#1
Okay, I'm a novice here. I'm also aware that the SS vs Tube Amp can turn into a Ford vs Chevy argument. Hopefully this thread will remain constructive. In addition at any time feel free to tell me I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. Much of what I'm about to say may in fact be out of ignorance. So now that that's out of the way...

It's my understanding that with distortion on a tube amp you basically have 2 tubes (or sets of tubes). The first tube is a low wattage tube. Once you "push" that tube past a few watts it will distort (via the gain control). The other tube will then amplify this distorted sound to whatever level you desire. If I'm incorrect here, please let me know.

On a SS amp, you're basically using solid state electronics to emulate this analog distortion. As such, just like any other "emulation", it's not perfect and therefore the tube amp ultimately sounds "better".

I've used the past two paragraphs as the basis for my understanding when I was looking at distortion pedals. From my limited research over the course of this past weekend, it appears as if most pedals are solid state. I was looking at one in particular that was tube, but most I found were solid state. That leads me to my question:

Since many people use pedals can I assume that most people are actually emulating distortion and then amplifying this distortion via a tube amp's clean channel? If so, can I be safe to say that it's almost as if you're running a hybrid of SS and Tube? It makes sense to me with my limited understanding that if anything the distorted channel would be the channel that we'd prefer to have tubes as opposed to the clean channel. If this is the case, why aren't more pedals tube?

I spent a reasonable amount of time researching several products over the weekend and me being a engineering minded person, a good chunk of that time was trying to visualize how it works in my mind... and what the advantages/disadvantages are. I'm hoping this thread can fill in the gaps of my knowledge and when appropriate point out my misconceptions... heck, you can tell me I'm flat out wrong on all counts. I'm not an expert here and take criticism well.

Mike
#2
i too would like to know about ss/tube pedals.
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#3
most people use an overdrive pedal with tube amps to push the tubes harder,not distortion pedals..
#4
look at blackstar. They have a line of excellent tube pedals. They aren't that expensive for tube either. I play them all the time at work.

Ps: they actually have tubes IN them. Use a distortion pedal for ss and overdrive for tube.
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Last edited by HyperBoy2519 at Oct 6, 2008,
#5
Quote by HyperBoy2519
look at blackstar. They have a line of excellent tube pedals. They aren't that expensive for tube either. I play them all the time at work.

Ps: they actually have tubes IN them. Use a distortion pedal for ss and overdrive for tube.


At this point I'm just trying to educate myself on the different options that are available. I'm still very much a novice, so I'm just looking to educate myself on the equipment that's out there and the different technologies that are used to create sound. I'm hoping someone could elaborate a bit more on the difference between overdrive and distortion.
#6
"As a general rule, all-tube is the best. Tubes are old technology (1930?s and 1940?s) and have been superceded by transistors almost everywhere, except in audio applications, where they sound more ?natural?. Pretty much all all-tube amps have to be cranked to a loud volume (not necessarily full power, but pretty loud) to sound at their best. This is because they get a lot of their tone from ?power-amp overdrive?- that is, the power-tubes being worked hard at, or close to, full volume. However, it is NOT, in my experience, true that if you can?t play at a loud volume that you shouldn?t buy an all-tube amp (unless you want a non-master volume amp). Most all-tube amps I?ve tried sound AT LEAST as good as SS amps at low volumes, and MUCH better at medium to high volumes. Also, you can buy an attenuator, to connect between your amp and speakers, which lets you get power-tube overdrive at lower volumes.

Master volume versus non-master volume: most old amps (and new ones designed to be vintage-correct) didn?t have pre-amp gain/overdrive controls. The only way to get overdrive was to crank the amp to full volume, or plug an overdrive pedal into the front of the amp. Master volumes have a volume or gain control for the pre-amp, that allows you to get preamp distortion as well. A lot of tone hounds say this doesn?t sound as good, but if you play any kind of modern music that uses overdrive or distortion (basically, rock or anything heavier), you pretty much need a master volume amp.

Another handy trick is that you can use an overdrive pedal to boost the overdrive channel on an all-tube amp. This increases the gain and sustain, but still sounds natural and tube-like- especially if you keep the gain/drive on the pedal low, and the level high.

Overdrive is often confused with distortion due to a similar "kind" of sound.. but overdrive re-creates the natural warm sound of a vintage tube amp that is being "overdriven" or is breaking up. when a tube amps volume is pushed beyond its capacity, they "break up" and begin to sound crunchy and distorted, the resulting sound is overdrive.

Distortion -
Distortion is what makes metal, rock, punk, grunge, etc... sound the way it does. you know what i mean, the crunchy riffs the screeming pinch harmonics and solos , that dirty ass bone crunching sound of death and pain marching across the land AAAARRRGGHHHH!!! that my friend, is distortion. Distortion clips the top and bottom off a signal, effectively making the sine wave, like this . Soft clipping is produced by tube amps overdriving and distortion/overdrive pedals. Hard clipping is caused by overdriving solid state circuits. distortion ranges from mild to ball shattering in intensity and thickness."

It's all in the stickies. They're useful. Try them.

And there are far better pedals than the Blackstars, IMO. They're noisy, and they don't produce a whole lot of desirable sounds. I prefer the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Mayhems, or even pedals without tubes, like the Virtual Sound Jekyll and Hyde. A tube in a pedal is no real guarantee of good sound, nor is it (IMO) much better than a pedal without tubes.
I'm putting my GAS on hold
for a couple months in order to pimp my ride.


Don't judge me.
#7
The main difference between Tubes and Solid State distortion is the type of distortion generated. When driven hard SS amps experience clipping distortion which cuts the top & bottom of the waveform off as the signal approachs the supply voltage levels. This distortion is harsher and has more odd harmonics in it due to the waveform which is now closer to a square wave than sineusoidal waveform. Tube amps can have two types of distortion:
One is called crossover distortion and occurs in Class B (Class AB) ampps and it's in the middle of the waveform where the signal crosses over between the output tubes when in push pull configuration (doesn't occur in Class A).
The other is non-linear distortion that occurs when increases in input current don't result in corresponding increases in output current. This type of distortion is more compressed and doesn't have the square waved appearance of the Clipped SS type. It sounds sweeter because there aren't as many odd harmonics to it.
Moving on.....
#8
Quote by mingoglia
Okay, I'm a novice here. I'm also aware that the SS vs Tube Amp can turn into a Ford vs Chevy argument. Hopefully this thread will remain constructive. In addition at any time feel free to tell me I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. Much of what I'm about to say may in fact be out of ignorance. So now that that's out of the way...

It's my understanding that with distortion on a tube amp you basically have 2 tubes (or sets of tubes). The first tube is a low wattage tube. Once you "push" that tube past a few watts it will distort (via the gain control). The other tube will then amplify this distorted sound to whatever level you desire. If I'm incorrect here, please let me know.

Something like that. The first set of tubes is called the preamp. It basically shapes the sound, and there's more to it than just tubes (or transistors), the EQ'ing is done here. This is what makes guitar amps sound better than say, keyboard amps.

The second set is called the poweramp which amplifies the signal. However, when you turn your amp high enough (tube amp, SS amps power section distorting usually sound pretty bad) the poweramp will start to distort too. This actually sounds better for some applications, blues and classic rock for some. Of course this is all generalisation.
Quote by mingoglia

On a SS amp, you're basically using solid state electronics to emulate this analog distortion. As such, just like any other "emulation", it's not perfect and therefore the tube amp ultimately sounds "better".

For one, solid state can be analog too. Most modelling amps are digital while "normal" (as in non-modelling) tend to be analog. It's true that some solid state amps emulate the way tube amps work, but not all solid state amps are bad. Some are good in their own record, and some are very good at emulating (higher end modelling amps like Vettas for one).
Quote by mingoglia

I've used the past two paragraphs as the basis for my understanding when I was looking at distortion pedals. From my limited research over the course of this past weekend, it appears as if most pedals are solid state. I was looking at one in particular that was tube, but most I found were solid state. That leads me to my question:

Since many people use pedals can I assume that most people are actually emulating distortion and then amplifying this distortion via a tube amp's clean channel? If so, can I be safe to say that it's almost as if you're running a hybrid of SS and Tube? It makes sense to me with my limited understanding that if anything the distorted channel would be the channel that we'd prefer to have tubes as opposed to the clean channel. If this is the case, why aren't more pedals tube?

"Most people" here is up to debate. Running pedals is a lot cheaper than getting a tube amp that can achieve the level of distortion you want by itself. So thus if more people are running pedals than distortion channels on amps (I believe on professional level there might be more amps used), it might be because of financial reasons. Also, a lot of professional players use overdrive pedals as clean boosts (as in, turn the gain to 0 on the pedal and level high, so it just boosts your signal tightening your sound up and adding more gain).
Quote by mingoglia

I spent a reasonable amount of time researching several products over the weekend and me being a engineering minded person, a good chunk of that time was trying to visualize how it works in my mind... and what the advantages/disadvantages are. I'm hoping this thread can fill in the gaps of my knowledge and when appropriate point out my misconceptions... heck, you can tell me I'm flat out wrong on all counts. I'm not an expert here and take criticism well.

Mike

Remember, not all pedals sound bad. However, the general consensus around here is that the best thing is running a tube amps distortion channel (with a clean boost if you want). In the end, it's down to what sounds good, not how that sound is generated.
Quote by Lunchbox362
This thread if fail in almost every way imaniganable.
#9
I appreciate all the detailed and well thought out responses. This is a lot to digest, particularly while I'm surfing the forum at work. BTW, I have a VYPR 30 that I just got as a practice/learning amp. I'm far from ready to even consider the higher end options but am intrigued by what's out there and how it works. Thanks!

Mike
#10
First of all I'm assuming you're talking preamp tubes..In older amps the circuit is in parrallel. Meanining the signal from one tube doesn't feed into the next tube and so on. This type of circuit controls tone shaping only, no extra gain.. Todays design cascades, dumping the signal from one tube into the next tube, into the next tube on down the line. I favor using a distortion pedal to boost the signal into the amp to push the power tubes into a nice overdriven quality causing the power supply to do all the work.. Of course you maybe loud, but, the power section of any amp is the true work horse and gives you the touch sensitivity we all crave..conrad
#11
tube vs SS is more like nissan vs rolls royce

one's cheap

one's good
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#12
TS: NO VS. THREADS!

It is clearly against the rules.

I will be nice this time and not report you though since you are relatively new.
#13
Quote by i_am_metalhead
TS: NO VS. THREADS!

It is clearly against the rules.

I will be nice this time and not report you though since you are relatively new.


I just referred to the TOS and I believe the spirit of that rule has to do with asking "which is best". This threads typically turn into a swinging (insert slang for male reproductive organ here) contests. These turn into wars, just like the Chevy vs Ford wars.

In contrast, my thread clearly is designed to discuss the technology (not one particular product) of what makes these things tic. I was at no time asking if product A, is better than product B. I believe any clear minded person such as yourself or the moderators would agree with this.

On Edit:
Figured I'd post the particular rule in question for those who wish to review it:

"No 'versus' threads
- This means no threads like 'Which is worse: Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco' and 'Peanut butter or Jam?'. These threads nearly always incite really pointless arguments that we don't want in the Pit.
Punishment: The thread will be closed."
Last edited by mingoglia at Oct 6, 2008,
#14
Quote by i_am_metalhead
TS: NO VS. THREADS!

It is clearly against the rules.

I will be nice this time and not report you though since you are relatively new.

Yeah, it's a decent question, not a VS thread. Steve_Epi just made it one.
I'm putting my GAS on hold
for a couple months in order to pimp my ride.


Don't judge me.
#15
Quote by stevo_epi_SG_wo
tube vs SS is more like nissan vs rolls royce

one's cheap

one's good


wrong. there are some really good SS amps out there, just like there are some really bad tube amps out there.

stop jumping on the bandwagon, please.
Quote by patriotplayer90
Lolz that guy is a noob.

Egnater
Leave it on the press, Depress Depress Taboot Taboot.
#16
Quote by mingoglia
I just referred to the TOS and I believe the spirit of that rule has to do with asking "which is best". This threads typically turn into a swinging (insert slang for male reproductive organ here) contests. These turn into wars, just like the Chevy vs Ford wars.

In contrast, my thread clearly is designed to discuss the technology (not one particular product) of what makes these things tic. I was at no time asking if product A, is better than product B. I believe any clear minded person such as yourself or the moderators would agree with this.

On Edit:
Figured I'd post the particular rule in question for those who wish to review it:

"No 'versus' threads
- This means no threads like 'Which is worse: Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco' and 'Peanut butter or Jam?'. These threads nearly always incite really pointless arguments that we don't want in the Pit.
Punishment: The thread will be closed."


No, it refers to all versus threads - anything that pits one item against another is a versus thread.

I was trying to be nice, but since you want to be stupid about this then you leave me no choice.

*reported*
#17
Quote by Jhachey22
wrong. there are some really good SS amps out there, just like there are some really bad tube amps out there.

stop jumping on the bandwagon, please.


rolls royce was an extreme example but im fully aware that a flextone or a vetta II would piss rings around a valve junior or a valveking, i was talking in general....and doing a joke >__>

anyway, the skyline and 350z are awesome cars

Quote by i_am_metalhead
No, it refers to all versus threads - anything that pits one item against another is a versus thread.

I was trying to be nice, but since you want to be stupid about this then you leave me no choice.

*reported*


i interpreted this as a "why not more pedals with tubes in?" thread

"MCR vs FOB" would get you banned

"i play rock and blues, whats better for me: valve junior or blackheart?" wouldnt

descretion thx
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#18
Quote by i_am_metalhead
No, it refers to all versus threads - anything that pits one item against another is a versus thread.

I was trying to be nice, but since you want to be stupid about this then you leave me no choice.

*reported*

Then why not go ahead and report all of the "Which New Amp" threads or "Which New Pedal" threads and shut down the forum. Yay Legalism.
I'm putting my GAS on hold
for a couple months in order to pimp my ride.


Don't judge me.
#19
This thread addresses a couple of questions that I have myself. It is definitely not a VS thread and the guy who reported it needs to relax and read beyond the title of the thread.
Would I get reported if instead of making a "what color should I paint my guitar" I make a "black Vs white for my guitar" thread? I mean come on. User discretion is advised.
#20
This is a top quality thread, i have found it to be useful, dont close it.

I am metalhead, you sound like a real sad looser, get a life please.
RG's & Mesa's
#21
Quote by i_am_metalhead
No, it refers to all versus threads - anything that pits one item against another is a versus thread.

I was trying to be nice, but since you want to be stupid about this then you leave me no choice.

*reported*

Did you even bother reading the opening post at all?

This thread doesn't pit one item against another!


at least if we stay on topic
Quote by Lunchbox362
This thread if fail in almost every way imaniganable.
#22
This thread is fine. The TS obviously stated that his intention for creating this thread was to learn about SS/tubes, not to argue. I thought this thread was useful and I learned from it quite a bit as well being an acoustic guy and not an electric guitar guy. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on amps everyone.
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