Solid-state v.s. Tube

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by nickcmanning, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. nickcmanning

    nickcmanning Member

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    .....which is better? or is it personal preference.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  2. Adwex

    Adwex Member

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    I suspect you meant "solid state".

    It is my personal preference that tube is better.
     
  3. mlongano

    mlongano Member

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    This would make a good poll...I'm guessing 98% vote for tube.
     
  4. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Depends on what you need the amp for. Playing in your room or apartment so you don't disturb the family or neighbours? Solid state. Recording, gigging, rehearsal space or basement when nobodiy's home? Tubes sound better. There have been many guys who get into these forums, run out and get a 50watt tube head and cab, then discover they can't use even a fraction of the power.
     
  5. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Are you talking about Solid State Digital Modeling or Solid State Analog?

    SS Analog vs. Tubes: my opinion is that aside from a few really fantastic SS clean amps (like the JC-120) it's tubes all the way

    SS Digital Modeling vs. Tube: my opinion is it's a total toss up. I've owned enough modeling equipment, and heard enough A/B comparisons to be convinced that state of the art digital can sound just as good as any tube amp.
     
  6. billstets

    billstets Member

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    There's a few threads about modeling right now on TGP (AXE FX, Flextone). Some people agree with you. Many don't. I use a POD at home for practicing, but use a tube amp otherwise. I don't have experience with modelers in a band context, but I'm open minded about it. The AXE FX sounds interesting, but it's not cheap.

    And the Giants do rule!
     
  7. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I'd disagree. I've heard analog modelers like the Morley JD10 and the Sansamp put out studio-quality tones, at least for recording purposes. But the digital modelers I've heard aren't there - yet. A co-worker loaned me a Line 6 DM4 distortion modeler yesterday. I tried it at home and every analog OD/distortion pedal I have SMOKED it. It's not as good as solid-state, much less tube. It's... adequate. Bad Monkey, Rat, and Sole Pressure all left it in the dust tonally. It wasn't even close. (This is into a clean Fender tube amp, btw)

    OTOH, I think someday digital modeling WILL be good enough, and I'm looking forward to it. I'd love to ditch the weight and limitations of tubes! I'm going to buy Amplitube 2 soon. The original Amplitube was close, but not quite good enough. Maybe they have it now.
     
  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Good SS kills bad tubes...and vice-versa.
     
  9. stan p

    stan p Member

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    SOme SS amps have awesome cleans. Most jazz amps are solid state.
     
  10. Miles

    Miles Member

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    Personal preference.

    I can use either and coax fine tones for what I like to play.
     
  11. popsongsmith

    popsongsmith Senior Member

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    Ok, so someone's gotta take a stand, so here goes. Assuming you're talking about quality gear, there's no comparison. It's true that a top-quality SS amp will beat a cheap tube amp, but if you're comparing apples to apples, tubes win hands down. There are technical reasons for why this is true, but the best analogy would be either film vs. video or analog vs. digital. There are imperfect qualities inherent in tubes that are simply pleasing to the human ear. This is not just true of guitar amps. Look at the high end audio market. All the best audiophile power amps use tubes.

    Let me put it this way. If your experience is primarily with SS amps or cheap tube amps, the first time you get the chance to really crank up a top-quality tube amp like a vintage Fender or Vox, or a modern boutique like a Bruno or Matchless, it will be like a religious experience.

    Yeah, the modeling stuff is versatile and good for recording, but there is simply nothing in the world like cranking up a good tube amp and hearing and FEELING those glorious, glowing valves work their magic.

    Amen!
     
  12. stan p

    stan p Member

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    I disagree ... there are many high end audio systems build with SS technology. I do not think it is 'imperfection' that makes us like these things. Rather the raw power more continuous behavior (vr. discreet like in all digital systems) and a certain compression & overtone character associated with the tube. While these effects are clearly audible and sensible, it is not true that this is the only way to produce sounds of musical value. SOme players like and trasperancy associated with good SS and know how to put it to good use.
     
  13. mitch236

    mitch236 Member

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    In the world of audiophilia, SS has caught up. But for audio, you want a clean sound, really clean. For the guitar amp, you don't really want that clean. Even your clean tone has some hair on it. That's why tubes are better. They have nice full textured hair where the SS amps just have a fro!
     
  14. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    I just think it's funny that people can make blanket statements like "there's no comparison".

    The A/B listening tests done here and elsewhere (and there's been lots of them) seem to indicate otherwise.

    This is on the AxeFX website:

    http://www.fractalaudio.com/Documents/AxeFx_Demo1.mp3

    Is there really "no comparison" between this and a tube amp in terms of quality and musicality? Come on. I think you can make the argument that there are specific tube amps you like more than a specific tone in a specific piece of modeling gear but there's specific tube amps you prefer over other specific tube amps as well. Honestly, I prefer my crappy little GT-6 over LOTS of tube amps. Personally, I think Voxs and Trainwrecks sound like ass and would gladly take practically any modeler over one of them. That's not a shot against Vox and Trainwreck at all and I enjoy listening to OTHERS play through them....just not me. :D It's just my personal preference for tone and we all have our own preferences.

    Seems to me like it's really about personal preference.
     
  15. stan p

    stan p Member

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    You have a point, but many players want their amps just clean and transparent with none of those 'hair':) Not for every player the term 'dynamic' means varying degree of compression or overdrive as you pick harder. SOme just ant the amp to scream or wisper. Many such players are known for world-class music. Tubes are great, but I would not rule out SS entirely as a music making technology, epecially consideriing the big Jazz archtops that have enough overtones of their own and do not need more 'hair'. I heard many strats shining through good quality SS ams with asome 3-d quality to each phrase often unattainable by tubes! THink of the FUnk tones that can be produced on a good SS amp!
     
  16. popsongsmith

    popsongsmith Senior Member

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    Exactly. That's what I meant by "imperfection". Even the clean settings have some harmonic distortion in the upper range. that's what so-called sonic maximizers are trying to simulate.

    on another point, there are some who defend SS amps as if it's personal. find me a SS amp that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I strum an open G chord on the bridge pickup of my 335 and I'll trade in all my tube gear...
     
  17. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Sonic maximizers do exactly the OPPOSITE. There are distortions that inevitably occur do to the system response, and they attempt to REMOVE these distortions, not simulate them.

    And by the way, for the record I mostly play through tube amps because for most of the tones I use that's what I prefer. And then again there are some other tones I use that I get through some modeling gear, and for those particular tones I PREFER the modeling gear to any tube amp.

    So what's the point of this again? That one is better than the other? Bleh. It's all about the preference of the user.
     
  18. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Again?!!
    :horse:horse:horse


    Lots in the archives on this ...try a search.

    Edward
     
  19. scott58

    scott58 Member

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    This really isn't a static question that has one answer. The field is constantly changing. New SS tech is constantly closing the gap. i wouldn't give up my POD/Vj for a tube or SS amp of equal value at this point and I think we're going to see alot more SS fx/modeling preamps with tube power amps in the future.
     
  20. wildschwein

    wildschwein Member

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    I prefer my Peavy amps - they just happen to be solid state. There are both good solid state amps and bad valve amps - and vice versa.

    But "tube purity" is rather elusive in this day and age. Solid state rectifiers have been around quite a while. Many players stick transistor-powered distortion units in front of their tube amps. A number of classic valve amps contain solid state technology in their electronic pathways (i.e Marshall JCM 800s and 900s, or Mesa Boogies with the graphic engaged); not to mention any other effects that are routed through the front end or the FX loop like chorus, delays, wahs, compressors etc. All that stuff is nearly always 100% soild state. I've got nothing against tubes - if you want to give me a valve amp I'll gladly take it; after all power tube distortion is a sweet thing but when we talk about valve amps today, generally (I know there are boutique and vintage exceptions), we're talking about some sort of hybridized technology anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008

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