#1
It seems to me like this is a bit of a missed market. A good Hybrid amp would give you t00b tones at bedroom and gigging levels.

What you could do is also have a power tube in the power section but kept at low volumes, and you'd have an option to crank it accordingly; like say for a more classic rock tone you'd want more power tube distortion, but for metal you wouldn't need as much.

Are there any amps like this that are affordable? Most "Hybrids" don't really sound any better than the average SS.
#4
The Vypyr 60 is supposedly good if you believe UG. I try not to if at all possible though.
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#5
Yeah, the Vypyr 60 looks pretty neato alright but I hate that you need that footcontroller. I hear there's little difference though between it and the 75 at lower volumes. I want "Pristine sound" more for recording than playing live, playing live I'll use almost anything, my ears work shit at high volume.
Last edited by GURREN LAGANN at Jan 7, 2010,
#6
There are a number of good hybrid amps out there. Tube purists hate them with a passion (tube purists hate everything that isn't all-tube with a passion), but they work just fine and a lot of them sound very good. Randall makes a number of them, and Marshall may still make the Mode Four head. The drawback to the good hybrid heads is that they aren't cheap. In fact, some of them aren't much cheaper than their all-tube brethren.
#7
Vox Valvetronix AD30VT-XL owner here. It uses a tube in the power amp section and has a built in attenuator so i can have everything cranked and be pushing the tube and still keep the volume extremely low. How much it add's to it, I'm not sure but the more I play with it, the more I'm learning to get some good tones out of it. Its finding the balance between the amp models volume, the master volume and the attenuator to get a good sound. I tried a Cube, Vypyr and Spider all along side this one and choose this one over all of them. Of course tone is subjective, so I'm not starting a flame war, but my amp is an example of what you're asking about. I'm also in the works of building a 2 tube based preamp pedal to throw in front of the amp as well.
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#8
Yeah, I thought as much. But for example I can get a JCM900 combo for under €400 if I wanted at the moment. But I'd be mainly use it for recording which would blow balls since I wouldn't be able to crank it.
#9
Quote by GeToChKn
Vox Valvetronix AD30VT-XL owner here. It uses a tube in the power amp section and has a built in attenuator so i can have everything cranked and be pushing the tube and still keep the volume extremely low. How much it add's to it, I'm not sure but the more I play with it, the more I'm learning to get some good tones out of it. Its finding the balance between the amp models volume, the master volume and the attenuator to get a good sound. I tried a Cube, Vypyr and Spider all along side this one and choose this one over all of them. Of course tone is subjective, so I'm not starting a flame war, but my amp is an example of what you're asking about. I'm also in the works of building a 2 tube based preamp pedal to throw in front of the amp as well.


I had the non-XL version - I found not a lot. Ideally the power tube should have smoothing things out a lot, but I found a lot of the models still managed to sound pretty harsh with the volume cranked, but at lower attenuation. Turning the power level up made it sound a lot better though. I'm sure it's better there than not but I don't think it makes a huge difference.
#10
Well, that JCM 900 does have a master volume, so you could keep it down to a manageable level. If you really need the full tilt of a 100-watt tube amp, try a power attenuator like the THD Hot Plate, Marshall Power Brake or the Dr. Z Air Brake. Put it between the amp output and the speakers, just like you would if you had a separate head and cabinet.

Personally, I like the all-tube amps better. But that doesn't mean I don't like my Marshall Mode Four. The one thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't sound good at low volumes. You really have to open it up (and it's 350 watts!) before you can appreciate how good it can sound. Of course, that's usually when the police show up.
#12
A lot of those attenuators require you to solder jacks and keep the attenuator inside though. It only really works with open back combos. Is there an open back JCM900? Open backs are always so much lighter too.
#15
The Fender Super Champ and Vibro Champ XD's have power tubes. They sound pretty good.
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#16
Quote by GURREN LAGANN
A lot of those attenuators require you to solder jacks and keep the attenuator inside though. It only really works with open back combos. Is there an open back JCM900? Open backs are always so much lighter too.



No, you just go from the amp's speaker output jack into the power attenuator, and then from the attenuator to the speakers. It just plugs in between the amp and speakers with standard 1/4-inch speaker cables:

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/THD-Hot-Plate-Attenuator?sku=481283

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product?sku=501182

http://www.drzamps.com/airbrake.html
#17
Quote by AxSilentxLine
Old Peavey Bandit was a great amp
A Peavey Bandit is not a hybrid amp.

It's a solid-state amp with "transtube" technology. It does help the Bandit though IMO. Makes the cleans very dynamic.
#18
The Valvetronix series has tubes in the preamp section to give it that feel of playing through "tubes". The tube tones you speak of is essentially a combination of both the reactive-ness of the preamp tubes and the sounds "even-order harmonics" (or something along those lines)... which can't be completely replicated via SS alone, and you'd need to depend on modelling to get get you the manner in which the preamp reacts.

Tube preamp -> SS power section
Now if you were to have a tube preamp run into a SS power section, you could get the reactiveness of a tube preamp section, but you still won't get that even-order harmonics which are signature of tube power sections.

SS preamp -> tube power section
If you were to run a SS preamp into a tube power section, you lose the reactiveness of the tube preamp section. Though you do get that even order harmonics bestowed by the tube power section, you still have loud as balls volume.

modelling preamp -> tube power section
What I think you are thinking of is something like a POD run into the power section of some super low wattage amp. I think the best you can do is something like an AxeFX Ultra run into the power section of a Blackstar HT-5, Vox AC4TV or a Blackheart Killer Ant, however, I'd question the quality of the tone.

Even considering that possibility of something like that, a 1 watt is still pretty loud and not exactly bedroom levels. If you want to pursue such an idea, you'd need a custom amp that integrates a high quality processing system (which models how a tube preamp would sound and react like) into a low wattage power section.

Now if you think of it that way, the amp will cost a LOT of money. If you consider that route, then the modelling preamp will need really advanced algorithms and supremely powerful hardware to handle the reactiveness modeling of a tube preamp section.

If that is the case, why should I pay shit loads of money for something that would be applicable for bedroom levels only? This amp will cost a lot because of the modeling preamp section. However, the only people who'd be really interested in such an amp concept would be bedroom rockers, who'd be unlikely to be in such numbers to fork out that much money to make this venture worthwhile.

For those who can afford such a system, they can easily afford a rackmount system for the same amount of money, which would be more versatile. If I can afford a modeler that's on par with an AxeFX Ultra, I'd be able to afford a Mesa 2:90 power amp to go with it.

However, if I could afford that, I could also easily pay for another low watt amp just to use its power section. Better still I could pay for the Marshall or Mesa 20 watt power section, which would not be that much louder than a 1 or 5 watt amp.

A 10 watt power section is not much more expensive to construct compared to a 1 watt power section. Similarly a 100 watt is not a lot more expensive compared to a 10 watt. If that is the case, why should I settle for less headroom when I can have more.

Hence, this is why you don't see many hybrids that have that tube sound paired with low wattage power sections.

At the present time, the potential market value is unable to support the necessary cost and profit margin to justify such a milestone development.

Nonetheless, I think this would be a viable idea once more research has gone into producing modelers which sound 99% identical to a tube preamp. I also think we will be seeing more of such modeling preamps within the next 5 - 10 years. However, the question that remains is, how much longer before these modeling units are so cheap (when the sunk cost of the R&D required for such preamps have been absorbed by the buyers), that it can be fit into an amp and sold to every bedroom rocker around.

The Spider Valve, Peavey Vypyr, Valvetronix, POD + Atomic Reactor amps are all concepts which point towards such a development, but it remains to be seen how long before it becomes a low wattage reality.

Industry watchers share the view that modeling is developing at a very fast pace.

Compare the 1st generation PODs to something like the Vetta and you can see how how much progress you can see 1 company has made in 10 years. Better still, compare the amp models available in something like the Boss GT-3 or the early Zoom or Korg modeling multiFX units to something like the AxeFX.. and you will know how much progress the industry has made in 10 years.

With that in mind, I think we will see hybrids or even pure modelers get to the point where they can start to compete with tubes, but the question is... will you have to wait for 1 - 5 years... or will you have to wait something like 10 - 15 years?

It will happen, question is, when will it happen.
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#19
I actually have one of the Randall hybrids and I love how it sounds, I've managed to get some pretty cool tones out of it (in my opinion anyway). I'm doing a tube swap soon too so hopefully that will make it even better, as I still have the stock ones in at the moment.

In case anyone's interested, and if you're willing to excuse my playing, here's a clip of my Randall V2

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2298596/down%20down.mp3

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#20
Kitty, actually you can create tube like harmonics if you bias JFETs in a certain way. I remember hearing a good demo of this on HCFX. Even order harmonics themselves actually aren't that difficult, it's a bit of an urban myth of guitar gear.

The Lunchbox is Solid State but the tone stack is digital. It works pretty well and sounds very tube like. I'd almost consider getting the Club if it had more features.
#21
Quote by GURREN LAGANN
Kitty, actually you can create tube like harmonics if you bias JFETs in a certain way. I remember hearing a good demo of this on HCFX. Even order harmonics themselves actually aren't that difficult, it's a bit of an urban myth of guitar gear.

The Lunchbox is Solid State but the tone stack is digital. It works pretty well and sounds very tube like. I'd almost consider getting the Club if it had more features.


And the reason is not being done is because.....?

In any case, like I mentioned in my wall of text... cost vs profit & market.

Even if you can use JFETs to create even order harmonics, can you design a power section around it?

Its no good having the harmonics pop out in the preamp section, since I believe the order of signal amplification impacts the final tone.

On top of that, if I can get a AxeFX squeezed into a 1 watt power amp, or a SS power amp that reacts like a tube power section for a low cost, why don't I squeeze in a 10 watt power section since it doesn't cost a whole lot more than a 1 watt, and I can sell it for more.

But wait a minute, if I have a 10 watt power section, why not squeeze it into a 100 watt... and I can charge more?

See where this is going?

Its not about about whether its feasible, more about economies of scale and the profit margin.

Just my 0.02
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#22
And the reason is not being done is because.....?


Because it's pretty recent people have realised this. Some of the older Randall amps are focused around FETs and sound pretty good. The Barber Dirty Bomb is based off a cascading JFET design and sounds pretty good also.

There was a reason I heard for why more amps don't do this, but I can't remember.