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Difference between SS ant tube rectifier ?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Alan0354, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    US
    What is the sound characteristics difference between a tube and SS rectifiers in clean and distortion?
     

  2. davidKOS

    davidKOS Retired Performer Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    For my the most common issue is sag. Some tube rectifiers can blur the guitar part a bit, something called sag, and SS rectifiers can have a lot less sag. Personally I prefer SS amps since I play with a clean tone, but most folks that use a distorted tube amp might like the tube rec.

    typically the SS amp will have more clean headroom, too.

    Sag

    " Sag refers to the drooping of the power supply voltage in response to large transient signals, which lends a certain dynamic "feel" to the tube amplifier that is not generally found in solid-state amplifiers.

    Unlike a solid-state rectifier, a tube rectifier exhibits a fair amount of voltage drop which varies with the amount of current passing through the tube. In a class AB amplifier, the current drawn from the power supply is much greater at full power output than it is at idle. This large change in current demand causes the voltage drop across the tube rectifier to increase, which lowers the available plate supply voltage to the output tubes. This lowering of the supply voltage lowers the output power slightly in opposition to the larger input signal, making it act like a compressor. The lowered supply voltage also tends to decrease the available headroom, increasing clipping and changing the operating point of the tube dynamically. This type of sag can be emulated artificially in an amplifier with a solid-state rectifier by adding a series resistance, typically around 100 ohms or so."


    GuitarPlayer: All About Rectifiers

    "Still, the slightly compressed feel that a tube rectifier produces when hit hard can be a big part of the magic in some tube amps. It softens the front edge of the player’s pick attack while producing an enticing, explosive swell of notes just behind that attack, and can often make an amp feel more dynamic and touch-sensitive. Players and philosophical amp designers alike will also tell you that they sometimes hear more air and dimension in tube-rectified amps; a sort of bloom and spaciousness in the notes that gives them depth and texture. - See more at: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/all-about-rectifiers/8391#sthash.SwEzpSYk.dpuf"
     

  3. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    US
    Thanks for the reply. I was actually thinking about using a resistor after the SS rectifier to soften up the supply to simulate the tube rectifier myself.

    So the SS is superior for clean sound? Sure saving a lot of money making an amp with SS rectifier.
     

  4. blueworm

    blueworm Senior Stratmaster

    May 6, 2012
    Germany
    Some prefer SS, others prefer tube rectifier. I think it very depends on your playing style and what kind of dynamic "feel" you expect from the amp when picking the notes.
     

  5. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    So why did Fender move to solid state rectifiers for various re-issue amps? Is it just to save money? I've heard purists criticise the 63 Vibroverb RI for having a SS rectifier, & I remember harp players saying that the 59 Bassman RI wasn't as good with it's SS rectifier.

    But am I really missing much with my Vibroverb? Do I get more headroom without the sag that a tube rectifier would allow?
     

  6. blueworm

    blueworm Senior Stratmaster

    May 6, 2012
    Germany
    I believe both DRRI and PRRI have tube rectifier (to be confirmed). Twin has SS but so was the original model.
     

  7. Rogue Bohemian

    Rogue Bohemian what? WHAT????? Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Jun 4, 2010
    Bacliff by Galveston bay
    The DRRI is tube rectifier and all tube preamp.

    If the DRRI doesn't have tube rectifier, then I need to find out what the hell I plugged the rectifier tube into.:eek::D
     

  8. rockerduck

    rockerduck Strat-Talk Member

    88
    Nov 1, 2013
    Marietta, Georgia
    I replaced the tube rectifier on my DRRI with a solid state rectifier, mainly cause my other amp is a TRRI and I like the response from that amp.
     

  9. H. Mac

    H. Mac Strat-Talker

    242
    Oct 3, 2013
    In the USA!
    At low, "at home" type volumes, the difference between tube and SS rectos is inaudible unless you have dog hearing.

    And in IMO, there's isn't a noticeable difference in "sound characteristics" between tube and SS. After all, the rectifier is part of the power supply, so the power supply is all it can influence.

    Instead, the difference is one of "feel." In other words, it's the player, rather than a listener, that is in the best position to notice it.

    I think the sag portion of DavidKOS's post sums it up pretty well.
     

  10. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    US
    Thanks for all the response, I want to hear more on people experience, how they feel.
     

  11. davidKOS

    davidKOS Retired Performer Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    OK, simple - I use both fast alternate picking and a lot of loud-soft dynamics in my playing.

    Tube rectifier amps typically take the "edge" off of both of those elements of my style. The delay that sag can cause blurs some very fast lines and articulations, and the extra compression and volume response of driven tubes and tube rectifier will make those dynamic range differences, well, less different - that's what a compressor does.

    For another player that may be absolutely wonderful, that thick mushy warm saturated sound and squishy dynamic feel (which is where the unique interactive feel most tube purists claim tube amp beats SS amps comes from).

    Just not for me. When I play on those design tube amps and they are loud enough to have all the special characteristics of the hot bottles blazing away, I feel like I'm playing in wet cement or something.
     

  12. Robins

    Robins Dr. von Loudster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    Germany
    It just makes a good distorted sound muddy. Mesa Boogie and Laboga Mr.Hector are good examples.
    Feeling is different like David described.

    All the best,
    Robin
     

  13. rider7

    rider7 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 14, 2012
    NYC
    On my Mesa Dual Rect., I switch between Solid State and Tube Rectifier depending on the the Channel I use. I use solid state rectifier with Ch2 and Ch3 and have it on tube rectifier on Ch.1 (clean).
     

  14. Robins

    Robins Dr. von Loudster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    Germany
    Yeah, that´s why I mentioned both amps because the rectifiers can be switched/changed.
    I also think that using tube rectifier is good on clean channels only.

    All the best,
    Robin
     

  15. firebrand

    firebrand Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Western Michigan
    The amps I have kept longest have tube rectos. Mini have tried similar sized amps with SS recto and they feel flat and lifeless to me. My first tube amp was a 74 Champ so it's most likely what I have gotten used to.

    That being said I live the sound and feel of the Blackstar Club HT60.
     

  16. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Marietta Georgia
    ^^^ This right here is the best explanation of the practical differences I've seen between SS and Tube rectifiers.

    To be honest, it's not much. Since the rectifier circuit isn't even in the signal path so it's not a question of tone, more dynamics/feel. Most of my stuff up till now, including my beloved '65 Bassman has solid state rectifier circuits.
     

  17. davidKOS

    davidKOS Retired Performer Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    That makes sense, depending on your style.
     

  18. rider7

    rider7 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 14, 2012
    NYC
    I agree that the tube rectifier make the amp very muddy, and using eq, compressor and OD doesn't help at all.