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> Some Questions Regarding Tube Amps
Fran
post Jun 1 2009, 08:58 PM
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I'm getting a Vox AC4TV head soon (all tube 4W - 1W - 1/4 Watt) which I hope to be perfect to play cranked at low volumes at home, and have some basic questions regarding tube amps:

1) What's the standby for? Some tube amps don't even have it... (ac4tv doesn't have it for instance)

2) Does a tube amp take a digital pedalboard (such as boss ME-20/50/70) well? Or is it much worse than using "analog" individual stomp boxes to maintain the tube "warmth"?

3) What's the effects loop good for? I believe I technically understand what it is (I guess it's placed between the preamp and the power stage), but don't see why it's better to use that instead of just placing the effects in front of the amp. (Again, Vox ac4tv doesn't have an effects loop)

4) Is there any problem with a tube amp without a Gain knob? (There's just a volume knob and a tone knob on ac4tv)

So those are my doubts!






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bladzerok
post Jun 1 2009, 09:24 PM
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ok i will answer the best i can smile.gif

1) the standby is simply a switch to cut the signal in the amp, while having it on, its used to warm the tube, wich is always better. some don't have it, but i dont know why

2)im not sure it would maintain the tube tone. id say that you shouldnt buy a tube amp only to use with a multi effect processor, but if you have to use the line 6 or boss for some reason, it wont sound so bad.

3) the effect loop is used for delay, reverb chorus and other time based modulation. the other kind of effects like wah, dist or OD goes in front of amp. thats how i learned to use it, and its how i think it sounds the best.
for compression, im not sure, but i think it sounds cooler before any kind of effects

4) without a gain knob, you wont be able to overdrive the preamp stage of the amp alone, you will have to crank it, and it probably wont get you to metal or high gain lead sound

i answered the best i could, if something isnt clear, just tell me!
good luck in your tube tone quest laugh.gif


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MickeM
post Jun 1 2009, 09:57 PM
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QUOTE (Fran @ Jun 1 2009, 09:58 PM) *
I'm getting a Vox AC4TV head soon (all tube 4W - 1W - 1/4 Watt) which I hope to be perfect to play cranked at low volumes at home, and have some basic questions regarding tube amps:

That seem like a cool amp! smile.gif I'll answer the best I can without reading the previous replies, maybe you already got all the answers.

QUOTE
1) What's the standby for? Some tube amps don't even have it... (ac4tv doesn't have it for instance)

You kick in the standby when you start up the amp (start it with standby active) and put it on standby before you start playing. Also put it to standby when you take a break. It's to keep the tubes running and prolong their life going from warm to hot instead of cold to hot... It's kind of a soft start.

QUOTE
2) Does a tube amp take a digital pedalboard (such as boss ME-20/50/70) well? Or is it much worse than using "analog" individual stomp boxes to maintain the tube "warmth"?

I know many do this. I'm against the idea, or WAS against it, of mixing a true analog signal with a digital ditto. Saying this I'm playing on a H&K Switchblade which has a digital effects section which is patched onto the analog signal. It sounds killer!!! I've also tried patching a Line6 X3 into a tube amp and that ruins the sound.
I've seen more amps (Haze, Bogner) are adding a digital fx section. But in some way they patch it onto the analog signal without ruining it so I these days - knowing better from having an amp that could - I'd say that solution is perfect while any external digital box will not cope.
...isn't it TC electronics that has a multi effect which includes an analog distortion and a few digital effects in the same box? Digital distortion is often what sucks the most so that may be a good idea. Havn't tested it.

QUOTE
3) What's the effects loop good for? I believe I technically understand what it is (I guess it's placed between the preamp and the power stage), but don't see why it's better to use that instead of just placing the effects in front of the amp. (Again, Vox ac4tv doesn't have an effects loop)

Right, it offers a possibility to add effects between the preamp and the poweramp. Can't say it's "better" in general. It's "better" wherever it sound better. Like an OD infront of a clean amp will add some mustard. Putting an OD infront of a distorted amp is more or less useless imo. I understand many does that but to my ears that doesn't sound swell with the compressed distorted signal it gives. Putting the OD in the loop gives a different, better, result. Same with an EQ.
I.e eqing the signal before it enters the preamp EQ section when putting a pedal before the amp is one thing, putting it in the loop will give a very different sound - better imo.
A tube amp sound better with as few effects as possible. Again, just IMO. Reverb is neccessary if your amp doesn't have it.

QUOTE
4) Is there any problem with a tube amp without a Gain knob? (There's just a volume knob and a tone knob on ac4tv)

So those are my doubts!

Nah, not really. Run it on full and turn up the volume on the guitar for grit, clean it up by turning the guitar volume knob back. It's a good technique to use rather than stepping back and forth on stomp boxes and switching channels to go between clean and distorted.


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Fran
post Jun 1 2009, 10:08 PM
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Thanks guys, really good replies there smile.gif

I'm asking all this because I don't have any stomp box, and the amp hasn't any effect built in (which I like), but not even reverb (which I will miss).

So my struggle now is wether I should get a few sepparate stomp boxes (delay, reverb, chorus, overdrive) or use my pod, or get a straight forward multifx pedalboard.

I wouldn't mind building my own pedal board with stomp boxes, but it would be a pain in the ass having to tweak all different pedals for each different song I practice... that's where the multifx with handy patches (or the pod) might suit me better.

I suspect podX3 is not the best thing to place in front of a tube amp (being its amp modelling its strongest feature, which I would bypass, as I only want the effects).


I already have a modelling amp, and I don't like setting a pod in front. It's like mixing a model over another and it just doesn't feel right.

The beauty of a tube amp is hearing its cranked tone, and maybe adding some effects/overdrive. I'd like to keep that as "pure" as possible, but I guess I will have to compromise the handy "tone patches" if a boss multifx digital unit is not a good option.

Grr.

This post has been edited by Fran: Jun 1 2009, 10:10 PM


--------------------
Guitars:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, Ibanez RG2570MZ, Epiphone SG G-400
Amp:
Vox AC4TVH head + V112TV cab
Effects:
Vox Satchurator, Vox Time Machine, Dunlop CryBaby, Boss MT-2, Boss CE-5, Boss TU-2, Boss ME-70
Recording:
Line-6 POD X3 + FBV-Express, Pandora PX5D

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Muris Varajic
post Jun 1 2009, 10:17 PM
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Nothing to add, guys explained everything very well. cool.gif


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MickeM
post Jun 1 2009, 10:24 PM
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I wouldn't put a POD in front of the amp. I wouldn't use a Boss multifx either. I'd get a reverb though, that'll take you a long way.
I'd also avoid too many effects since most will affect your pure signal in a bad way.

And do tell us about the amp when you get it biggrin.gif


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berko
post Jun 1 2009, 10:27 PM
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Hi!

I'm proud to say that I actually TESTED this little gadget... although it almost seemed impossible that one of my local stores would get one...

Anyway, this combo delivered the tone I was kinda waiting for. It has warm cleans at low level, a great crunchy section between 4-8 and some middle strong OD at 9-10. However, this does mean that for overdrive you'll have to play very load, no matter how you switch to 1/4 watts because it won't take away even the half of the throttle.

This amp, IMO is more of a gadget, a low wattage boutique amp, cool looking white case and trademark vox cloth protecting the speaker. This also implies that it will be a real pain to embed this amp into your current gear. If you're going to use it all alone, then go for it, it sounds awesome even with the 10 inch speaker.

I think that because it has nice cleans, you can put the pod in front of it. At the bottom of any overdrive or fuzz or whatnot it will still remain nice and warm, you'll get the tube saturation out of it. Still, this amp is too simple and 'compact'.

The same goes with the Blackheart 5/3W amps. Although the 15/7W edition does have a separate OD channel, it is much pricier than the other two.

A basic low wattage tube amp with an FX loop, standby switch, separate OD channel, 10 inch Celestion speaker and great quality for a fairy low price would be the Blackstar HT-5. But MickeM could talk about that a lot more than me...

This post has been edited by berko: Jun 1 2009, 10:28 PM


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Fran
post Jun 1 2009, 10:30 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jun 1 2009, 11:24 PM) *
I wouldn't put a POD in front of the amp. I wouldn't use a Boss multifx either. I'd get a reverb though, that'll take you a long way.
I'd also avoid too many effects since most will affect your pure signal in a bad way.

And do tell us about the amp when you get it biggrin.gif



I took good note of your advice Micke smile.gif Specially the guitar volume part.
I guess I don't know how a real tube amp behaves in that matter. It's going to be fun.

Expect some pics & review when it arrives, the guys at my local shop called me and said it should be here in 2/3 weeks. I chose the head + cab version. Can't wait. Been waiting so long for a low wattage (attenuator makes it go as low as 1/4 Watt!) and head plus 12'' cab. I really hope it's as good as I expect smile.gif


Edit: I have to learn to read my own posts before hitting the button, so many typos!

This post has been edited by Fran: Jun 1 2009, 10:32 PM


--------------------
Guitars:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, Ibanez RG2570MZ, Epiphone SG G-400
Amp:
Vox AC4TVH head + V112TV cab
Effects:
Vox Satchurator, Vox Time Machine, Dunlop CryBaby, Boss MT-2, Boss CE-5, Boss TU-2, Boss ME-70
Recording:
Line-6 POD X3 + FBV-Express, Pandora PX5D

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berko
post Jun 1 2009, 10:32 PM
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Oh I see now that you had already ordered it! Have fun with it then, you can't go wrong with Vox! As I said, it's a great amp and you'll get the famous saturation for sure. It's a different matter to put the effects chain on it.

And we demand a review about it when it arrives laugh.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 1 2009, 10:58 PM
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QUOTE
1) What's the standby for? Some tube amps don't even have it... (ac4tv doesn't have it for instance)

I never understood this at all... why is there a standby anyway? You can have one "on" switch and just click "on". It's like a date with the girl with those old tubbers - you're on standby until things get a bit hotter... cool.gif

QUOTE
2) Does a tube amp take a digital pedalboard (such as boss ME-20/50/70) well? Or is it much worse than using "analog" individual stomp boxes to maintain the tube "warmth"?

I've heard a case where one Marshall amp got really sick cause some guy plugged in Zoom in it's FX loop. The Marshall almost throwed up on stage. Oldtimer tubers were fed with HQ analog devices, vegetables, they didn't used to this junk food of today.

QUOTE
3) What's the effects loop good for? I believe I technically understand what it is (I guess it's placed between the preamp and the power stage), but don't see why it's better to use that instead of just placing the effects in front of the amp. (Again, Vox ac4tv doesn't have an effects loop)

FX loop is there so you can bring 4 cables on a gig instead of two, and pretend you are using all those effects from racks/pedals smile.gif

QUOTE
4) Is there any problem with a tube amp without a Gain knob? (There's just a volume knob and a tone knob on ac4tv)

Unless they forgot to install the gain knob there is no visible problem there cool.gif

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jun 1 2009, 11:01 PM


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MickeM
post Jun 2 2009, 09:32 AM
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Spot on, Ivan! laugh.gif


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Fran
post Jun 2 2009, 11:06 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jun 1 2009, 11:58 PM) *
... It's like a date with the girl with those old tubbers - you're on standby until things get a bit hotter... cool.gif ...

... The Marshall almost throwed up on stage...


laugh.gif laugh.gif

That was graphic Ivan smile.gif laugh.gif


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Guitars:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, Ibanez RG2570MZ, Epiphone SG G-400
Amp:
Vox AC4TVH head + V112TV cab
Effects:
Vox Satchurator, Vox Time Machine, Dunlop CryBaby, Boss MT-2, Boss CE-5, Boss TU-2, Boss ME-70
Recording:
Line-6 POD X3 + FBV-Express, Pandora PX5D

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