Page 1 of 2
#1
Hey guys,

Long story short, I'm looking for a well-rounded practice tube amp. My current amp is a Line 6 Spider III 75W, and I'm convinced it's just too much wattage for my usage. I rarely turn the volume up passed the first two dots, and sometimes the "clean" tones sound a bit distorted (not sure where that comes from, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth regardless).

I'm looking at a Super Champ XD as my top contender, but it's 15W. Am I missing something, or is that a serious downgrade from 75W? I realize there's a world of difference between tube and SS amps, but that's 60 freakin' Watts, man.

Thanks in advance!
Gee-arr:

ESP LTD Viper 400
Line 6 Spider 75W
Digitech RP350
#2
Just as a HU.

Watts is basically telling you how much clean headroom there is, as opposed to it's volume.
EG, an AC30 in only 30 watts, yet it kicks many 100watt+ amps in terms of volume (it's f**ken loud).

Anyway we can't really help unless you give us more information.. Budget, Styles of Music, Home or Gig, New or Used, Virginity etc..
Quote by greeny23
i shake the walls of my bedroom. with mah dick.
Quote by Eppicurt
Quote by NakedInTheRain
hey, be nice to the hipster.
I hear they use false bypass switches.

It's, like, so ironic.
Last edited by Volcz at Jun 17, 2013,
#3
Watts =/= volume, at least not in direct proportion.

I wouldn't suggest the Super Champ XD though, as it's a hybrid rather than an actual tube amp.

Try this...answer the following questions and perhaps we can help you get what you actually need.

Budget? - What is practical for you and what is your limit?

Genres? - What style do you play mostly, fav guitarists, do you need cleans, etc?

New or Used? - Lots of great amps out there used, especially in a down economy.

Home or Gig? - Also important. Maybe you do both. Jamming with a drummer can be considered 'gigging' but you won't have a PA etc.

Closest City? - We aren't here to stalk you but we need to know where you are in the world roughly and we can help further if we know what city you are in (ie craigslist, local shops, Guitar Center used section, etc)

Current Gear? - Also good for us to know.

Quote by Volcz
Just as a HU.

(a.)Watts is basically telling you how much clean headroom there is, as opposed to it's volume.

(b.)EG, an AC30 in only 30 watts, yet it kicks many 100watt+ amps in terms of volume (it's f**ken loud).



"a" is sufficiently correct for beginner purposes, "b" is not.

All other things being equal, 100w is always louder than 30w, no exceptions.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Jun 17, 2013,
#4
Who cares if you are using your amp at volume 2? It doesn't sound any better when you turn it up. I have a Laney VC30 and I have the volume at 1 and it sounds just fine. I don't get power tube distortion but I like its low volume sound pretty much.

Actually even 1 watt amp is pretty loud if you play alone and crank it up.

But yeah, the more wattage, the cleaner your sound will be at high volumes. Cleans distorting at low volumes have nothing to do with high wattage. Actually cleans should stay cleaner when you have more watts.

You don't need a quieter amp, that's why we have volume controls in our amps. But an amp upgrade would improve your sound.

So I don't think the Fender sounds any quieter than your Line 6 but I don't think it matters. At least the difference won't be huge. But the thing is, high wattage doesn't equal high volume. With 15 watt tube amp you should be able to play in a band.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#6
Bugera V22. Three reasons. A. Price, if your gonna get the XD, might as well pay the extra 30 for three tubes, instead of the one (it's a hybrid). B. 22w, you can gig with it, which you might not want now, but it's always a concern. C. Attenuator. That means you can dial down the actual output, so if you like playing with one watts, you can get the FULL sound of 22w, scaled down for optimal sound at 1w. These reasons, plus sound quality and affordability.
#7
Well if you want your house to burn down go ahead and get the Bugera.
Quote by greeny23
i shake the walls of my bedroom. with mah dick.
Quote by Eppicurt
Quote by NakedInTheRain
hey, be nice to the hipster.
I hear they use false bypass switches.

It's, like, so ironic.
#8
Wow, thanks for the insightful and helpful responses, guys. As I'm not immediately looking for a new amp (and nor do I know how fast manufacturers release new amps), I'm not sure the questions you'd have me answer will help. But I suppose it's on-the-whole harmless.

Budget: <$450, MIGHT push it to $500
Genres: rock, blues, metal, etc. Might be easier to list genres I'm not interested in.
New or Used: definitely up for buying used
Home or Gig: home exclusively (city apartment)
Closest City: living in Philadelphia
Gear: check the sig (LTD Viper 81/85 pickups, no discrete effect pedals)

You guys are collectively the man.
Gee-arr:

ESP LTD Viper 400
Line 6 Spider 75W
Digitech RP350
#9
Used JCM2000 DSL
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#10
Quote by virusoflife26
Wow, thanks for the insightful and helpful responses, guys. As I'm not immediately looking for a new amp (and nor do I know how fast manufacturers release new amps), I'm not sure the questions you'd have me answer will help. But I suppose it's on-the-whole harmless.

Budget: <$450, MIGHT push it to $500
Genres: rock, blues, metal, etc. Might be easier to list genres I'm not interested in.
New or Used: definitely up for buying used
Home or Gig: home exclusively (city apartment)
Closest City: living in Philadelphia
Gear: check the sig (LTD Viper 81/85 pickups, no discrete effect pedals)

You guys are collectively the man.


if you can occasionally turn it up or ever want to jam with a drummer buddy.
http://cnj.craigslist.org/msg/3779814141.html

http://cnj.craigslist.org/msg/3872848530.html tweaker head, would need a speaker cab and possibly a boost for heavier stuff. great for blues or rock on it's own.
#11
the tube will still be as loud, and sound better at louder volumes.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#12
Quote by gregs1020
if you can occasionally turn it up or ever want to jam with a drummer buddy.
http://cnj.craigslist.org/msg/3779814141.html

http://cnj.craigslist.org/msg/3872848530.html tweaker head, would need a speaker cab and possibly a boost for heavier stuff. great for blues or rock on it's own.

+1 on the XXX, A friend of mine who's band has achieved "regional fame" uses the head version of this and bigger bands are always surprised about how great as it sounds.
Quote by barden1069
A "tubescreamer" is a person paid by a guitarist to stand behind the amp and scream at the tubes. This terrifies the tubes into overdriving and delivers a thick, harmonic-rich tone.
#13
"Genres" is a bad question to ask... what we should really ask is what bands you're into, what bands have a sound you'd like to get close to?

Genres don't mean anything... everyone defines genres differently, so with everyone going in with a different idea in their head to recommend an amp, you suffer for it. Tell us what bands you're talking about, and then we're all able to give suggestions with the right idea in our heads.

Case in point, one person's "metal" is Iron Maiden, and another person's "metal" is The Black Dahlia Murder. Those sounds aren't related at all.
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
Last edited by Offworld92 at Jun 17, 2013,
#14
Quote by Offworld92
"Genres" is a bad question to ask... what we should really ask is what bands you're into, what bands have a sound you'd like to get close to?

Genres don't mean anything... everyone defines genres differently, so with everyone going in with a different idea in their head to recommend an amp, you suffer for it. Tell us what bands you're talking about, and then we're all able to give suggestions with the right idea in our heads.

Case in point, one person's "metal" is Iron Maiden, and another person's "metal" is The Black Dahlia Murder. Those sounds aren't related at all.
+1000

Some rock bands use much more gain than some metal bands. Hell, a lot of Creed uses way more gain than Iron Maiden or old Judas Priest.
#15
Tube wattage pretty much kills solid state wattage. To give you an example I brought a Tiny Terror to rehearsal.
In case you're not familiar - it is a 15 watt Orange single channel amp, which you might consider btw).
http://www.houstonmusicreviews.com/GearReview/OrangeTinyTerror/OrangeTinyTerrorCombo.htm

So, our other guitarist at the time had a 2x12 rated at 140 watts and a Vox Valvetronix head rated at 120 watts. The TT buried him with volume at 5 and the guy was diming everything and couldn't be heard. What I am trying to say - tube wattage is somewhat different. In my experience above 30 tube watts things start to get painful. 100 watt tube is ear splitting goodness, i.e. stage volume. When I record my JCM900 it is at master volume 7 or 8 and the windows in the house rattle...but it sings. I am with noise isolated headphones so don't worry

Off the bat if we're talking home stuff I don't think you need much, from 5 watt to 30 watt tube should be enough.

There are several approaches. One is getting a high quality amp that is a single channel and doesn't have much bells & whistles. One would be the Tiny Terror, there is also the Dark Terror (Tiny Terror souped up more for metal, a bit darker sounding).
Another great simple amp that I really like is the Class5 by Marshall.
http://www.houstonmusicreviews.com/GearReview/Marshall_Class5/Marshall_Class5.htm

These are not cheap considering that around 700 bucks you start getting 100 watters tube but the quality on both of these is supreme. They are more like a clean canvas type of amp that takes well to effects. When gain is upped they get raunchy and sound really good but common complaint is the lack of fx loop, so since you mentioned such a diverse range of styles you need to think if these will be for you. I throw in overdive in front of the Tiny Terror and it excels on screaming solos, metal riffing but you can't add delay after your distorted tone for a lead sound so it is a compromise. Same thing goes for the Class5. (I add delay and reverb after tracking to the recording so no big deal there). Fender Blues Jr is also among these types of amps, since you mentioned that you like Fender. Personally I rather have the Celestion speaker and a bit of British byte to the tone so the Orange and Marshall are more appealing to me.

You can also look at some of the other amps in this category, one that is really versatile is the Egnater Tweaker range. You'd definitely notice a slight build quality dip (after all made by street urchins in Communist China). When you hit some of the switches you feel the amp schematics board bend, but again - it is a very versatile amp, you can change tube sag, eq voicings, even the power tubes, it is definitely a tone weapon.

Then there are some of the other entries that I find really interesting. Marshall DSL40C - basically combo version of their DSL head. This one is made in China now as well so not as good as the original DSL but 2 channel of Marshall tone, clean and distorted - can't be beat. It will handle everything.

Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister range - very versatile, they start at 5 watt and go up.

Peavey are starting to offer low wattage options in their tube range, same goes for Randall. The Randall 50TC is a great amp but have to look for it used.
You could possibly look into Crate Palomino - that is a AC30 clone that is quarter of the price. Vox AC15 might also work but you'll need an overdrive to boost that for metal.

Last but not least, I'd like to mention that any single one of these amps is a huge improvement over the Line6 POS you're discarding, so good luck finding and welcome to the tube club where the grownups play
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 18, 2013,
#16
^ The wattage is the same. It just measures the CLEAN headroom. And when you crank up a tube amp it doesn't stay clean so it goes over its "limits". On solid state amps you usually don't want to go over the limit (so that clean tones become distorted) because that's not a sound many people like. Again wattage =/= volume.

I wouldn't care about wattage that much. Low wattage doesn't mean good bedroom tones, neither does high wattage mean bad bedroom tones. You just need to try different amps and not just look at the wattage. Certain amps just sound better at bedroom levels.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
Low wattage on tubes means that you can crank it into overdrive without it taking your head off, that's why the current resurgence of the low wattage tube market. When you're tracking you want that power tube compression kicking in as it excites the signal in a way that's still unreplicated by solid state. So you buy a 5 watt tube amp so you can do that as opposed to 100 watt amp which will peel the paint off your walls before getting the sound you're looking for.
#18
Quote by diabolical
Low wattage on tubes means that you can crank it into overdrive without it taking your head off, that's why the current resurgence of the low wattage tube market. When you're tracking you want that power tube compression kicking in as it excites the signal in a way that's still unreplicated by solid state. So you buy a 5 watt tube amp so you can do that as opposed to 100 watt amp which will peel the paint off your walls before getting the sound you're looking for.

But the thing is, you can't crank a 5 watt amp in your bedroom without being pretty loud so you won't get power tube distortion (though I know that the newer version of Class 5 has a low power switch). I mean, my parents bitch when my Laney VC30 volume is at higher than 1. OK, they even bitch when it's at 1 but lower than 1 it doesn't sound good so they let me keep it at 1. OK - not every parent/neighbor is like that but you need to assume it when you are looking for an amp. I mean, I could have the volume at higher and actually have tried it and it's not THAT loud. (It also depends on the room you are in.) Of course if you don't have parents (or anybody else home) and neighbors, it would be OK.

Also, my Laney VC30 sounds just fine at bedroom levels. A lot better than any solid state or modeling amp I have tried. You don't need to crank a tube amp to get a good sound.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#19
Maggara - you should see how your parents respond when I wheel in my Marshall half stack and proceed to record at the right volume and then we can compare notes, I think they'll let you bring it up to 2 as long as I don't come back

You forget that you can dampen things when you're recording as well - duvets, closets, etc. 5 watts is still manageable, 30 - not so. I am thinking that you haven't really heard what your amp can do - that Laney is a very good AC30 clone and when you crank it with a Treblebooster you should probably get a really good Brian May lead tone.
#20
Quote by diabolical

What I am trying to say - tube wattage is somewhat different.


No. Wattage is wattage, end of story, no exceptions.


Quote by diabolical
Low wattage on tubes means that you can crank it into overdrive without it taking your head off, that's why the current resurgence of the low wattage tube market. When you're tracking you want that power tube compression kicking in as it excites the signal in a way that's still unreplicated by solid state. So you buy a 5 watt tube amp so you can do that as opposed to 100 watt amp which will peel the paint off your walls before getting the sound you're looking for.


Still no. Absolutely false.

While some of your recommendations are solid, and the fact that you are trying to help the OP laudable, your grasp of the technical aspects of signal and the reality of wattage and volume are sorely lacking and you might be better served by waiting until you have a better understanding before discussing them...


Edit: And you really need to stop telling people that cranking an amp is required for optimal sonic quality, because it's a gross oversimplification at best, and patently false in many cases.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Jun 18, 2013,
#21
You guys are a wealth of information, and it is greatly appreciated. Another question: the only effect I have is a Digitech modelling pedal. I'm also really not interested in buying $500 worth of Boss effects or anything of that ilk. Are there any good tube amps in my price range that offer effects built in? And preferably not just reverb
Gee-arr:

ESP LTD Viper 400
Line 6 Spider 75W
Digitech RP350
#22
The only 'tube' amp in your price range that offers a wealth of effects is probably the Peavey Vypyr Tube 60, which is actually a hybrid - albeit a very good one for what it does.

You can hear a plethora of clips recorded on one HERE . (Scroll through, there are several)

I personally like the Vypyr 60, and it's a great price/performance value, but only you can decide if it's what you need.

I'll note that it's best to get a Sanpera 2 pedal with it to access maximum functionality.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#23
Quote by diabolical
Maggara - you should see how your parents respond when I wheel in my Marshall half stack and proceed to record at the right volume and then we can compare notes, I think they'll let you bring it up to 2 as long as I don't come back

You forget that you can dampen things when you're recording as well - duvets, closets, etc. 5 watts is still manageable, 30 - not so. I am thinking that you haven't really heard what your amp can do - that Laney is a very good AC30 clone and when you crank it with a Treblebooster you should probably get a really good Brian May lead tone.

Yes, I haven't really been able to crank my VC30 (I would need a bigger room). But it still sounds great at bedroom volumes - much better than anything non-tube I have tried. And I know it sounds better when you turn it up but it doesn't make the bedroom tones any worse - it still sounds good at bedroom levels. So you can sound good at bedroom levels. You just sound better at higher volume levels.

5 watts at bedroom... It's not THAT loud but it will definitely make your parents and neighbors bitch. And it's still pretty loud for practicing alone (of course depends on the room you are playing in).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#24
Quote by MaggaraMarine


5 watts at bedroom... It's not THAT loud but it will definitely make your parents and neighbors bitch. And it's still pretty loud for practicing alone (of course depends on the room you are playing in).


5 Watts through a pair of 12" Eminence Red Fang 16's is ~112db.

For reference that's louder than a chainsaw at 3'. A LOUD concert is about 115db...

5 watts is freakin' LOUD!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#25
Quote by Arby911
5 Watts through a pair of 12" Eminence Red Fang 16's is ~112db.

For reference that's louder than a chainsaw at 3'. A LOUD concert is about 115db...

5 watts is freakin' LOUD!

Well... I have once tried almost cranking my 30 watt Laney at my living room (volume at 7 or something) and it wasn't FREAKING loud. But yeah it was loud. It really depends on the room you are playing in. In my bedroom it would have been freaking loud.

But yeah, of course I wouldn't recommend buying a 5 watt amp because you think you can easily crank it and it won't be that loud. Almost anything cranked is loud. You won't get any power tube distortion at bedroom levels so the wattage shouldn't matter.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#26
So Arby, let me get this straight - you're saying that a tube Marshall (for sake of simplification I'll calll JCM800)/Mesa Rectifier/Soldano/Peavey 5150 at 2 is the same sounding as the same amp cranked? For the sake of argument we'll use the same 1960a cab at 4x12?

So you mean the times I spent tracking tube amps in a recording studio at face melting volumes so we can get both the preamp and power amp saturation and the iso booths/tracking rooms we (and all other studios) construct make no sense?

Talking about small tube amps - why does my Tiny Terror sound better cranked on a recording pushing air at 11 than it does at 2? Nothing sonically good happens when you run a tube amp's power section wide open? Then why so many people do it? Cause they don't have a Vyper (Vypyr, sp?)?
#27
To OP - only tube amp that I know that has fx (which are not exceptionally good, just serviceable) is the Ashdown Fallen Angel. The problem with built in fx especially at that price range is that they can't put in anything good that will complement the amp and usually these are an afterthought. If you get one with a fx loop you're probably better off running your processor for the effects.

What these guys are trying to sell you is a hybrid which has a few tubes thrown in to "warm up" the signal path. If you decide going that route might as well check out the Vox Valvetronix range too, but I wouldn't bother with fx.
#28
Quote by diabolical
So Arby, let me get this straight - you're saying that a tube Marshall (for sake of simplification I'll calll JCM800)/Mesa Rectifier/Soldano/Peavey 5150 at 2 is the same sounding as the same amp cranked? For the sake of argument we'll use the same 1960a cab at 4x12?

So you mean the times I spent tracking tube amps in a recording studio at face melting volumes so we can get both the preamp and power amp saturation and the iso booths/tracking rooms we (and all other studios) construct make no sense?

Talking about small tube amps - why does my Tiny Terror sound better cranked on a recording pushing air at 11 than it does at 2? Nothing sonically good happens when you run a tube amp's power section wide open? Then why so many people do it? Cause they don't have a Vyper (Vypyr, sp?)?


No, I'm not saying that (nor have I ever said that), you're choosing to infer that because it supports your preconceptions.

Some amps do need to be cranked to achieve the 'best' ('best' being entirely subjective...) tone, but not all (or even most).

There's only a small subset of music that actually uses power tube distortion, and unless you're playing from that subset it's not only entirely unnecessary, it's undesirable.

You seem a decent sort (I've been flamed a LOT harder than that on this topic), but please read what I write, as I generally take care to use my words for very specific purposes. As I said, I recognize your intent was good, I merely take issue with certain (not all) of your claims.

As an aside to your 'hybrid' comments, the Vypyr Tube series uses a 6505+ power section, yet doesn't require brutal volume to achieve quality sound. Design matters...

I don't suggest amps wherein the tubes are gimmicks because I despise them equally as much as you seem to.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Jun 18, 2013,
#29
Quote by Arby911


There's only a small subset of music that actually uses power tube distortion, and unless you're playing from that subset it's not only entirely unnecessary, it's undesirable.


I don't know about that, off the bat the styles that I can think of are more than the styles that are not. The whole rock genre going all the way to extreme metal, blues as well but I guess not all players but most that I've seen recently.

Arby, since you seem more versed in the physics of things, maybe you can explain the phenomenon where a 15 watt tube amp with 1x12 with 30 watt speaker overpowers and sounds louder a 120 watt solid state amp going through two 2x12 70 watt speakers. I remember reading the "proper" electrical engineer explanation but for the most part I now just take it as a fact, probably reason why most tube amps top off at 100 watts while solid state amps go up to 300 watts and more to avoid the undesired power stage solid state clipping, which in tube amps is actually for the most part desired and pleasant.
#30
I am not aware of any metal that utilizes poweramp distortion, other than maybe the very first metal bands, like 70's stuff.
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
#32
Quote by diabolical
I don't know about that, off the bat the styles that I can think of are more than the styles that are not. The whole rock genre going all the way to extreme metal, blues as well but I guess not all players but most that I've seen recently.
Nope. Sorry, but power amp distortion in most metal is very much avoided. This is especially the case with extreme metal, where the entire sound revolves around preamp distortion. This is why solid state amps tend to thrive in the metal community more than others.

Sincerely,
Someone who plays extreme metal.
#33
Wow, dudes I can't believe this...all new metal bands goose both the preamp and power amp, so yes, the power sections usually distort as well, adding to the sound. What do you think happens when you push a Mesa Rectifier master volume on 11? If it weren't so all of them would be playing tube preamps through ss power amps
#34
Quote by diabolical
I don't know about that, off the bat the styles that I can think of are more than the styles that are not. The whole rock genre going all the way to extreme metal, blues as well but I guess not all players but most that I've seen recently.

Arby, since you seem more versed in the physics of things, maybe you can explain the phenomenon where a 15 watt tube amp with 1x12 with 30 watt speaker overpowers and sounds louder a 120 watt solid state amp going through two 2x12 70 watt speakers. I remember reading the "proper" electrical engineer explanation but for the most part I now just take it as a fact, probably reason why most tube amps top off at 100 watts while solid state amps go up to 300 watts and more to avoid the undesired power stage solid state clipping, which in tube amps is actually for the most part desired and pleasant.



Well, really too many possible variables but lets hit a few.

That can happen due to speaker sensitivity, amp design causing it to sit better in the mix, better EQ, a tube amps ability to exceed rated power by a significant margin etc.

Also FWIW speaker power handling isn't relevant.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#35
Quote by diabolical
Wow, dudes I can't believe this...all new metal bands goose both the preamp and power amp, so yes, the power sections usually distort as well, adding to the sound. What do you think happens when you push a Mesa Rectifier master volume on 11? If it weren't so all of them would be playing tube preamps through ss power amps
With that much gain, all power tube distortion does is muddy up the tone in a genre where you're already striving for clarity.

Seriously, man, its pretty universal that power amp distortion is more actively avoided the more extreme you get in metal. I don't know who you're referring to when you say "all new metal bands," but I would love to hear examples. Watch any in-studio footage for a metal band, and you will see them sitting in a room playing the amp at pretty reasonable levels.

Here's Dying Fetus (a very extreme metal band) recording guitars in the studio for their latest album:

The guitarist runs a (solid state) Ampeg VH140c stereo with an Engl for the album, and uses the (solid state) Ampeg alone for live shows. No power amp distortion present or wanted.
#36
Quote by gregs1020
holy crap this thread.

go buy that xxx combo.


This.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#37
Well now that you mention Dying Fetus I was in a band with their drummer, the one that recorded "War of Attrition". The dude in the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc6eSBmJRxc

Just coming off recording one of their albums he was referring to old Ampeg heads so it might be that amp. I remember looking them up and thinking they were the VL1002 but not sure since some time has passed.

I was present on a few sessions in town (I worked as audio engineer full time until few years ago) and for example one of the bands were using 5150s for rhythm tones, the amps were again pretty much at 11 (well about 7 or 8) with overdrives in front. Another band - Plexis, same thing, rattling the cages. Plenty of videos on youtube about Dreamtheater and how they use several Mesas for Petrucci's sound.

Another band I'll refer to is Helstrar and since they're local I know their engineer - 6505/5150 all the way up in an iso room. There is a video somewhere of that too.

Andy Sneap productions - plenty of videos again pushing 5150s...At the Gates - same thing...Let the OP see what he likes, I personally like to push my front end as well as the power amp, that is why I usually drop at lower wattage and goose it all the way up. You can check a sound sample in my profile. All these amps are distorting both pre and power amps.

BTW - what do you guys think happens when a tube power amp section (say 2 or 4 EL43s) distort?I am really curios to hear the answer cause my perception is that you think something like a Digitech Grunge or Metalzone dumps on there and starts buzzing and losing definition. At the same time in another thread one of you advocated the buzzy mess made by Boss - the HM-2 to be put in front of an amp for brootal tone with no definition, yet we're worried about power amp distortion once this buzzy bees' nest hits the power section???
Last edited by diabolical at Jun 18, 2013,
#39
Quote by diabolical
Arby, since you seem more versed in the physics of things, maybe you can explain the phenomenon where a 15 watt tube amp with 1x12 with 30 watt speaker overpowers and sounds louder a 120 watt solid state amp going through two 2x12 70 watt speakers. I remember reading the "proper" electrical engineer explanation but for the most part I now just take it as a fact, probably reason why most tube amps top off at 100 watts while solid state amps go up to 300 watts and more to avoid the undesired power stage solid state clipping, which in tube amps is actually for the most part desired and pleasant.


Don't know where you heard this and am not sure if you are stating it as a fact for all cases but it is for the most part completely wrong.

Firstly, 'Sounds louder'? - Volume or 'sound pressure level' (dB or dBA, doesn't matter in this case) for the 120W SS will FAR EXCEED the 15W tube's maximum volume.

Secondly, I own a 120W 2x12 SS and a 15W 1x12 tube and can confirm this for you without exploring the laws of physics.

Also use of the word 'overpowers' is quite wrong too since power is measured in watts and if I'm not mistaken 15 << 120...

virusoflife26, take a look at vox valvetronix if you want onboard effects
#40
Quote by 7thString
Don't know where you heard this and am not sure if you are stating it as a fact for all cases but it is for the most part completely wrong.

Firstly, 'Sounds louder'? - Volume or 'sound pressure level' (dB or dBA, doesn't matter in this case) for the 120W SS will FAR EXCEED the 15W tube's maximum volume.

Secondly, I own a 120W 2x12 SS and a 15W 1x12 tube and can confirm this for you without exploring the laws of physics.

Also use of the word 'overpowers' is quite wrong too since power is measured in watts and if I'm not mistaken 15 << 120...

virusoflife26, take a look at vox valvetronix if you want onboard effects



How is "buried" then? It happened in my band. Both are in the backline by the drummer, the TT was very loud, very audible, cutting through the drums and vocal PA, while the other amp was completely lost. The other guy tried to eq it, change distortion settings, change amp models, nada. The TT completely destroyed it and it was against a solid state amp ten times louder (by spec). You might say it was just me but our drummer complained that he couldn't hear the other guy so he couldn't lock into his parts where I wasn't playing.

OK, I found the right "scientific" explanation:
http://www.geofex.com/tubeampfaq/beginner_tube_amps.htm

"Are Tube Amps louder than solid state amps of the same power?

Yes and no. If you put a power meter on the output of a tube amplifier and a solid state amplifier that have been matched for total output power, then the meter will read almost exactly the same power for equivalent drive conditions - so in this sense, the answer is no, they are not louder. However, if you LISTEN to the two amps, you'll find that the tube amp does indeed sound louder to your ears, in opposition to what the meter is telling you. Why?
It's tied up in the sensing instrument - that is, your ear. The way the human ear works is that it is very sensitive to the harmonic content of a sound. A tube amp is less linear (that is, has more distortion) at signal levels below clipping than a solid state amplifier. The distortion will increase slowly, and then more rapidly as the amp starts to clip. In fact, the distortion increases so gradually and is of such a benign nature that the onset of audible distortion has no easily defined threshold. The solid state amplifier on the other hand has no such gradualism. It is almost perfectly non-distorting right up to the point that it clips, and then it clips HARD. It's easy to hear the threshold.
This sudden onset of distortion is also composed of relatively harsh sounding distortion, not like the subtle second and third harmonics of the tube amp. The human ear hears the sudden harsh distortion as clipping and harshness. It interprets the low order distortion of the tube amp as a louder sound, not as distortion. In effect, the tube amp fools the ear into thinking that its early distortion is more loudness. They therefore sound louder or more powerful than the actual measurements show are really there."
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