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> Question Regarding Tube Amps
Fran
post Jan 8 2008, 04:03 PM
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Hi,

I don't know much about tube amps, except that they are supposed to be the best amps, because they produce a warm sound.

So I was thinking of getting a valve amp in the future. But I think I heard, or read somewhere, that they have to be used at a high volume, is that true?

Can't you play using a tube amp at a lower volume?

I usually practice in my apartment, and wouldn't like the neighbours to kick me in the balls laugh.gif

So... are tube amps that much better than solid state amps?, and, how loud do you have to set them to get their true tone?

Thanks wink.gif


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MickeM
post Jan 8 2008, 04:34 PM
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Tube amps sound better the higher they are played. Thta goes for both new and old tube amps, the the difference as I've experiences it is that old tube amps need to be pushed hard to deliver. The Peavey Classic 30W I have sound teriffic on high volume, but can be used for bedroom. Same with my 100W Switchblade, absolute killer at high volumes (though I havn't pushed it further than 4-5 even when live) but also sound good at bedroom levels.
I had al old Marshall JCM that didn't deliver until full volume and plety gain... boy did that sound great but that was too loud. Playing scilent was reall dull really but this was an old one.

You can get a attenuator that will enable more volume on the amp while the volume that comes out is lower.

And I belive solid state amps are closing the gap, if you get a pro ss amp I think you could fool even an expert with it, thinking it's a tube amp.
Guys like me you can fool with anything wink.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 8 2008, 06:36 PM
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With tubes you get a better sound because two main reasons:

1. tubes clip the signal differently from a diode (solid state design). With tube you get "soft" clipping where the signal is being cutoff in a curved line, so you can still get a decent sound at high volume settings. The diode clips the sound very sharply, resulting in a harsh and unnatural sound, called - hard clipping.
2. (but also very important) Tubes tend to ring EVEN harmonics. What that means is that they ring harmonics that are relative to the sound they are getting, thus giving a much better and natural coloration of the sound. Diodes play odd harmonics, often sounding unnatural and dissonant.

Tubes in older design are made to deliver a good sound when played live. Old Marshall were made to play live and play LOUD.
Todays tube amps (Peavey's and other) have switches that can put them in "mode" for home practicing by lowering their power. So when you buy, be sure to buy a modern tube amp with that switch, and you'll be fine.

This post has been edited by Milenkovic Ivan: Jan 8 2008, 06:48 PM


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Fran
post Jan 8 2008, 09:02 PM
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Ok good to know smile.gif

Thanks wink.gif


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Muris Varajic
post Jan 8 2008, 09:18 PM
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Sure they do,
and I'm sure the sweetest tone is actually from those small tube amps,
10-40 wats biggrin.gif
You have to push every amp to its around 80-85% of power to get "something" from it.
I have Mesa 2:90 and haven't turned it more than 50%
so to be honest,I don't know how it actually sounds laugh.gif


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Hardtail
post Jan 10 2008, 02:57 AM
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My amp is 15 watts and I can play it in my den at full volume just at my comfort level. This however would be WAY too loud if you had neighbors that share a common wall (like in an apartment, flat, or townhouse). You will want to stay around 5 watts.

Remember the rule everyone. Every doubling of wattage in a tube amp only gets you about 3 extra decibels in volume. So a 50 watt amp is only 3 decibels quieter than a 100 watt amp. Tubes are loud! (hurray for tubes!) tongue.gif

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JVM
post Jan 10 2008, 03:02 AM
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QUOTE (Hardtail @ Jan 9 2008, 01:57 PM) *
My amp is 15 watts and I can play it in my den at full volume just at my comfort level. This however would be WAY too loud if you had neighbors that share a common wall (like in an apartment, flat, or townhouse). You will want to stay around 5 watts.

Remember the rule everyone. Every doubling of wattage in a tube amp only gets you about 3 extra decibels in volume. So a 50 watt amp is only 3 decibels quieter than a 100 watt amp. Tubes are loud! (hurray for tubes!) tongue.gif

Hardtail


However don't speakers also have a little to do with it? Playing through a 12 inch speaker at 40 watts versus 4 12 inch speakers there'll be a difference no? I haven't personally been able to play through more than a 212 so I can't say tongue.gif

Definitely get a tube amp, they're great! If I may recommend either the blues junior (I believe that's the one hardtail has) or my hot rod deluxe, both fender amps. If thats not your style so be it, but I can attest to their quality (construction, sound, etc).

This post has been edited by JVM: Jan 10 2008, 03:02 AM


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Muris Varajic
post Jan 10 2008, 03:14 AM
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QUOTE (JVM @ Jan 10 2008, 03:02 AM) *
However don't speakers also have a little to do with it? Playing through a 12 inch speaker at 40 watts versus 4 12 inch speakers there'll be a difference no? I haven't personally been able to play through more than a 212 so I can't say tongue.gif


There wont be much difference in loudness since every speaker is up to 40 watts,
you can only "spread" you sound with stereo cabinet while using some stereo efxs and that's all.
You'd still have 40 real watts on stage.

And yeah,hurray for tubes !!! biggrin.gif


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Hardtail
post Jan 10 2008, 03:22 AM
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JVM, the best way to think of your speakers is by imagining each speaker as a little wind tunnel. The more speakers you have the more wind you will feel blowing at you but as you add more and more speakers the wind out of each one dies down more and more.

This is why when you see stacks and stacks of cabinets on the stages of professional musicians they are driving no more than 2 cabinets with an independent Power Amplifier and they are all linked together. So the guy with the Marshall DSL 100 on stage and 6 4x12 cabinets is actually using more than just that one head to drive all those cabs.

Anyway, back to the wind tunnel analogy. A 4x12 cab will SEEM much louder than a 2x12 cab on the same head but what your really getting isn't a LOUDER sound it is a FULLER sound since their are more wind tunnels blowing at you. Eventually you will meet a diminishing return. A 50 watt cabinet pushing 24 12 inch speakers will most likely sound fairly quiet.

Hardtail


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JVM
post Jan 10 2008, 03:28 AM
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QUOTE (Hardtail @ Jan 9 2008, 02:22 PM) *
A 50 watt cabinet pushing 24 12 inch speakers will most likely sound fairly quiet.

Hardtail


Well, that'd just be ridiculous wouldn't it? tongue.gif But really thanks for the info and Muris too. I'm happy playing 1x12s and 2x12s as long as I have the tone I want. I really don't want a 100w halfstack as much as itd be cool to receive one for say, free tongue.gif


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Twibeard
post Jan 10 2008, 08:53 AM
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QUOTE (Muris @ Jan 10 2008, 03:14 AM) *
There wont be much difference in loudness since every speaker is up to 40 watts,
you can only "spread" you sound with stereo cabinet while using some stereo efxs and that's all.
You'd still have 40 real watts on stage.

+1 Muris.
Its not the speaker delivering the power (measured in watts), its the Tube. So what ever "Load" (speakerwise with correct impedans ofcause) that you connect to your amp, you will - no matter what - only get 40W.
If you use 2 speakers then the powerconsumption of each speaker will be 20 watt, and you will still get 20 + 20 = 40 watt out of the Tubeamplifere. With 4 speakers it will be 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 in each element, as the Tube still (but only) delivers 40 watts.
The limitation to 40w out of your Amp is ofcause founded in the electric design, giving a maximum amount of current times a maximum voltage delivered to your output connector. If the speakers is connected together in parallel, then the voltage will stay the same, but the current will split up in lesser amounts of current in each speaker. If the speakers is connected together in series, then the current will stay the same in each speaker, but the voltage-drop will be splitted upon each speaker.
The benefit of using more speakers is "the arcoustic spreading" as you will move more squarefeet of air (but not volume of air - soundpressure wil stay the same), however if you use a 4x12 cabinet that "pushes air" best at - say 300 watts - because of the way it is designed, and you only can deliver 40W from you amp - ending up with each speaker only consuming 10w, then you are most likely getting a very bad arcoustic result, as you probably will move less air compared to using just 1 speaker with the correct data matching your Amplifire.
So choose a cabinet with speakers, be it 212 or 412, that actually matches the Power of your amp, (if you want the best arcoustic result that is smile.gif ).
All this said, there is ofcause a more import issue, and thats the Quality of the speakerelement, how it is designed! How is the power from the Amp transferred to the air will show up in measuring the frequency spectrum delivered from the speaker-mecanical parts.
All in all, I personaly would choose one super high quality 12" or 15" with the correcy match (power-wise), rather than a cheap 4-stack with the wrong match (power-wise) comparred to my amp. It would be a big differences in the SoundScape, and in the arcoustic soundpressure.
But then again - if i didnt have the money I would just get anything cheap from eBay - just to get my axe "in the air" laugh.gif

p.s. Same theory for Solidstate amps ofcause.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 10 2008, 09:09 AM
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Quick question, although it is off topic already.. smile.gif

I have a 50W 4Ohm speaker output on my amp. A want to connect external cab on it with 2x12 speakers. Whats the best way to do it? Is 2x30W good enough for my purpose, and what's the difference connecting them in parallel or series?


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Twibeard
post Jan 10 2008, 09:26 AM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Jan 10 2008, 09:09 AM) *
Quick question, although it is off topic already.. smile.gif

I have a 50W 4Ohm speaker output on my amp. A want to connect external cab on it with 2x12 speakers. Whats the best way to do it? Is 2x30W good enough for my purpose, and what's the difference connecting them in parallel or series?

Theoreticaly, yes, but check one thing: Make sure that the speakers is 30W EACH, some cabinets 212 30W is actually two 15W speakerelements (or normally 20W speaker elements). And check one thing: If the 2x30 wat is the absolutely max peak power that the speakers can handle and if they are low quality, then they probably wont last for long if you play them all day at 50 watts, but on the other hand - if they are good quality elements - then no problem.

I dont know what the Impedance - Ohm values are on your speakers smile.gif But if each speakers is say 8 Ohm then you should connect them in parallel to get the correct 4 Ohm resistance to the Amp. If you connect them in series then you will get 16 Ohm.

Edited some typo ...

This post has been edited by Twibeard: Jan 10 2008, 09:42 AM


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Muris Varajic
post Jan 10 2008, 10:48 AM
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QUOTE (Twibeard @ Jan 10 2008, 08:53 AM) *
+1 Muris.
Its not the speaker delivering the power (measured in watts), its the Tube. So what ever "Load" (speakerwise with correct impedans ofcause) that you connect to your amp, you will - no matter what - only get 40W.
If you use 2 speakers then the powerconsumption of each speaker will be 20 watt, and you will still get 20 + 20 = 40 watt out of the Tubeamplifere. With 4 speakers it will be 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 in each element, as the Tube still (but only) delivers 40 watts.
The limitation to 40w out of your Amp is ofcause founded in the electric design, giving a maximum amount of current times a maximum voltage delivered to your output connector. If the speakers is connected together in parallel, then the voltage will stay the same, but the current will split up in lesser amounts of current in each speaker. If the speakers is connected together in series, then the current will stay the same in each speaker, but the voltage-drop will be splitted upon each speaker.
The benefit of using more speakers is "the arcoustic spreading" as you will move more squarefeet of air (but not volume of air - soundpressure wil stay the same), however if you use a 4x12 cabinet that "pushes air" best at - say 300 watts - because of the way it is designed, and you only can deliver 40W from you amp - ending up with each speaker only consuming 10w, then you are most likely getting a very bad arcoustic result, as you probably will move less air compared to using just 1 speaker with the correct data matching your Amplifire.
So choose a cabinet with speakers, be it 212 or 412, that actually matches the Power of your amp, (if you want the best arcoustic result that is smile.gif ).
All this said, there is ofcause a more import issue, and thats the Quality of the speakerelement, how it is designed! How is the power from the Amp transferred to the air will show up in measuring the frequency spectrum delivered from the speaker-mecanical parts.
All in all, I personaly would choose one super high quality 12" or 15" with the correcy match (power-wise), rather than a cheap 4-stack with the wrong match (power-wise) comparred to my amp. It would be a big differences in the SoundScape, and in the arcoustic soundpressure.
But then again - if i didnt have the money I would just get anything cheap from eBay - just to get my axe "in the air" laugh.gif

p.s. Same theory for Solidstate amps ofcause.


Beautifully explained indeed,thanks for sharing many tips here!! smile.gif


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KloCkWorXx
post Jan 10 2008, 01:54 PM
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u can get the best tone out of a tube amp by putting the volume up all the way n running the speaker out to a dummy load aka power attentor (cheaper) or power break (expensive Marshall).. so u can get full distortion at bedroom levels, they come in different watt models..


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 10 2008, 06:51 PM
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QUOTE (Twibeard @ Jan 10 2008, 09:26 AM) *
Theoreticaly, yes, but check one thing: Make sure that the speakers is 30W EACH, some cabinets 212 30W is actually two 15W speakerelements (or normally 20W speaker elements). And check one thing: If the 2x30 wat is the absolutely max peak power that the speakers can handle and if they are low quality, then they probably wont last for long if you play them all day at 50 watts, but on the other hand - if they are good quality elements - then no problem.

I dont know what the Impedance - Ohm values are on your speakers smile.gif But if each speakers is say 8 Ohm then you should connect them in parallel to get the correct 4 Ohm resistance to the Amp. If you connect them in series then you will get 16 Ohm.

Edited some typo ...


Thanks man, you really made it very clear. I understand AT LAST! laugh.gif

I think I'll go for the 2x12 Marshall cab. It has Celestion 30's inside, and I play it max at 7 on gigs, so it shouldn't be a problem.

One more question though, I would be very grateful: I'm considering buying this external cab for one reason. I need more low end bite. I'm curently running one celestion speaker at 4Ohms. Is it worth it to buy ext cab - that is will I get more defined sound with 2x12?


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Twibeard
post Jan 10 2008, 08:30 PM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Jan 10 2008, 06:51 PM) *
Thanks man, you really made it very clear. I understand AT LAST! laugh.gif

I think I'll go for the 2x12 Marshall cab. It has Celestion 30's inside, and I play it max at 7 on gigs, so it shouldn't be a problem.

One more question though, I would be very grateful: I'm considering buying this external cab for one reason. I need more low end bite. I'm curently running one celestion speaker at 4Ohms. Is it worth it to buy ext cab - that is will I get more defined sound with 2x12?

Celestion's are very solid smile.gif
Yes theoretically you will get more defined sound as the soundfield area will be directed towards the audience, thats another benefit of using more speakers (if you combine things right, as mentioned above).
But im not so sure about the Low-end, it depends of "how low" smile.gif . Some Bass-players prefer 1x15" instead of 2x12" smile.gif If you could try it out before you buy, it would be best i guess.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 10 2008, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the advice man, appreciate it smile.gif


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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Jan 10 2008, 10:56 PM
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you can play at a low volume even if its has a high watt


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