#1
Ok so i have what i believe is an interesting question.

Its well known that tube amps sound alot louder than ss amps, or at least we perceive the volume to be higher due to different/lusher frequencies from a tube amp.

I was wondering,
1) WHERE this jump in volume comes from? Does it come from the preamp tubes or the power amp tubes? Meaning what would be louder at the exact same wattage: A SS preamp through a tube poweramp, or a tube preamp through a solid state poweramp?

2) Would a tube preamp sound just as good through a PA (and as full and loud) as it would through a tube poweramp and cab?
#2
1) I think the tube/valve amps sound louder because they cover a broader range of frequencies. They display a better rendition of the high frequencies compared to solid state amps, which trick you brain to think it's louder, but it's not.

2) I think you'd be missing the poweramp aspect of amplification, including the natural distortion that occurs in tube amps at loud volume (ie when you crank it up). So I guess yes, it would sound different (better through a mic'ed cab than straight to the PA system).
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Last edited by tickler444 at Jan 26, 2009,
#3
two simple questions....

1) where do those "perceived louder frequencies come from"? preamp or poweramp?

2) does a tube preamp still sound as loud as it would through a pa than through a tube poweramp and cab?
#4
1) ^ that's about it

2) No, the poweramp tubes and cabinet make up for a big part of your tone. By plugging your tube pre-amp into a pa it won't sound as good.

edit:
2) the preamp tubes are the first in line to color your sound and the poweramp tubes amplify it, how loud your amp is doesn't really matter when you mic it up with a pa since you can just roll the volume of the pa up.
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Last edited by Farether at Jan 26, 2009,
#6
BTW there is another reason why tubes seem louder than SS. Lets say you you have two 50 watt amps one tube and one SS, same cab and same guitar, at the 50 watt rating "in theroy" both amps will have the same SPL, but heres the kicker, if you turn up the SS amp up any more it will just start sounding very nasty and bad, where as the tube amp will start to OD and sound great, the signal will no longer be clean but will sound great as it OD. Because of this and the percived volume jump is the reason tube amps are louder than SS. Basically it would take 100-150 watt SS=50 watt tube amp.
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#7
Quote by tickler444
1) I think the tube/valve amps sound louder because they cover a broader range of frequencies. They display a better rendition of the high frequencies compared to solid state amps, which trick you brain to think it's louder, but it's not.

Actually valve amps tend to have less high frequencies, so the power is concentrated on the mid range, which the human ear is more sensitive to.
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#8
They're also rated differently. A 100 watt tube head can actually push 200 watts all the way up whereas a 100W solid state won't give you much more than the advertised 100.