#1
I've been always kind of afraid about buying an all tube amp one day because they all have amp capacitors that go bad after about 15 years, and you have to replace the capacitor. What I'm afraid about is that changing capacitors can literaly kill you easily if you don't know what you are doing. I'm a DIY guy when it comes to gear so to me tube amps just seem not to be worth it. I've been looking into hybrid amps but I don't know if they have capacitors that can kill you like all-tube ones. Could anyone also tell me good, cheap, but reliable hybid amps?
#2
Quote by Myaccount876
I've been always kind of afraid about buying an all tube amp one day because they all have amp capacitors that go bad after about 15 years, and you have to replace the capacitor. What I'm afraid about is that changing capacitors can literaly kill you easily if you don't know what you are doing. I'm a DIY guy when it comes to gear so to me tube amps just seem not to be worth it. I've been looking into hybrid amps but I don't know if they have capacitors that can kill you like all-tube ones. Could anyone also tell me good, cheap, but reliable hybid amps?


I'm a DIY guy too, but because what I know about electricity would fit in a thimble, I took my 74 twin into a guy I found in Georgia...(1st time it'd been serviced at all) All new tubes, Caps and 3 pots, Biased and had to have the reverb Transformer replaced, and it was just under $300.00... But I'll tell you what... It sounds better than brand new... and if I've only got to do it every 15 to 30 years... It's definately worth paying someone to do it for me...
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#3
I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.

How can you be a DIY guy if you don't know what you're doing? Draining caps is easy.

As far as caps failing, it really depends on the amp. Newer amps tend to use more reliable caps than older amps, but even older amps don't have bad caps all the time. And even then, it's only REALLY old amps (like Fender Bassmen from the '50s and '60s) that have bad caps.

Being afraid of buying a tube amp because its caps might fail is a bit like being afraid of a fluorescent lightbulb because some of the materials are poisonous. You're so unlikely to have a cap fail on you that it's just absurd to even think about.

And even then, changing caps isn't expensive, you can always take an amp down to a shop.
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#4
Your gonna need new tubes a lot more often than capacitors, Tube amps are worth it.
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#5
if you had an amp last you for 15 years, that's great mileage from one amp. if you kept it for 15 years, it must be that good. if it's that good, why wouldn't you pay to maintain the prized amp? or if you don't know what you're doing, learn? tube amp building does NOT require complicated engineering experience. you just have to read enough and have some practice. maybe some talent. but that's the same with doing anything in this world, even tying shoes.
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#6
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge. To discharge a cap just short it out with a screwdriver across it. When you have taken it out of course.
#7
Quote by ECistheBest
if you had an amp last you for 15 years, that's great mileage from one amp. if you kept it for 15 years, it must be that good


My grandfather bought the amp I have now brand new in 1974, and I've had it since 2002. He amplified a Fiddle and a guitar with it professionally for 20 years. So... I guess...... 38 is the new 15...

(not bad for a post CBS POS... )
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#8
Thanks for the advice, I'm new to just looking into tube amps, as I've only really looked at solid state and hybrids.
#9
Quote by fishburn
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge. To discharge a cap just short it out with a screwdriver across it. When you have taken it out of course.


ya don't do that.
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#10
Alrighty, there is absolutely no reason to reject tube amps because of caps. That's just absurd.

a) 30 years is probably closer to where you'd worry about caps. And if it's been used regularly at moderate volume, quite a bit longer.

b) I don't see the issue. just take the amp to a tech. Its such a minor thing, I don't see why you would even be worrying about this..


Quote by fishburn
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge.


No. Let's be clear here - FIlter caps can kill you. This kind of input is dumb and dangerous.
#11
Quote by Myaccount876
Thanks for the advice, I'm new to just looking into tube amps, as I've only really looked at solid state and hybrids.


Seriously, capacitors are a non-issue on that kind of time scale. You should focus more on tube replacement, and even that takes place on a long enough scale for it to be more of a general maintenance issue rather than a constant worry.
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#12
not wanting a tube amp because of the caps is more like not buying a car because it uses gas? doesnt make much sense to me
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#13
Quote by travs2448
not wanting a tube amp because of the caps is more like not buying a car because it uses gas? doesnt make much sense to me

Not even that.
You have to replace tubes. You KNOW you have to eventually. Tubes are the better metaphor for gas. With caps, you may have to, or might not. It's not guaranteed you will.
It's like not buying a car because you may have to replace a flat tire.

Quote by fishburn
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge. To discharge a cap just short it out with a screwdriver across it. When you have taken it out of course.

Get the fuck out. RIGHT NOW.
You have ZERO clue what you are talking about, and are giving DANGEROUSLY wrong advice.
Caps CAN kill. They store an electric charge. Some of the ones inside amps store MORE than enough to kill a person. Saying a cap can't kill isnt just stupid. It's potentially fatally so.
Last edited by darkwolf291 at Nov 26, 2011,
#14
The recommended way to discharge a cap is holding a resistor (about 1K) across the terminals for a couple of seconds. I normally just use a probe lead and watch the sparks. I have one with an alligator clip on one end and a probe on the other just for the job. There's something oddly satisfying about seeing a spark and knowing it's definitely discharged properly.
F&T caps are good, so are Sprague Atoms. JJ are quite good and a bit cheaper. Even Atoms aren't that expensive really considering they will probably last for longer than you keep the amp for.
The caps on a tube amp can have a few hundred volts stored in them. They may not be able to source much current for very long but if it hits you at the wrong time during your pacemaker cycle it can cause heart fibulation and death.
As for longevity. I replaced the caps in my Abbey and they were close to thirty years old. I replaced them simply because I was working on the amp (adding an FX loop) and had some spare filter caps. I tested the caps after I pulled them out and they were actually still fine. They weren't anything special either, just Elnas. Not buying a tube amp because of filter caps is dumbassery. To continue the car analogy it's like not buying a manual car because sometimes you have to replace the clutch plates.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 26, 2011,
#15
Quote by fishburn
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge. To discharge a cap just short it out with a screwdriver across it. When you have taken it out of course.


i know i am going to be the third person to comment on this, but...

what the hell do you think you are doing? do you think you are being funny? i sure as hell don't think that is funny. certainly wouldn't be funny if the guy died.
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#16
Quote by fishburn
Capacitors won't kill you but they will give you a good belt as they store a charge. To discharge a cap just short it out with a screwdriver across it. When you have taken it out of course.


I'll be the fourth person to condemn this advice, to say amp caps can't kill is absolute LUNACY, they most certainly can. This is VERY irresponsible and dangerous advice to give on a forum.
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