Has anyone successfully replicated the behavior of a tube power section...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by heretic, Jan 31, 2008.


  1. heretic

    heretic Member

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    using an analog solid state or FET power amp design? Who would you say is very close?

    I'm sitting here anxiously waiting for this Mackie amp to ship so I can finally try it - it's perplexing that this amp got NO press at all at NAMM, and apart from some (mostly negative) fist impressions from fellow TGPers, it pretty much flew under the radar.

    Mackie claims it can replicate a tube power section by 1) tweaking the switchmode power supply to make it behave "imperfectly" - I suppose, like a tube rectifier, and 2) with discrete FET power amp design. Is this a new way of thinking, or has this been tried before?

    Just trying to get some of your experiences - have you pretty much written off any of these manufacturers chasing the "Tube feel" carrot with a solid state design?

    Let's leave the software emulation (Fractal et al.) out of this particular discussion.
     
  2. Miles

    Miles Member

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    In my opinion, no.

    It's physics. Once you're buying amps that are desperately trying to employ all kinds of digital and special gadgets to "replicate" that imperfection, why not just get a Blues jr, a tubescreamer and be done with it? If you want 'tube tone' that badly, it's not expensive.

    And so you know, I am very far from being a tube snob. For me, if it sounds good and it's stimulating to play, reliable, and relatively easy to use, I'll play it and enjoy it regardless of the means of creating tone or the brand name...I just do not care. All you are doing is producing a pleasing or interesting audio signal via the guitar and if it sounds good, then I'm good.

    As far as coming 'close', I think digital modeling is friggin' great for direct recording and I use a PODxt for 90% of my recorded stuff because I get interesting and unorthodox tones using different blends that you just cannot create as easily with a cranked amp in a bad sounding room.

    However, live, I hate the sound of modelers as they are thin and fizzy to my ears. I would take a good solid state clean amp and a dirt pedal way before I took a line 6 on stage.

    But I just happen to prefer that old school tube saturated tone for live uses. But I'm a simpleton when I play and I am a minimalist live, so modeling equipment doesn't get along with me.

    Just my thoughts, of course.
     
  3. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    MOSFET circuits are probably as close as you can come to sounding
    tube.
     
  4. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    Hmmm . . . I remember someone running around here or the Fender Forum talking about a patent they had pending for a FET design that successfully emulated tube sound. Don't remember many of the details but it might be interesting to search for the patent.
     
  5. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    I thought that VOX did this with the Valvetronix line. Even though it used a tube (probably to 'warm' it up), most of the guts were SS. I thought they did a pretty decent job. It wasn't perfect, but still had more of the 'feel' there then they had previously.

    EP
     
  6. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    A lot of companies over the years have claimed to be able to replicate a tube sound with a FET, and not one really has. It is part of the reason SS amps have gotten such a bad reputation.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Prichard Amps claim to have this solved. I've never felt flush enough to pony up for one just to try out. I'll do a complete shootout if someone wants to loan me on ;)
     
  8. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    I've always been impressed by the feel and response of the Pearce amps, the G1 and G2R. Rather than paying 1500.00 for a Mackie, you could score a Pearce on Ebay for a few hundred as an experiment.

    And it wouldn't be made in China.
     
  9. heretic

    heretic Member

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    Thanks for the input so far...my interest in the Mackie amp goes beyond its power amp, but still I'm curious as to where things stand in the SS/FET power amp development world.

    I got to try a Pearce combo once - actually I think it was an ART combo with the Pearce power section. I thought it sounded good, but didn't quite feel like a tube amp -still, definitely giggable.

    Never heard of Pritchard amps - is there a website? ON EDIT -nevermind, found it.
     
  10. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    The only hybrid amp that I have heard that I have liked was a Marshall Artist. It does it the other way around. They have a SS preamp with a single 12AX7 phase inverter and dual EL34's for a power amp. It your object is to have a great sounding, reliable amp and to keep the operation expenses down, you might consider one of these. Old Roland 120 Choruses are generally considered to have a great tube sound also.
     
  11. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Pritchard amps get very positive reviews but the cost as much as a boutique tube amp.
     
  12. woof*

    woof* Member

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    B.K. Butler's mosfet amps are pretty good and these days not too high$. Tubeworks Mosvalves.
     
  13. tildeslash

    tildeslash Supporting Member

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    Yup the Mosvalve poweramp are awesome. Undervalued too.
     
  14. Aslan

    Aslan Supporting Member

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    The only Solid State amp that sounded tube-like to me is the Tech 21 Trademark 60, it really does give a "tube feel" to the sound. If you upgrade the speaker to a Eminence Wizard the amp will hold it's own with many botique amps.
     
  15. Echo Are

    Echo Are Member

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    I agree that I don't think anyone's duplicated the sound and feel of a tube power amp exactly with solid state electronics. There are, and have been, many technologies that come close, and sound great in their own right.
     
  16. tone4days

    tone4days Member

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    i had a carver (not carVIN) rack mount stereo power amp that was all solid state and designed to be a guitar power amp, not a hifi home stereo amp ... i always thought is was incredibly toneful and it never sounded stereotypically solid state to me ... it had a variable damping feature on a per channel basis that really made a difference ... it was bullet proof reliable, never needed maintenance, etc ... it didnt catch on in the marketplace because carver didnt have name recognition as an instrument amp maker (they had high name recognition in the home stereo biz) and they didnt really push it / develop it ...
     
  17. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    no, definitely not, however there are good sounding SS devices out there, for example the tech 21 trademark 60.
    Al
     
  18. LHakim

    LHakim Member

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    Based on what I've read, the Blue Tone Pro30M out of England may have come closest. Never saw a negative review of the amp as far its dynamic response but also never saw any direct a/b comparisons to the Pritchards. I don't think the the Pro 30M is production anymore.
     
  19. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    I personally believe that software emulation is going to offer the most nuanced solution, both currently and in the long term, for achieving virtually any tube amp sound with any combination of preamp and power amp distortion and overall character. However, the essential answer to the question of success with solid state is "yes."

    Eric Pritchard has really nailed the feel, with tunable sag and bloom, and harmonic structure of a class A/B tube amp with the flavor of well-matched EL34s. The various voice options for his amps capture most of the characteristics of the amps they're emulating, which is a great way to cover a wide variety of styles. The connoisseur of a particular niche amp may not find the emulation ideal, but this is to be expected since no two tube amp designs sound exactly alike either.

    Pritchard amps are in another league compared to Tech 21, MosValve, etc. They are really a different animal with more dynamic responsiveness. While the others can sound very good, the Pritchard nails the kind of organic feel and musicality that we expect from tubes.

    I'm very intrigued by the Mackie. It's got a great layout and some cool features. Be sure to let us know how it works out for you.

    -Ben
     
  20. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Looks like Peavey is on the case with the "Revalver" software. ;) While it is just a software plug-in and not an "amp" per se, I am still anxious to hear it. Click on the "Tweak" tab and scroll down. It models the actual tubes and you can change characteristics of each one!

    Pretty sick. ;)

    http://www.peavey.com/products/revalver/index.cfm

    RR
     

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