add something the more you take away.... I agree, that said, "good" and "better" are subjective considerations.
     
  9. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Member

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    So true
     
  10. JCantrell

    JCantrell Member

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    Diezel VH4 and Mesa Mark V are two of the best sounding amps out there IMO and they are anything but simple. It really just depends amp to amp. There are plenty of simple single channel amps that aren’t anything special.
     
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  11. GusFowler

    GusFowler Member

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    I’m coming to the conclusion that most gear has an essential, inherent voice produced by the gestalt of its parts; now that I can afford a selection of axes and amps, I can choose among them as mood dictates. I recently had an itch for an amp with EF86 preamp and found a combo locally that I could afford. Built by a New Yorker named Barr, it is designed with NO TONE STACK so the full spectrum signal goes straight to power section unfiltered out of the EF86. The amp has an amazingly rich tone and luxurious feel with absolutely no gimmickry. I like that both intellectually (no need to tweak) and aurally as I can really hear the voice of the guitar and speaker thus purely amplified.

     
  12. gearscrubs

    gearscrubs Supporting Member

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    No. Case in point: Epiphone Valve Jr. Simple circuit. Sounds terrible.
     
  13. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    I think there’s more to the bad sound of a valve jr. A 5f1 champ is a great sounding amp, same with a ga-5 skylark. Simple. I agree with you GusFowler.
     
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  14. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Member

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    True but...
    the valve jnr can sound great with some component changes. As I have mentioned before in a different thread, the valve jnr was a well built, simple amp designed by a Russian guy living in Texas with a really rudimentary understanding and/or knowledge of engineering or tone. Stock is pretty naff but change a few components, put in some good valves, use a good speaker and off you go. There is little to go wrong. Tone galore!
     
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  15. kkregsg

    kkregsg Member

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  16. scott58

    scott58 Member

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    Can't agree about the Valve Jr head\cab. Granted, on it's own nothing special, but once I start plugging things into it I put more hrs on this amp then anything else I own.

    Having said that, the stock tone of my Laney lionheart L5 is miles ahead in quality. Both of these amp are 5 watt, but are miles apart. I like both for very different reasons. The Laney is my "analog" rig where the Vj is for digital stuff and pedals. And I'm certainly not talking about gigging I wouldn't try that with either one of them. I've got a Supro if I want to do that. But lower volume applications it really just depends on what I'm doing and what tone I'm going for.
     
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  17. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Member

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    Presuming the components are quality...less is more.
     
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  18. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    In my experience no. I've played simple no frills amps (simple circuit) as well as feature packed amps (complex circuit) that sound just as good. People harp about the "purity" of their simple Fender/Vox/Marshall based single channel amp then run a big pedalboard into it.

    At this point I don't see myself ever buying an amp that doesn't have at least a good fx loop and great master volume.
     
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  19. H. Mac

    H. Mac Member

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    I’ve had a volume-knob-only, 1960 tweed 5F1 Champ for 47 years, and it’s still fun to play and sounds great. I also have a few 5F1 and 5E3 clones and like them just as well.

    I’ve had lots of more sophisticated amps, but sold all but one.

    For me, the simple circuits are best.
     
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  20. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    It is obviously true to me that the simpler the circuit, the better the sound all other things equal. All other things are not equal though. But bottom line, I like being able to run a simple as possible circuit, and to have things be only as complicated as absolutely necessary for a situation.

    That does not mean simple amps are best. Simplest possible for the situational need is best.

    My DS40 can get extra gain in various ways, but you can simplify the circuit by switching various things out. That's what I like. If I need extra gain, I add it. Otherwise I keep the circuit simple by switching things out of the circuit. I can hear the difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019

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