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Tube Watts vs Solid State Watts?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by MetalPedal, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member

    I love it when someone misreads the back of an amp and assumes consumption is the same as output.

    For instance, my Peavey Stereo Chorus, 2x65 watts draws 300 watts of power.

    If it truly was a 300 watt amp I could barely be in the same room as it before it was on one.
     

  2. slowesthand

    slowesthand Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 23, 2011
    NY
    Watts may be watts in an electrical engineering textbook, but on the floor of your local Guitarcenter a tube watt is worth more than double what a SS watt is.
    I'm not saying the SS amp manufacturers are dishonest about their power rating, but I would consider it to be about as accurate as something you would hear from a used car salesman.
     

  3. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    I played SS for years, assuming the bugs would be worked out and I'd spend less on repairs. Wrong.

    I wish someone had kicked me in the butt and awakened me to the fact that I could've sounded much better. But they were trying to be polite or maybe they didn't care or they thought that they, not me, would get the gig so they let me flail away, ignorant as to my ways. In relative terms, I sucked when I didn't need to suck - and that's a fact.
     

  4. Ebidis

    Ebidis Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    No

    and no.


    There is no difference. Period. Watts are watts, by the very laws of physics.

    It has already been pointed out that the loudness you perceive can be affected by numerous different factors, but a watt is a watt. No matter what produces it, it is still a watt.


    BTW, I have never noticed this huge disparity in volume between SS and tubes that others seem to.
     
    Davey77, Dadocaster and johnnymg like this.

  5. chrimturn

    chrimturn Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    39
    Jun 14, 2013
    Cincinnati, Earth

  6. MetalPedal

    MetalPedal Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 22, 2016
    Auto-Wah, Canada
    You seem to be on mission. Going to call you Professor Watts. We get what you are saying but you are completely discounting the very experience of many of the posters in this thread. Can you not imagine for a second that maybe there's something to what people are physically experiencing? That being the number of rated watts doesn't seem to equate to sound level pressure at the speaker.
     

  7. MetalPedal

    MetalPedal Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 22, 2016
    Auto-Wah, Canada

  8. slowesthand

    slowesthand Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 23, 2011
    NY
    If you put the amps on a test bench and measure the same wattage between a tube amp and a SS amp their output may be similar. Walk into GuitarCenter and plug into a 15 watt tube Pro Junior and then a 15 watt SS amp with a 10" speaker and there will be a massive difference in volume.

    The number they put a a SS guitar amp usually has very little to do with its actual output.

    A Peavey Bandit rated at 85 watts will be louder than the majority of 100 watt SS amps.
     

  9. chrimturn

    chrimturn Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    39
    Jun 14, 2013
    Cincinnati, Earth
    I'm not sure what the reason is. I've got a better idea after researching some things after reading these posts. But, I will agree with the OP, and say that I too think that Tube Amps sound louder. I have a 65 watt Crate GFX-65 (SS) that's about 17 years old and a 40 watt Hot Rod Deluxe iii.

    The Crate is loud, but it doesn't move air like the HRD. The HRD shakes the whole house with the volume around 4 or 5 on the dial (10 to 11 o'clock) and will make your ears bleed if you go up to 7. I have to push the Crate to the max in order to get it to come remotely close to the volume/output of the HRD at low levels.
     

  10. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    They SD thread had a long post quoting another source and a big piece of that was discussing speaker efficiency and that SS amps built to a price point are unlikely to have a great speaker in them, while much more expensive tube amps have enough profit built in that they may well have better speakers.

    I just built a really crappy cab with a decent speaker in it. That speaker has a magnet that looks about 3 times the size of the magnet in the speaker in my Mustang II. I am going to rig the Mustang to play through the better speaker and find out what's up.

    D
     
    MetalPedal and chrimturn like this.

  11. chrimturn

    chrimturn Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    39
    Jun 14, 2013
    Cincinnati, Earth
    Yeah I read that. Pretty interesting...

    I'm gonna check back to see what you find out with just a speaker swap.
     

  12. Stark

    Stark Ghost of Johnny Thunders Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 16, 2011
    Richmond Annex, CA
    I seriously doubt that you sucked.

    I have used both, in stereo side by side, for years. From 2012-2014, I even went total s/s loud and clear, and I used pedals for dirt instead of the Marshall amp gain that I loved. I had finally gone back to twin Marshall tube combos when the band I was playing in had our gear stolen from our rehearsal spot in Alameda.

    I have a borrowed DSL40C and bought a CODE50 last fall because I will never be able to get all of the Marshalls that I want and I love the models available. I have never stated that these latest-generation s/s amps are perfect, nor would they ever supplant tube amps.

    They just work fine for me. I also paid as close attention as possible to certain guitarists who used partial s/s gear, such as John Cippolina (Standel/Fender Twin), Bill Nelson (all s/s H&H/Carlsboro), Bill Carter (twin Carlsboros), all of whom I saw play live in San Francisco; and Terry Kath (Acoustic 150 s/s, Fender Dual Showman & Allied-Knight tube), whom I never saw because he passed away when I was 8 years old; and of course Albert King, who rocked a Roland JC120 in my face.

    I always go for a sleazy, dirty, unsavory sound but I've always kept a sweet tone at the core, with both s/s and tube.

    I'm not saying that s/s is the be-all and end-all. It just works fine for me, as do tubes.
     
    Dadocaster likes this.

  13. Etacarinae

    Etacarinae Strat-Talker

    174
    May 21, 2017
    United states
    Well, in his defense, and I might have missed it a little reading the original post, the original poster did refer to the sound pressure level. That is not a subjective thing. It is something you can measure directly. In that sense, it is going to come down to the watts and the efficiency of the speakers, etc. - physics stuff.

    I assumed from the original poster that he was probably asking about perceived volume even though he was describing something different. Because who really cares about sound pressure volume as distinct from what people are actually hearing?

    The thing about this thread, is it has become oddly enough an argument between the people who took the OP literally, and the people who took more interpretation into gleaning what the OP was asking. It sounds like some folks actually do not hear a volume different between equally watted solid state vs. tub amps. I believe them, but weird. Brains are weird.
     

  14. MetalPedal

    MetalPedal Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 22, 2016
    Auto-Wah, Canada
    Looking forward to some real-world testing but the explanation on the other post makes sense. One of them being that efficient speakers that seem to be used more prevalently in tube amps equates to actual volume levels that are higher.
     

  15. jimbojo

    jimbojo Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 4, 2010
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Watts are a measurement of power consumption. Every electric device will list its wattage. This number is derived by volts x amps (not guitar amps:D). Some one else mentioned light bulbs as an example, yes a high efficiency lamp (Florescent, LED, etc) will produce more lumens at equivalent wattage's or even lower than say an older incandescent type. This being said, I am not surprised at all that there is a difference in perceived volume between two different types of amps.
     

  16. Ebidis

    Ebidis Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    I am not discounting anything. If you read my posts I said that watts are watts (a very precise scientific measurement with no variation) and categorizing two different types of watts (SS and tube) is as silly as saying that the size of two different amps vary because SS inches are different from tube inches.

    I have said that there are many other variables that will affect perceived volum.

    I have experienced seemingly different levels of volume from different amps, even two tube amps with the same rating. All I have been trying to say is that watts themselves do not vary, The way an amp circuit is rated and behaves does.
     

  17. JohnDH

    JohnDH Senior Stratmaster

    I looked through the posts so far and havnt seen a really clear short explanation. So here's mine:

    Amplifier power is rated with a clean signal with low distortion. A tube and ss amp both putting a rated maximum of 20W of power into a cab with low distortion are equally loud for equal Watts.

    But with an ss amp, if you go above that at a transient, it clips hard and badly creating a bad sound. You need headroom so you better not use more than say a half of that maximum as a general level. Any distortion tones need to be made before at a level well within the power-amp spec.

    But the tube amp can be pushed further into tube compression and pleasant distortion. You can use all of that 20W if you want to, and drive it higher to say 30W for the crunch tones that we like. Or just let the transients clip.
     

  18. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Certified Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    May 21, 2010
    In my own little world
    You all waste too much time overthinking this rubbish. Volume isn't everything. If you can hear it, you can play guitar. Play the damned guitar already.
     
    Stark likes this.

  19. MetalPedal

    MetalPedal Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 22, 2016
    Auto-Wah, Canada
    Ok Mr. Grump'ny Bit :)
     
    JustABluesGuy and Thrup'ny Bit like this.

  20. jtees4

    jtees4 Strat-Talker

    497
    Nov 18, 2011
    NYish
    Love that story! I know a few kids that could use that lesson. After I yell at them to get off my lawn, I think I'll round up a few of them and give them a good teachin' to.
     
    henderman likes this.