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#1
This is a bit of a rant, so prepare yourself (not that there isn't something valuable to learn from a good rant). Please don't attempt to answer this question unless you can first see my point.

I've recently been searching for a nicely built 30 watt or less tube guitar amplifier for recording. I tracked down a relatively new and interesting amp that was available on Ebay: the Rivera Pubster 25. When you go to the info available about it at the Rivera website, you see that it's being marketed as an "all tube amplifier," but I found out after the sale was made that this apparently is not really the case. In fact, calling any amp that has a solid state rectifier an "all tube amplifier" is immediately misleading. Not that I'm immediately against it, but switching out tube rectifiers for the better reliability of solid state (and the faster attack in the sound that results over the traditional tube rectifier lag) immediately disqualifies any amp from rightly (and logically) being called an "all tube amplifier." On top of this, one audio tech at a forum who claims to have looked at the schematics for Rivera amplifiers (his name is Andy Fuchs, and you can read his comments here: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=146903&page=5 ) claims to have seen various solid state type components in the signal path, which again, means the amp cannot really be considered an "all tube amplifer." At another forum, I saw someone desperately arguing that his amp was an "all tube amplifier" because "all tube amplifier" only means "tube preamp + tube output," which I don't exactly buy. Furthermore, there are tons of people who are buying something like a "vintage Fender Champ" made in the late 60s or so and then relying on the overdrive you get from an Ibanez Tube Screamer or similar pedal--utterly a solid state device altering that wonderful Fender made "all tube amplifier." Ridiculously, I have noticed that categorizing an amplifier like the Rivera Pubster with this new term that has sprung up--a "hybrid"--when it contains both tubes and solid state components, to some people, is like calling the amp undesireable or even "cheaper" than the wonderful sound of an "all tube amplifier" simply because of the presence of some kind of solid state component(s). I simply cannot make sense out of this as I see more and more people posting vids at Youtube and showing off their expensive "vintage" "all tube amplifiers" like you can't get that "true" electric guitar tone unless you eliminate all solid state electronics from the signal path.

What I'm getting at here is this: It is highly likely that the only "all tube amplifier" is the type that would be considered a "vintage" amp that has a tube rectifier, tube preamp stage, tube power output stage-- one that was made in the pre- solid state era with no solid state type component in the signal path. What I'm wondering is how many people out there think their "all tube amp" has no solid state components affecting the way the amp sounds? How many amps are currently being marketed as "all tube amplifiers" when in the absence of customers being provided with a schematic they're not exactly being given the truth? The very very bad reputation that developed from tube-less all solid state designed amplifiers of the 70s (and even Fender and Marshall were jumping on the bandwagon then) has resulted in some people being skeptical about any guitar amp that can't be verified (through the schematic) that it indeed deserves to be called an "all tube amplifier." Meanwhile, it's becoming less a mystery of marketing to me why Rivera (arguably a high end respectable manufacturer of guitar amps) refers to the Pubster as an "all tube amplifier" when it may not really deserve the title.

So, I'm asking: What is an "all tube amplifier" and why do you need one?
#2
all tube means it uses vacuum tubes for power and preamp, I think, I could be very wrong though since I am near-illiterate in the field of "how it works" on amps. I do know though from a solid-state-to-tube switch that it's louder and clearer-sounding, and that you need to replace the tubes every few years or so.

And you don't need one per se; Dimebag used solid-state amps throughout his career. Tube amps just have a tendency to be louder and sound better.
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Last edited by necrosis1193 at Nov 30, 2008,
#3
Don't know. I don't buy it either. I doubt my Mark IV is all tube by your definition and it sounds beautiful to me, so I don't care about "all tube" status.

But I think when people here say "all tube" they mean preamp and poweramp, which is what really counts as far as sound goes.
#4
If I'm not mistaken many tube amps have SS rectifiers.
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#5
Quote by necrosis1193
.
Dimebag used solid-state amps throughout his career. Tube amps just have a tendency to be louder and sound better.


Dimebag was usually seen with Randall or Krank tube amps. I never saw him live with a solid-state stack.
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#7
I don't care if it's all tube or not. If it sounds good, then it's a good amp. I PREFER tube amps, especially after owning one myself, but I'm not gonna nitpick about the rectifier being solid-state, as long as it's tubes driving the pre and power stages, I'm fine. Hell, if I had to I'd use a really good SS amp too
Quote by Warheart1188
Dimebag was usually seen with Randall or Krank tube amps. I never saw him live with a solid-state stack.

Randall solid-state, Krank tube, and the latter only for a short amount of time before his death.
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#8
All-tube refers to preamp and power amp, and it only came about because of hybrid and solid state (i.e. transistor-based) amps. Many amps have solid-state components but do not have a tube pre and poweramp.

To be honest it really doesn't matter if an amp is all-tube or is tube but has solid-state components to me; as long as it sounds good and provides nice dynamics (while I'm playing on it!) I'll like it. The people who would poo-poo an amp for being part-tube or all-tube but has solid-state components (even if it sounds good) are just snobs.
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#9
Quote by mike.h
If I'm not mistaken many tube amps have SS rectifiers.

Yes, they do.

To me, "all-tube" means that there are no solid state components in the signal path. This excludes the rectifier, of course.
Transistors are only bad for your sound if you use them without a modeling device of some sort that will handle overdrive/distortion. That's because the overdrive that transistors generate sounds like a beehive in a trash can.
On top of that, not even the best modeling devices can emulate the sonic capabilities of overdriven tube amps. Especially high gain modeling is difficult and the results are usually mediocre.
That is of now, we will see what the future brings.
Additionally, a tube amp's sound is not only shaped by the tubes, but also by the transformers used, the output transformer especially. Those are being used in tube amps because they are necessary. They are not necessary in solid state amps though and being rather expensive they are usually not used in them.
A lot of an amp's responsiveness (is that even a word?) and the 'warmth' guitarists like to daydream about comes from good output transformers.

However, if you are interested in a simple and 'round' clean sound, solid state amps are worth a look. There's a reason why some of the highest end jazz and bass amps use transistors.


EDIT: The attitude of the previous posters surprises me. I would have thought to read a lot of solid state bashing, but there's nothing but sensible answers so far. More power to you guys.
Last edited by TheQuailman at Nov 30, 2008,
#10
"All Tube" is probably just used to differenciate between Hybrid amps, which have a Solid State preamp but a Tube Power amp.

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#11
Meh, you can have tonnes of SS components in a signal path and not have it negatively affect the tone in any way.

Most of the good OD pedals you'll find are all solid state designs. Solid state is by no means bad. Amps like the JCM900 or Silver Jubilee rely on solid state clipping.

And for the record, SS rectification is just as good as tube rectification. They just have different characteristics.

All tube generally just refers to a predominantly tube preamp, tube phase inverter and tube power amp.
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#12
Quote by TheQuailman
Yes, they do.

To me, "all-tube" means that there are no solid state components in the signal path. This excludes the rectifier, of course.
Transistors are only bad for your sound if you use them without a modeling device of some sort that will handle overdrive/distortion. That's because the overdrive that transistors generate sounds like a beehive in a trash can.
On top of that, not even the best modeling devices can emulate the sonic capabilities of overdriven tube amps. Especially high gain modeling is difficult and the results are usually mediocre.
That is of now, we will see what the future brings.
Additionally, a tube amp's sound is not only shaped by the tubes, but also by the transformers used, the output transformer especially. Those are being used in tube amps because they are necessary. They are not necessary in solid state amps though and being rather expensive they are usually not used in them.
A lot of an amp's responsiveness (is that even a word?) and the 'warmth' guitarists like to daydream about comes from good output transformers.

However, if you are interested in a simple and 'round' clean sound, solid state amps are worth a look. There's a reason why some of the highest end jazz and bass amps use transistors.

I have a lot problems with this post. 1. You do NOT need a modeling device to provide good distortion. Example: Ampeg VH-140c.
2. High Gain modeling is better than clean mid gain modeling, by far.
3. I have heard many highly regarded high gain tube amplifiers sound like a beehive in a trashcan, so tube=/=good. Transistor preamps=/=bad.

To answer the OP- The term 'all tube' refers to an all tube signal amplification path. The rectifier changes current from AC to DC. That's all.
#13
I am looking at the schematics for a B-52 AT-100 which they claim is all tube on the face plate, and when set to the use the tube rectifier there are no solid state components in the signal path. The only time you see a transistor, IC, diode or LED is in the reverb and in the circuitry for the channel switching which only runs the relay switches and wouldn't affect the sound quality. Now this amp does have a solid state rectifier that can be used if you choose but in 2 of the 3 rectifier modes the entire signal path is tube. I don't know how long they have been making this amp but it is definitely not vintage so its not just vintage amps that are all tube.

I guess having a solid state rectifier in any tube amp could technically disqualify it as an ALL TUBE amp but the change from a tube rectifier to a solid state one can arguably make the sound quality better.

And with all that being said you probably don't need all tube, many hybrid amps sound good and there are a lot of people that like the sound of an all solid state amp.
Last edited by Demigawd at Nov 30, 2008,
#14
Quote by mike.h
If I'm not mistaken many tube amps have SS rectifiers.


Your not mistaking. In fact many of the most pricey boutique amps use ss rectifiers as well The rectifier is the part that converts the AC current (110/220 volts) to the DC current requirred internally, and valve rectifiers tend to be less efficient in doing this than solid state rectifiers, thus resulting in more sag and less clean headroom. Technically speaking, output tubes distort and "sag" when they experience a decrease in voltage; this happens when you hit the strings and the rectifier isn't able to deliver the current "fast enough" to avoid this decrase in voltage; in other words, the quicker the current goes from the rectifier to the output tubes, the less they will sag and distort
Really, for some purposes a tube rectifier is the way to go, while others will be better suited with a ss unit.
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Last edited by chrisdam at Nov 30, 2008,
#15
omg you noob you really registered here to post this? TONS of high end amplifiers have solid state recitifiers. MOST AMPS DONT EVEN HAVE TUBE RECTIFIER CIRCUITS. even the MESA BOOGIE rectifiers have switches for tube rectification and ss rectification. it doesnt mean the amp is solid state by any means. yea, that amp is ALL TUBE, the preamp and poweramp. whats not to buy?
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#16
Quote by guitardude11
omg you noob you really registered here to post this? TONS of high end amplifiers have solid state recitifiers. MOST AMPS DONT EVEN HAVE TUBE RECTIFIER CIRCUITS. even the MESA BOOGIE rectifiers have switches for tube rectification and ss rectification. it doesnt mean the amp is solid state by any means. yea, that amp is ALL TUBE, the preamp and poweramp. whats not to buy?


geez come down. He ASKED a question, answer him instead of just being an ass

edti: btw I can find many good reasons as to why not to buy a mesa very pricey, lack in the dynamics department, a bit noisy, just to name a few downsides Still good amps though
Guitars:
Gibson L. P std. 2006
Gibson L. P studio
Höfner asj228
Main amp:
Marshall 2061x HW head
Marshall 2061cx cab
fx:
Stock BD-2
TU-2
verbzilla
C.M. Red repeat
T-rex F.T.
Practice:
Epi vjr head
2x12 V30 cab and 4x10 G10 cab
Last edited by chrisdam at Nov 30, 2008,
#17
Quote by imgooley
I have a lot problems with this post. 1. You do NOT need a modeling device to provide good distortion. Example: Ampeg VH-140c.

I have not tried that amp, so I can't tell. I'm just gonna believe you. However, I was talking about transistor distortion in general and as subjective as that may be, it usually sucks donkey balls.

Quote by imgooley
2. High Gain modeling is better than clean mid gain modeling, by far.

Then why do even cheap little Vox amps sound pretty nice with moderate gain settings, while even the allmighty line6 Vetta (a 1800€ modeler) doesn't even compare to cheaper high gain tube amps like Bugeras? I don't really consider the distortion that comes from Vypyrs and Cubes good, it is good for what these amps cost, but it's not good per se. In conclusion, I strongly disagree.

Quote by imgooley
3. I have heard many highly regarded high gain tube amplifiers sound like a beehive in a trashcan, so tube=/=good. Transistor preamps=/=bad.

Where did I state the opposite? Of course you are right with this.
#18
Quote by TheQuailman
I have not tried that amp, so I can't tell. I'm just gonna believe you. However, I was talking about transistor distortion in general and as subjective as that may be, it usually sucks donkey balls.

I still disagree. Randall, Ampeg, Rocktron, Ashdown, Marshall have all made SS amps with good distortion. Even more with SS pre and tube power.


Quote by TheQuailman
Then why do even cheap little Vox amps sound pretty nice with moderate gain settings, while even the allmighty line6 Vetta (a 1800€ modeler) doesn't even compare to cheaper high gain tube amps like Bugeras? I don't really consider the distortion that comes from Vypyrs and Cubes good, it is good for what these amps cost, but it's not good per se. In conclusion, I strongly disagree.

I think the high gain models on the Vox amps are better than the mid gain ones. Also, have you heard of the Axe-Fx? Look it up. And if you think that the mid gain models on the Vetta even come close to comparing to something as cheap as a Crate V, you are mistaken. It's all about feel. I can get a better high gain tone from plugging my little DA-5 into the effects return of my V than I can with my V alone.
#19
I think we can't settle this right now. I still disagree, especially about the Vox, but I take this seriously and will try out said amps when I encounter them. We cool?
#20
This is the dumbest thread I've ever seen in my whole life. I have nothing to add since all the pertinent points have been hit, I'll just give a quick run down.

1. Rectifier isn't in the signal path
2. No cares if their amp isn't "all tube" as long as it sounds good and has the necessary dynamics
and response
3. SS distortion can sound good and is used to great effect on some very nice amps like Mr. Carrot has stated.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#21
Quote by TheQuailman
I think we can't settle this right now. I still disagree, especially about the Vox, but I take this seriously and will try out said amps when I encounter them. We cool?

#22
"all tube" ususally only applies to the signal path which is the 99% main factor, all the rectifier does is turn AC into AC

i personally prefer the faster attack of an SS rectifier
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#23
Quote by Kevin Saale


1. Rectifier isn't in the signal path


This part I have to disagree with, the rectifier may not be in direct line of the audio signal it does have an impact on the sound and therefor is part of the signal path. Does any one care if its solid state or tube probably not.
#24
Quote by Demigawd
This part I have to disagree with, the rectifier may not be in direct line of the audio signal it does have an impact on the sound and therefor is part of the signal path. Does any one care if its solid state or tube probably not.
It's impossible to disagree with a fact.
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#25
Quote by Demigawd
This part I have to disagree with, the rectifier may not be in direct line of the audio signal it does have an impact on the sound and therefor is part of the signal path. Does any one care if its solid state or tube probably not.



Please shut up, I refuse to listen to someone who disagrees with me, just to agree with me again in the same sentence.

FACT: the rectifier converts AC to DC and is not in the signal path
FACT: it does affect the response and tone of the amp (I never said it didn't)

Just because it affects the sound doesn't mean it's in the signal path.

Edit: Thanks MC
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#26
No need to get so worked up over it but since you find it necessary **** YOU, don't tell me to shut up you arrogant prick. I hate this site you disagree with some one and they get their panties in a twist.
#27
Quote by MrCarrot
It's impossible to disagree with a fact.


tell that to religion

also: something can affect tone even though it isnt in the signal path but that doesnt make it a bad thing, just different
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#28
Quote by Demigawd
No need to get so worked up over it but since you find it necessary **** YOU, don't tell me to shut up you arrogant prick. I hate this site you disagree with some one and they get their panties in a twist.



Dude, you're disagreeing with a FACT. I never said it didn't affect tone, I said it's not in the signal path. Get your panties unbunched, learn the facts, and then come back.
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#29
Quote by stevo_epi_SG_wo
tell that to religion

#30
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can't keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.
#31
Quote by Demigawd
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.


nope

the signal path is a physical thing, its all the component that your guitars signal actually passes through

the tube heaters are directly tied to all the tubes, and if theyre not on it affects the sound, yet theyre not part of the signal path
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#32
Quote by Demigawd
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.


That's because you don't know what you're talking about. It does affect the sound, we've said that a million times. It's not in the signal path. All it does is covert AC to DC, which if I'm correct (I don't know if I am) then goes to the big capacitors.
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#33
Quote by Demigawd
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can't keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.

The signal from your guitar does not pass through the rectifier. Just like it doesn't pass through a reverb driver. Not in the signal path.
#34
Quote by Demigawd
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can't keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.


The rectifier is part of the power supply system, so by your definition its as much in the signal path is as your wall outlet.
#35
Ok will accept the loss here, now I understand your logic behind why I am wrong. Thanks to those of you that actually tried to explain it rather than just telling me to shut up go learn because I don't know what I'm talking about.
#36
Quote by Demigawd
The rectifier converts the AC to DC to power the tubes correct? So since the rectifier is directly tied to the to all the tubes it is just as much a part of the signal as the volume pots or the transformers. When a tube rectifier can't keep up with the power demands of the tubes the power to the tube drops and sound quality changes, whether it is a good or bad change is subjective but it sure sounds like part of the signal path to me.



so the wood my 4x12 is made out of is part of my signal chain too?

****, i guess my pick is too.

and my belt buckle, my guitar touches that sometimes when i wear one.

****, i gotta get better pants, maybe my tone will improve.

thanks for the heads up man!


edit: aw ****, i just failed hard. thanks for posting right before MY insult, asshole.

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#37
Quote by Demigawd
Ok will accept the loss here, now I understand your logic behind why I am wrong. Thanks to those of you that actually tried to explain it rather than just telling me to shut up go learn because I don't know what I'm talking about.


I'm not your teacher man, if you wanna know about something you have to read.

no hard feelings
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#38
Quote by xwearesinking
so the wood my 4x12 is made out of is part of my signal chain too?

****, i guess my pick is too.

and my belt buckle, my guitar touches that sometimes when i wear one.

****, i gotta get better pants, maybe my tone will improve.

thanks for the heads up man!


edit: aw ****, i just failed hard. thanks for posting right before MY insult, asshole.


I'm sorry would you like me to delete the post so I can put it after yours, so you can actually get some satisfaction from all of that?
Last edited by Demigawd at Nov 30, 2008,
#40
This thread just keeps on failing over and over
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