#1
Hi guys

I'm in the market for a new amp. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how a 15 watt tube amp is better than a 150 watt solid state amp.

I've always been an acoustic kinda guy, and while i've had an electric for years, I just picked up an amp off of kijiji that was reasonably priced, plugged it into the wall and left it at that. Now i'm starting to enjoy playing electric guitar more, so I'd like to up the quality of my amp. I'm just not sure what's the best for me.

I play mostly rock, but I'd like to have the versatility to play blues, jazz, or even metal if i come home drunk or something.

Any recommendations as to brands and/or types?
#3
The amp (for the most part) determines the quality of your sound. For example, you can plug a $2000+ guitar into a crappy solid state amp and it will sound pretty bad, or you can plug a no-name $100 guitar into a $800+ amp and sound pretty good. It's the most important aspect of your sound.

Not only that, but most 30w+ solid state amps are just big practice amps that were never meant to be that loud.

As for your needs, I would suggest a Peavey Classic 30, or a Traynor YCV50 Blue. Preferably the YCV.
Last edited by Strats&Cats at Dec 3, 2011,
#4
It's for home use. I don't record and don't gig, it's just for hobby purposes. I don't really have a budget...at least not one that i expect i'll max out on the amp that fits my purpose. If it's over a grand i'd call it excessive.
#5
Quote by mike_oxbig
It's for home use. I don't record and don't gig, it's just for hobby purposes. I don't really have a budget...at least not one that i expect i'll max out on the amp that fits my purpose. If it's over a grand i'd call it excessive.

Perhaps you can get something like the Peavy Vypr tube amp? It's kind of an amp simulating tube amp, so it not only can mimic sounds of the various amps, it also has the warmth of the tubes. Or you can wait a bit of time and get something like the Mini-Rectifier from Mesa-Boogie, its $1,000 new but you should probably get it used.
#6
I was looking at a peavey classic 212, there was one going used for 250$. that's a 150 watt solid state amp.

Then a friend recommended i buy a 15 watt crate combo amp because it was a tube amp and would sound better. It was also the same price.
#7
what i really don't understand is how something this size:



is better than something 4x its size

Is bigger not better? is that little thing like the tiny little alien pistol from men in black?
#9
Quote by mike_oxbig
what i really don't understand is how something this size:



is better than something 4x its size

Is bigger not better? is that little thing like the tiny little alien pistol from men in black?


Ferrari vs truck

Which is better?

Screw that, which sounds better? Ferrari goes *vrrrrrm, vrrrrrm*, a truck goes *crrrsshhhh ssshhhhrrr*
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#11
Quote by mike_oxbig
Is bigger not better? is that little thing like the tiny little alien pistol from men in black?


Bigger is only better if you need to play large venues and you need lots of headroom. Recording with a 150 watt amp of any kind starts to require special gear and configurations that many people just don’t want to deal with. And small venues might not even let you plug in a massive amp that will send anyone over 25 running for the exits. Not to mention the space big amps and cabs take up at home and the effort it takes to move them. I have a friend who gigs five nights a week in New York City. He doesn’t even own a real amplifier, just a studio rackmount unit that he carries around in a small case.
#12
For home use, even a 3 watt amp can make more noise than you need. I recently got a Vox Mini 3 modeling amp and its a lot of fun!
#13
Thanks for the advice...I think i need to experience the difference first hand though. I'll go harass a local music store tomorrow.
#14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCkr_i2ZyIM

Watch that. Although the difference is alot more noticeable in person.

P.S: Dots have a pretty bad aftertaste. And they're alot harder than gummies too.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#16
Noob
My gear-
Schecter C-1 Classic
Mesa Boogie 2 Ch. Dual Rectifier(blackface)
Avatar 2x12- v30s
And some pedals

For sale Minty Ibanez RGA7 seven string with tour grade hsc $330+s/h or best offer!
PM me if interested

R.I.P Ashley S. Jean
#17
I play acoustic, I've just started getting more into electric guitar.

I could have very well just googled the info i needed, but it's amusing to see guitar elitists who pretend they've never had to ask a question before in action.


...oh hey.
#18
The size of the amplifier is not better or worse either way you go. Small and large amps serve different purposes and there is the entire range from shitty to stellar in each size.

If you're just practicing at home then even 10W is probably more than you will use without pissing off the neighbors. 150W amps are more-or-less only necessary if you need to play outdoor shows without a PA or if you need a ton of clean channel headroom (how loud you can turn the amp up before you push the power tubes so hard that the clean channel gives off a natural overdrive)
#19
A larger amp just means it'll be louder. If it's a bad amp, it'll just suck louder.

I'd recommend not going much bigger than 30 watts for practice; larger amps cost more money and you won't often be playing at anywhere close to maximum volume. Any time you're gigging, you probably will end up mic'ing the amp and running it into a PA system rather than just running the amp super loud.

As for solid vs/ tube amps, that's someone else's argument. I don't have nearly enough experience to make a definitive call, if one ever exists. For a practice amp, I'd suggest a solid state simply because you don't have to replace your tubes, which can be a bit of a bother and costs money.
#20
Quote by JKHC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCkr_i2ZyIM

Watch that. Although the difference is alot more noticeable in person.

P.S: Dots have a pretty bad aftertaste. And they're alot harder than gummies too.


How did he manage to make that ValveKing sound that bad? Geez.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
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#21
Quote by Offworld92
How did he manage to make that ValveKing sound that bad? Geez.


A bit too much treble and he could have done with some more mids
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#22
Strats&Cats pretty much hit it on the head. Through a good valve amp, you can make a cheap guitar sound good, but you can't really make a good guitar sound good through a cheap solid state amp.

Basically, valve amps have a much nicer and more mellow sound than solid state amps. The distortion and overdrive that you can get out of a valve amp will be a lot richer than the distortion out a typical solid state amp, due to the fact that valves sound a lot more organic when overdrive, compared to transistors and diodes.

As for your original question, why a 30 watt valve amp can be better than a 150 watt solid state amp, you need to remember that louder is not always better. You could own the loudest amp in the world, but if it sounds terrible, it will still be beaten in terms of sonic quality by a good, small valve practice amp. As mentioned by a few previous posters, valve amps have a much nicer sound than solid state amps.

Also, while a 30 watt valve amp may seem small and compact and therefore relatively quiet, you will find that valve amps, even with a low power rating, will usually be louder than a solid state amp with a larger power rating. In other words, 30 watt valve amps can be louder than, say, certain 60 watt solid state amps. This comes down to the fact that input wattage is not directly proportional to the volume which the amp can put out. A number of factors influence how loud an amp can be, such as speaker sensitivity and how efficient the amp's circuit is.

What you also have to realise is that doubling the wattage of an amp will not double the output volume. In fact, it will only result in a volume difference of +3dB. With this in mind, you also need to consider the fact that solid state amps and valve amps both behave very differently when pushed to high volumes. It's also important to note that amps can exceed their maximum wattage rating when cranked. When an amp is pushed to its loudest point, it will start clipping, which is basically where the signal starts resembling a square waveform. When a solid state amp is pushed above its wattage rating, it will begin clipping very rapidly and the quality of the sound will decrease, while the distortion will increase exponentially. So, as an example, you might have a 60 watt solid state amp that only reaches 61 watts of maximum output. So it's only reaching 1 watt above its power rating.

On the other hand, valve amps behave very differently. When a valve amp is driven above its power rating, distortion increases at a steady, gradual rate. Thus, the clipping in the amp is increasing at a steady rate. For this reason, valve amps can be pushed well over their wattage rating, whilst still retaining useable sounds. In other words, a 30 watt valve amp, when cranked, will be able to put out a lot more than 30 watts.

There are technical reasons for this, which I understand well enough, but I won't really go into them. It basically relates to the fact that diodes don't behave in the same way as valves when they have excessive signal pumped through them.

So basically, I've kind of gone off on a bit of a rant here, but the crux of what I am saying is this: valve amps can be driven a lot harder than solid state amps, so they will often be louder than solid state amps with a much bigger power rating. Furthermore, the sound quality of valve amps is much better than solid state amps. And remember, bigger isn't always better.

I hope this helped.
Gear:

'06 Fender Standard Telecaster
'99 Fender Standard Stratocaster
'04 Cort MR Custom
Electa Les Paul

Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue
Peavey Bandit 112

Digitech RP250
#23


But seriously, that mesa combo you linked will be loud as balls. Don't let the single 12" speaker fool you. That amp is still pushing at least 50W or so tube power (don't recall the model, and can't be bothered to look it up). That = loud as all hell.
Quote by tubetime86
He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.


You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
#24
A 15w valve amp is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage if you max out the volume in a small space.

There is no reason for anyone to need more than a 50w amp, either valve or solid state, unless you're playing to medium venues with a limited PA. Even really successful bands that play to huge stadiums in front of thousands and thousands of people rarely use amps over 100w. Some of the most legendary tones in music history were recorded using amps under 25w.

If you bought a 150w amp you would never be able to turn the volume up any more than about 10% without making it unbearably loud at home. You'll piss off your neighbours and you'll feel like a dick for having such a huge amp that you never get any real use out of. Even if you bought 'only' a 20w amp you would still probably never be able to put it past 30% volume without annoying everyone. And when you're first learning electric guitar you should keep your amp as quiet as possible or even play unplugged. Nobody wants to hear you fail the Sweet Child O Mine intro for three hours every day.

Valve vs solid state tone is also pretty simple. Valve amps are louder than solid state amps of the same power. Meaning, a 15w valve amp will be louder than a 30w solid state amp.
Valve amps also have a 'warmer' tone. We call it this because it's more familiar. Valve amps have been used in blues, rock and metal for longer than solid state amps so it's what most people are used to hearing.
Solid state amps have a colder, more clinical tone. They're not used much by professionals and to most people they sound harsh and nasty. Some jazz players like them though because solid state amps don't distort as easily as valve amps do.

valve = cotton
solid state = polyester
#25
Quote by grohl1987

valve = cotton


The fabric of our lives.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#26
Quote by grohl1987

A 15w valve amp is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage if you max out the volume in a small space.


Not quite, but they'll get pretty fuckin' loud. I mean maybe if you maxed it in a 10x15 room it would, but I've only did that once, and for less than a minute as the feedback was unbearable, infact I don't even think I tried to play anything it was so bad.
#27
IMO, it's not just wattage differences. I use a 10:1 rule in estimating an amps [actual] power output, ie: a 10 watt tube amp (of quality construction) will perform as well as a 100 watt Ss amp of a similar pedigree.
It comes down to all the other tech specs, such as distortion (no! !not THAT kind LOL ) true RMS power calculation and type of circuitry used. The oft used term "headroom" is also a decent measure, when compared to wattage and clarity.
Find a showroom or dealer that will let you et one of each side-by-side. Take yer favorite ax and plug in to one after the other and play the same riff. The low wattage tube type will sound damm'd near as "big" as the 10X SS, with better clarity and tone. Less *IS* more!

With small practice tubers going for some spendy coin compared to similar wattage SS units; best to do your own studies and trials.
Just my $.02. I may be FoS; but try it yerself
#28
I Picked up this amp for 100$ online, without really knowing a hell of a lot about it.
The guy was asking 250 and i offered him 100 and he said "fine" so i felt kinda obligated to buy it. I figure if it doesnt turn out to be what i'm looking for I can just resell it.

I wasn't really impressed with it until i hooked it up to a pedal....here's what sound it gave me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhns0p3qa74
#29
cause loud = loud, not quality.

And ^^^ anything above 85db can cause permanent hearing damage.
Your ipod can put out more than that in relative sound pressure.
I dont think a 15 watt valve amp would have a problem damaging your hearing in the right circumstances.

Protect your ears guys!
#30
Quote by mike_oxbig
I Picked up this amp for 100$ online, without really knowing a hell of a lot about it.
The guy was asking 250 and i offered him 100 and he said "fine" so i felt kinda obligated to buy it. I figure if it doesnt turn out to be what i'm looking for I can just resell it.

I wasn't really impressed with it until i hooked it up to a pedal....here's what sound it gave me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhns0p3qa74


That's actually a pretty good amp. I don't know a whole lot about them, but I think it might be a JC-120 clone. It's not meant to be used for distortion.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#31
Quote by mike_oxbig
I Picked up this amp for 100$ online, without really knowing a hell of a lot about it.
The guy was asking 250 and i offered him 100 and he said "fine" so i felt kinda obligated to buy it. I figure if it doesnt turn out to be what i'm looking for I can just resell it.

I wasn't really impressed with it until i hooked it up to a pedal....here's what sound it gave me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhns0p3qa74



Hey man, Not ideal for what you want to hear, SS Distortion is not what your lookign for, especially if your gonna be playing stuff similar to what you demo'd
What I recommend is sitting back, and listening to the advice these guys are giving you, they know there stuff.
for the massive rock sounds your after, and Organic natural cleans, you are gonna need a valve amp. solid state will tide you over yeah, but in the long run your gonna get a valve amp anyway, even if you dont know it yet. save yourself the cash and the annoyance in the long run, and get a blackstar or a jet city or something. you are really not doing yourself any favours.

You know who used solid state amps?
Dimebag,

And we all know how good his tone was.

Regardless of his awesome skills.


Tl:dr.

Buck up, get a valve amp and save the QQ when you realise SS aint what you want.

Lpj out.
#32
Quote by Geldin
A larger amp just means it'll be louder. If it's a bad amp, it'll just suck louder.

I'd recommend not going much bigger than 30 watts for practice; larger amps cost more money and you won't often be playing at anywhere close to maximum volume.

AMEN!

I'm a guitar hobbyist myself and own a Fender HRD combo.

http://www.fender.com/products/hotrod/models.php?prodNo=2230200

I LOVE it: great cleans that lets me use my pedals and guitars to shape my sound. But it is more than loud enough- I never get beyond 4. Really, it's too much for what I'm doing right now.

Personally, I'm considering getting an Orange for certain tonal reasons, and if I do, I will be getting one of their smaller ones- definitely no more than a 30, possibly smaller.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Dec 4, 2011,
#33
Quote by dannyalcatraz
AMEN!

I'm a guitar hobbyist myself and own a Fender HRD combo.

http://www.fender.com/products/hotrod/models.php?prodNo=2230200

I LOVE it: great cleans that lets me use my pedals and guitars to shape my sound. But it is more than loud enough- I never get beyond 4. Really, it's too much for what I'm doing right now.

Personally, I'm considering getting an Orange for certain tonal reasons, and if I do, I will be getting one of their smaller ones- definitely no more than a 30, possibly smaller.


Get yerself a Tiny/Dark terror motherfucker.
#34
Quote by FearMyLightning
Get yerself a Tiny/Dark terror motherfucker.

Yeah...I'm lusting after a Crush, Thunder or Rocker line combo amp, but if I'm honest, if I really keep my own experience in mind, that's probably as much as I should buy.

Hadn't even thought about an amp and speaker setup, though...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Dec 4, 2011,
#35
Quote by Lespauljames
Hey man, Not ideal for what you want to hear, SS Distortion is not what your lookign for, especially if your gonna be playing stuff similar to what you demo'd
What I recommend is sitting back, and listening to the advice these guys are giving you, they know there stuff.
for the massive rock sounds your after, and Organic natural cleans, you are gonna need a valve amp. solid state will tide you over yeah, but in the long run your gonna get a valve amp anyway, even if you dont know it yet. save yourself the cash and the annoyance in the long run, and get a blackstar or a jet city or something. you are really not doing yourself any favours.

You know who used solid state amps?
Dimebag,

And we all know how good his tone was.

Regardless of his awesome skills.


Tl:dr.

Buck up, get a valve amp and save the QQ when you realise SS aint what you want.

Lpj out.


Yeah makes sense

I have a friend coming over with an acoustic electric...if this sounds ok i'll keep it, because acoustic is my preferred style anyways. I recently sold my acoustic electric because it sounded like ass on my amp, but I wouldn't be opposed to putting a sound hole pickup in one of my other acoustics.

if not i'll just put it back up for sale for what i paid and keep looking. No big deal. Might even be able to trade it for something better, whether it be another amp or a guitar. I'm bad at that. I'm a sucker for the buy sell trade market. I've owned about 15 guitars in the last couple years and only have 3 that I've decided are keepers.