#1
Or do we just THINK they are?
Like, do they emit more audible frequencies or something, or are they really "louder"?
#2
Just depends on the wattage of the amp! tubes have a much nicer warmer sound than solid state.
I use a Marshall 50watt AVT combo, its a hybrid amp, which means it has a tube, and solid state, but i'd take on a 100w solid state stack, and prob win...tubes are the way to go
#3
.... your AVT has one tube in it.

that does not make it an actual tube amp by any means.
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#4
A VERY quick google search turned up this:

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.


Source: http://www.geofex.com/tubeampfaq/beginner_tube_amps.htm

An easier to understand answer:
Some excellent scientific work on tube preamplifiers and their distortion products has turned up the mechanism for this. When tubes are driven outside their linear region, for the first 12db or so of overdrive the harmonics that they produce trick the human ear into thinking that the sounds are getting louder, when in fact the sound is getting progressively more distorted.

It is this acoustic trick that can make tube amps sound up to 12db louder than they actually are compared to a perfect, undistorted amplifier. A solid state amplifier of the same power as a tube amp may distort at the same signal level as the tube amp, but the distortions are not subtle, and we hear them as distortion, not as a slightly louder sound. A solid state amplifier of much greater power would remain undistorted at higher levels, and the tube amp would sound comparably loud to the larger solid state amp.

They sound larger than they are.


Source: http://www.geofex.com/tubeampfaq/taffram.htm
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Last edited by .:Darkness:. at Apr 16, 2008,
#5
Its the power amp section that makes a tube amp louder. It compresses your signal and removes the stale frequencies that many solid state amps still seem to carry.
#6
My Roland Cube 60 is louder than my friend's Fender Blues Junior tube amp, but at louder volumes, my Roland does sound a lot fuzzier. I have to turn down my distortion pedal's volume level a lot when playing my Cube at high volumes.
#7
Quote by Thebiz
My Roland Cube 60 is louder than my friend's Fender Blues Junior tube amp, but at louder volumes, my Roland does sound a lot fuzzier. I have to turn down my distortion pedal's volume level a lot when playing my Cube at high volumes.


Yeah, but you're comparing a 60W SS amp to a 15W tube amp.

Short answer is that tube amps do in fact SOUND louder. They're not measurably louder in dB's, but the human ear hears them as louder - which is really all that matters. The harmonic content of a tube amp's output will cut thru the mix much better than a SS amp of the same wattage.
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#8
Amps are like cheese. You know how you can eat oodles of cheap processed cheese and not feel satisfied, but eat a small bit of a good mature cheddar or stiliton and you're all cheesed out? Same principle, quality not quantity.
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#9
If thats the case, a SS 60 watt amp and a tube 60 watt amp will push out the same amount of physical moving air. correct?

If so, would that mean we can essentially listen to a tube amp at much higher volumes (to us) and not have the same damage to our ear?
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#10
Quote by steven seagull
Amps are like cheese. You know how you can eat oodles of cheap processed cheese and not feel satisfied, but eat a small bit of a good mature cheddar or stiliton and you're all cheesed out? Same principle, quality not quantity.


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#11
If they're not actually louder, can you damage the ear by having it up at the same volume level that would sound loud enough for a solid state, but too loud for a tube?
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#12
Quote by .arkness:.
If thats the case, a SS 60 watt amp and a tube 60 watt amp will push out the same amount of physical moving air. correct?

Yes, I believe that's right.
Quote by .arkness:.

If so, would that mean we can essentially listen to a tube amp at much higher volumes (to us) and not have the same damage to our ear?

I'm not totally sure that's true. I believe the frequencies also have something to do with hearing damage, and not just the moving air.
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#13
I suppose frequencies might damage as well but the physical moving air is cause for the damage as well. Wouldn't you, in theory, be able to listen to a tube audio device louder than a solid state audio device, without ear damage?
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#14
i think tubes generally are, my 100 tube head seems as loud, or louder than my friends 150 watt solidstate.
#15
Quote by .arkness:.
I suppose frequencies might damage as well but the physical moving air is cause for the damage as well. Wouldn't you, in theory, be able to listen to a tube audio device louder than a solid state audio device, without ear damage?


I don't think frequencies cause ear damage, it's the intensity of the sound waves (dB).
Our ear does not have a resonance frequency like glass does where it would break at a certain frequency & intensity.
But I don't know if a tube amp produces more dB as a solid state with the same wattage.
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#16
Quote by Ventor
I don't think frequencies cause ear damage, it's the intensity of the sound waves (dB).
Our ear does not have a resonance frequency like glass does where it would break at a certain frequency & intensity.
But I don't know if a tube amp produces more dB as a solid state with the same wattage.


I'm aware of the intensity causing the damage, but I think I've heard of some frequencies being more harmful than others? Oh well, I'm not that sure about that tbh.

But anyway, I think tube amps sound louder at the same dB.
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#17
Quote by Fama
I'm aware of the intensity causing the damage, but I think I've heard of some frequencies being more harmful than others? Oh well, I'm not that sure about that tbh.

But anyway, I think tube amps sound louder at the same dB.


I'm not an expert either, but I know that different people hear different frequencies. Like some people get irritated when someone scratches a nail over a blackboard, others don't. So I find it hard to believe that dangerous frequencies exist, since not everyone might hear them.
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#18
Quote by Ventor
I'm not an expert either, but I know that different people hear different frequencies. Like some people get irritated when someone scratches a nail over a blackboard, others don't. So I find it hard to believe that dangerous frequencies exist, since not everyone might hear them.


I think I've heard something about drum cymbals especially causing a drop in hearing certain frequencies (also you get a drop in certain frequencies if you listen a lot with headphones too loudly etc.). I think treble frequencies are more harmful than bass frequencies of same intensity or something. And tinnitus is the brain sending opposite waveforms to battle the harmful high frequencies or something like that. I'm really not sure about this, but I believe I've read something along those lines.
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#19
Amps are like cheese. You know how you can eat oodles of cheap processed cheese and not feel satisfied, but eat a small bit of a good mature cheddar or stiliton and you're all cheesed out? Same principle, quality not quantity.



thats a brilliant analogy steven seagull! cheers.
#20
amps are like butter...


ok no. but remember it's also important to take into account the SPEAKERS.
how many what types.

move more air and it'll sound louder.

tube amps sound better louder. if you are talking about the same watts, you'll hear the tube amp better, over a drummer, for example.
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#22
Quote by vigenharutyunya
hmm but i've head you need to change the tubes??

hmm that'll make loads of porblems...


but hey so what amp is this??? Squier SP-10

just interesting


If you play for say, an hour a day, you still wouldn't have to change your tubes before next year's christmas, usually.

the sp10 is a low wattage solid state amp without anything to make up for it's sub par sound. Its bearable if you don't have any other choice, but that's about it.
#23
Quote by Revhain
If you play for say, an hour a day, you still wouldn't have to change your tubes before next year's christmas, usually.

the sp10 is a low wattage solid state amp without anything to make up for it's sub par sound. Its bearable if you don't have any other choice, but that's about it.


Pre-amp tubes last for years, more than 5 years is not uncommon. Power tubes generally 1 - 2 years.
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