#1
So I have 3 12ax7's for my Super Champ to switch when I want it to sound a certain way. The best one for classic rock[and apparently volume too] is some Sovtek 12ax7SP and I had this little 20 watt thing on volume of 2.8 and it was blowing me away at how loud it gets. My pc was having a hard time keeping up with the Backing Track volume. So how is it that SS amps can never get louder than what they rate at, but a tube amp can?

tl;dr how come tubes are louder?
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#5
watts just tell you the amount of power used....not sound. but of course with more power comes more responciblility, haha. most of the time more power=more volume...when using tubes, I guess that you dont need as much power to have more sound. and also people say that it just sounds louder to our ears, but it really isnt louder. but that never made sence to me...
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#6
It has to do with frequency curves and how tubes translate frequencies as opposed to SS electronics. It's a perceived difference in volume to the human ear, but since that's what we use to detect volume...

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#7
More harmonics is reason one. Reason two is you can fully crank a tube amp and exceed its wattage rating, while you can get an ss amp no where near its max or it clips and sounds horrible
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#8
Quote by fifer
watts just tell you the amount of power used....not sound. but of course with more power comes more responciblility, haha. most of the time more power=more volume...when using tubes, I guess that you dont need as much power to have more sound. and also people say that it just sounds louder to our ears, but it really isnt louder. but that never made sence to me...


Someone once said something about the speakers acting up? Is there a wiki on the theory of tubes and how they work compared to SS?
I got some good guitars, yo.
#9
In your particular case, there is something at work besides just tubes. Fender uses linear potentiometers (pots) in all of their guitar amps for the volume knob. This is important because the ear hears loudness on a logarithmic scale, which is what is normally used for volume pots in effect pedals and other amp makes.

So, this means that the amp stops getting louder at around 7-8 (out of 12), and seems like its REALLY loud around 2-3. You've been tricked by Fender.

This is only half a marketing ploy though. Fender claims its an traditional thing, as when fender started making amps, only linear pots were in production, and they have never changed to the logarithmic type. Oh well.
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#10
So if I change the pots will it get louder than it already gets?
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#11
No, the amp will just increase volume more gradually.
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#12
Quote by SRVStrat808
You've been tricked by Fender.


Wait...but if we all hear on the same level, does this mean it's a scheme of some sort?
I got some good guitars, yo.
#13
Quote by Kevin Saale
No, the amp will just increase volume more gradually.


That's what I want it to do, so I can play bedroom volumes and gig volumes.
I got some good guitars, yo.
#14
Then swamp out the pot, I doubt its much harder than doing the same on a guitar.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#15
Tube distortion = even order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.

SS distortion = odd order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.


The human ear does not like odd order harmonics, therefore it naturally has a tendancy to block them out and ignore them, and this is beyond our control. The harmonics produced by tube amps are much more pleasing and the ear hears them much clearer and louder than those of a SS amp.

Now I'm not saying this is the major factor, but it certainly does attribute to the difference.
#16
Quote by MrPillow
Tube distortion = even order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.

SS distortion = odd order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.


The human ear does not like odd order harmonics, therefore it naturally has a tendancy to block them out and ignore them, and this is beyond our control. The harmonics produced by tube amps are much more pleasing and the ear hears them much clearer and louder than those of a SS amp.

Now I'm not saying this is the major factor, but it certainly does attribute to the difference.


Are you sure about this? What I read is that even order harmonics are more pleasing to the ear and odd orders sound unpleasant. Class A/B amps (most modern tube amps are) output mostly odd order harmonics where as Class A output mostly even order harmonics.
I think the fact that tube amps appear to be louder (even though when measured with a decibel meter they output just as much dB as SS with the same speakers), is that the harmonic distortion of a tube amp is gradual. The distortion of the signal in tube amps is so gradual that there is no definable threshold when the distortion becomes audible.
The ear perceives the (inaudible) low order distortion of the signal as loudness instead of actual distortion.
Solid states don't have this gradual effect. They either clip, or they don't. Here the threshold is easily heard.
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#17
Quote by Ventor

I think the fact that tube amps appear to be louder (even though when measured with a decibel meter they output just as much dB as SS with the same speakers), is that the harmonic distortion of a tube amp is gradual. The distortion of the signal in tube amps is so gradual that there is no definable threshold when the distortion becomes audible.
The ear perceives the (inaudible) low order distortion of the signal as loudness instead of actual distortion.
Solid states don't have this gradual effect. They either clip, or they don't. Here the threshold is easily heard.


That's what I've heard too. I don't know anything about the even/odd order harmonics tho. Although from what I've read, the difference between Class A and A/B amps is pretty small, tonewise (as in, you can achieve the same effect with other things in the amp design).
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#18
Quote by MrPillow
Tube distortion = even order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.

SS distortion = odd order harmonics of the 2nd and 3rd overtone.
Totally wrong on all accounts.
  • - There is no such thing as an "even order harmonic of the 3nd overtone."
  • - There is no such thing as an "odd order harmonic of the 2nd overtone."
  • - Harmonic = Overtone. they're synonyms.
  • - Even or odd refer to the multiples.
  • - 2nd harmonic is one of the even order multiples
  • - 3rd harmonic is one of the odd order multiples.
  • - Tubes distortion can produce either even or odd order harmonics.
  • - SS distortion can produce either even or odd order harmonics.
  • - Single ended stages produce even order harmonics
  • - Symetrical push-pull stages produce odd order harmonics.



Quote by MrPillow
The human ear does not like odd order harmonics, therefore it naturally has a tendancy to block them out and ignore them, and this is beyond our control.
Complete rubbish. The "cranked tube amp" sound that's so coveted is rich in odd harmonics from distortion in the push-pull output stage.

Quote by MrPillow
The harmonics produced by tube amps are much more pleasing
Yes.

Quote by MrPillow
and the ear hears them much clearer and louder than those of a SS amp.
No.

Quote by MrPillow
Now I'm not saying this is the major factor, but it certainly does attribute to the difference.
It isn't.
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