#2
Because many people out there hate SS amps and wont "stoop so low" as to play an SS amp. Thats what I make of it. I have an SS and active pups and its fine.
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#3
It's because high output is meant to drive a tube amp harder to distort more. Solid state amps don't distort in the same way so when you use high output it just goes to waste. Solid state amps can produce more distortion than tube amps regardless of what pickups or pedals you have. Also active pickups have really flat tone and so do solid state amps. So the tone of them combined is really sterile and boring. There are no mid spikes or scoops or uneven bass and treble balances which are what makes passive pickups and tube amps sound the way they do. Actives with solid state is a great combination if you want to use loads of crazy effects because its tone is so flat i's a perfect platform for modulation and tone shaping. But running them plain is a bad combination. On their own they will sound terrible.
#4
Quote by grohl1987
It's because high output is meant to drive a tube amp harder to distort more. Solid state amps don't distort in the same way so when you use high output it just goes to waste. Solid state amps can produce more distortion than tube amps regardless of what pickups or pedals you have. Also active pickups have really flat tone and so do solid state amps. So the tone of them combined is really sterile and boring. There are no mid spikes or scoops or uneven bass and treble balances which are what makes passive pickups and tube amps sound the way they do. Actives with solid state is a great combination if you want to use loads of crazy effects because its tone is so flat i's a perfect platform for modulation and tone shaping. But running them plain is a bad combination. On their own they will sound terrible.


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#5
Active pickups emulate the effect of having a tube screamer built into your guitar. Tube screamers are best used for pushing the preamp tubes in an amp to get a nice distortion effect that can't really be achieved any other way.

SS amps don't have preamp valves to push, so you end up getting a massive signal hitting digital circuits, and the result is just a general bad sound.

BUT: That said, it's really more about headroom than anything else. EMGs tend to produce early clipping (the TS effect), but if you have a large amount of headroom, using EMG's won't have a negative effect. There just won't be a positive effect they're known for.

As far as how much headroom you need, I say at least 75W... 100W is better.
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#6
The way that a SS amp processes a guitar signal is similar to that of a valve. Only instead you're overdriving transisters rather than valves. Problem with transisters is, if you put in a strong signal from active pickups, the transistor will not colourate the tone in the same way that a valve would when you drive it. This is why modelling amps sound crap when pushed too hard, because the transistors can't reconstruct the colouration of the valves they're trying to copy when they're distorted.
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#7
i think most guitars honestly sound pretty much the same with SS amps, at least with my line 6, ive played my friends squir with a single coil, my guitar with passive and my other with actives and only minor differences between them, especially between the passive and active
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#8
Quote by grohl1987
It's because high output is meant to drive a tube amp harder to distort more. Solid state amps don't distort in the same way so when you use high output it just goes to waste. Solid state amps can produce more distortion than tube amps regardless of what pickups or pedals you have. Also active pickups have really flat tone and so do solid state amps. So the tone of them combined is really sterile and boring. There are no mid spikes or scoops or uneven bass and treble balances which are what makes passive pickups and tube amps sound the way they do. Actives with solid state is a great combination if you want to use loads of crazy effects because its tone is so flat i's a perfect platform for modulation and tone shaping. But running them plain is a bad combination. On their own they will sound terrible.

This. I've played active and passive pickups through a solid state, and the difference was minimal. Not shitting on SS amps, but a tube amp will let you hear the difference more clearly.
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#9
Quote by Offworld92
SS amps don't have preamp valves to push, so you end up getting a massive signal hitting digital circuits, and the result is just a general bad sound.

Not all solid state is digital. There is a lot of analog solid state gear out there. It all depends on the amp in question. Most solid state amps are bad because they're made to be cheap. $100 for an amp isn't going to get you anything good. The main problem is those cheap SS amps don't react to you dynamics. There are a lot of solid state amps that react to the amount of volume in the front end. As long as ANY amp (tube and SS) does that, it would be fine for actives. The Retro Channel RR1 is a good example of a good SS amp that does this well.
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But if you're planning on using actives, you're probably doing so to get more gain. SS amps can naturally produce more gain than tubes. You don't really need actives in a high-gain SS rig. It's overkill. But I'm talking about non-modelling gear. A Triple Rectifier model on an Axe-FX is meant to respond like an Triple Recto. Actives on that will sound like actives with a Triple Rectifier. An ISP Theta will sound massive and gainey with actives or passives because it's designed to sound that way. It doesn't rely on tubes and the perfect levels to get an awesome tone. It's meant to sound like that from 1-10. You don't need actives to push it a step further. If anything, you'll end up having to pull it back because you have too much. Then you have to deal with the trade-offs of actives. You use actives because you want a little extra push. You don't need that with a good SS high-gain amp. You lose more than you gain (no pun intended) with a good high-gain SS rig.

Also keep in mind that there aren't many good SS amps out there and the ones that are cost just as much as tube amps. At those prices, it's not "omg, I want an ENGL Powerball but I only have $400." If you can buy the ISP, you can get an ENGL if you wanted. It's a matter of what you like the best, not what you can afford. The truth is that most guitarists aren't going to pay $1000+ for a tubeless amp.
#10
i think this is kind of a bandwagon too.
one guy said it and then another then every new-unknowing-never-ever-tried-guy says ss and active pups suck.
i haven't tried so i couldn't tell you if i think it sounds good or not.
#11
the only reason i can think of that's not entirely subjective here is that some solid state amps don't have that much input stage headroom and hi-output pickups, passive or active, might cause input stage clipping, which isn't desirable to many people at all - it's a different kind of distortion to the inbuilt distortion circuit the amp might have, as it sounds like a popping sound every time the input stage clips, which is gonna mess up the cleans to a huge extent and might mud up the distortion too.

but if you've got actives you can roll back the volume without getting so much tone-suckage so it shouldn't be too difficult to prevent the clipping without compromising on the clarity of your tone.
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#12
Because of clipping. I use an SS, one of my guitars has actives - I don't find a problem, tonally it sounds very nice imo, but I do tend to roll things back a bit when I use that guitar to prevent clipping, which wouldn't be a problem on a tube amp.
#13
It wont necessarily sound bad, you just aren't getting the maximum potential tone out of your guitar that way. Actives do sound better with tube amps, for the many reasons listed above, but if you have a decently made SS amp, it wont clip or anything at practicing volumes. I wouldnt crank a low watt SS amp anyway, so if you would just be using it for practice, I'd say go for it till you can get a better tube amp. It wont sound like dog shit, and you will probably get more attack and gain than you would with a passive pickup guitar.
#15
There's an extensive and an easy explanation. I shall provide the easy one.

Basically, the signal gets it's peaks cut off, which means you lose a bit of your sound.

SS amps can only handle so much before they start clipping, but valve amps don't have this problem, which is why most people say that valves outright beat transistors in every single way... tone-speaking ofcourse. Why they don't have this problem, I don't know, hence the extensive version.
#16
That's not a noob question. It's a good one.

Clipping is the removal of the top of the waveform which happens when you turn up the pre-amp gain. The more gain, the more clipping of the waveform and the more distortion.



This is also the reason why your tone becomes more compressed the more it distorts, because the input signal is clipped earlier when the gain is greater, so the reletive post-gain remains the same regardless of the strength of the input signal. Picking hard and picking softly don't make a difference in volume because the input signal's amplitude is being clipped anyway.

But clipping of the waveform can be undesirable because in some situations, there may be too much volume (or post gain) and the power section starts clipping the waveform and the tone of the amp is ruined and it sounds like crap. This can be caused by a lack of headroom. An advantage with a more powerful amp and speakers is that they have more headroom, so this phenomonon doesn't occur at greater volumes.

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#17
Just putting this out there...

SS+Active doesn't necessarily suck. As long as it's a good SS amp, you won't have any problems, and will probably benefit from the actives if that's the sound you're going for.
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#18
I have a couple of guitars with active pickups and a few solid state amps (all practice amps mind you). Personally I really don't like the distortion that comes from combining the active pickups with the SS amps though they drive my 6262 beautifully. I find the EMG85 in the neck of my al3100 does produce a nice smooth sound for solos/melodic stuff though on the SS amps.
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#19
I don't personally find a difference, but I use different settings for actives then I do for passives.
#20
Quote by Lord_Doku

Basically, the signal gets it's peaks cut off, which means you lose a bit of your sound.

SS amps can only handle so much before they start clipping, but valve amps don't have this problem, which is why most people say that valves outright beat transistors in every single way... tone-speaking ofcourse. Why they don't have this problem, I don't know, hence the extensive version.


To clarify this a bit, while keeping it nontechnical:

Tubes and sold-state amps sounds almost the same when they're not clipping. When they are clipping, tubes tend to produce a form of distortion that most people like better than the form produced by the solid state circuits. One theory is that it's because tubes tend to produce an inconsistent, asymmetric waveform when they clip.
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#21
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To clarify this a bit, while keeping it nontechnical:

Tubes and sold-state amps sounds almost the same when they're not clipping. When they are clipping, tubes tend to produce a form of distortion that most people like better than the form produced by the solid state circuits. One theory is that it's because tubes tend to produce an inconsistent, asymmetric waveform when they clip.



You're right on the money. When transistors clip, they clip in a linear and predictable fashion. Valve amps sound more appealing to guitarists because they've have gotton used to the sound of an inconsistent waveform (which sounds a bit contradictory) which is key to that 'valve tone' everyone bangs on about.
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