Tubes are slow!

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Prosvetlen, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    Tubes are slower, compared to SS. Last night I recorded a couple of tracks, using one tube and one SS, each one on a separate channel. I used a Fostex recorder. Then I imported the recorded tracks into Reaper. The SS track was right on click (I used the Fostex's Metronome while recording), and the tube one was consistently behind, a couple of milliseconds, maybe even more. I was slightly surprised, but then I remembered Pat Metheny said somewhere that he prefers SS amps, because tubes are "slow". Last night I understood what he meant.
     
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  2. MaxTwang

    MaxTwang Member

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    I think tubes feeling 'slow' has more to do with sag than how fast the signal moves through the circuit, which is why many jazz players and bass player prefer SS for the bolder, more 'immediate' and punchier feel.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  3. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    I am simply pointing the fact. In his interview Steve Vai said very interesting things, but he was not 100% objective.
     
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  4. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Were they both being Mic'd, both direct or 1 direct and 1 mic'd?

    A microphone recording will ALWAYS be behind a direct recording because the sound has to move through the air to get to the microphone. That takes a few miliseconds.
     
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  5. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    No, they were both direct into the console.
     
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  6. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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  7. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    Nah, it's not that. I just wanted to point out the fact that no one comments on. It's misleading that way.
     
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  8. Gearzilla

    Gearzilla Member

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    There is a reason some amps feature a SS rectifier or a tube rectifier or the ability to switch between the two.

    :)
     
  9. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    BTW, I discovered that by accident: I wanted to see how good I was tracking with the metronome and zoomed in a lot into the imported tracks, then I saw it. I wouldn't have, if I hadn't zoomed in.
     
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  10. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    It's not... popcorn??

    Seriously though, people comment on it all the time; it's just that the terminology - and orders of magnitude in terms of elapsed time - are very different. When discussing "speed" of a tube amp vs. a solid state amp, we talk about feel, sag, compression, bloom... the shape of the note, essentially. I've often heard that SS is "faster" sometimes in a positive sense, sometimes in a negative sense. (E.g. one guy I knew always said SS felt like jumping up and down on a concrete floor. Immediate, in other words - to him, unpleasantly so.)

    Latency is a much longer lag time (in relative terms; we're still talking milliseconds) before any output is produced whatsoever. We're typically discussing analog (tube or SS) vs digital here.
     
  11. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    Not quite... Let me elaborate: if one claims that can "feel a millisecond" of latency and this is why that same one uses tube amps precisely because of that important reason, then the premise should be "tube amps do produce zero latency", and that is not the case. Fact.
     
  12. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    I posted this here, because I was using AxeFX Ultra for the digital stuff before and after the FX Loop. Calm down, I didn't use any delay, reverbs, choruses, etc. after the Loop, only the same IR for both amps. Vai said he uses an Axe for the digital stuff as well.
     
  13. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    Couple of points here:

    1. There is a literal infinity of time between 1ms and "zero latency", 500 microseconds being just one example.
    2. Steve Vai never quite said he could feel 1ms, almost certainly didn't mean it, and probably doesn't care either way. No one else should either. He prefers tubes over modeling is the fundamental takeaway, which should shock absolutely no one, since most players do.
    3. Hence the :munch. The other thread is pretty ridiculous. An entirely new thread based on corollary can only be the same.
     
  14. stickyFingerz

    stickyFingerz Supporting Member

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    Tube amps can be very fast and punchy and you can't make generalizations on the basis of one tube amp vs one ss amp.

    If you can feel or measure a difference, that would be the speaker/ cab.
     
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  15. Lord N

    Lord N Member

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    Try a nu-tube, they are much faster since the sound doesn't have so much space to travel through.

    And that ladies and gentlemen is: SCIENCE! :cool:
     
  16. oildrops

    oildrops Member

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    What about a tube amp with giant transformers and solid state rectifier? I used to think I liked slow and squishy amps more, but there is something exhilarating about an amp where the notes just pop off. Haven't experienced it the same way with digital or SS gear.
     
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  17. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    Strange, I think he said exactly "I can feel a millisecond"... For the record, I could not feel the latency of the tube amp, maybe because the SS was compensating, although I had both amps panned hard. Now, after I started playing the recorded track and isolated each channel, you could hear the latency on the tube one. Very, very slightly, but it was there.
     
  18. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    That would be a hybrid tube/SS amp, not entirely tube, though.
     
  19. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    Parallel threads.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Prosvetlen

    Prosvetlen Member

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    I have a proposition: why don't those of us that have access to a proper recording equipment/tube+SS try to replicate my recording process and report the results.
     

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