#1
All right. I'm pretty new to tube amps, and I know what happens when you crank them, and how they react to certain conditions. But I want to know why.

I've heard that you get distorted tone from the speakers breaking up and from over driving the tubes. So..if it is from the speakers then why can't I crank my solid state. If it's because of the tubes...then what makes the distorted sound.

Also...since I'm using a 100 watt valveking, it's pretty damn loud when I crank it. Say I had.....7 watts? Or at most 30, how loud would that be through a 2x12?
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#2
To answer one part of that, I would think that the sound distorts because the 'overdriven tubes' get hot and start glowing *similar to a light bulb...they have resistance wire in them* which starts to break up/distort the signal running through them the harder they are driven.

I think.

Oh, and I wouldn't have thought the speakers have much to do with it really...the amp head creates and amplifies the sound...the speakers just transfer the signal to audible soundwaves.
#3
Its not the speakers breaking up I dont think, it comes from the valves being pushed harder into nice clipping, SS clipping does happen but its usually harder and not as pleasent.
#4
The tubes in a tube amp will overdrive as you turn them up, yes. The speakers (if they're of a relatively low wattage rating compared to the head) will also break up a bit. Also, SS power amps will break up too. So why don't you crank an SS? Because tubes sound better when they clip, and all the transistors and opamps in an SS amp sound pretty bad.
#5
You can get the speakers to break up in a valve amp or a solid state amp, it happens for example when you have a 33watt amp (most AC30's) with a 30 watt speaker, the speaker is being driven to it's max and will start to distort regardless of wether it's a tube amp or SS. As for how loud a 30 watt amp would be through a 2x12 cab, if it's a tube amp then it'l be as loud as you'll ever need, and i mean that. Only draw back is that you won't have as much clean headroom as you would with say a 100 watt head. Watts do not tell you how loud an amp is but rather how much clean headroom it will have. For example a 100 watt valve won't necessarily be much more than a few decibels louder than a 30 watt with the same speaker configuration
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#6
Ahhhh....maybe it's just the VK, but I have awful clean headroom, because it breaks up at like....5. Hmm.... so if I have a lower watt amp, it'll distort at a lower volume basically?
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#7
Quote by last_biscuit
To answer one part of that, I would think that the sound distorts because the 'overdriven tubes' get hot and start glowing *similar to a light bulb...they have resistance wire in them* which starts to break up/distort the signal running through them the harder they are driven.

I think.

Oh, and I wouldn't have thought the speakers have much to do with it really...the amp head creates and amplifies the sound...the speakers just transfer the signal to audible soundwaves.

The tubes have to be hot otherwise thermionic emission won't happen, which is what the tubes rely on. You really don't seem to understand the whole tube thing, so please don't just guess at it, not meaning to be harsh, it just gives people misconceptions.

The thermionic valves (tubes) emit a cloud of electrons when the (anode or cathode, i don't remember which) is heated to the point of thermionic emission. The current in the tube is then controlled by the 'Grid' which when a voltage is applied, will accelerate electrons to the from the (either anode or cathode, i can't remember which) to the other one of the above. The flow of electrons is current, thus the thermionic valve being a voltage controlled current device.
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#8
Quote by mcw00t
The tubes have to be hot otherwise thermionic emission won't happen, which is what the tubes rely on. You really don't seem to understand the whole tube thing, so please don't just guess at it, not meaning to be harsh, it just gives people misconceptions.

The thermionic valves (tubes) emit a cloud of electrons when the (anode or cathode, i don't remember which) is heated to the point of thermionic emission. The current in the tube is then controlled by the 'Grid' which when a voltage is applied, will accelerate electrons to the from the (either anode or cathode, i can't remember which) to the other one of the above. The flow of electrons is current, thus the thermionic valve being a voltage controlled current device.


thank you, that's exactly what I wanted. Now. If I wanted to....use a volume box, that would heat the tubes as if I were cranking them, but really play at low volume, could I get the same sound?
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#9
Quote by Artemis Entreri
thank you, that's exactly what I wanted. Now. If I wanted to....use a volume box, that would heat the tubes as if I were cranking them, but really play at low volume, could I get the same sound?

You're talking about an attenuator
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#10
Quote by Artemis Entreri
thank you, that's exactly what I wanted. Now. If I wanted to....use a volume box, that would heat the tubes as if I were cranking them, but really play at low volume, could I get the same sound?

Sorry?

The tubes are hot, naturally. Not when just when they're being overdriven, they are hot ALL of the time.

There will be a point where you can turn up to and you'll get a nice tone, but below that, it'll sound fizzy and thin. You can overdrive the preamp tubes as much as you like, but it'll still sound thin and fizzy, this is because the power amp tubes are getting choked (not very much voltage to their grids) as soon as you up this, they'll begin to open up and sound brilliant.
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#11
Quote by Bossman123
You're talking about an attenuator


yeah, I guess that's what it's called.

So it's just hard to get good tube tone eh?

Figures.
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#12
Quote by Bossman123
You're talking about an attenuator

Ah, makes sense now, and yeah, with an attenuator, it'll sound way better, but you'll have a SLIGHT treble cut.
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#13
Quote by Artemis Entreri
thank you, that's exactly what I wanted. Now. If I wanted to....use a volume box, that would heat the tubes as if I were cranking them, but really play at low volume, could I get the same sound?


Well, the tubes will be hot anyway. Otherwise, if you put high voltages through cold tubes, you damage them and they wear out faster. That's why you have to wait for tube amps to warm up.

Also, using an attenuator will give you cranked tones at low volumes and push the power tubes as if you were cranking them. It's not as good as actually cranking them amp but it's still better than nothing.
#14
Aha.

Okay. It's definitely better than what I'm getting right now.

attenuator's cost like 300$ though don't they...
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#17
Quote by guitarcrazy1991
Well, the tubes will be hot anyway. Otherwise, if you put high voltages through cold tubes, you damage them and they wear out faster. That's why you have to wait for tube amps to warm up.

Also, using an attenuator will give you cranked tones at low volumes and push the power tubes as if you were cranking them. It's not as good as actually cranking them amp but it's still better than nothing.

I'll start off being nice Geoff, the second part is very much true.

However, the first part, is not.

Thermionic emission works on the principle that if you heat a material, electrons will gain energy and break free from the atom. Thermionic Valves work on this principle. A cold tube will not do anything, it'll just sit there, not conducting, without a care in the world. However, once you heat it, magical things happen, and a cloud of electrons appear because of thermionic emission!

These electrons can carry a current, and as the anode and cathode are connected (either directly or indirectly) to a power rail, it'll be able to carry a large current, however, there is this nasty limiting thing called a grid. This grid only allows a certain number of electrons to flow from anode to cathode, thus controlling the current. The grid is controlled by a voltage, in actual fact, the voltage oscillations from your guitar/pedals (preamp tubes) or the preamp output (power tubes).

/brief description of how tubes work.
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#18
Check out a few attenuators, look at Weber attanuators and THD Hot Plate, they're probably the best at lower prices....Never actually used an attenuator though. Of course since you're using a combo (i assume) an attenuator can be a little more tricky to wire up but i think there's instructions on the Weber site
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#19
Quote by mcw00t
I'll start off being nice Geoff, the second part is very much true.

However, the first part, is not.

Thermionic emission works on the principle that if you heat a material, electrons will gain energy and break free from the atom. Thermionic Valves work on this principle. A cold tube will not do anything, it'll just sit there, not conducting, without a care in the world. However, once you heat it, magical things happen, and a cloud of electrons appear because of thermionic emission!

These electrons can carry a current, and as the anode and cathode are connected (either directly or indirectly) to a power rail, it'll be able to carry a large current, however, there is this nasty limiting thing called a grid. This grid only allows a certain number of electrons to flow from anode to cathode, thus controlling the current. The grid is controlled by a voltage, in actual fact, the voltage oscillations from your guitar/pedals (preamp tubes) or the preamp output (power tubes).

/brief description of how tubes work.






Geeeeek


Okay, i admit defeat.


#20
Yeah, I am using a combo. I've been looking.

Although my combo seems to be set up just like my godfathers stack. Beats me.

Unfortunately I don't have 250$ even for this.
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