#1
Hey everyone,
I'm looking into getting a new amp, and tossing up between a tube or a solid-state amp. Personally I like the idea of tube amps more, because they tend to have a better tone and be a little more versatile. The only problem is that I'm not able to play loudly, because my neighbors are really old, and really close. If volume wasn't such a limitation, then I'd definitely go for a tube amp, such as a Marshall TSL122 or JVM, or something along those lines. I really like that for each of the channels, almost everything is independent. The problem is that you don't tend to be able to find solid-state amps have that much control.
I mostly play hard rock/heavy metal, meaning that I want something with a really beefy low end that gives the aggressive vibe, but I like a nice clear, crisp-sounding clean channel as well. I was hoping I could get some feedback and advice.
I pose two questions to you;
1) When played at low volumes, are tube amps really that horrible sounding?
2) What are some solid-state amps that have all the independent controls and features that a good tube amp would have? (preferably something that won't destroy your bank account, i'm only 16)

Thanks guys
Last edited by liam_nz at Aug 16, 2011,
#2
Tube amps turned down don't sound as good but they are stlll better than 99.99% of SS amps at any volume.

What you really need is a new home.
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#3
they don't sound horrible at all... They're not great at low volumes, but they work.
I've had a few SS amps, never liked them.
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#4
As Cathbard & Gui_Lux said, tube amps don't sound as good when played at lower levels but that does not make them unusable. I have 4 kids (from nearly 3yo to 12yo) and I can still play mine when they have gone to bed without keeping them awake, even the missus can still watch TV in the next room, and the amp sounds perfectly acceptable at that level.

So next question is what is your budget so people can advise you on what might be a good match for you? (Also area, used or new etc.)
#6
Quote by Cathbard
Tube amps turned down don't sound as good but they are stlll better than 99.99% of SS amps at any volume.

What you really need is a new home.




how old are your neighbours? you could just, y'know, wait a couple of weeks.


I'm kidding, obviously.
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#7
Haha as much as it'd suit me to get a new house, I think that's a little out of the picture. I'm looking at a budget of around the US$1500 mark, give or take a few hundred. I'm not hugely fussed about a little bit of tone removal, but if it starts sounding excessively muddy or can't be played at bedroom volume, then I'd start looking elsewhere.
One thing that I'm really interested in is a 2x12 combo with a bit of wattage behind it (around 100watts) because I really want to get that fat, pronounced low end without making it sound muddy. I know I'm making the criteria pretty thin, but any suggestions?
Cheers
#8
For $1,500.00, there are quite a few 100-watt 2x12 combos and you can certainly turn them down. Take a look at Carvin's V3 combo for a good one. You'll have some money left over, too.
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#9
Why not set aside some of your budget for an attenuator, as well as a good tube amp?
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#10
Quote by willhurley82
Why not set aside some of your budget for an attenuator, as well as a good tube amp?

Forgive my incompetence, but could you explain exactly what an attenuator is and what it does? As far as I know, it lets you run your tubes at high power, but keeping it quiet. Is this close enough?
#11
Quote by liam_nz
Forgive my incompetence, but could you explain exactly what an attenuator is and what it does? As far as I know, it lets you run your tubes at high power, but keeping it quiet. Is this close enough?


That's the just of it. An Attenuator sits between your head and cab sucking up the wattage.
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#12
Quote by tehbeatnik
That's the just of it. An Attenuator sits between your head and cab sucking up the wattage.

What if I had a combo amp? Sometimes they have a cable running through the back that connects it to it's internal speakers, right?
#13
Not sure how they work with a combo or if it is safe with a combo. Hopefully someone with much more experience using the attenuators will pop-in this thread throughout the day.
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#14
Works just the same, but you really dont need an attenuator, they can suck the life out of your tubes faster then you think. A 50 watt amp will do the job just as well as an 100 watt.
#15
A big tube amp won't sound bad at lower volumes. Alot of people on this forum will tell you that tubes only sound good at high volumes,and that anything other than power tube saturation isn't good enough.
You don't NEED power amp distortion to get a good sound out of a tube amp,it's just that often,it sounds nicer when you do have the tubes cooking.However sometimes,the depth that headroom can create might be the sound you are after,especially through a qaudbox.
Alot of it will depend on if you only play by yourself at home,if you play with other people.
If you only play at home,by all means,buy a low wattage tube amp.For hard rock/heavy metal,it may well be just right.
If your occasionally jamming with a some friends,go a bit higher,maybe 30 watts or so and maybe a 2x12,to get some volume happening over a drum kit.
If you play in a band regularly,50 watts is nice,plenty of scope there,but that's not to say your 5 watt,or 30 watt amp can't be used in that situation,mic'd up or something.
And that's also not to say that a 50 watter will sound terrible when your just noodling away at home.
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Everyone just jumps on the bandwagon and gives the same advice in these situations. You know what? I'm going to be different. Call the firemen.
#16
What about a modelling amp such as a Vox VT40+? It has plenty of decent sounding amp models built in (including the JCM 800) and has a power attenuator built in to take it from 0 to 50 watts.

It has headphone capability as well. Giggable (but there is a 80 and 120 watt version that might be more suitable).

It isn't your valve (I'm an Englishman - tubes are hollow pipes!) amp, but might be more practical in the short term and wont chew up your budget for when you want to buy the genuine article later on.
#17
i vote tube, also i'm laughing my ass off at the guy that said "what you really need is a new home"
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#18
Quote by Goodtimes666
i vote tube, also i'm laughing my ass off at the guy that said "what you really need is a new home"

Yeah, it's usually "you need a new amp"

And I'd go for the tube amp. What's wrong with loud noise? You'll be in a house and they probably wont be able to hear most of it.
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#19
Pod HD + monitor speakers.

The Pod HD comes pretty close to the sounds and dynamics of a tube amp. Also I have an attenuator and it doesn't suck up all that much volume. You're not gonna be able to run a 10 watt amp full anywhere close to the half mark on the MV and expect the attenuator to take it down to whisper volumes.
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#20
Agreed kitty. An attenuator is to make an already hard driven amp's power valves distort even more. They aren't supposed to turn a 100W amp into a 1W amp. That aint their purpose.
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#21
Quote by Cathbard
Agreed kitty. An attenuator is to make an already hard driven amp's power valves distort even more. They aren't supposed to turn a 100W amp into a 1W amp. That aint their purpose.


The damn problem lie with all these half ignorant n00bz that come online and suddenly discover an attenuator, and think it's some magical pixie dust that will turn a thrashing daemon into a purring kitten.

There's nothing more dangerous than a n00ber with a little bit of knowledge.
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#22
if you do decide to look at solid state amps, old sunn SS amps (70's or 80's) sound very good, and are decently cheap. they are usually pretty loud tho; had my concert lead on one yesterday and my ears were on the verge of starting to hurt. plenty of bass too.