FX Loops: SoildState vs. Tube

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Wizard of Ozz, Jan 29, 2008.

Would you pay $2000 for a tube amp with a solid state fx loop?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Don't care.

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,001
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Location:
    The Gates of Hell
    Would you pay $2000 for a tube amp with a solid state fx loop? How about $3000?

    It seems like more and more high end tube amp builders are using solid state fx loop circuits in their "all-tube" amps.

    Personally for me, I prefer the sound and transparency of an all tube fx loop loop. Some prefer the solid state design for reliability, but when it is used in a tube amp, that argument doesn't make sense to me. Furthermore, when I'm paying $2000-$3000 for an amp, I expect it to have a tube buffered loop as well.

    Discuss.
     
  2. deke99

    deke99 Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    Quad Cities - IL/IA
    I think it all comes down to how the loop sounds. I don't know enough about circuitry to definitively say tube is better than SS or vice versa. I would just want to hear it. If it sounds transparent, then that is all that matters to me.
     
  3. MisterAgreeable

    MisterAgreeable Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    It's crazy - people will happily let their signal pass through half a dozen FETs on its way through their pedalboard, but get all bent out of shape if their amplifier has a pair driving their effects loop.

    I don't own any amplifiers with SS effects loops but I think that's because amp builders know they'll catch hell for it because it disrupts the mojo or whatever, not because anybody would actually hear the difference.
     
  4. scoob

    scoob Member

    Messages:
    888
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland
    hmmm. I paid $1850 for my all tube amp, and it has a SS FX loop. But I don't really use it. And when it's not engaged it makes no difference at all. The FX loop is NOT what sold me on the amp. The tone was.
     
  5. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,321
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    Aren't most effects solid state anyway? I think you're losing your 'all tube' signal chain the minute you plug that $30 stomp box into your $2000 amp.
     
  6. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,967
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    The idea for an efx loop should be transparency. In some amps with tube driven efx loops the loop can actually provide another distortion producing stage of gain. It really depends on the design of the loop. My Rivera M100 amp had a fet based buffered loop that was able to be switched in and out of the circuit. If I had nothing plugged into the loop and set it for unity gain I found it impossible to tell when it was engaged or not.

    In the end it really depends on the amp. My feeling is this. If you really want to keep the tube integrity of the signal path then you should avoid an effects loop altogether as once you are going through the effect you are now probably goimg through an A/D convertor (with verb or delay) or some op amp driven device. This also holds true for pedals. I see guys sweat out having true bypass pedals to keep the integrity of their tone pure. Of course if you have 6-8 pedals on your board chances are you are probably using a pedal most of the time and subjecting your guitar signal to circuitry of the various pedals.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    22,162
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    I have a Fuchs that I believe has both a solid-state effects loop and solid state send/return for the reverb and it sounds great. I was skeptical but now I'm a believer.
     
  8. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

    Messages:
    7,526
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Bloomfield, New Jersey
    Our fx loop and entire signal path is all tube, except for the reverb, on all models at this time.
     
  9. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Florida
    This comment seems a bit contradictory to me. A SS loop can be made to be more transparent than a tube-driven loop. You may prefer the tone of a tube-driven loop...but if so it's extremely likely it's because it's not transparent.

    Then as folks mentioned above...many/most effects are SS and many of the tube driven effects are either purely using the tube as a selling point...or are a compromise in tone just for the sake of using a tube (for said selling point). There is a reason mfrs. make tube-driven effects where the tube is only there as a selling point...just look at the op for exhibit A.

    I don't care if something is all tube...all SS...digital modeling...or a hamster spinning a wheel in there...all I care about is the tone and reliability and also price (but less so than the tone and relibility).
     
  10. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Florida
    Oh yea, I don't build amps for a living but if I did and was hand-wiring them I wouldn't sell even the most basic, no-fx-loop amps for less than $2K...much less a channel-switcher with a loop. If I did I'd be working my ass off just to be poor. You can't compare low-priced, mass-produced-in-who-knows-where amps to hand-built amps when it comes to price.
     
  11. Jon

    Jon Member

    Messages:
    1,471
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Is that down to tonal issues? What would you say would be the change in tone in a specific amp by going to a solid state fx loop?
     
  12. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,205
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Surrounded by Idiots
    I don't think anyone could say it better than that!

    I can't recall ever hearing a good tube loop that sounded more transparent than a good SS loop. As someone has already said, you may prefer the tone of a tube loop, but not because it is more transparent.

    Further, when a loop is parallel, the SS buffering only applies to the FX themselves (which are invariably SS) and not to the pure tube signal in the primary signal chain.
     
  13. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

    Messages:
    3,548
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    This is all marketing IMHO-

    "TUBE" oooh that's what guitarists like.

    "Solid State" yucky that's what we hate.

    So when there's a FX loop, often times it's made with as tube because of the desire to be able to say "all tube design" in ad copy. Otherwise- the guitarists furrow their brows. People in the guitar world wrongly connect the term SS with "Cheap, bad sounding etc" because of the SS amps that sound bad. Truth is, some of the most coveted and expensive gear in the world (Neve, SSL etc) is SS not tube.

    From years of working in studios, I've come to like tube gear and SS gear though the name has been changed to "discrete electronics". They both make great sounds and neither one is right for every application. My take is that this reasonaing carries over into the Loop discussion.

    Personally with an FX loop I'd want these things- transparent tone ( no need to add more color there) high headroom so that things don't clip, and level blend control (both series and parallel).

    I've talked with Taccone, Blankenship, Friedman, Louis amps, and a bunch of other amp builders about what's best- and most lean towards a high quality SS loop, unless you're looking to use the loop as a gain boost- then it's tubes baby. That's not to say there aren't good tube loops- I'm sure there are. If it's good- then it's good!

    Peace,

    JD
     
  14. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,311
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    That's a tough call, since $2000 is at the upper limit of what I would pay for an amp. All the amps I have had had SS effects loops and most worked well. I am trying to think of an amp that has a Tube effects loop and drawing a blank....
     
  15. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Interesting passage I recently ran across on the Award Sessions website describing applications for one of their products:

    "However, SoloBooster will not work with some pure 'valve' driven effects loops. Valves are weak and cannot drive modern ‘pro’ effects units too well. That's why most decent modern valve amps use solid state circuitry at this point. Solid state is superb for this kind of work, although the 'Toob Quacks' on the Internet would have you believe otherwise.

    You must have the right tools for the job, if you want modern compatibility, even with valve amps. Fortunately, most modern valve amps do have solid state FX Loops, but a few don’t. So please be sure before you order a SoloBooster. Ask your amp maker!!"
    For what it's worth, I love the tube-driven effects loop on my DST U34-CL. The Demeter TGA2 I used to own had a tube-driven loop also, and it was the best I've ever used.
     
  16. Structo

    Structo Member

    Messages:
    9,573
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    I installed the Ironsounds FX loop in my Brown Note D'Lite 44.
    Seems pretty transparent to me. It also has a 6db pad switch.
    You also have the option of installing send/ return trimmer pots on this loop.
    I did it because time based effects ( reverb, delay, etc.) don't work very well, at least for me, in front of the amp.
     

Share This Page