Poll: Will tube amps become obsolete?
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View poll results: Will tube amps become obsolete?
Yes, modeling devices are the way of the future.
26 15%
No, tube amps are here to stay.
153 85%
Voters: 179.
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#1
I'm just wondering if you guys think that tube amps will eventually become obsolete. With all the modeling devices that are offered these days, with decent tube tones, it seems that alot of people are going that route. Do you guys think tube amps will eventually go by the wayside or will they always have a place in guitar based music? This isn't meant to be a tube bashing or modeling bashing thread. Thanks for the input.
#2
As of yet, transistors aren't able to simulate amazing tube tones...

Perhaps in the future it will though
#3
i believe that someday technology will able to exactly emulate tube sound but it wont become obsolete because people who are obsesed about tubes wont believe it
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#4
The way i see it there will always be tube users, mayby not as many but always some. Like the people that choose to drive vintage cars instead of modern ones.
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#6
Quote by Otsugua713
i believe that someday technology will able to exactly emulate tube sound but it wont become obsolete because people who are obsesed about tubes wont believe it


those damn tube snobs
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#7
Transistors will never replace tubes in guitar amps, but digital modellers might. When you see pieces of work like the AxeFX, you start to really begin thinking about the future holds for guitar amps.
#9
Quote by al112987
Transistors will never replace tubes in guitar amps, but digital modellers might. When you see pieces of work like the AxeFX, you start to really begin thinking about the future holds for guitar amps.

Quote by mmjohn
there will always be a desire to hold onto the past.............

These posts sum it up nicely. Basically, whatever goes on in a tube amp's circuits is dependant on physics. Therefore it can be calculated and emulated to a degree that seems exact to the human ear, given that there are processors powerful enough to do all the math and people who have researched the inner workings of tube amps meticulously enough. So I think that some day, it will be possible to emulate even the best tube amps with modelling technology. I don't know whether we will experience it, but future generations sure will.

That being said, guitarists are generally hillbillies with a closed mind who despise technology and will always stick with what they know, and only that. So there will always be a place for tube amps, even though they might be obsolete one day.
#10
Both are here to stay .. but low wattage tube amp will gain more and more popularity in the future .

i think company will start downsizing their amp .. less 100 watts all tube head for 15-20 watts and even lower .


the guitar store near my house ( ok its not the biggest like guitar center or sam ash ) doesnt carry 100 watts head anymore and 1960 cab .you have to place a special order for these cause people jsut didnt buy them . buyer are more interested in small all tube combo 1x12 15 watts or less . simply because the cab are often provide by the place for big value . so it sell more blackheart , epi valve jr / modeler / multi effect than marshall jcm , mesa triple recto .

with home studio and everything .. 100 watts head become useless for many .

but those will sell as long as marshall and mesa boogie wont come up with small combo that will do the same job then their 100 watts . i bet most people who buy 100 watts have to buy attenuator as well . imagine a 5 watts JCM or stiletto or whatever amp your thinking of . .


it shouldnt take long before marshall and mesa will released low wattage amp to
to stand by the competition 10 watts tube amp that would have the same gain as their high wattage model . who need 100 watts head unless for big venue . even 50 watts is freaking powerful ( marshall lowest wattage ) .

a big % of musiciens play at home mostly . and record their stuff and put it on youtube .


my 3 watts tube amp does the same job as a marshall .. and my ears dont bleed and i dont need to attenuate the sound and lose all the tone .

but even 3 watts is too loud for my bedroom . i cant even imagine 100 watts head . people still buy them, cause practice solid state amp really sound bad .

n-e way will see .
#11
There will be a day when tubes are replaced by modelling amps that are easier to maintain and sound identical or better. And I tell you friends, I will most definitly be upon the band wagon of people who abandon tubes for the future of technology. But still, tubes won't ever die (metaphorically speaking that is). They are the classical and original source of sound, and all of the old school music fans will want them, which is quite alright.
#12
The smell of warm tubes is enough to keep me from transistors... let alone sound.
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#13
Quote by Watterboy
There will be a day when tubes are replaced by modelling amps that are easier to maintain...
I disagree.

While is it true that tube amps do require some maintenance and modeling amps require none at all, the maintenance on a tube amp is quite easy. So are the repairs. In fact, repairing tube amps can be done by a slightly above average 15 year old. I know this from personal experience.

As the complexity of modeling amps increases, so does the difficulty in making repairs. And when failures do occur, often it is more efficient to just scrap the amp than to repair it. Component level troubleshooting is becoming more difficult with these amps. It's dead easy with a tube amp.

Static discharge destroys solid state devices. Tubes are virtually impervious to this, as well as EMP. After a nuclear war, your modeling amp will become a brick. But a tube amp will rock on!
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#14
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Static discharge destroys solid state devices. Tubes are virtually impervious to this, as well as EMP. After a nuclear war, your modeling amp will become a brick. But a tube amp will rock on!


Sweet.
#15
Tubes amps will struggle to survive in future modelling amps' shadows, it's bound to happen. People were probably having this conversation just before digital cameras boomed...

It'll be the same story, sure, i bought a cheap little canon film camera, but i and everyone else really use their digital big boys at the end of the day. Still, nice to use film, just as it's nice to use a tube amp
Last edited by vitchb at Feb 21, 2009,
#16
It is (as far as I know), as physical incapability of transistors to get the same sort of overdriven tone as a cranked valve amp.
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#17
If tubes were going to go "out"... With all the advancements made in technology in the past 40 years, don't you think they would be long gone by now?

I mean, really think that through.
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#18
Modeling amps have come a long way

I don't think they'll ever make the tube amp obsolete though
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#19
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
Static discharge destroys solid state devices. Tubes are virtually impervious to this, as well as EMP. After a nuclear war, your modeling amp will become a brick. But a tube amp will rock on!


But you might not be alive to use it
#20
they asked this question the day the first SS amp came out.

who thought that in 1950, the guitar they bought for about 140$ would end up selling for 300,000$ in 50 years?

people will always, always, ALWAYS keep going to the past. it's inevitable.
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#21
Quote by nutinpwnsgibson
those damn tube snobs

Then again we can always say...
Those damn modelers trying to convert us

EDIT: Im pretty sure audio will always love tubes and analog electronics.
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Last edited by [[BurnTheDusk]] at Mar 2, 2009,
#22
Modeling amps are only working on the easy part of tone currently, the actual sound. Modeling the actual feel of an amp would probably take ten times or more the processing power. Which basically means it's just a matter of time.

But, tube amps are simple, anyone can fix one. Digital amps are so complicated they are nigh un-fixable.

I don't think I'll ever convert, I'd rather build an isolation room really. Then again, I would probably enjoy building the room as much as playing the amp.
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#23
i will say they wont. there was a big transistor craze in the early 90s, but transistor technology never went as far as everyone had hoped. and tubes prevailed. and as you all know, history is doomed to repeat itself.
not to mention, tubes have been around for a long time, just as gas engines have been. and i am almost positive that the gas engine will NEVER be obsolete (barring no petroleum in the earth)
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#24
Quote by nightraven

even if everything goes digital and modeling in 20 years or so, there'll still be people out there like Eric Johnson who can't live without tubes >.<


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#25
musicians love tubes-engineers love transistors

I have an electrical engineer as a friend. He can't understand why anyone would mess with tubes. To him, they are too unpredictable. He would rather work with transistors because they are predictable. That tone that comes from tube isn't the sterile sound that comes from transistors. I'm thinking that a transistor will never be able to achieve that unpredictability which will allow them to replace tubes.
#26
There will be more amps with "features" (Ex. Marshall JVM,) but tubes will always be used. There will never be anything better. Like I said, more amps with more features, but tube amps will live on.
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#27
well i think it will become like people who insist on vinyl. even though it's been proven that theres not descernable sound 'difference' as in the waves, people still prefer the sound of vinyl, as well as the character of it etc.

i do think tubes will wane in mainstream popularity as technology improves.
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#28
I don't know about you guys, but after having numerous tube amps, I can never go back to playing a solid state/modelling amp, even if it's loud as hell and just for practice.
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#30
I think that for now there is no modeling amp that can match the quality of tone you get from a valve amp. Valves will stay but be used in a different way so we'll see more amps like the Spider Valve and Vypyr Tube 60. Those amps aren't as good as a traditional valve amp right now but I think they show the way in the near future, at least until they can get that warmth of tone in a solid state amp, which I'm sure is only a matter of time.
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#31
Who's to say tubes and modelling won't just see more crossover? Modelling preamp + tube power amp is the future, I think.
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#32
^I agree. I just hope modeling amps won't take over, I wnat some originalility when it comes to tone. Plus, original tone is better than a model of it.
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#33
I took an old ampeg I had in to the shop for some tubes the guy rolled his eyes and said "dude everybody is going digital why do you keep that old dinosaur". This was back in 1992 or so. This guy was also the same one that told me the analog pedals I had were junk and I should just throw em away. Fortunately I listened when my parents when they did the old "if everybody jumps off a bridge" bit. I sold the ampeg for 3 times what I paid for it not long ago. And my "junk" analog pedals are now vintage and worth money.
#34
modeling devices will never replace tubes.


no matter how nice they get, they will always sound digital
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#35
Transistors will not be able to replace tubes. There was an IEEE article not long ago about how the differences in how tubes work on voltages and a transistor works on current will keep them from ever being fully interchangeable. However, eventually someone will decide to write some sort of DSP program that fully emulates the tubes. It is entirely possible, but will just take quite a long time. Chances are if it happens soon look for Peavey to be involved in it. Some of their solid state amps are quite nice, and the Revalver software is becoming more and more advanced.
#36
Quote by XgamerGt04
Transistors will not be able to replace tubes. There was an IEEE article not long ago about how the differences in how tubes work on voltages and a transistor works on current will keep them from ever being fully interchangeable. However, eventually someone will decide to write some sort of DSP program that fully emulates the tubes. It is entirely possible, but will just take quite a long time. Chances are if it happens soon look for Peavey to be involved in it. Some of their solid state amps are quite nice, and the Revalver software is becoming more and more advanced.

See Fractal Audio's AxeFX Ultra.

Put that with a high quality power amp and you pretty much have the single most versatile rig in existence. And best part is that it actually sounds amazing.
#37
Sound seems to be one of those magical things that tubes have still found their niche in, even 50-60+ years since tubes became obsolete in most devices.

Perhaps some day, digital modeling will become good enough to cause the popularity of tube amps to wane a bit, but even so, I don't see it completely replacing tube amps, and that it will probably take a considerable amount of time to develop something that can simulate the "feel" of tubes well enough to convince most ears. Though who knows? Some people probably thought hybrid amps would be the way of the future, and look where that went, lol. And even as good as a good modeling pre-amp can sound through a tube power amp, there are still tubes involved in the signal path.

Only time will tell.
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#38
even if somebody comes out with a modeling amp that can perform like a tube amp, people will still go for the tube amp because we are funny like that.
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#39
Maybe the music will change so drastically that a new sort of amplification will be used. No transistors, no tubes, no modelling. You can't predict the future. But i think that people that want to play blues or rock, always will choose for tubes.
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#40
Quote by LP_CL
Maybe the music will change so drastically that a new sort of amplification will be used. No transistors, no tubes, no modelling. You can't predict the future. But i think that people that want to play blues or rock, always will choose for tubes.


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But to be serious and on topic.
As stated before, tube amp will never go away.there will always be people who just prefer tubes because they are tubes even if a modeling software would emulate a tube perfectly. what I believe we will see more and also what I will most likely do if I ever start gigging is a hybrid between tubes and modeler (modeling preamp and all tube poweramp).

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