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> Solid State Or Valve ?, amps
jonathan
post Oct 10 2009, 02:09 PM
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Hi guys! I'm currently looking for a new amp and i discovered that i don't really know what the main difference is between a solid state amp and a valve amp, can anyone please explain? and which type do u think is better? smile.gif

I also had my eyes on this amp fender frontman 212R any thoughts?

cheers biggrin.gif



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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 10 2009, 04:11 PM
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The main difference is that Solid State amps use transistors and Valve amps use valves (vacuum tubes, or just tubes). Tubes are a much older technology that used to be all we had until transistors came along. Transistors are based on silicon and have more linear characteristics which you would think would make for better amplifiers, and in many ways they do. However, many people agree that tube amps add something extra because they subtly distort the sound in a beneficial way. For this reason, tube amps never went out of style among guitarists and for most purposes they are regarded as more desirable than solid state based amps.


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JVM
post Oct 10 2009, 04:14 PM
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There's a lot of really good solid state amps out there. However, most of them (but not all!) are trying to emulate the sound of a tube amp. This is because the vacuum tubes in a tube amp add a lot of warmth and sound more 'organic' somehow, the dynamics (how well the amp responds to if you play hard or soft, etc) on a tube amp are usually very good. Most often, this comes from amps with a tube preamp AND more importantly the power amp, which does unfortunately require that a tube amp be turned up loud (relative to it's power output) to get the best sounds, though not to say they sound bad on lower volumes, just not as good.

So to recap, tube amps generally have a better sound, are more dynamic, but must be turned up louder for that really good sound, often too loud for 'bedroom use' but you can get certain models that are an exception to this.

Solid state amps and modelers have been improving in recent years. However, they still sound 'digital' to my ears, things don't always respond how you would want them to soundwise, but often you can find a good sound with them. They're usually also cheaper.

There are also high end solid state amps that are not trying to emulate a tube sound but rather explore the strengths of the technology, such as line 6's Vetta II, which has some really cool features like the ability to run "two" amps at once through the same amp. There's a lot of middle area in amps today, tube amps with digital effects, solid state amps with tube preamps, amps that exist entirely on your computer, etc.

It can be confusing, but the best thing to do is make a budget, have an idea of what sound you want in your head, and try some amps out yourself smile.gif Or ask us here what we might suggest.

This post has been edited by JVM: Oct 10 2009, 04:15 PM


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jonathan
post Oct 11 2009, 02:33 PM
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Thanks alot guys, that was really helpful. : )
It looks like valve amps have a better sound but my problem is money so i'm guessing i'll have to look for a good solid state amp, and i've also heard that solid state are more relliable, i'm not sure if this is true.
Is fender frontman 212R a good amp??

This post has been edited by jonathan: Oct 11 2009, 02:34 PM
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ZakkWylde
post Oct 11 2009, 03:57 PM
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Solid States are sturdier and more reliable than tube amps (because glass tubes nned to be handled carefully!)

The Fender frontman 212R is a good amp for Blues and Rock; if that's what you want to play then you've found your amp!


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 11 2009, 07:59 PM
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That Fender is a good amp, it has lots of power, and it is suitable for use with multiFX units. If you have some good guitar processor to use it with it, you can get any tone you want.


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