How Long Before Digital Amps Take Over?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mbell75, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    This should be a fun thread! Its not a question of IF digital amps will take over, its a question of WHEN. Us photographers went thru this about 15 years ago. Digital cameras were getting really good but many purists insisted digital could never match the look of film and that digital would never take over. Sounds a lot like the arguments tube purists make today....but here we are going into 2020 and digital cameras not only match but exceed film cameras and it has taken over.

    So when will this happen in the music world? Vacuum tubes are ancient tech and they are getting more scarce as fewer companies are making them. Several companies have some great digital amps out now and quite a few very well known bands have switched over to them and ditched tubes altogether, especially for their touring rigs. Digital hasn't gotten too big with consumers yet because Kempers are expensive unless you are a pro, and the lower end stuff like the Mustang, Code and Katana are aimed at bedroom players.

    I think these new Fender Tone Master digital versions of the Deluxe Reverb and Twin Reverb are really going to start the digital craze for consumers. They are aimed at everyone from bedroom players to pros, unlike the Code or Katana, the tube versions of the Tone Master amps are iconic and they are priced where most can afford them. Unlike a Kemper or Fractal with its overwhelming amount of buttons and options, you already know how to work a DR and a Twin. I bet that if these sell well (which they will), you will soon see Marshall get into it with digital versions of the DSL and a few JCMs with attenuation, Vox does a digital AC15 and AC30 with attenuation etc....You get digital versions of the tube amps for less money, half the weight, attenuators, no tube maintenace....and digital amps take over. Im guessing within the next 3 years. What do you think?
     

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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  2. bluesoul

    bluesoul Gold Supporting Member

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    I will be dead before it happens (I think)...won't matter I will keep my stash. Good luck to the rest of you kids!
     
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  3. sleewell

    sleewell Member

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    i'm guessing right after they don't sound bad in a live mix.
     
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  4. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    The first 14 seconds of this video is the Twin TM in a live mix...so there goes that argument. I bet no one in an audience listening to that would know there were no tubes in his amp unless they were told. Nor would they care because he sounds damn good.

     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  5. Oriondk

    Oriondk Member

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    But do they really sound bad? I’ve seen a few recordings with guitarists in a band using them. Until I saw what they were using I wouldn’t have guessed they were using a digital or modeling amp. And aren’t some touring acts using Kempers and such now? Mark Knopfler comes to mind.
     
  6. kushman

    kushman Member

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  7. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    Metallica has been using Fractals live for the last few tours. Pretty sure they still sound killer....There are tons of examples of digital amps in live mixes that sound great. Only someone completely uneducated would make a statement like that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  8. captaincoconut

    captaincoconut Member

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  9. chance0

    chance0 Member

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  10. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    I predict that companies will start relic'ing their modeling amps and people will start hating them again.
     
  11. Crash-VR

    Crash-VR Supporting Member

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    I honestly wish they would hurry up. I keep trying and I keep being left feeling meh... even loads with IRs and tubes amps. It’s way easier and sounds better with a simple tube amp and a mic. The big difference between cameras and amps is that the advantage of being able to view and store photos without having to develop film is just an astounding difference. Nowhere in the amp world can a similar comparison be made. Especially for those of us that just want to sound like ourselves not like every other guitar player ever. If you need a million sounds and don’t have a strong back maybe... but still not like the camera comparison.
     
  12. hangten

    hangten Silver Supporting Member

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    I shoot medium format film cameras and play tube amps.

    There are easier and faster ways to get this stuff done but not better ones IMHO
     
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    I am surprised people are objecting to the price.

    IF they sound great and have great dynamics (which I expect but can’t verify until I try one) then the price is reasonable.

    I talked to a shop I trust today and he said don’t be expecting to get the Twins regularly for $800 though. The margins aren’t that large.

    But if they get the sound and feel right, even the retail price is a good value in my book.

    I already sold my last tube amp and am using mainly my Katana 100. Not as a compromise. But because it’s easier to consistently dial in the tone and feel I’m looking for onstage. Saving some weight for load in and out is icing on the cake.
     
  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    Oh. But to answer the actual question, a long time. Confirmation bias and familiarity are powerful.

    More to the point, if people have and love Tube amps, why would they pursue an alternative?

    I would be curious in units moved and $$ how the new tube amp market stacks up agains the digital/SS market these days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  15. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    Amps =/= cameras........It won't happen, but I will welcome it if it does. My tube stash will not only carry me through but will allow me to buy everyone's awesome vintage amps that they can't find tubes for on the cheap. The death of the tube amp would be one of the greatest things to ever happen to me, which is why it won't happen in my lifetime.
     
  16. Vanilla Latte

    Vanilla Latte Member

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    IMHO when the following occurs:

    1. You can no longer purchase tubes (or they become stupidly expensive due to scarcity)
    2. Good quality and good sounding medium to high end SS amps become more readily available (at medium to high end pricing)
    3. Said SS amps sound as good as tube amps in a live mix
    4. Said SS amps are easy to use in a live situation (no menu diving)

    Edit: Every few years I purchase whatever the new hot modeler is that everyone is raving about. Always left with a "meh" feeling. We're not there yet. IMO, it's unlikely to happen any time soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  17. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    The digital Hassleblad H6D-400C I was lucky enough to shoot at an event completely trounces the 500 C/M I had shot with years ago. Its not even close. You haven't done much experimenting I see.
     
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  18. Tomo El Gato

    Tomo El Gato Member

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    They will take over in the early 2000's, and then it will be a distant memory.
     
  19. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    You do know Fender sells far more Champion amps then any of their tube amps right? I believe the Champion 100 alone outsells every tube amp they make.
     
  20. Jelle

    Jelle Member

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    I hope to live another 40 years at least, so total takeover will have to wait until then.

    Like mentioned earlier, I do hope tubes continue to be readily available.
     
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