solid state vs tubes

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Guitarvamp
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by Guitarvamp »

RockmanCentralBob wrote: The Torpedo is marketed as a cabinet and microphone emulation device (and it can also emulate your power amp stage).
You can use the built in software that enables you to change cabinets, mics, mic position, etc.
....
For me, this is the way to go since the level of accuracy in copying tones is unbeatable.
And I don't even have to lug around the big cabinets or mess with miking them anymore!!
Wow! I will have to check one of those out. It sounds like something I'd be interested in. Thanks for the information!


Just throwing this out there... it amuses me to no end that guitar players all seek "their sound"... an individual tone that is immediately recognizable, full-bodied, rich, vibrant, never heard before yet sings to the masses.... yet everyone kills themselves to buy the same gear as everyone else. :lol:
Dale
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by Dale »

Guitarvamp wrote: Just throwing this out there... it amuses me to no end that guitar players all seek "their sound"... an individual tone that is immediately recognizable, full-bodied, rich, vibrant, never heard before yet sings to the masses.... yet everyone kills themselves to buy the same gear as everyone else. :lol:
Could be because thats what you got to work with, just like there are only 12 notes in music it just depends on how you put them together or in what order.
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

Guitarvamp wrote: Just throwing this out there... it amuses me to no end that guitar players all seek "their sound"... an individual tone that is immediately recognizable, full-bodied, rich, vibrant, never heard before yet sings to the masses.... yet everyone kills themselves to buy the same gear as everyone else. :lol:
So true.

But tone is subjective... what sounds good in one context might sound like crap in another. Your opinion can really change when you listen to one tone and then immediately compare it to a different tone. It takes a few minutes for your ears to adjust.

For example, I start out jamming with my Ultimatum XPR and it sounds incredible... lots of gain and sustain, tons of mid range, a nice thump in the low end. I'm loving it. Then I plug into my Marshall and Hand Wired cabs with Heritage 30 speakers from the 70's era, and immediately it sounds so clear with lots of presence, raw, full range, etc. The XPR sounds way over processed and misses all the clarity and low end by comparison. Same thing happens when I play through my Sustainor. Or if I use different cab/mic IR's in the Torpedo with the Marshall. I can use a 1960A with G12T75's and it sounds great playing early Boston tunes. But then I switch to the Hand Wired cabs with Heritage 30's and I realize that the G12T75's sound like ice picks in comparison to the era correct H30's. If I was playing 80's rock like Ratt, Whitesnake, etc, the H30's would sound out of place and the T75's would sound spot on.

In reality, they all sound great, in a particular context. The point is to use the correct equipment for what you are trying to play. Or. just settle for a particular tone and play your entire set with the same sound. Tom started out creating all these different tones for the songs on the albums. The tone from the first album is quite different from the second, Third Stage is different again with the Rockman, and the Walk On tone is different again with the Ultimatum. Then he used the Rockman and programmable EQ's to be able to replicate all those different sounds from song to song live. Now, he's settled on one sound that he likes, and he uses it for the whole show live.

Like I've said before, too many options can lead to paralysis. When I recorded my covers, I got to the point where all I used was a pre-distortion MXR 6 band and the SansAmp on the Plexi setting for the classic Boston tone. Then I used the FreeFilter plugin to finalize the tone to match what he used for the particular parts. By the end though, I had a couple of standard album specific tones that worked for almost everything for each album. With VERY few exceptions, no chorus, no echo, no reverb... just multi-tracked. I think the results speak for themselves.
Dale
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by Dale »

Well here is my idea of perfect sound out of a tube amp, not gonna get this with solid state......a favorite player of mine that is surely missed Gary More. He also is a master at getting great voicing using pick ups and volume/tone controls that most players since the 80's have forgotten or never learned to use properly. Most likley because of the change to use more and more effects and the switch to solid state amps and now days amp simulators like the line 6 or they plug straight into a computer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k07j7LcLqw
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

Dale wrote:Well here is my idea of perfect sound out of a tube amp, not gonna get this with solid state......
I don't know if I would agree with that. There are lots of solid state gear on the market that can sound very, very good.

People also swear the guitar makes a difference. I talked with one of Tom's guitar techs back in the Walk On era and it turns out he used to tech for Billy Gibbons too. He told me that they used a spectrum analyzer on all of Billy's guitars and simply EQ'd them to all sound the same. They totally mitigated the guitar out of the equation by making them sound the same.

At the end of the day, you are clipping a waveform... pretty straightforward stuff regardless of how you go about it. Beyond that, the tone really comes down to the pre and post distortion filtering. Get the waveforms to look the same before you clip them and to look the same after you clip them, and explain to me how you could tell the difference?
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rbc
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by rbc »

RockmanCentralBob wrote:At the end of the day, you are clipping a waveform... pretty straightforward stuff regardless of how you go about it. Beyond that, the tone really comes down to the pre and post distortion filtering. Get the waveforms to look the same before you clip them and to look the same after you clip them, and explain to me how you could tell the difference?
This is more my electronics training speaking than my guitar talent, but I would guess the tube magic is largely in the output transformer before the speaker. It's a part that would respond to your overall levels and the attack with the pick. The other parts that are credited with the "tube sound" look like they could be accomplished through the use of compression, EQ or clipping circuits. It seems to me that the power supply voltage sag, grid bias (grid positive with respect to the cathode) and damping factor all cooperate to provide compression in a tube amp.

On the other hand, the power tube output transformer saturation seems like it would be trickier to replace using a static bandpass filter. I can't really say how much of a difference it makes when you get your amp pushed into magnetic saturation. Once you are into magnetic saturation, the transformer bandpass narrows and it's said to make the mid-range more pronounced, depending on the degree of magnetic saturation. Anyone know if the Sustainor circuitry provides some kind of dynamic bandpass circuit. I don't have a schematic, so I can't look.
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rbc
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by rbc »

I forgot the mention speaker breakup. That would be another factor. You probably don't want to do that with a full range FOH system though. I don't really have any idea how many guitar players use speaker breakup as part of their sound.
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RockmanCentralBob
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

RBC makes good points, but I would say most of them would affect more of how the amp responds and colors the signal depending on how hard you drive it and such. Much of that can be modeled with solid state and digital technology, resulting in a waveform. Then, that waveform is going to be run through a speaker and if you are recording, a microphone, both of which are going to filter things again. And since that has proven to be easily modeled using IR's, I still say that making solid state sound like a tube amp is NOT impossible, and in fact, many devices can already do it quite convincingly.

The question is: is it worth all the extra effort to do it that way, or is is really just easier to use a simple tube amp from the start.
I've opted for the latter.... no need to go all the way around granny's barn to get there, when the old simple techonology works so well!!
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rbc
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Re: solid state vs tubes

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RockmanCentralBob wrote:The question is: is it worth all the extra effort to do it that way, or is is really just easier to use a simple tube amp from the start.
I've opted for the latter.... no need to go all the way around granny's barn to get there, when the old simple techonology works so well!!
I agree. I haven't gotten rid of my tube combo for those kinds of reasons.

I'm finding that mostly I need a clean and crunch sound, with the ability to boost both. The Sustainor also provides this with its two channels, plus the foot switchable rhythm volume.
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Guitarvamp
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Re: solid state vs tubes

Post by Guitarvamp »

RockmanCentralBob wrote:RBC makes good points, but I would say most of them would affect more of how the amp responds and colors the signal depending on how hard you drive it and such.
I think they all come together to make a special musical stew. The way I see it, each part of the "tube setup"contributes to the tone and overall sound. And each part is also a bit "sloppy", "saggy", "warm", "brown", "loose", (and whatever other terms you can think of) that contribute to that "tube atmosphere". Can it truly be heard of discerned? I don't know. That would make a groundbreaking study.

Something else to think about that can not be argued with: different voltage/amperage on tubes makes them sound totally different. There's tons of recordings with Marshall amps recorded outside the country. A world of difference to the US recordings. And then there's the infamous Van Halen variac yielding the landmark 'brown sound'.

Can all these sounds be recreated with solid state? I agree with Bob that, yes, more or less, it can be done. Given that there are so many fluctuations in other areas - guitars, pickups, cables, microphones, EQ settings, recorders, mixers, rooms, bands, mediums, mixes, speakers..... It's a musical stew, and people fight if there's 3 grams of salt in it or 4 grams. I like being able to count on my solid state remaining exactly the same take after take, and year after year, and performance after performance. When you pile on hundreds of tracks, mixed, with effects.... what brand of string you use matters less and less. ;)

I also think tubes vs solid state is much like the battles between Ford and Chevy, Coke and Pepsi, Burger King and McDonalds, etc. It's more of a personal choice.

But whatever it is, tone inspires. And that's where great songs start, I say. ;)