#1
Can anyone explain me the reason why tube amps are "so much better" than solid states that can emulate the tube sound?
#2
whats better a 400hp Suped up Civic? or a Ferrari? Frozen Dinners? or a steak meal? a live CD? or being at a live concert?

you can answer those yourself
Ibanez -> Peavey -> Eardrums

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#3
Tube amps have vacuum tubes that give a certain warmth to the sound.

They make it sound bigger, like tube amps are 3d and solidstate amps are 2d... Best way I can describe it.
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#4
Quote by Funky P
whats better a 400hp Suped up Civic? or a Ferrari? Frozen Dinners? or a steak meal? a live CD? or being at a live concert?

you can answer those yourself



civic bcause its cheaper, and it is more common, so i can get parts easier if need be.

frozen dinners are convieant to make and do taste mighty darn tasty

live cd i can enjoy anytime.

sorry, had to. but tube amps are better because the distortion channels are actually distort ing the tubes, so its a smoother real distortion.

once you play one, you can tell the difference.
#5
Quote by chunkybrotha
civic bcause its cheaper, and it is more common, so i can get parts easier if need be.

frozen dinners are convieant to make and do taste mighty darn tasty

live cd i can enjoy anytime.

sorry, had to. but tube amps are better because the distortion channels are actually distort ing the tubes, so its a smoother real distortion.

once you play one, you can tell the difference.


No you are exactly right. SS amps are cheaper to manufacture and buy, they are also produced in larger numbers so they are indeed easier to obtain. SS's dont need to be warmed up, so instant playing right there. SS means no moving parts and better portability. SS does have its advantages just like those comparison items. But there is much better sound and quality in a tube.
Ibanez -> Peavey -> Eardrums

Apparently I'm on some list of people to listen to..?
#6
When an SS breaks up, the sound waves are jagged, compared to a slightly compresses sound wave of a tube amp. It is warmer, or smoother to the human ear. And just because it's warm and smooth doesn't mean there isn't gain. It just sounds more appealing at breakup. And at low volume they are close in sound.
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#7
Your all getting there, but yes the main difference is the sound, thats why you would want a tube amp:

1) Valve amps (I am English so I say Valve, after thermionic valve, yanks say tube after electron tube) sound different because valves behave differently to transistors and clipping diodes (aka solid state). Solid state devices have a very unnatural input-output amplification curve, so you could play quite quietly, then ever so slightly harder and the amp would suddenly get a lot louder, sounding very unnatural. This is best heard as a note dies away, it will not ring on getting gradually fainter, but suddenly die.
In a valve amp the curve is much more gradual, meaning the dynamics of the notes are preserved more naturally. This is present in both preamp, and more importantly output valves. (this is why a hybrid amp which lacks the output valves does not sound anywhere near as good as the real thing).

so, to condense, the dynamics of valve amps are much more natural.

2) Valves sound 'warmer' than solid state. This is because they accentuate certain harmonics which give the sound a warm character, Also, the frequency response cuts off at about 8kHz, so there is no harsh, trebbly hiss.

3) Overdrive! Because of the points mentioned in 1) the overdrive is far smoother, natural (if overdrive can be considered natural), and musical. Providing the gain is not too high, the note will begin overdriven and gradually become clean whilst becoming quieter as it dies away. Play very softly and the sound will be clean.
So the pre-amp overdrive is more natural, but then we have power stage overdrive,

Power valves will also distort as the volume is turned up, providing a lovely, squishy, compressed sound, think AC-DC or anything classic rock. It's not fuzzy, but it sounds loud and ready to rock. However, you do need to crank the amp, which can annoy parents, siblings, neighbours, police etc...

4) A lot of people say that valve amps are 'louder' than solid state. This is becase the valves accentuate the harmonics which our ears are more sensitive to, so it sounds louder. Additionally, valve amps, being more expensive tend to be put with better, larger speakers if in a combo, or used with a cab, so they are much louder than something solid state of the same amp. It's pretty hard to tell because once things get loud enough, it just hurts instead of sounding any louder.

5) Price. Valve amps require higher quality components, more care during assembly, and because they are coveted cost more in the shops. Valves are only made in Russia and China now, so are a lot more expensive than transistors. Unfortunatly they are not made as well as they used to be as well, and for every valve made that is used in a guitar, there are a lot that are unsuitable.

6) Valve amps need more care than solid state. Valves are delicate (similar to how lightbulbs are delicate), and have to be warmed up before use. They also need to be biased correctly and not shaken. You can't throw a valve amp around, or leave it in the back of a transit without strapping it in. Solid state amps are more forgiving. But they dont sound as good...


So thats basically it. Probably more, and there is pages and pages about it. Try wikipedia for more.
#8
Thanks for all those explanations, now I'm SURE that I need a solid state and not a tube/valve amp.
#9
^Uh, right....
Excellent explanation isotone.
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#10
Quote by UniverseZero
Thanks for all those explanations, now I'm SURE that I need a solid state and not a tube/valve amp.



This due to price? I forgot to mention that valve amps are on the whole a lot more versatile than solid state, even if the solid state has lots of channels and sounds. Sure it has a lot, but they may not be very good. Even a 1 channel valve amp will suffice to give a multitude of sounds that are suitable for a lot of things, obviously you miss out on channel switching there.

This is because its easy to find a 'good' sound with them. They do cleans great because valves can work very clean too, turn up the gain a bit (and volume) and you get some nice bluesy crunch, bit more for classic rock, bit more for modern, and full on for metal. IMO it is much better to have a few decent sounds from an amp than 20 that all sound pants (this goes for any amp).
#11
Not only for price, but because I would have to bring it from US (I live in Costa Rica and I can't get them here) and it would really get ****ed up in the plane if its so fragile...
#12
Quote by UniverseZero
Thanks for all those explanations, now I'm SURE that I need a solid state and not a tube/valve amp.



Why is that?
#13
You can find tube amps anywhere, you just need to know where to look

EDIT: Gutch, he just told us why...
#14
Quote by aznrockerdude


EDIT: Gutch, he just told us why...

did he? i didn't read it, I just wanted to use that tiger picture
#15
Quote by UniverseZero
Not only for price, but because I would have to bring it from US (I live in Costa Rica and I can't get them here) and it would really get ****ed up in the plane if its so fragile...


I really don't think those reasons weigh up to the better sound they have... Besides, shipping companies DO make sure fragile things are properly packed, you know...
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.