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"Jose" mods are diode clipping?

mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,907
Tube preamp section + tube power section = tube amp. Silver Jubilee, some amps from Dumble, Friedman, H&K, Ceriatone, Mesa, and the list goes on and on and on and on..... are sold as "all tube" amps but have non-tube components in the preamp to get more gain, just like Blackstars.

No one grabs their pitchforks until Blackstar does the same thing.

This is a good example of the pedantic hypocrisy I talked about. Are you really saying that an amp that's had a Jose mod done is no longer a tube amp? Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.......

Maybe you should talk to someone from Blackstar, like the guy who posted on this thread:


From the Blackstar engineer:

"Yes the Blackstar range, with the exception of the Artisan series, are hybrid designs"

Now, based on your past posts, my guess is that you are likely to read that thread and say something to the effect of "But look what he said about the DSL!!!"

Well, he didn't say what DSL he is referring to, so that doesn't help, but more importantly, he also doesn't mention what the ICs and ad FETs that he mentions do in the DSL. At least in a DSL50 ICs are used for the reverb driver and return, as is the case with many amps that people generally consider to be "all-tube." I don't know for sure what the FETs do, but it looks to me like they are used for switching; maybe someone with more knowledge than me -- which is a lot of people on here -- can verify that.

Note that this is not what's going on in most Blackstars. In those, ICs are in the main signal path of the preamp, amplifying the signal. They may not be being used to create distortion, but they are solid-state components amplifying the signal rather than tubes.

The Blackstar engineer also wrote:

"I do not think that you will find any Blackstar literature that refers to any amps other than the Artisan series as 'all valve.'"

He seems to want to get it right, and that's good. He must have not been aware that Blackstar actually was advertising the amps as "all-valve." They don't seem to do that anymore, which is also good.

Now, rather than anxiously await for you to call everyone hypocritical again, I'm thinking that maybe you're getting ready to mention a JCM900 at this point, so let's just deal with that in advance. Well, if Marshall marketed the JCM900 Dual Reverb today as an all-tube amp, I would be glad to call them on it, as would plenty of other people on here. We'd get our pitchforks on, brother! FWIW, plenty of people were very unhappy with Marshall putting ICs in the signal path on Dual Reverbs.

As for the idea that Friedman BE, etc. ought to be categorized exactly that same as a Blackstar in terms of whether the preamp is all-tube, Friedman doesn't hide the fact that there is a switchable diode-based clipping circuit. Guess what? When it's not on, the preamp doesn't use diodes. Try running your Blackstar with one of the ICs in the preamp removed. Also, it's not even clear that many of the other amps you're referring to were specifically marketted as "all-tube," anyway.

I owned a Blackstar amp, and liked it reasonably well. I have plenty of wonderfully solid-state pedals and a couple of solid-state amps. None of that changes the fact that an HT Club 40 does not have an all-tube amp preamp (or all-tube power section, for that matter). Carry on, though...
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Maybe you should talk to someone from Blackstar, like the guy who posted on this thread:


From the Blackstar engineer:

"Yes the Blackstar range, with the exception of the Artisan series, are hybrid designs"

Now, based on your past posts, my guess is that you are likely to read that thread and say something to the effect of "But look what he said about the DSL!!!"

Well, he didn't say what DSL he is referring to, so that doesn't help, but more importantly, he also doesn't mention what the ICs and ad FETs that he mentions do in the DSL. At least in a DSL50 ICs are used for the reverb driver and return, as is the case with many amps that people generally consider to be "all-tube." I don't know for sure what the FETs do, but it looks to me like they are used for switching; maybe someone with more knowledge than me -- which is a lot of people on here -- can verify that.

Note that this is not what's going on in most Blackstars. In those, ICs are in the main signal path of the preamp, amplifying the signal. They may not be being used to create distortion, but they are solid-state components amplifying the signal rather than tubes.

The Blackstar engineer also wrote:

"I do not think that you will find any Blackstar literature that refers to any amps other than the Artisan series as 'all valve.'"

He seems to want to get it right, and that's good. He must have not been aware that Blackstar actually was advertising the amps as "all-valve." They don't seem to do that anymore, which is also good.

Now, rather than anxiously await for you to call everyone hypocritical again, I'm thinking that maybe you're getting ready to mention a JCM900 at this point, so let's just deal with that in advance. Well, if Marshall marketed the JCM900 Dual Reverb today as an all-tube amp, I would be glad to call them on it, as would plenty of other people on here. We'd get our pitchforks on, brother! FWIW, plenty of people were very unhappy with Marshall putting ICs in the signal path on Dual Reverbs.

As for the idea that Friedman BE, etc. ought to be categorized exactly that same as a Blackstar in terms of whether the preamp is all-tube, Friedman doesn't hide the fact that there is a switchable diode-based clipping circuit. Guess what? When it's not on, the preamp doesn't use diodes. Try running your Blackstar with one of the ICs in the preamp removed. Also, it's not even clear that many of the other amps you're referring to were specifically marketted as "all-tube," anyway.

I owned a Blackstar amp, and liked it reasonably well. I have plenty of wonderfully solid-state pedals and a couple of solid-state amps. None of that changes the fact that an HT Club 40 does not have an all-tube amp preamp (or all-tube power section, for that matter). Carry on, though...
As he aptly points out, by the strictly technical definition of "hybrid", which is different than "hybrid amp", DSLs are also considered hybrids, as would all other amps that combine SS and tube components. Whether they are called "all tube" or not is also kind of a red herring. They are considered "tube" amps, not "hybrid amps". They are not "all tube", just like the Jubilees, JCMs, Dumbles with FETs, Mesa TCs, Riveras, etc... that like the Blackstars are also sold as "tube" amps, despite being technically hybrids.

What you're doing is exactly what I have a problem with. You're creating your own arbitrary definition of "hybrid amp" and making your own determination of what's allowed and not allowed. Whether the clipping circuit can be turned on or off is entirely irrelevant. It's a part of the amp, hence, it would make it a hybrid amp, if your logic is going to be consistent. Whether the SS components are only on one channel is also irrelevant. It's still part of the amp, hence, a hybrid. Whether a diode or op amp or FET is used to add distortion or used to increase the gain is irrelevant. It's still a combination of technologies, hence, by the strict definition, a hybrid.

But again, this not the commonly accepted and industry standard definition of "hybrid amp", which is why those amps are sold as "tube amps" and you will not find them listed in any retailer's section of "hybrid amps." I've provided several sources explaining what a true hybrid amp is. I don't have to convince anyone of my point because it's the industry standard definition.

If someone else wants to invent their own definition, it's up to them to convince me and everyone else. So far I've been entirely unconvinced.
 

oneblackened

Member
Messages
1,101
Mesa doesn't employ solid-state stuff? Oh, really... What's that "Mojo Module" then..?
Which is why I said "that I know of". I've literally never seen a Blue Angel in person, never mind worked on one. Clearly they weren't super popular amps. As far as what's in the "Mojo Module", I have not a damn clue. Most of the scant info I can find on it says it's either a pre-set EQ or a buffer, and I'm not sure which. Either way, it seems that bypassing it is something a fair number of people do (and Mesa themselves will do it, which I find fascinating), yet it doesn't make a huge difference.
Well, he didn't say what DSL he is referring to, so that doesn't help, but more importantly, he also doesn't mention what the ICs and ad FETs that he mentions do in the DSL. At least in a DSL50 ICs are used for the reverb driver and return, as is the case with many amps that people generally consider to be "all-tube." I don't know for sure what the FETs do, but it looks to me like they are used for switching; maybe someone with more knowledge than me -- which is a lot of people on here -- can verify that.
JCM2000 DSLs use the ICs as the FX loop buffer and reverb driver/recovery, and any FETs present are used for switching or anti-pop muting. Fairly certain the more recent DSLs are the same idea, though I believe they've swapped the NSL32 optoisolators for relays (so presumably the switching circuit has been redesigned, but I'll have to spend some time studying schematics).
As for the idea that Friedman BE, etc. ought to be categorized exactly that same as a Blackstar in terms of whether the preamp is all-tube, Friedman doesn't hide the fact that there is a switchable diode-based clipping circuit. Guess what? When it's not on, the preamp doesn't use diodes. Try running your Blackstar with one of the ICs in the preamp removed. Also, it's not even clear that many of the other amps you're referring to were specifically marketted as "all-tube," anyway.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Which is why I said "that I know of". I've literally never seen a Blue Angel in person, never mind worked on one. Clearly they weren't super popular amps. As far as what's in the "Mojo Module", I have not a damn clue. Most of the scant info I can find on it says it's either a pre-set EQ or a buffer, and I'm not sure which. Either way, it seems that bypassing it is something a fair number of people do (and Mesa themselves will do it, which I find fascinating), yet it doesn't make a huge difference.
JCM2000 DSLs use the ICs as the FX loop buffer and reverb driver/recovery, and any FETs present are used for switching or anti-pop muting. Fairly certain the more recent DSLs are the same idea, though I believe they've swapped the NSL32 optoisolators for relays (so presumably the switching circuit has been redesigned, but I'll have to spend some time studying schematics).

Couldn't have said it better myself.
Again, arbitrary determinations of what is and what isn't allowed. Is it a combination of SS and tube components or isn't it? If so, by your own logic, it's a hybrid. You're not being consistent.

BTW, straight from the Blackstar guy -

" Yes, there are other IC stages doing tone stack duties and a bit of signal compression but this is to "manage" the signal levels so that they present to the valves correctly and allow it to work at its "sweetspot" and of course op valve distortion is ALL valve! I can assure you that the circuitry was arrived after hours of play/cut/solder/play/cut/fag/swear/tea/play.....Dave.


So, perhaps the clipping/distortion isn't solid state at all, like you guys have been claiming? At this point, I don't even know what you guys are claiming anymore.....
 
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mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,907
What you're doing is exactly what I have a problem with. You're creating your own arbitrary definition of "hybrid amp" and making your own determination of what's allowed and not allowed
Hmm... The definition that pretty much only you uses or much more commonly accepted definitions... I wonder which I'll keep using. :)
 

mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,907
Again, arbitrary determinations of what is and what isn't allowed. Is it a combination of SS and tube components or isn't it? If so, by your own logic, it's a hybrid. You're not being consistent.
Sure, if one doesn't understand the concept of a signal path or understand what various components are being used for, one might see it as inconsistent. :)
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Hmm... The definition that pretty much only you uses or much more commonly accepted definitions... I wonder which I'll keep using. :)
You might have a point......if I hadn't posted multiple sources for the definition I'm using, which is in fact, the more commonly accepted definition, as demonstrated by the sources I've provided. When are you guys going to provide any sources for the definition you've invented?
 
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guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Sure, if one doesn't understand the concept of a signal path or understand what various components are being used for, one might see it as inconsistent. :)
Again, you don't get to determine what implementation is and isn't acceptable. A hybrid either is or isn't a combination of technologies, correct?

A "hybrid amp" is understood to be either of two configurations. If you're going to invent other definitions, you'll have to do better in justifying your definitions. So far it has just been arbitrary determinations and rationalizations.
 

drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,867
I still have to say, in the 2550 no signal is passing thru the diodes back into the circuit. That's still a fundamental difference.
And the Dumble FET is an extra preamp stage, essentially an FET boost you can foot switch, like having a pedal attached to your amp.
I had forgotten about the Mesa MM, though, you're absolutely right, maybe that should be called a hybrid...
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Yes, it's abundantly clear that you're confused.
Yep, and it's because of your very strange, arbitrary, and illogical rationalizations trying to explain the definition of "hybrid amp" you and a couple of others on this thread have invented, that has nothing to do with the commonly accepted definition. Even the Blackstar rep you quoted as an authoritative and reliable source of info about this explains that by your definition, a DSL is also a hybrid, as is every other amp that combines tube and SS technologies.

But it seems you're cherry picking what he says and accepting the part that's convenient to you, but ignoring or claiming the part that's inconvenient to you is inaccurate. At this point, anyone would be confused.
 
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guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
I still have to say, in the 2550 no signal is passing thru the diodes back into the circuit. That's still a fundamental difference.
And the Dumble FET is an extra preamp stage, essentially an FET boost you can foot switch, like having a pedal attached to your amp.
I had forgotten about the Mesa MM, though, you're absolutely right, maybe that should be called a hybrid...
Like I said, this is an arbitrary and irrelevant distinction. It's still a combination of SS and tube tech. Whether you can turn it on or off makes no difference. It's still part of the amp, thereby making the amp a hybrid, by your logic. And in the case of a Jubilee, if the SS components are only in one of the channels, so what? It's still part of the amp, therefore a hybrid. The SS components don't disappear from the amp when you're using the clean channel. It's just a different implementation.

A Prius can run 25 miles in all-electric mode. Does that make the Prius an electric vehicle? Or is it still a hybrid?

If you're going to be logically consistent, you can't get around having to call any amp that combines SS and tube technology a hybrid. But as I've pointed out, and supported with several sources, that's not how a "hybrid amp" is defined. A "hybrid amp" is one of two configurations.
 

mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,907
Even the Blackstar rep you quoted as an authoritative and reliable source of info about this explains that by your definition, a DSL is also a hybrid, as is every other amp that combines tube and SS technologies.

But it seems you're cherry picking what he says and accepting the part that's convenient to you, but ignoring or claiming the part that's inconvenient is inaccurate. At this point, anyone would be confused.
Maybe because the Blackstar engineer, while being truthful about the Blackstar amp in question not having an all-tube preamp, still would like Blackstar amps to sell, and hence mentioned the DSL having solid state components even though those components play a quite different role than the ones in the Blackstar, as they are not in the signal path in the Marshall, as already mentioned. :)
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Maybe because the Blackstar engineer, while being truthful about the Blackstar amp in question not having an all-tube preamp, still would like Blackstar amps to sell, and hence mentioned the DSL having solid state components even though those components play a quite different role than the ones in the Blackstar, as they are not in the signal path in the Marshall, as already mentioned. :)
So more cherry picking and arbitrary differences. Got it. BTW, he also stated that all of the distortion is produced by tubes. I suppose you're going to claim THAT was a lie too? Cherry picking at its finest!

I've posted several sources to support what I've stated is the commonly accepted definition of a hybrid amp.

You've invented your own definition. Do you have any sources to support it as being the commonly accepted definition?
 

drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,867
OK, here's Sweetwater's definition:

Though technically this would be a generic reference to an amplifier combining various technologies, in practice it is usually used to refer to a guitar amp that uses multiple technologies to create its tone or to generate output power. For example, a hybrid guitar amp might combine a tube preamp section with a solid-state power amp section. Or, it might use a modeling preamp section and a tube power amp section.

Notice that they say "in general" to refer to your rigid hierarchy. Also notice that, in their "Hybrid Amps" for sale section, the first amp mentioned is the Fender Superchamp XD2, which has both tubes AND SS sections in its preamp. By your definition it would NOT be a hybrid amp.

Or put it differently, if you have a preamp with BOTH tubes and solid state components IN THE SIGNAL PATH, it's a hybrid preamp. If you have a power amp with BOTH tubes and SS components, it's a hybrid output stage. So, you take two hybrid components, put them together, and now its all tube?

The definition is NOT as clear cut as you'd like to argue and you're only using online definitions that you like to prove your point, there are no government agencies that determine what is all tube and what is not. The market decides. And they've decided that Blackstar amps are not, except the artisan series. And Dumble, 2550s, Mesa Marks ARE. To me, the definition would be either: the signal doesn't pass thru the silicon components, or, the silicon is only used in parallel with the main signal path as reverb drivers, effects loops etc and can be removed from the signal path completely. The Mesa Mk series is an interesting exception in that the graphic EQ (Mojo Module) is usually left in circuit because it sounds better. I'd support that being a hybrid PREAMP, as would I support calling the JCM900 channel switchers hybrid preamps.

I have no problem with Black Star. I don't hate them. I don't even dislike them. I just completely disagree with your argument.
 

HeavyCream

Member
Messages
3,207
I have an HT20MKII and an HT60MKII. I don't find them lacking in "tube dynamics" at all. In contrast, I had a ValveKing 50 1X12 and it was the most flat, dull, lifeless, boring, uninspiring amp I've ever owned, tube or otherwise.
Not in my hands it’s not ;)

Excuse the poor quality phone recording. Straight clean at 1:45. Set at 12w

Strat clean then low gain OD, then FF.

Not a huge fan of the dirt channel but here it is anyway. Set at 2w


I found the HT-20 dirt channel too gainy, overly compressed and lacking dynamics to my taste. No reason to get defensive. Not everyone cares about dynamics. I’m pretty sure the HT series target market isn’t “touch” players. I’ve never tried the MKII series so I’m not sure how they compare. Also, a 50w NMV amp isn’t for everyone. Especially if you’re trying to get a good amount of dirt at lower volume. The VK’s aren’t high gain amps.
 
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guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
OK, here's Sweetwater's definition:

Though technically this would be a generic reference to an amplifier combining various technologies, in practice it is usually used to refer to a guitar amp that uses multiple technologies to create its tone or to generate output power. For example, a hybrid guitar amp might combine a tube preamp section with a solid-state power amp section. Or, it might use a modeling preamp section and a tube power amp section.

Notice that they say "in general" to refer to your rigid hierarchy. Also notice that, in their "Hybrid Amps" for sale section, the first amp mentioned is the Fender Superchamp XD2, which has both tubes AND SS sections in its preamp. By your definition it would NOT be a hybrid amp.

Or put it differently, if you have a preamp with BOTH tubes and solid state components IN THE SIGNAL PATH, it's a hybrid preamp. If you have a power amp with BOTH tubes and SS components, it's a hybrid output stage. So, you take two hybrid components, put them together, and now its all tube?

The definition is NOT as clear cut as you'd like to argue and you're only using online definitions that you like to prove your point, there are no government agencies that determine what is all tube and what is not. The market decides. And they've decided that Blackstar amps are not, except the artisan series. And Dumble, 2550s, Mesa Marks ARE. To me, the definition would be either: the signal doesn't pass thru the silicon components, or, the silicon is only used in parallel with the main signal path as reverb drivers, effects loops etc and can be removed from the signal path completely. The Mesa Mk series is an interesting exception in that the graphic EQ (Mojo Module) is usually left in circuit because it sounds better. I'd support that being a hybrid PREAMP, as would I support calling the JCM900 channel switchers hybrid preamps.

I have no problem with Black Star. I don't hate them. I don't even dislike them. I just completely disagree with your argument.
So we'll have to agree to disagree. I haven't seen any sources that use the definitions you guys are using. I posted the Sweetwater definition earlier. It explains what a Hybrid amp refers to, then gives a clear example.

As for the SuperChamp, it uses a digital preamp. That said,


Fender Super Champ X2 1x10" 15-watt Tube Combo Amp

15-watt 2-channel All-tube 1x10" Guitar Combo Amplifier - Black


BTW, I owned a first gen SCXD. It was OK but the amp suffered from all kinds of rattles and buzz when hitting certain notes. The preamp section also didn't take dirt pedals very well if I remember right. It was also sorely lacking an FX loop. It had very nice clean tones though, and some of the dirt channels were also decent but many of them were unusable and just gimmicky, imo.
 
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guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
Not in my hands it’s not ;)

Excuse the poor quality phone recording. Straight clean at 1:45. Set at 12w

Strat clean then OD

Not a huge fan of the dirt channel but here it is anyway. Set at 2w


I found the HT-20 dirt channel too gainy, overly compressed and lacking dynamics to my taste. No reason to get defensive. Not everyone cares about dynamics. I’m pretty sure the HT series target market isn’t “touch” players. I’ve never tried the MKII series so I’m not sure how they compare. Also, a 50w NMV amp isn’t for everyone. Especially if you’re trying to get a good amount of dirt at lower volume. The VK’s aren’t high gain amps.
No one was getting defensive. At least not me. I was just pointing out how we all perceive things differently. And why it's awesome that there are so many amps to choose from that we can all find amps we're happy with.
 
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mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,907
Again, you don't get to determine what implementation is and isn't acceptable. A hybrid either is or isn't a combination of technologies, correct?

A "hybrid amp" is understood to be either of two configurations. If you're going to invent other definitions, you'll have to do better in justifying your definitions. So far it has just been arbitrary determinations and rationalizations.
There are plenty of ways to define terms, some of which are more reasonable than others.

How about starting with this one for an example: a pre-amp is all-tube if it uses tubes for gain stages and/or for generating distortion and does not use solid-state devices for either of those purposes.

Let's set aside cases in which diode clipping can be switched in, etc. for now, as people may quite reasonably define things differently in such cases.

By the definition above, which I'm guessing that most people around here would find fairly reasonable:

  • Most Blackstar amps do not have an all-tube preamps
  • JCM900 Dual Reverbs do not have all-tube preamps
  • A JCM800 2204 does have an all-tube preamp
  • A JCM2000 DSL 50 does have an all-tube preamp
  • A Fender HDR IV does have an all-tube preamp

Does that work for you?
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,509
There are plenty of ways to define terms, some of which are more reasonable than others.

How about starting with this one for an example: a pre-amp is all-tube if it uses tubes for gain stages and/or for generating distortion and does not use solid-state devices for either of those purposes.

Let's set aside cases in which diode clipping can be switched in, etc. for now, as people may quite reasonably define things differently in such cases.

By the definition above, which I'm guessing that most people around here would find fairly reasonable:

  • Most Blackstar amps do not have an all-tube preamps
  • JCM900 Dual Reverbs do not have all-tube preamps
  • A JCM800 2204 does have an all-tube preamp
  • A JCM2000 DSL 50 does have an all-tube preamp
  • A Fender HDR IV does have an all-tube preamp

Does that work for you?
Again with the "all tube" misnomer. It's either a tube amp or it's not. It can use SS components to drive the tubes harder, in some cases to generate distortion, etc... but if it relies on tubes, it's a tube amp.

  • A Friedman BE is not all-tube but is a tube amp.
  • A Jubilee is not all-tube but is a tube amp.
  • A Dumble with switchable FET is not all-tube but is a tube amp.
  • A Blackstar HT is not all-tube but is a tube amp.
  • A Hybrid amp, by commonly accepted definition, is an amp that uses a solid state (or nowadays digital) preamp and a tube power section OR a tube preamp and solid state (or digital) power section.
That works for me.
 




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