#1
A SS through a 100 watt cab, and a tube head through a 100 watt head, wouldn't it sound the same?

How can it sound twice as loud if the cab is still 100 watts...?
"It sounded so good and when i put it on a Line 6 Spider with a Zoom guitar efect petal it sounded so good" - Dean SplitTail review on musicians friend
#2
Because more volume isn't being produced, tube amps just tend (!) to cut through the mix better than their SS counterparts.
#3
something to do with the midrange overtones...meaning they have a better sculpted frequency spectrum....more body to the sound if you will
#4
Quote by T!AN
Because more volume isn't being produced, tube amps just tend (!) to cut through the mix better than their SS counterparts.

This. The frequency balance of tube amps naturally favors those your ears pick up on best, so tubes sound louder even though they really aren't.
#6
Nightfyre got it pretty much spot on.

Our ears perceive loudness differently to the actual intensity being produced. You can have a bazillion decibels of 10Hz destroying your eardrums from a 6000 watt amp but not hear a thing. Basically, the way tubes react with the signal ends up producing a higher saturation of frequencies which we are more sensitive to. In other words, for the same intensity, we'll perceive them as louder than a set of frequencies above or below this range at the same intensity. They also smooth out the produced sound waves rather than clipping, which is why they sound less harsh.
#7
Quote by ljohn
Nightfyre got it pretty much spot on.

Our ears perceive loudness differently to the actual intensity being produced. You can have a bazillion decibels of 10Hz destroying your eardrums from a 6000 watt amp but not hear a thing. Basically, the way tubes react with the signal ends up producing a higher saturation of frequencies which we are more sensitive to. In other words, for the same intensity, we'll perceive them as louder than a set of frequencies above or below this range at the same intensity. They also smooth out the produced sound waves rather than clipping, which is why they sound less harsh.


So it can be louder without damaging your hearing...?
"It sounded so good and when i put it on a Line 6 Spider with a Zoom guitar efect petal it sounded so good" - Dean SplitTail review on musicians friend
#8
It gets complicated. Your eardrums have to move back and forth, and at a higher intensity, they move more and vice versa for a lower intensity. However. The higher the frequency, the less responsive your eardrums are. They can't cycle that quickly. Also certain frequencies resonate inside your ear canal, so that also has an effect. But that basic rule of thumb is, if it sounds loud, your tympanic membrane is doin a lot of moving, so keep it reasonable. My guess is tympanic membranes are optimised for mid frequencies (or whatever frequecies we're talkin about with tube amps) and will move more for a lower sound intensity.

Summarised, if it's hurting your ears, turn it down. It isn't the wattage of the amp, it's the effect on your eardrums.
#9
6 times as loud? o_O
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#10
So it can be louder without damaging your hearing...?

you're going to be able damage you're hearing with either amp