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Why buy a valve amp for home use?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Stavs, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday Lost Soul Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 19, 2011
    red barn, USA
    Funny
     
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  2. nkmassie

    nkmassie New Member!

    4
    Nov 10, 2010
    OH USA
    Just replaced my POD HD500 setup with a Fender Bassbreaker 007. POD was running into a Tech 21 Power Engine 60w 1x12.

    The Fender sounds much better. The POD has very usable sounds, kind of like jack of all trades, master of none.

    The 007 is much more lively and much more volume knob sensitive.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  3. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    67
    369
    Sep 5, 2016
    Seattle
    When the wife is at home, I play with headphones through a rack rig & mixer - I play along with recordings and work more on learning the songs and chording. I'm not listening for "my tone", I'm working on learning a song or just the practice to get the timing of the song right. When I have the place to myself, I'll fire up a tube amp and play loud.

    IME even if you only play clean, there's just something that we call "warmth" from a tube amp that is simply more pleasing. McIntosh is still in business and they don't make solid state amps - I've heard solid state amps that came close, but for listening, there's just something about tubes that makes the difference between a fireplace burning wood and a video of a fireplace.

    With your budget, I would get a Dr. Z MAZ 8. Add in a BrakeLite if you have to play at TV volume. The MAZ series of amps are known for their versatility. I bought a MAZ 18 Jr a year ago and found that twisting the CUT knob one way got me close to Fender tone and turning it the other way got close to a Vox tone. If I'd ever spent time with a Marshall, I probably could have found that as well.

    So to answer your question posed in the thread title: Buy a tube amp for home use; they have something in them that sounds warmer that SS sand.
     
    JustABluesGuy and liltimmy like this.

  4. Stratstrangler

    Stratstrangler Strat-Talk Member

    95
    Mar 27, 2017
    Upstate NY
    I had a Blues Jr. when they first came out. I was never really impressed with it when played at higher volumes or
    lower volumes. I then went with solid state and modeling; most of them sounded better to me than the Blues Jr.
    The best of the SS ones seemed to be a Roland Micro Cube. It had a fat bouncy tone reminiscent of tubes, but it is not the true tube sound. I'm still have it and practice with it often.

    Last week after much deliberation, I bought a new Orange Dark Terror. It's a 15-watt all tube amp known for it's high gain capabilities by many. I chose it for it more for the cleaner side of this amp. I don't have to drive it into power tube distortion to really appreciate and enjoy its lower gain all tube tone. It really sounds good when the gain is less than half way up. The Blues Jr. never could come close to the Dark Terror for enjoyability. It's far less than $1000 mentioned. Amp design has reached the point where tube amps, (even 15 watt and lower) are now on the market at different price points that are built to sound great at lower volumes.

    Stratstrangler
     
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  5. jeff h

    jeff h Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    44
    982
    Jan 13, 2017
    Ohio
    You sir have missed the Master volume generation of tube amps. We no longer need to crank them. Playing with preamp volume and post, you can get plenty of breakup at reasonable volumes from the preamp or power tubes.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  6. StratSounds

    StratSounds Strat-O-Master

    913
    Sep 10, 2016
    Salt Lake City
    Tone bro...TONE! :D I played solid state for years and I'm officially a tube geek all the way now. I'm done with solid state amps. Plenty of options that sound great at bedroom volumes. I wish I'd discovered the magic of tube amps much sooner, because everything is better now. I play electrics so much more than I used to and I think that speaks volumes.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  7. kargoboy

    kargoboy Strat-O-Master

    869
    Aug 3, 2014
    St. Augustine
    As a few others have mentioned, I've also got a Peavey tube amp that gives me a choice of 1, 5 or 20W.
    Playing at home on the 1W setting gives me everything I'd expect at high volume.
     

  8. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Strat-Talker

    483
    Oct 25, 2012
    Southern California
    Superior tone with a tube amp.
     

  9. moullineaux

    moullineaux Strat-O-Master

    793
    Jul 11, 2009
    ATLANTA, GA
    Imho, there is a world of difference between a tube and solid state amp in both response to playing and overall tonal characteristics. I have a Marshall TSL 100 watt tube amp, VHT Special 6 and a Mesa 5/25 Express. I can get great tones from all of them at low and high volumes both clean and driven. I have gigged with them and use them in the studio. I also have a Blues Jr. with a Weber Signature alnico speaker and the above mentioned Peavey Classic 20. Yes, I love tube amps and find that even at home volumes they are the way to go. If you want an amp that has simulations of other amps in it then by all means get a solid state with amp modeling but for me there is nothing like a tube amp for all the reasons mentioned above and for the fact that as it ages it just gets better and better.
     

  10. 8T_BoCO

    8T_BoCO Aspiring Stratospheric Stratitician Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    47
    640
    Mar 2, 2016
    Colorado
    +1 on superior tone & responsiveness from tubes, even for home use, provided it has a separate Gain & Master. Multiple wattage settings (my EL84 head is 7w/15w) at one's disposal are great.
    That said, for portability with grunt, I can't beat my 50w/100w class D (SS, but sounds different than you'd expect) Quilter 101 head at ~2 lbs. + a 1x12 cab.

    For perspective, I spent $175 on the used made In China tube amp, and $260 on the new made in USA Quilter.
    Play as many different amps of as many types in your price range as you can, and let your ears decide.
     

  11. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.
    @Cerb
    I got one of the Tubemeister 36's with the 2X12 cab. It's makes a hell of a home amp. Kinda out paces my Blues Jr. a little bit I might add.
     

  12. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    60
    636
    Sep 3, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I like the sound and response of tube amps. That's why I use them at home.

    Some people prefer modeling amps and such, but they don't do much for me.

    To each their own I suppose.
     
    billybuck likes this.

  13. jeff h

    jeff h Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    44
    982
    Jan 13, 2017
    Ohio
    And power amp tubes last FOREVER at home volumes. :p
     
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  14. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    42
    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    I agree a master volume amp is very good for home use but you are not getting power tube breakup unless the master is wide open or darn close and you are really hitting them hard. Otherwise it's preamp tube breakup which is fine but IMO lacks the transformer sag and power tube smooth breakup I love in a 12-22 watt non master volume amp.

    For home I like 4-5 watters with 8 inch speakers. They can get all warm and compressed without blowing out the windows and the speaker goes nicely for playing along with the tv or stereo without overpowering it like a 12 inch combo does.

    Just my opinion and experience of course.
     
    Stratstrangler likes this.

  15. Tomas83

    Tomas83 Strat-Talker

    269
    Jul 30, 2014
    NE in the 4 corners
    I play so far my Jet City JCA2112RC only at home. It's a loud 20w amp but I'm able to get much better sounds out of it at lower volume, than from any other solid state amp that I ever owned or even played. I was prepared to buy Blackstar ID CORE 100w and all I can say is that I'm so glad I got the JCA instead. Tube amps have some characteristics that solid or modular amps can't touch (at least to my ears) I spend $160 on mine. Best purchase ever...
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
    JustABluesGuy and Stratoskater like this.

  16. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    42
    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    I had one of those about 3-4 years ago. Very solid amp with great tones.
     
    Tomas83 likes this.

  17. knh555

    knh555 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    45
    979
    Dec 6, 2016
    Massachusetts
    I have a tweed Blues Junior, a Princeton '68 Custom, a Boss Katana 100, and a Yamaha THR10C. They all get use at home and out for the simple reason I like how they all sound in different ways and for different uses. I don't think there's any one right answer, but think about what you want not just in terms of tone, but in variety as well, and with what guitars. I had a friend play my Fender Strat partscaster with a Schecter Dream Machine clone pickguard. His immediately said, "this thing needs a marshall". Now I'm curious and think he might be right. Variety.
     
    Stavs likes this.

  18. jeff h

    jeff h Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    44
    982
    Jan 13, 2017
    Ohio
    I don't do it much since I am a preamp gain kinda person, but I have turned the preamp way down and master way up and gotten very reasonable power tube distortion at less than ear-splitting volumes. Loud basement volume is what I would consider it.
     
    JustABluesGuy and Stratoskater like this.

  19. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 12, 2015
    north and east
    Because I wanted one after spending way too much time trying to get the sound I wanted out of two SS amps.

    Play with what you like, I like tubes.
     

  20. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    42
    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Yup that's the way to drive the power tubes.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.