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#1
I keep seeing that people are saying tube amps are loud, compared to solid state is 10 watts of tube louder then 10 watts of solid
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#3
A watt is a watt.

However, tube amps sound louder to the human ear because a tube amp has more even order harmonic distortion than a SS amp, and a tube amp's signal is also more compressed.
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#4
do you know how or its just seems to work like that
The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.
Jimi Hendrix
#5
Quote by jimmypage577
I keep seeing that people are saying tube amps are loud, compared to solid state is 10 watts of tube louder then 10 watts of solid



OK. Again. Quit with the noob threads and do some reading on your own. There are over 560 million internet pages worth of information on amplifiers and acoustics.



https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/announcement.php?f=33&announcementid=150
#7
Quote by Raijouta
A watt is a watt.

However, tube amps sound louder to the human ear because a tube amp has more even order harmonic distortion than a SS amp, and a tube amp's signal is also more compressed.


This,

and almost all tubes amps are rated for how many watts they get before they break up and distort, while many SS amps are rated for how many watts they can get total (after break up). It's probably not the best or most accurate description, but that's the best I can give it to you.
#9
A watt is a watt - but if I understand correctly, the wattage of a tube amp is rated with the volume it reaches without break-up in mind. Meaning a 50w tube amp will output 50w before the power-amp starts distorting - but that's usually with the master around 5 or so, so there's still more volume on tap, it's just that you get power-amp overdrive then.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Add to that that most solid states (at least the cheap ones) sound crappy when turned up high. So even if your ss amp is powerful you won't want to crank the master, cause it'll sound bad then. So while an ss amp may be powerful, you can only use a certain part of that power before your tone turns to shit.
#10
electrons can't survive in the crystal lattices of solid state components.
#12
Tube clipping = overdrive
Solid state clipping = ow my ears

Solid state amps have to generate their own "fake" clipping and thus your SS distortion sounds. When they start clipping in the power amp, something desirable in tube amps, they just sound like digital harsh fizz.
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#13
Quote by MortifiedLizard
Tube clipping = overdrive
Solid state clipping = ow my ears

Solid state amps have to generate their own "fake" clipping and thus your SS distortion sounds. When they start clipping in the power amp, something desirable in tube amps, they just sound like digital harsh fizz.


There are some great solid state overdrive/distortion pedals, not all solid state components sound boring and fake, some of the most legendary tones ever created involved transistor/IC distortion atleast somewhere in the signal path
#14
Quote by stykerwolf
Explain to me why a 5watt tube amp is louder then a 5 watt solid state amp both before saturation.
Wattage from distortion goes up before complete saturation. You probably aren't even aware of how much distortion is present in what seems to be a clean signal. A clean waveform is very boring and has no character. There is almost no time when a tone from a guitar amp is "pure" and undistorted. So it's not obvious how much distortion is created by a power amp on the onset.
#15
Quote by fly135
Wattage from distortion goes up before complete saturation. You probably aren't even aware of how much distortion is present in what seems to be a clean signal. A clean waveform is very boring and has no character. There is almost no time when a tone from a guitar amp is "pure" and undistorted. So it's not obvious how much distortion is created by a power amp on the onset.


that's what i said, i'm guessing you misunderstood when i said saturation, i ment the signal before audible clipping (if that made any sense).
i already know that the wattage goes up when tubes start to act non-linear and this causes "distortion" or whatever you call it, i just don't like calling it distortion, that's just me. i'm just sayin' a tube amp sounds louder then a solid state amplifier period.
#16
Quote by Zoot Allures
That's bollocks. The only way that this would be true is if tubes created a lot more high mids (around 1 to 3khz)

Or if it reproduced a greater proportion of frequencies, but at the same level causing more ear fatigue at the same wattage... Which is my understanding.
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#17
Quote by tubetime86
Or if it reproduced a greater proportion of frequencies, but at the same level causing more ear fatigue at the same wattage... Which is my understanding.

If tubes created a lot more of the frequencies needed to sound louder at the same volume then they'd sound like shit because it would be a lot of high mids , they'd sound very harsh if that were the case. I don't know why tubes are louder but i'm damn sure it ain't down to that.


#18
You can pretty much tell how much wattage a tube amp generates by the tube configuration. There is no way to tell how many watts a SS amp generates unless the manufacturer states it in RMS with a specified distortion.

Also the point I was making is that the signal is distorted (vs a pure sine wave) all the time. So the onset of audible clipping doesn't mean that the power amp isn't distorting already. It's the non-linearity of tubes that makes for soft clipping, and the soft clipping is most likely what fools the ears into believing that the amp is creating more power yet still clean.
#19
Quote by fly135
You can pretty much tell how much wattage a tube amp generates by the tube configuration. There is no way to tell how many watts a SS amp generates unless the manufacturer states it in RMS with a specified distortion.

Also the point I was making is that the signal is distorted (vs a pure sine wave) all the time. So the onset of audible clipping doesn't mean that the power amp isn't distorting already. It's the non-linearity of tubes that makes for soft clipping, and the soft clipping is most likely what fools the ears into believing that the amp is creating more power yet still clean.


well yeah tubes are inefficient devices, it's never a pure 100% sine wave with them, there's always some amount of mashing in the wave, but it's inaudible. I'm not really sure myself why tubes sound louder, but what you said seems to make more sense then "they just do"

Quote by Kcintlob


Tube amp watts are rated differently than solid-state watts.


What? lol.

a "watt" is a unit to measure power, the power of a tube amp to solid state amp both rated at 5W RMS is using the same power (maybe not if you want exact values to the billionth negative power*)

3^3=9 <--- this power
Last edited by stykerwolf at Aug 25, 2010,
#22
Quote by Zoot Allures
If tubes created a lot more of the frequencies needed to sound louder at the same volume then they'd sound like shit because it would be a lot of high mids , they'd sound very harsh if that were the case. I don't know why tubes are louder but i'm damn sure it ain't down to that.

You're misunderstanding me. I could be totally wrong, but from what I understand solid state amps take a 'sampling' from the signal and amplify it. So they may not be amplifying every single incredibly minute frequency but more like every other, whereas a tube amp is a more natural amplification of the whole signal.

You're confusing the word frequency with frequency range. I'm not talking about more of one range, I'm talking about more of the whole spectrum.

Again I may be wrong, but this is my understanding. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
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Last edited by tubetime86 at Aug 25, 2010,
#23
This has been argued to death, simply put:

100W SOLID STATE - Puts out 100W of clean power at close to '10' on volume knob, any further would introduce harsh unmusical clipping

100W TUBE AMP - Puts out 100W clean power at perhaps '4' or '5' on the volume knob, continues clipping and compressing anywhere up to a theoretical 150W - 200W
Last edited by kyle62 at Aug 25, 2010,
#25
Quote by kyle62
This has been argued to death, simply put:

100W SOLID STATE - Puts out 100W of clean power at close to '10' on volume knob, any further would introduce harsh unmusical clipping

100W TUBE AMP - Puts out 100W clean power at perhaps '4' or '5' on the volume knob, continues clipping and compressing anywhere up to a theoretical 150W - 200W RMS

This would imply that the loudness difference is in the rating system not in the actual function of the amp. That makes sense and may be right, but I've always heard differently. I wish someone had support for either argument.

Is it the rating system skewing what we call a '100 watt amp' or is the way the signal is reproduced that causes a perceived difference in volume?
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#26
Quote by stykerwolf
When it hits it's maxium wattage, it's called "peak" not RMS

Rookie mistake, my cover has been blown!


To be honest tubetime86, I don't have clue about this stuff.

However that explanation I gave makes a hell of a lot more sense logically then all this 'high order harmonic' crap.
Some tube amps are rated to include full clipping etc, but I suspect most are not, meaning your average head (say a 100W JCM800) probably puts out at least 130W at full blast, possibly much more.
Last edited by kyle62 at Aug 25, 2010,
#30
Well now the issue is that we have 3 ratings; the RMS, the peak and then the peak RMS I'll call it, basically the most wattage it can continuously put out, clean or not. So a 100 watt amp is 100 watts RMS, but actually can continuously pumped out 150 watts, and at times spikes to 300 watts for an instant.

I think the terminology is a lot of the cause for confusion here.
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#31
Quote by stykerwolf
When it hits it's maxium wattage, it's called "peak" not RMS
Not really. RMS is a computation that is the sum of the output over a period, whereas peak is just the peak of the waveform. It turns out that the RMS of a sine wave is .707 of it's peak. You can't hear a peak, and the peak power vs RMS computed is only a mythical value of no importance. However that didn't stop makers of cheap stereos from using peak, or worse peak to peak as a value to state output power.
#34
Quote by stykerwolf
Same loudness, human ears just pick up tube generated sounds easier so it seems louder when it's not.



Thats not true. 10 watts of valve vs SS are the same loudness when they are clean but when you push a valve amp into clipping it still gets louder. When an SS amp starts clipping it doesn't get any louder. So valve amps to have the potential to put out higher DB than solid state amps of the same wattage.
#35
i believe the ac30 is 30 watts before any break up. so it's actually capable of more than 30 watts.

it's all sorta mystical mojo really. just play the guitar and leave the "volume" issue to the guys that know what nuclear isotopes do.
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#36
I think this thread has more misconceptions than any other I've seen... I think I may have posted a few myself.
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#37
all this bullshit on wattage is the reason I am glad to have and make use of a master volume knob
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#38
watts are watts are watts.

First some background, solid state appeared on the market not for quality (initially a generation ago) but it did appear on the market because you can make a quasi-decent sounding SS-amp for about a 1/3 of price of a good tube amp. The cheaper solid state amps meant more customers buying amps, so... here come the avalanche of SS-amps.

The claim of "louder" is a misnomer and misunderstanding - dollar per decibel of pressure - you simply can't beat a solid state configuration - especially now that Asian manufacturing in electronics has exploded than exploded again thanks to the iPhones and Droids - wholesale solid state parts have historically never been cheaper.

But that is NOT the same as saying a watt solid state generates more decibels than a rectified tube set at the same wattage at all.

Tubes break, if you don't have your own tech or are a do-it-yourself-er tube - repair is expensive - so the popularity of solid state is not surprising.

Cost got you solid state not volume.

But of course they cranked up the SS metal amps to 300watts or more (claiming dynamic range reasons, if you want that, yes more wattage helps solid state) but they did so for the price versus performance of solid state reasons more then any other reasons. Basically they built a 300w SS-amp because they could affordability and you would buy it.
#40
Quote by NutBallCop
Completely off topic rant.

WTF are you talking about? This has nothing to do with this discussion.
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