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#1
A tube amp is an amp with vacuum tubes to give you your tone, what is a solid state amp? IT has no tubes, but what does "solid state" mean?
#2
Solid state amplifiers use any kind of non-digital semiconductors like transistors, opamps, etc.

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THE SINE WAVE SURFER σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#3
Solid state means the components that make up the circuit are solid, so electrons are carried through a solid material, opposed to the vacuum inside a tube, where the electrons move through the vacuum.
Basically it means amps that use transistors rather than tubes for amplification.
#4
its means they use solid state technology to amplify the sound, i.e. silicon transistors, whats been used in basically all electronic devices since the mids 50s because they're smaller/cheaper/more reliable
#6
Solid state basically means it uses transistors instead. Solid state means a device only uses components where the electrons stay in the solid material, unlike valves where they travel through a vacuum.

I think hollow state is the term for when valves are used.
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#8
It means the job the vacuum tube does in a tube/valve amp is done in a solid integrated circuit (transistor). Many SS amps are also known as modeling amps because they have circuits to emulate the sounds of well-known valve amps. Some are quite good and others not so good. Typically a modeling amp will have emulations of classic Fender, Marshall, Vox and other famous brands/models. They also have effects circuits for distortion, delay, reverb, chorus and other effects.
Non-modeling SS amps tend to have very good 'clean' sounds for jazz and blues styles but rather sterile for rock.
Power ratings for all amps are measured at a given distortion level (where the sound is starting to overdrive the amp), and as SS amps tend towards a cleaner sound, their audible loudness at high volume is less than a tube amp, which can distort much more. A general rule of thumb is that a SS amp needs to have twice the rating of a tube amp to get the same output level, other factors being equal.
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#9
So a distortion pedal and the distortion on a solid state are pretty much made the same way?
#10
What the other guys said but a picture is worth a thousand words.
They use these:

instead of these:


Quote by Clay-man
So a distortion pedal and the distortion on a solid state are pretty much made the same way?

Unless it's a real valve pedal, yes.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Aug 14, 2010,
#11
^ matchsticks? is that the mcguyver signature solid state amp?
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#12
Quote by coolstoryangus
They use a solid state crystal lettuce

But fragile harmonics can't survive in solid state amps' crystal lettuce.

Quote by Dave_Mc
^ matchsticks? is that the mcguyver signature solid state amp?

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Last edited by JesusCrisp at Aug 14, 2010,
#13
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ matchsticks? is that the mcguyver signature solid state amp?

Yep and held together with chewing gum instead of solder
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#14
man that'd kick all kinds of ass
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Quote by Clay-man
So a distortion pedal and the distortion on a solid state are pretty much made the same way?

For the most part, yes. However, you shouldn't forget about distortion from the power section of an amplifier because SS amps also have this characteristic.

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#16
Just to expand the question a little:

solid state amps are considered poorer quality overall than valve amps
a lot of jazz players use high-end solid state amps because they can produce excellent cleans and don't need to worry about increasing the gain
gain boost effects pedals use the same basic circuitry as a solid state amp

aaaaaaand...:

most guitarists have no problem using the cleans on their valve amp but using a solid state distortion pedal.

so whats the difference?
Quote by mr.happyman
so she took off my pants and was gonna give me dome (head). fukk yeah, free dome (head) (i'm used to hiring prostitutes).as she inched her head closer to my pen0r, she pulled her hand outta nowhere and sandpapered my mini mr.happyman!
#17
There is no difference. Both types of amps do the same thing, they amplify sound and can add distortion. A poorly designed amp will sound bad regardless of whether it is a tube or SS amp. The problem is that most companies never really put the effort into developing good SS amps and that is why there aren't many of them around, but there are some great ones around.

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THE SINE WAVE SURFER σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#18
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
There is no difference. Both types of amps do the same thing, they amplify sound and can add distortion. A poorly designed amp will sound bad regardless of whether it is a tube or SS amp. The problem is that most companies never really put the effort into developing good SS amps and that is why there aren't many of them around, but there are some great ones around.
So, long story short, the circuitry on solid state distortion pedals is simply of better quality than the circuitry in cheap solid state amplifiers?
Quote by mr.happyman
so she took off my pants and was gonna give me dome (head). fukk yeah, free dome (head) (i'm used to hiring prostitutes).as she inched her head closer to my pen0r, she pulled her hand outta nowhere and sandpapered my mini mr.happyman!
#19
No, not necessarily. Poor sounding SS amps usually suffer from bad speakers and possibly a poorly designed power section. The preamp part of the amp might sound great, but those other problems plague cheap SS amps. This is why lots of people love old Peavey Bandits with some upgrades just as an example.

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THE SINE WAVE SURFER σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#20
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
No, not necessarily. Poor sounding SS amps usually suffer from bad speakers and possibly a poorly designed power section. The preamp part of the amp might sound great, but those other problems plague cheap SS amps. This is why lots of people love old Peavey Bandits with some upgrades just as an example.

Lots of people like Kylie Minogue too, what's your point?
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#21
Quote by jeowy
most guitarists have no problem using the cleans on their valve amp but using a solid state distortion pedal.

so whats the difference?
The difference is that there's still a valve preamp and poweramp coming after that pedal. Biggest difference is in the poweramps, SS poweramps work very differently from valve poweramps.
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
There is no difference. Both types of amps do the same thing, they amplify sound and can add distortion. A poorly designed amp will sound bad regardless of whether it is a tube or SS amp. The problem is that most companies never really put the effort into developing good SS amps and that is why there aren't many of them around, but there are some great ones around.
You simplify too much. Valves and SS devices distort and clip in different ways. They operate in different ways. They will sound different unless you engage in copious amounts of trickery (see: Axe-FX). Note I don't say SS necessarily sounds bad, it's just that a lot of people are very attached to the tube sound and simply prefer it.
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#22
Quote by jeowy
most guitarists have no problem using the cleans on their valve amp but using a solid state distortion pedal.

so whats the difference?

Putting the seats out of a Ferrari into a Skoda does not a Ferrari make - and vice versa.
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Yamaha SBG500
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Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
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#23
Quote by Cathbard
Lots of people like Kylie Minogue too, what's your point?

What's not to love about her?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHood00sNJU
Quote by Kanthras
You simplify too much. Valves and SS devices distort and clip in different ways. They operate in different ways. They will sound different unless you engage in copious amounts of trickery (see: Axe-FX). Note I don't say SS necessarily sounds bad, it's just that a lot of people are very attached to the tube sound and simply prefer it.

Well, sure. They do clip in different ways, but that's irrelevant because neither way is better. A well designed amp will behave as desired and it doesn't matter if it uses tubes or transistors. Blaming poor distortion characteristics on transistors is a stupid thing to do because it's the amp designer's job to make it sound good, blame it on them and not on the device. There are plenty of bad sounding tube amps too, so the clipping argument is not really even important. The AxeFX isn't what we're talking about here because we're not talking about digital emulation. There really isn't that much trickery, it's all just time and effort which most companies don't put into SS amps and thus lack results in the SS department. I have a tube amp and a couple (good) SS amps and they all sound great. A good amp is a good amp is a good amp is a good amp....

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THE SINE WAVE SURFER σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#24
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
Well, sure. They do clip in different ways, but that's irrelevant because neither way is better. A well designed amp will behave as desired and it doesn't matter if it uses tubes or transistors. Blaming poor distortion characteristics on transistors is a stupid thing to do because it's the amp designer's job to make it sound good, blame it on them and not on the device. There are plenty of bad sounding tube amps too, so the clipping argument is not really even important. The AxeFX isn't what we're talking about here because we're not talking about digital emulation. There really isn't that much trickery, it's all just time and effort which most companies don't put into SS amps and thus lack results in the SS department. I have a tube amp and a couple (good) SS amps and they all sound great. A good amp is a good amp is a good amp is a good amp....

And people keep saying "wow, this SS amp is great" (like a thread here atm that failed dismally to deliver) and so far I'm yet to hear one I'd pay money for. A good amp is a good amp, true, but where are these good SS amps of which you speak? A JC120 is ok as long as you don't ever want distortion or dynamics but it certainly aint no Fender Twin.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#25
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
Well, sure. They do clip in different ways, but that's irrelevant because neither way is better.
But one way is preferred by some. I don't claim either is inherently better, just inherently different.
A well designed amp will behave as desired and it doesn't matter if it uses tubes or transistors. Blaming poor distortion characteristics on transistors is a stupid thing to do because it's the amp designer's job to make it sound good, blame it on them and not on the device.
The fact is you can not make a SS amp behave like a tube amp (again, not without modeling), no matter how good the designer is. So if you desire tube amp characteristics, yes, you can blame it on the transistors. Some technology simply isn't suited to some tasks. Solid state technology is not suited to sounding like valves. The vice-versa is also true.

I wouldn't blame a designer for failing to produce a solid-state sounding tube amp. Well, actually I would, because he'd be stupid for using the wrong technology for the job.
There are plenty of bad sounding tube amps too, so the clipping argument is not really even important.
Because there are bad sounding tube amps, the clipping argument is not important? That simply does not follow. There are many possible reasons why those bad tube amps sound bad, not just clipping.
The AxeFX isn't what we're talking about here because we're not talking about digital emulation. There really isn't that much trickery, it's all just time and effort which most companies don't put into SS amps and thus lack results in the SS department. I have a tube amp and a couple (good) SS amps and they all sound great. A good amp is a good amp is a good amp is a good amp....

A tautology is a tautology is a ... I know a good amp is a good amp. I'm not saying a good SS amp is bad or something.
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#26
That's exactly the kind of mindset that prevents SS guitar amp technology from advancing. Just look at bass amps, they "abandoned" tubes a long time ago and they're doing great. Yes, you're going to say that their requirements are different, but the concept is exactly the same. There are great SS amps out there, it's hard to refute that.

EDIT: I couldn't care less about my amps "sounding like a tube amp" (and I have a tube amp too). That's just such backwards thinking, it's exactly why not many good SS amps are made.

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THE SINE WAVE SURFER σƒ τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ

╠═══════╬═══════╣


[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
Last edited by Dr.Pain-MD at Aug 14, 2010,
#27
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
That's exactly the kind of mindset that prevents SS guitar amp technology from advancing. Just look at bass amps, they "abandoned" tubes a long time ago and they're doing great. Yes, you're going to say that their requirements are different, but the concept is exactly the same. There are great SS amps out there, it's hard to refute that.

EDIT: I couldn't care less about my amps "sounding like a tube amp" (and I have a tube amp too). That's just such backwards thinking, it's exactly why not many good SS amps are made.

Pfft, the Ampeg SVT is still the king of bass tone.
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#28
Quote by Dr.Pain-MD
That's exactly the kind of mindset that prevents SS guitar amp technology from advancing. Just look at bass amps, they "abandoned" tubes a long time ago and they're doing great. Yes, you're going to say that their requirements are different, but the concept is exactly the same. There are great SS amps out there, it's hard to refute that.

EDIT: I couldn't care less about my amps "sounding like a tube amp" (and I have a tube amp too). That's just such backwards thinking, it's exactly why not many good SS amps are made.
It's not backwards thinking, it's having a preference.
If I don't like the way SS amps sound, why would I buy one?

Bass amps do have different requirements. They generally don't need distortion/overdrive. And they need a lot more power output to the point that SS is simply far more practical.

I don't think that post was directed to me, though?
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#29
I find myself agreeing with you Kanthras (the earth must be about to explode). The only reason I've ever heard anybody criticise an SVT (apart from cost) is how much the things weigh. All that extra power required by basses makes SS amps a lot more attractive for practical reasons - just like a PA. And anyway, it's apples and oranges, a bass sounds ok DI'ed into the PA, you would never do that with a guitar.
I'd use a valve PA too if I could make one loud enough that didn't require a forklift to cart it around and cost as much as a car. My 1000W SS PA head is too heavy already, a valve one would be ridiculous.
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#30
Quote by Cathbard
I find myself agreeing with you Kanthras (the earth must be about to explode). The only reason I've ever heard anybody criticise an SVT (apart from cost) is how much the things weigh. All that extra power required by basses makes SS amps a lot more attractive for practical reasons - just like a PA. And anyway, it's apples and oranges, a bass sounds ok DI'ed into the PA, you would never do that with a guitar.
I'd use a valve PA too if I could make one loud enough that didn't require a forklift to cart it around and cost as much as a car. My 1000W SS PA head is too heavy already, a valve one would be ridiculous.
Yeah, it's those output transformers mainly. SS amps don't need them. I believe they're more efficient as well, so the power transformers can be smaller too.

And don't worry, we still disagree over talkback and cheap tube amps and that kinda stuff. The apocalypse isn't happening just yet.
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#31
Well I don't really give a rats about efficiency, the venue is paying for the electricity.
Valves disappeared for practical reasons, not sonic reasons.
Mosfets have been around for about 40 years now, they were going to be the big "valve killer" device because they operate in a similar way. (A valve is a FET with a pilot light according to one of my Electronics professors). They are adequate for most things so they did replace valves in most applications. Guitar amps are a specialised device with unique requirements. If a FET was going to fill those requirements they would have by now. I don't swallow that manufacturers wouldn't want to do it, the profit margin is higher. I've built 150W SS bass amps in the past and they cost about the same amount or less than the 18W Marshall I'm building atm.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Aug 14, 2010,
#32
Quote by jeowy
most guitarists have no problem using the cleans on their valve amp but using a solid state distortion pedal.

so whats the difference?

In the end your signal is still going through a tube amp.
Quote by patriotplayer90
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#33
Quote by Cathbard
Pfft, the Ampeg SVT is still the king of bass tone.

All the SVTs use 12AX7 preamps, but if I'm not mistaken only the SVT2 actually has a tube power section, so he does have a point. It is very hard to find an *all*-tube bass amp nowadays. They exist. For example, the Eden WTB300V. Most bass amp companies have abandoned most, if not all their all-tube designs. 12AX7 pre's are still widely used, but I find that the industry standard nowadays is class D solid-state power sections. It's part of the reason that you can find 500W bass heads that weigh 5 pounds.
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#35
Quote by Kanthras
It's not backwards thinking, it's having a preference.
If I don't like the way SS amps sound, why would I buy one?

Bass amps do have different requirements. They generally don't need distortion/overdrive. And they need a lot more power output to the point that SS is simply far more practical.

I don't think that post was directed to me, though?

i think his point was that manufacturers are too hung up on trying to obtain tube-like tones from solid state amps instead of making them sound like good solid state amps. I think that was the backwards thinking - solid state amps trying to be tube amps always fall short, and if you want an amp that sounds like a tube amp which most people do, there's no reason why you shouldn't just get a tube amp.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#36
"good solid state amps" is an oxymoron.
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


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#37
Quote by Cathbard
"good solid state amps" is an oxymoron.

And all in the world was right again..
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#38
I would love if class D amplification could be applied well to guitar. I went from hauling a 400 watt 50 pound bass head to a 500 watt head that weighs 3.2 pounds with all the same features, and have never looked back.
#39
Quote by mattocaster99
I would love if class D amplification could be applied well to guitar. I went from hauling a 400 watt 50 pound bass head to a 500 watt head that weighs 3.2 pounds with all the same features, and have never looked back.

Class D amplifiers have some pretty complex circuitry, though. I imagine they're nearly impossible for users who don't have a masters in electronics to service them.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#40
Quote by Cathbard
I am of course talking about the real SVTs:
http://www.ampeg.com/products/classic/svtvr/index.html

Whoops, my bad. When someone says SVT nowadays, I immediately think of the Pro-series rather than the classic. Though they are all-tube, when it comes to bass amps I just don't find the extra bajillion pounds worth the sound from a tube-driven power amp. I hate playing SS guitar amps, but I've heard/played countless really nice bass amps with SS power sections.
Standard Strat
Jackson WRMG
Parker DF724

Axe-Fx Standard
Carvin DCM1000L

Mesa Trad. Slant Recto 4x12 (UK V30s)
Custom Horiz. 2x12 (Commonwealth 12s)
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