Solid state vs Tube

BigNorm

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 28, 2009
2,320
Montreal, Canada
Played the last 25 years or so on a Hot rod deluxe. Always had a peavey bandit as a back up. Last week I bought a Tone Master Deluxe reverb.... My god...I should say it's on par with a tubes amp anytime. You would asked the same question a week ago I would'nt hesitate to answer "TUBES"...but from now on...
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,570
Murfreesboro, TN
But all amps are voiced for a particular sound. So SS amps can be voiced to sound like tube amps. Play a lot of them and pick what you like best for your situation and budget.

And amp voicing is for the most part done with caps and resistors, not tubes and transistors. A badly voiced amp will sound bad.

In my experience ss amps have different distortion than tubes. But the computer modeling kind can be pretty convincing in a lot of situations.

Then again, just because an amp does modeling doesn't mean it's well designed, or the program is well written.
 

Falstaff50

Strat-Talker
Jul 18, 2017
169
Phoenix, AZ
Capacitors and to some extent resistors do effect the sound of an amp in cleaning up the dc signals, I have personally experienced how tubes can change the sound of an amp through tube rolling. Either changing to a different tube of the same family or different manufacturers tubes can change the sound of an amp.

Also to clear one thing that was stated before by another poster in this thread. Someone mentioned having to change old capacitors that fail in tube gear. Capacitors in SS gear will fail also after 20 - 30 years of use and will need to be replaced. Biggest indicator of this is fading signal and/or sound degradation in general ie a fussiness in the sound at even clean settings. And leaking/bulging caps always need to be changed. Just saying.

I am actually not in either camp firmly. I have tube gear and solid state gear. I just have some experience working on tube gear.
 
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Dreamdancer

Senior Stratmaster
May 1, 2014
2,362
Greece
Software doesn’t sound like tubes.

Well if it was early 2000s i would have agreed with you but in 2021 they have the sound down cold.Obviously they dont feel like tubes(and they never will) but as far as the sound goes its pretty much a done deal.For years now people record tracks with software along with real gear and nobody ever tells(or will ever be able to).
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,570
Murfreesboro, TN
Well if it was early 2000s i would have agreed with you but in 2021 they have the sound down cold.Obviously they dont feel like tubes(and they never will) but as far as the sound goes its pretty much a done deal.For years now people record tracks with software along with real gear and nobody ever tells(or will ever be able to).
The only way they can't feel the same is if you stick your hands in the back of the amp.

If you mean recording with sims at headphone volumes doesn't feel the same as using a big tube amp, I totally agree. But ss is totally capable of powering the same cabinets to the same spl, and then some. A 100w Fender Twin is a pipsqueak compared to a normal 1000w ss power amp, like my band used to use for small outdoor shows.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,664
Republic of Gilead
The same can be said for tube amps that are designed with that feature. Like the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeisters.


Sure you can, try a Quilter or a ZT amp.
Thanks, I had to look up the Tubemeisters. Looks interesting. But technically -- and I mean "technically" in its proper technological sense -- both of your examples are extraneous to what I'm saying about each amp type. In order to accommodate headphones, the Tubemeister offers "tube-like" tones. In other words, it derives from a solid state scenario. Unless I misunderstood the quick read I did on that amp.

Similarly, with any solid state amp, even Quilter or ZT, my point is that transistors aren't overdriven like tubes are. Sure you can put an OD pedal in front of a Quilter, but it's affect on the amp is not "overdriving" it and, in my opinion, it makes more sense to use a distortion pedal without an OD pedal with a solid state amp. In either case, they are different tones resulting from totally different physical properties of the parts. Overdrive and distortion aren't the same. Transistors aren't overdriven.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,664
Republic of Gilead
That's funny because I can play my tube Soldano Astroverb at whisper volume and it sounds amazing, but my SS Fender Princeton Chorus is loud enough to hurt my ears at the very lowest volume setting. :)

A lot of people put up with poorly designed preamp sections because they've never experienced a good one. ;)
I didn't say a tube amp wouldn't sound good quiet. I said you can't run them with headphones.

Or, if you do use only headphones, you need a load-bearing device to take the place of the speaker first. Which is possible, but it's an extra hoop to jump through that you don't need for a solid state amp.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,347
State of Disbelief
iu
 

Seamus OReally

Fading away
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2019
5,816
Santa Rosa, CA
Well if it was early 2000s i would have agreed with you but in 2021 they have the sound down cold.Obviously they dont feel like tubes(and they never will) but as far as the sound goes its pretty much a done deal.For years now people record tracks with software along with real gear and nobody ever tells(or will ever be able to).

I disagree. Modelers require a huge amount of processing to sound even reasonably good. With my Fuchs, I just switch it on, plug in and play. I know that tracks get recorded with software amps, but I don't like them.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,347
State of Disbelief
I love my Katanas. I have 3. And if I need some tubiness I keep a Peavey XXX in the living room. Have a couple of hybrids too.

But I basically like the katanas for all around playing.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,664
Republic of Gilead
.

How many tube amp users flop a mic in front of it and run the mic to the gig PA system .. which is a very loud, very clean, solid state amp? Isn't that like getting a gain stage from a pedal played into a clean amp too?

That's nonsense. The question concerns the tone resulting from the guitar-amp relationship. Amplifying the sound of a tube amp via solid state PA system is still an amplification of the tube amp. Arguments like yours are stretched so thin, they leave you exposed.

Tube amps are unique and awesome. Solid states are fine, but it's different and in my experience not the same or as good-sounding as tubes, particularly when playing clean and in that warm low-gain range that is unique to overdriven tubes.

I've dabbled with various cab/amp simulators, including that Joyo that you shared. It just isn't the same. Some may choose the convenience over the tone, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that the tones are the same.

I have a Roland JC-40, which is fantastic. But it doesn't sound as good as my tube amps.
 

StratMike10

Dr. Stratster
Silver Member
Apr 8, 2010
12,320
Florida
The ideal response of an amp is linear, the output is a multiplication of the input by a fixed value (volume setting). The linearity ends with the limitations of the amplifying device, after a certain level (headroom) the device "saturates", the line begins to curve, and flattens out. The shape of that curve (and even the imperfections of the "linear" portion) is unique to the amplifying device (tube, transistor).

Much of the rock music I grew up with and loved was played using tube amps, so the sound produced by tube amps is the most recognizable to me as "ah, that's the tone", and I'm fond of it because of nostalgic reasons and because the music that I love was built around that sound.

Solid state transistors and devices have a different response than tubes, the linear portion, saturation point, and curves are different, which gives the amplified sound a different characteristic. When hearing an old SS amp, I hear a sound that doesn't match the ingrained expectations formed by my listening history, so my brain calls "fail". Just a matter of using the right tool for the job, I say to myself.

But modeling amps are a different story, the software constructs a sound profile that mirrors the curve of whatever device it wants, no matter how unique, rich, or complex, its just a matter of imitating it, which computers do much better than tubes or transistors. Then it can be pumped through a very large high quality solid state amp with a perfectly linear response into some high quality speakers, and you can literally recreate/simulate any sound/tone you want. I don't know if the software/algorithms/technology has been perfected enough to make it impossible to differentiate any specific tube amp sound from a well built modeling amp, but make no mistake, if it hasn't been done yet, it will be done.
 

montemerrick

no earthly reason why
Apr 13, 2015
22,788
300 miles from anywhere.
i have a very nice tube amp. i mostly use my DAW at home.
the most significant and lasting improvements to my sound come from (now and always) practicing techniques such as touch and attack and fiddling creatively with the volume and tone on my guitar as i play, and learning evermore about harmony.

i see zero improvement gained from arguing with people on the internet about what i ought to buy instead.
 

heltershelton

Vivamus libero Vivamus duris
Jun 5, 2013
31,795
Texas
i have a very nice tube amp. i mostly use my DAW at home.
the most significant and lasting improvements to my sound come from (now and always) practicing techniques such as touch and attack and fiddling creatively with the volume and tone on my guitar as i play, and learning evermore about harmony.

i see zero improvement gained from arguing with people on the internet about what i ought to buy instead.
we're supposed to practice?
 


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