Aren't modern tube amps just copies of the "real thing"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mbell75, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    From an earlier thread I started that got too big and off topic where many insisted digital and SS amps were just copies of tube amps, or the "real thing", aren't modern tube amps just copies? The tube amps made today with modern PCBs and modern tubes don't sound anywhere as good as the originals. There is nothing superior or iconic about an amp with a cheap, modern PCB built in Vietnam or China last year with Chinese tubes that sound nothing like the old American or British made vacuum tubes with the hand-wired circuits that are far superior to the cheap stuff in your average Marshall or Fender tube amp today. So unless you are playing some $5k hand-wired boutique amp with some NOS RCA vacuum tubes at $500 a pop, you might as well be playing a digital amp at that point because the newer tube amps are just cheap copies of the real thing. Discuss
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  2. TaoInMotion

    TaoInMotion Member

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    Sound and build quality are two very different things.

    There are beautifully hand wired amps with the best components that sound like a$$$

    There are mass produced amps with every cost cutting trick in the book that sound fantastic.

    It's hard to accept that, but true. There are also beautifully crafted hand wired amps that sound absolutely fantastic. Let the buyer beware.
     
  3. WBellman

    WBellman Silver Supporting Member

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    Another thread shot in the foot with the very first post.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    One sounds like a cheap copy to me. Guess which one...

     
  5. JDandCoke

    JDandCoke Member

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    Ouch you got me


    Wait, I'm playing a hand wired marshall with NOS valves. Am I safe?
    Wait again, my RI jtm45 with pcb and totally not-original circuit sounds as good or better. What now?
     
  6. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    The "real deal" original sounds much better than the copy. You DO realize reissues are copies of the "real deal" tube amps right? Thats why its laughable to hear people refer to modern tube amps as "real deal" amps while saying digital amps are copies. They are all copies.

     
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  7. Doomrider78

    Doomrider78 Member

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    :facepalm:horse:fisticuffs:munch

    This isn't going to end well.
     
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  8. JDandCoke

    JDandCoke Member

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    That's what I said, my handwired with NOS valves isn't any better than my 'fake copy' jtm45 ri

    Edit: different is not the same as worse
     
  9. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    No, the "real deal" '67 sounds a TON better than your reissue copy.
     
  10. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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  11. WBellman

    WBellman Silver Supporting Member

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    MAYBE if the OP could STOP using such ABSOLUTES with every statement, the rest of US might take THEM a bit more SERIOUS?
     
  12. JDandCoke

    JDandCoke Member

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    This is from your OP

    "There is nothing superior or iconic about an amp with a cheap, modern PCB built in Vietnam or China last year with Chinese tubes that sound nothing like the old American or British made vacuum tubes with the hand-wired circuits that are far superior to the cheap stuff in your average Marshall or Fender tube amp today. "

    That's the bit I disagree. Both of my amps are modern. One is handbuilt/handwired and has NOS valves, the other is an average marshall with "cheap stuff". The average marshall sounds equally good or better.
    They're totally different amps but the pcb amp isn't WORSE than the handwired one.

    Vintage amp... I mean, where are you going with that? There were vintage amps made with cheap shite that sound like ass too, and 70s marshall sound killer with pcbs.

    Sounds to me like you're just comparing some select holy grail vintage amps with the budget option amps available from the big makers today
    Hardly fair. Compare cheap budget vintage amps to marshall astorias or handwired stuff and try again
     
  13. kushman

    kushman Member

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    geez man what is stuck in your crawl?
     
  14. TylerE

    TylerE Member

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    Isn't your JTM45 just a cheap copy of a Fender Bassman?
     
  15. musekatcher

    musekatcher Supporting Member

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    It is correct, that a given circuit design is physical, like a math equation. Assemble the exact same components in the same way, and you get the exact same device. The variables are the components and some tweaking of those values during assembly. In the olden days, they didn't do that, they just pulled parts from a bin, and put them together. The variation in the same 680k resistor might vary quite a bit, 10% or more up or down, and then multiply that times hundreds of components. And then the same variation on tubes, speakers, etc. So the variation, just like pickups and windings, wasn't controlled in the olden days. And then you had amps coming off the assy line that sound different from each other, some better than others.

    But today, somebody could cull those old units, pluck one that accidentally was exceptional, measure the actual values, and copy it. Now they have the recipe. And today, that person could tightly control those components so every copy was really really close to the original. And that person might even have access to superior components in a few cases. That's what I see today's modern builds offer over vintage. So both modern and vintage amps have merits and advantages.

    PS - that was a long way of saying, once physics is discovered, its not a copy to repeat it, like Newtons law, a wheatstone bridge, a 5e3, etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  16. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    They both sound good but different. I don't learn much from demos in which they leave all the controls in the middle like this demo did. An amp that's 50 years old will have all kinds of component drift over the years. The speaker is 50 years old, not to mention a completely different speaker to begin with, who knows how old the tubes are, who knows what tolerances and values may have drifted in 50 years. Kind of hard to make a valid comparison.

    Personally I would have spent some time with the EQ on the 2017 to see if I could get it to sound just like the 1967.

    The way they were both set the 2017 had more present cleans and would likely cut through a live mix better. The 1967 sounded better pushed into distortion. The way the 2017 was set it sounded way too muddy when pushed.

    But why does it matter? As you pointed out, digital amps already sell more than tube amps.

    [​IMG]

    BTW, for what it's worth, to me one didn't sound like a copy of the other. The way they were set up, they sounded like two entirely different amps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  17. JDandCoke

    JDandCoke Member

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    Also I just outright disagree with that.

    'Better' at what? Better at sounding like a 67 original? Well duh.
    Better at sounding like a jtm45 reissue? Pretty sure the RI will win that one.

    I like the RI because it sounds more like a nice blend between the original and a later bass spec JMP, more headroom, softer breakup without the hard attack of a JMP and less background noise.
    Given the choice I'd choose the RI over the original for the tones I want.
    But that could be said for any reissue. Wtf is BETTER about the originals other than trying to sound like the original?

    I think if you're talking about digital an argument could be made, latency, the envelope all the objective things that go into how an amp 'feels' can largely be measured and digital isn't as good, like comparing CDs to vinyl (good enough is another argument). Comparing valve to valve though... what are the objective measurements you're using to say vintage is better?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  18. TylerE

    TylerE Member

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    Standard resistor tolerance is still +/- 10%. You can get +/- 5% but will pay quite a bit more.
     
  19. musekatcher

    musekatcher Supporting Member

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    Right, but were they actually inside that tolerance bracket? I just ordered a dozen 500k pots for example, supposed to be 5%, actuals range from 420k to 585k, not even 15%, lol.
     
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  20. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    PCB is totally fine if its a high quality board and done correctly. Mesa and Bogner (both higher end amp builders) have used PCB for many amps and they've been very good sounding and in most cases very reliable. PCB or PTP are both good methods in the right hands, anything China/Vietnam will be usually lower quality though. Either way even a cheap tube amp is still quite a lot different than a solid state.
     
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