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Tube OD pedals: what's the deal?

popsongsmith

Senior Member
Messages
742
I've noticed there is a seemingly endless stream of threads dealing with solid-state overdrive boxes, but a conspicuous lack of discussion of tube boxes like the Tube Driver and Twin Tube.

Why is that?

Cheers
:dude
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,486
I love my H&K Tubefactor, and my Chandler Tube Driver was decent ... before I let it go. But really, dirt boxes don't have to be tube to be great, and some of the best ones out there are solid state. I recently received my Zendrive 2 and would say the version 1 is better. We just talk about what we like, no discrimination for tubes here ... except for amps :rolleyes:
 

TimH

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,172
most Tube OD's are expensive and are, for the most part, a gimmick. MOST (not all) still use the tubes as diode clippers essentially making them function the same as most other pedals. To my mind they take up too much real estate on a pedalboard and often need their own power source and for what? As I said, to me, a gimmick 9 times out of 10.
 

utterhack

Member
Messages
3,424
^ I'd generally agree with that statement. But I'd add that the 10th out of 10 is the JT Pedals Valveboy and it kicks mucho ass.
 

george4908

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,209
>>I love my H&K Tubefactor

I love mine, too, quirky though it may be. But it's so big and clumsy, I don't haul it out much. Think I need to go fire it up ...

Also have an original H&K Tubeman. Another great and underappreciated tube pedal. A million different sounds in this thing, but a lot of fiddling required, so I'm guessing that's why it never caught on.
 
Messages
1,092
i've always wanted to try a tube-OD pedal, but haven't because 1) not sure if the OD sounds like pre-amp distortion, which I'm not crazy about and 2) i'm always worried about whether or not I'd bust the tube(s) if I dropped the pedal when gigging.... as with other TGP'ers i've been very happy so far with solid state/analog OD pedals....
 

TimH

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,172
^ I'd generally agree with that statement. But I'd add that the 10th out of 10 is the JT Pedals Valveboy and it kicks mucho ass.
Yeah but the valveboy actually uses it's tubes like a real amp does so it's definately the exception to what I was saying :)
 

utterhack

Member
Messages
3,424
Yeah but the valveboy actually uses it's tubes like a real amp does so it's definately the exception to what I was saying :)
That does appear to be its secret. Based on previous experience with other "tube" pedals I was superdubious about the Valveboy, too, until I actually played one. THAT is what we mean when we say a pedal "feels like an amp." :dude
 

georgeb4

Member
Messages
52
I've noticed there is a seemingly endless stream of threads dealing with solid-state overdrive boxes, but a conspicuous lack of discussion of tube boxes like the Tube Driver and Twin Tube.

Why is that?

Cheers
:dude
+1

I'd like to see more tube overdrive discussions but I don't get to decide what people are into...

My favorite overdrive at the moment is the Tube Driver. I'm pretty sure it just uses the tube as TimH describes since it runs on 12V or less but it sounds great. Very natural clipping. Go figure. I also liked the Tube King but haven't had a chance to try a number of other tube pedals like the Valveboy, 2-Tone, X-Treme Tone, Varidrive, Tube Zone, Tube Factor, etc.

I think welcometoashley is correct on both accounts. It took me a while to convince myself that a pedal with a tube in it would be gig worthy but preamp tubes last forever so unless it fell out (it's glued in) or broke I'm in the clear. I also think a lot of people are suspicious that tube pedals will sound too saturated or lifeless like so many 2+ channel amps. The cool thing about having a tube in a pedal is you get to really dial it in. Don't want saturated preamp gain? Turn the gain down, turn the output up...
 

JimmyR

Member
Messages
3,790
Well I'll try to be brief given my infatuation with the Bad Cat Two-tone! Like the Valveboy it runs two tubes at amp-like voltages. It is pretty much an amp's front end. It is by far the most "amp-like" (to use a cliche) OD I have ever heard. Reasons for not liking it? It's huge, expensive and doesn't sound like a Tubescreamer.

On the pro side, it sounds great with every single amp I have tried it into. It can do the amp just starting to break-up thing better than any SS pedal. I can run it into a big amp and get small-amp type OD but run a delay pedal after it so my delays don't get all muddy. A bit like using an FX loop I guess.

Some pedals come close - Timmy, Menatone WMB, VOS, etc. But none have that tubey bite like the Two-tone.
 

georgeb4

Member
Messages
52
Well I'll try to be brief given my infatuation with the Bad Cat Two-tone! Like the Valveboy it runs two tubes at amp-like voltages. It is pretty much an amp's front end. It is by far the most "amp-like" (to use a cliche) OD I have ever heard. Reasons for not liking it? It's huge, expensive and doesn't sound like a Tubescreamer.

On the pro side, it sounds great with every single amp I have tried it into. It can do the amp just starting to break-up thing better than any SS pedal. I can run it into a big amp and get small-amp type OD but run a delay pedal after it so my delays don't get all muddy. A bit like using an FX loop I guess.

Some pedals come close - Timmy, Menatone WMB, VOS, etc. But none have that tubey bite like the Two-tone.
Jimmy, can you provide any generalizations as to how tube pedals that run at amp-like voltages sound different from tube pedals that run at low voltage?
 

Lolaviola

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,532
Jimmy, can you provide any generalizations as to how tube pedals that run at amp-like voltages sound different from tube pedals that run at low voltage?
Differences are felt and heard as more headroom and dynamics running on high voltage.

The Tube Driver or Real Tube (low voltage, I think) actually sounds better when you use a low-power tube like a 12-at7(or less) as you will gain back some dynamics.


THe "amp-like" boxes seem to have a greater range of semi-clean to high gain.


As to the OP's Why? question:- Tube boxes are just one type of drive. The tones are for people seeking "amp-like" drive.
Transistor boxes (I mean all things fuzz, tubescreamer, rat etc. etc.) are just a different sound. Lots of players like the classic sounds of a SS box -->tube amp, and others are seeking a pallette of sounds to use w/ a clean amp, and want to cover a lot of bases.
 

georgeb4

Member
Messages
52
Originally Posted by 1TwoRock
You have a BKB Tube Driver that runs on 12V?



I have one of BK's Tube Drivers with the bias knob and it is 120V. I don't know what happens inside but, the 12AX7 valve glows as bright as it does in an amp. I guess I don't know why a builder would go through the trouble of making a 120V AC pedal, and then reduce the power to the tube. Great sounding pedal by the way!
Oh, and to clarify I'm talking about plate voltage.
 

re-animator

Senior Member
Messages
8,240
no mi audio tube-zone talk??

I've been thinking about adding one to my rig for those early-mesa tones.
 

TeleTodd

Member
Messages
21
I have been using a ToneBone which has a tube in it. it does need it's own power supply. It is an incredible array of tones and is fairly easy to adjust. It was my favorite by far until my Timmy arrived. There is just no comparison.
 




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