How important is a tube rectifier?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dk_ace, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. dk_ace

    dk_ace Member

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    I have been wanting to simplify things with my rig for a while. The H&K Switchblade seemed like the answer to my search for a portable tube rig with some real versatility (I play several different styles with different bands). I was all set to try and sell my amp (Mesa Triple Rectifier) to fund the new purchase until I was looking over the Switchblades specs and noticed it doesn't have a tube rectifier. My Mesa has a switch to go from tube to SS rectifiers, and I have never used the SS because I thought they made the amp hard and lifeless with no soul. Will any amp with a SS rectifier have that cold lifeless feel? What have you guys experienced?

    D
     
  2. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    it's about worthless tube in a boogie, but some amps sag with it adding to their tone characteristics. 18 watt amps are a good example of this.
     
  3. dk_ace

    dk_ace Member

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    Although I am not about to argue that a Boogie is as expressive and rich as an 18 watt in power tube saturation, the rectifier switch makes a huge difference in the tone and feel of my Boogie. It makes it feel hard and adds this weird layer of fizz to the high end. What I want to know is will I feel that hardness and hear that fizz in any amp that uses a SS rectifier. My suspicion is that Mesa might use a SS rectifier that intentionally has that feel and sound for the metal guys (and maybe other amps, with SS recs only, use recs that sound and feel like a tube rec).
    D
     
  4. jbro

    jbro Member

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    I don't have a ton of experience with SS rectifier amps, but I have a blackface Bassman that sounds amazing - very natural and responsive despite having a SS rectifier. I did use the Groove Tubes plugin SS unit once on one of my Dr. Z's when I was looking for more headroom.. it definately didn't render the amp "cold" or "lifeless", but it was a bit stiffer feeling - did improve the headroom and enhanced the pick attack though. Still sounded great, just not as much "give".. depending on the sound and feel you're after this could be a good or bad thing.
     
  5. jezzzz2003

    jezzzz2003 Member

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    I personally think that tube or solid state rectifiers are just choices.
    I prefer solid state rectifier amplifiers when playing hard rock for their cleaner headroom and tube for bluesy stuff.
     
  6. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree, and hear the same thing with almost ALL amps that let you choose between a tube and SS rectifier. I have found a tube rectifier is pretty much essential for the smooth, rubbery feel and sounds I love.
     
  7. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Tube or SS rectifier? You can't generalize 100% because it is only one part of the circuit. I have a 67 BF Bassman (SS recto) that sounds incredible. I had a TopHat Club Royale with SS recto that sounded incredible. It just depends on everything in the amp's circuit.

    That said, a tube recto IS a nice thing to have because you can try different types (SS plug, 5AR4, 5V4, 5Y3, etc) which will determine the amount of clean headroom & sag.
     
  8. dk_ace

    dk_ace Member

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    I didn't realize that those amps also had SS recs. I've heard people get some killer tones with those amps. So I guess that rules out generalizing the sound from the rec, but what about the feel? My amp when in tube rec mode is just more inspiring to play, the notes come easier and smoother. I felt like I was almost fighting with the amp is SS mode. I have learned that I can get used to a decent tone pretty quickly even if it isn't 100% what I want, but if it doesn't feel right I might as well lay my guitar down. How do those amps with SS recs feel?

    D

    PS If it helps any.... I play metal only occasionaly for fun, I never shred (except in the bedroom for fun), my lead style is deeply rooted in blues and blues rock
     
  9. jbro

    jbro Member

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    My Bassman kills... very responsive, dynamic, etc, great feel. I would never expect/assume it had a SS rectifier by playing it. When I had the plugin SS rectifier in my Route 66, I played a couple gigs with it and never felt uninspired or found myself wanting to change the rectifier back mid-song. It's just a slightly different feel, not like fighting the amp at all in my experience, just a little less give to it. For the record I play jazz/fusion/blues.. can't comment on how either works for hard rock or metal.
     
  10. datguytim

    datguytim Supporting Member

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    Different amps are affected differently from tube vs. SS rectos. My '69 Marshall Superlead sounds like nirvana - no tube rectifier. My Matchless Clubman has a tube rectifier - it came with a Ruby that sounded pretty good, but when I switched the recto to a NOS Mullard - Good God!!! Huge difference - way better tone! Generally the tube recto will give a bit more sag - sometimes hardly noticable, but in a Mesa - who cares?!? No escaping mosquito tone there . . dump it & get a (insert any amp here). :)
     
  11. dk_ace

    dk_ace Member

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    I don't want to turn this into an anti-Mesa thread. I have had that amp for several years without any problems. Their customer service has been top notch, any time I couldn't get the tone I wanted they stayed on the line as long as it took to get it. I promise you that in a blind test you wouldn't know that I use a mesa (actually I don't even have the amp rig where the crowd can see it. I always get compliments on my tone, and most players are totally blindsided when I tell them it's a mesa). I am all about making the most of what I have instead of getting something else, and it has worked to get me some truly inspiring tones. The Triple is loud, and I feel I could make use of the versatility the midi switchblade uses.

    I feel much better about the SS rec after what you guys have told me. I think their may be hope for this amp after all. Their are a few more things in the circuit I am checking into, but the rectifier was the big scare for me.

    Thanks,
    D
     
  12. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    The feel completely depends on the overall design of the amp, not just the rectifier. Your amp was designed to feel more saggy with tube recto and faster/tighter with SS recto.
     
  13. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    My Reeves Custom 6 has solid state rectification, as does my Peavey Delta Blues. My Germino Classic 45 has a GZ34 tube rectifier. There is a difference betweeen the feel of these amps. I like the way my Germino sags when driven. It's great for blues and has that springiness (for lack of a better word) that my other amps don't. However, this isn't to say the other amps don't have touch sensitivity and dynamics. They all respond, though differently, to touch. My Reeves is certainly not cold and lifeless. My Peavey can sound lifeless at times, but other times is fairly dynamic. As others have said, I think it's more about the overall architecture of the circuit and components rather than just the rectifier. Having said this, I've never been one for the Boogie sound or feel.
     
  14. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    A tube rectifier is more forgiving on powerup than a SS, as in easier on the tubes. I usually don't play loud enough to get a tonal difference.
     
  15. jpervin

    jpervin Member

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    I have a '68 Ampeg Jet with a SS rectifier that sounds just as "saggy" (is that a word?) as my Fender Bassman, Bandmaster Reverb and Champ, which all have tube rectifiers.
     
  16. Coach

    Coach Senior Member

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    Do mid 60s bandmasters have tube rectifiers? I used one to record my bands record and I had that thing cranked to ten and got what I would describe as "goopy sag". Very cool sound....just trying to match a sound to a source.
     
  17. dk_ace

    dk_ace Member

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    That's what I was interested in. I wondered if it could have sag without the tube rectifier. Sounds like I shouldn't rule it out over the rectifier after all.

    Several have taken shots at the mesa, so I will give you the rest of the story on that thing. I bought the mesa when I was 16. I had more money than brains, and I didn't know what the word boutique meant (or care for that matter). I was into hard rock, but now my tastes have changed, my ears have developed, and my knowledge has increased. I can get good sounds out of the rig at hand, but if I was starting over I wouldn't buy another Rectifier. I just don't have any money right now to start over, so trading amps is all I can do until there's money in my life again (probably a good two years away at best, college life sucks).

    Thanks,
    D
     
  18. ggve

    ggve Member

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    My (stereo) power amp has a switchable tube(5AR34)/SS rectifier. I do not hear or feel any difference. The builder says it is the quality of the tube rectifier that makes it sound the same as a SS rectifier (clean headroom).

    Gabe :)
     
  19. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    The dual recitifers are great amps, but for lots of people, the mere mention of the amp will cause them to turn off their minds are make a bunch of assumptions regarding the players and tones. I like my racktifier better than a lot of other, more expensive "TGP approved" amps. I don't feel you owe anyone any explanation for your gear choices.

    One thing to keep in mind when switching rectifiers is that you're also switching the amp's voltages which also changes the sound/feel of the amp.
     
  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Totally agree with this post. Well stated. :AOK
     

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