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> Valve Amps Vs Transistor Amps, Which is best to have?
Becca
post Apr 20 2014, 04:45 PM
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Howdy good people of the GMC forum, this is something that was always polemic back on the '80s circuit. Only valve amps were "proper" amps to use in a live set up. Any Trannie amps seemed to be considered as a bit of a joke. I had to lug around,firstly a beige AC30,then a ProAmp Viper whilst thinking, "if I had a Roland Cube, it would fit in the footwell of my car"! Undoubtedly, Amp design, particularly solid state amps, has changed considerably in the 21st century but have opinions also changed.?
I have a Bugera V22 here which I have owned for about three years and recently changed valves to JJ's. It's certainly adequate here at home and sounds great, but it weighs a ton. So when I do play at pubs I usually use a Marshall VS30R. It means I can load up the car without giving myself a hernia. Its pretty good but doesn't like my Stereo Memory Man. Sounds dreadful through it. My other peds all work fine. Weird!
Any way back to the thrust of this thread. You guys are pretty good at knowing what is the best all round options. I still tend towards the warmth of valve amps for gigging, I mean they seriously move air but what about the latest non valve amps. I see Orange have brought out a PRO version of their solid state amps. They look the business but I am told they have been designed to be a similar weight to the valve versions. Why? Surely the benefit of using non valve tech is the weight reduction? And the digital modelling amps... well, I have never used one so cannot say whether they are just for bedroom playing or if you can seriously gig with them.
Are they,as I have been told, useful toys for home but thats it?
How difficult is their practical use in a live environment and loaded for bear?
Those of you who have been replying to me before will know I have gone down the FX board route already so I guess that steers me towards the traditional side of ,lets say my Bugera with pedal board as a live set up. What do you think, do I stick with my valve amp and get someone to lug it around, use the Marshall without the MM ped or should I discard all the stuff I have to get a 21st Century set up?
If I am honest here I would have to say I am not that keen to do that, I am used to my gear and I know its little ways. The "feel" is there, you know what I mean?
So that's the quandary. I am hoping for lots of comments,lots of options, ingenious solutions to my transport problems or even some stuff from leftfield that no one thought of. (Star Trek matter transporters DON'T count. Unless you have one that I can use.)
Look forward to your replies.
Peace People, Becca



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klasaine
post Apr 20 2014, 05:03 PM
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I started out in the 70s with all Tube amps.
Switched to Solid State amps with a 4-space rack in the 80s.
Switched back to Tube amps and individual pedals in the early 90s and haven't owned* any SS amp since then.

For me they just work/sound better for what I do.

*I travel to play a fair amount so I do have to use backlined SS amps occasionally and they seem to sound fine to the audience. They sound 95% of the way there for me on stage - ?

I know many players who prefer to use and sound great through SS amps, modelers, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that I only have a personal point of view.

I am getting sick of lugging around heavy tube amps. I check out any and all SS combos that come out in the hopes that one will suffice for my particular needs. No dice so far but I keep looking.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Apr 20 2014, 05:04 PM


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Darius Wave
post Apr 21 2014, 12:48 PM
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Tubes fit my taste better but sometimes I use solid state Club Reverb and people ask me" Nice amp...is it Tube?". Comfort of light weight of solid state amps makes huge advantage on touring sometimes...at least at pub touring. For me the the main difference was always the treble end. Somehow with Tube amp sound could be very bright yet still pleasant to my ears. With solid state I felt sort of discomfort...same amount of birgtness in tone caused some unpleasant feeling. I'm not the "hype kind of guy". Tubes are my choice because of mentioned reason.


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Becca
post Apr 26 2014, 01:37 PM
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Hi Fellas. Thank you for your replies. Apologies for not being on the forum sooner but I have had a few days off from work and there has been a bout of lovely weather so guess what? Becca has the 'flu. No not "man flu", though as a nurse I agree there IS such a thing, but full on Temperature, splitting head ache etc,etc. Uuurgh.
I have loads I want to talk about but to honest, even looking at this screen is boring holes into my brain, so forgive any typo's.
My main gripe with my old SS Marshall is how fizzy and false the drive channel is. You would think Marsll would have got THAT right,but nope. I have a Vox Brit boost pre amp pedal that I tried in front of the SS Marshall but it just sounded awful. In front of my tube amp it sings. Seems it doesnt like the mix of technologies. The Rothwell Tornado drive, however. Makes the Marshall snarl and growl like the plexi's. Great combination.
Oh I wish I could write some more as could do with a bit of company.Hubby is at work so it's just me and the cats. I am going back to bed to suffer with stoic dignity. Will get back to you guys when I feel better
see ya
Becca. x


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 26 2014, 03:48 PM
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You gotta trust your own ears smile.gif But it's a good idea like you are doing to get input from folks!!! The modeling units like AXE FX and KEMPER and IMHO Eleven Rack, have gotten so good that many pro musicians skip the actual amp entirely and just run from the unit to the mixing board. Others really prefer using a tube amp live. A relative few prefer solid state amp heads as Dimebag from Pantera used to do.

Lots of variables at play but you don't have to limit yourself, so try to embrace it all as you go smile.gif And you can add plugins of course which are modeling sims that run in software instead on a rack unit. It's all part and parcel to the "Journey of Tone" smile.gif


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waynedcoville
post Apr 26 2014, 04:03 PM
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well like most questions of this type, its all about personal taste - ie, nobody can decide what suits you, except for you. however i will gladly put in my two cents. i've had both tube and solid state amps and i've played with guitarists who have also, and the discussions about tube vs. solid state generally vere towards tube. althoug, as technologie advances and the products we use to achive the sounds we're looking for are getting getter and better, the line between the two formats begins to blur of not overlap. its gotten to the point where solid state amps and/or modelers mimic so well the sound of tubes amps that they themselves achieve an almost idealized version of what a tube amp is supposed to sound like. with that said, solid state digital amps/modelers i think have an advantage over tubes amps in regard to weight, size and general maintainence. not to mention the fact that most modelers these days can sound like whatever amp you want. with a tube amp, you have what you have. i now use a solid state amp with an amp/effects modeler that has a tube built in (which for all intents and purposes does nothing but look cool, therefor is a gimmick). i can get a multitude of differing tones and distortions with a twidt of a knob or click of a footswitch and, except for maybe the well trained ears of audiophiles, sound exactly like what they're supposed to sound like. 666


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klasaine
post Apr 26 2014, 04:27 PM
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Addendum to my above post ...

Recording is a whole 'nother thing. I've been doing sessions with SS gear since the mid 80s (started with an ADA MP-1) then went Line 6 in 1999. Most studios here have either 11 Rack, Axefx, software/plug-ins, a kemper and usually a combination of both. Many also have one or two good tube amps mic'd up.

I prefer tube amps live primarily because if it doesn't sound the way I want it to (I'm talking about my personal amps) - 99% of the time a simple knob twist (w/in the space of 3 beats) can fix it.
Also solid state amps and SS gear in general, though usually very reliable, when they do go down are not easily fixed. With a good tube amp - everything is fixable. The most common problem is a bad tube ... which can be trouble shot and changed on a gig. Tube gear, unlike most ss gear, tends to fail slowly. Something starts to sound/feel 'different'. The impetus is of course on the owner to recognize and pay attention to this stuff. Keep it maintained and carry one extra pre-amp and one extra pwr amp tube and a couple of fuses. There are a ton of guitar amps from the 40s thru early 70s still in CONSTANT use. The most reliable amp I have is a 1964 Fender Bassman. Of course it's been worked on. But only maintenance. It's never stopped on a gig.


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 26 2014, 07:03 PM
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Some additional great points to be sure. Live Vs Recording. As you may have noticed there really isn't a "best" option but we get what you are asking smile.gif It's a great way to start the conversation and it's one that comes up quite a bit and is always welcome smile.gif

For me, live and recording are really the same rig which is the elven rack going to a rocktron velocity power amp and genz benz cab. I usually record

1.)The clean signal so I can run it through plugins (overloud/amplitude)
2.)The mic on the cabinet (and old EKG RAVEN which I like better than a 57)
3.)The processed direct signal from the eleven rack.

The spiff thing about the 11 rack is that it outputs unprocessed and processed signals directly to separate tracks in the daw via usb or through my presonus 16 channel interface. More and more I LOVE the presonus, but honestly I don't really need it with the 11 since it's got a mic input on the front I could use just the 11 and my laptop and firewire camera to do lessons and record.

I do like being able to run my xbox, cable tv, etc. all through the presonus board and have everything on faders at the ready during recording / practicing smile.gif hehehehehehe.

here is the back of the 11r
Attached Image

most decent rack processors have a multitude of outputs and the newest AXE FX can now record clean/processed via USB which is handy.


QUOTE (klasaine @ Apr 26 2014, 11:27 AM) *
Addendum to my above post ...

Recording is a whole 'nother thing. I've been doing sessions with SS gear since the mid 80s (started with an ADA MP-1) then went Line 6 in 1999. Most studios here have either 11 Rack, Axefx, software/plug-ins, a kemper and usually a combination of both. Many also have one or two good tube amps mic'd up.

I prefer tube amps live primarily because if it doesn't sound the way I want it to (I'm talking about my personal amps) - 99% of the time a simple knob twist (w/in the space of 3 beats) can fix it.
Also solid state amps and SS gear in general, though usually very reliable, when they do go down are not easily fixed. With a good tube amp - everything is fixable. The most common problem is a bad tube ... which can be trouble shot and changed on a gig. Tube gear, unlike most ss gear, tends to fail slowly. Something starts to sound/feel 'different'. The impetus is of course on the owner to recognize and pay attention to this stuff. Keep it maintained and carry one extra pre-amp and one extra pwr amp tube and a couple of fuses. There are a ton of guitar amps from the 40s thru early 70s still in CONSTANT use. The most reliable amp I have is a 1964 Fender Bassman. Of course it's been worked on. But only maintenance. It's never stopped on a gig.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Apr 26 2014, 07:07 PM


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Blister
post Apr 26 2014, 11:38 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Apr 20 2014, 11:03 AM) *
I started out in the 70s with all Tube amps.
Switched to Solid State amps with a 4-space rack in the 80s.
Switched back to Tube amps and individual pedals in the early 90s and haven't owned* any SS amp since then.
...


Ken, I know that you have said you have played them but I thought for sure that you would at least have a Jazz Chorus in your corral.

Becca, I'm still a noob (not to mention that I have never even played on a tube amp) but I sure hope you feel better soon!


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klasaine
post Apr 27 2014, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Apr 26 2014, 03:38 PM) *
Ken, I know that you have said you have played them but I thought for sure that you would at least have a Jazz Chorus in your corral.


I never owned a JC120 but for clean, funky, late 70s and 80s rhythm, especially with a Strat and decent compressor, you can't beat 'em. They def have a thing.

*The only solid state gear I have is a bass amp in my little practice studio and Crate 'mini' amp head I keep in my car in case my main amp goes down.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Apr 27 2014, 01:47 AM


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Becca
post Apr 29 2014, 07:51 PM
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Hi Guys.. Thank you for all the kind wishes while I was laid up with the 'flu. Am almost over it now but feel so much better than I did so I thought I would pop in and see how its going at the GMC or great music chat as I like to think of it. Phew, the old tube v SS amp debate is still going strong then. I thought it would be to be honest. Certainly the digital software is excellent for recording. I have that modelling stuff on my DAW but often mic up the Bugera V22 to record with. Its my Valve comfort blanket I suppose. I have had a thought about my little Marshall. There is no effect loop on there so my Memory Man has to go through the front with my other pedals. Maybe that is what makes it sound so awful? Anyone know a reasonably priced and lightweight amp with fx loop that I could consider? Or alternatively a basic modelling amp that is easy to switch fx in a gig environment. 30watts should do for what I use it for. Bigger venues would have my amp through the desk anyway. Do the modelling amps take kindly to effects pedals as well? you see my ignorance here but if I don't ask, I don't get to find out.
Keep up the good work guys.
Becca


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 30 2014, 06:02 PM
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It all depends a TON on price. Whats your budget?

QUOTE (Becca @ Apr 29 2014, 02:51 PM) *
Hi Guys.. Thank you for all the kind wishes while I was laid up with the 'flu. Am almost over it now but feel so much better than I did so I thought I would pop in and see how its going at the GMC or great music chat as I like to think of it. Phew, the old tube v SS amp debate is still going strong then. I thought it would be to be honest. Certainly the digital software is excellent for recording. I have that modelling stuff on my DAW but often mic up the Bugera V22 to record with. Its my Valve comfort blanket I suppose. I have had a thought about my little Marshall. There is no effect loop on there so my Memory Man has to go through the front with my other pedals. Maybe that is what makes it sound so awful? Anyone know a reasonably priced and lightweight amp with fx loop that I could consider? Or alternatively a basic modelling amp that is easy to switch fx in a gig environment. 30watts should do for what I use it for. Bigger venues would have my amp through the desk anyway. Do the modelling amps take kindly to effects pedals as well? you see my ignorance here but if I don't ask, I don't get to find out.
Keep up the good work guys.
Becca


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 30 2014, 06:41 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Apr 27 2014, 12:46 AM) *
I never owned a JC120 but for clean, funky, late 70s and 80s rhythm, especially with a Strat and decent compressor, you can't beat 'em. They def have a thing.

...


Indeed. First two amps I had were a HH 50 soon followed by a JC120 (still have the JC). Got the HH when I was 15 years old solely because most of the bands I liked at the time used them. I actually turned down a Vox AC30 and an Marshall to get the HH. With the JC it was a choice between it and a used Fender Twin - the JC just did a nice almost glacial clean sound that I liked then and still do. This was all in the late 70s, early 80s and a lot of what I played was new wave and funk a la Pigbag etc. Much later I got a Matchless tube amp, which I again still have. The JC is great for clean rhythm and finger style jazz whilst the Matchless is great for blues etc.

In my experience modelling has gotten a lot better but to be contraversial it isn't there yet...

I think it was Bernie Grundman - but it may have been someone else - who recently said that he still preferred analgue to digital modelling. His argument was that there are still some low level complicated sonic issues that isn't modelled often in the low/mid mid range where there is a lot of sonic inforation. In much the same way I still find that digital ITB recordings sound like digital ITB recordings.


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klasaine
post Apr 30 2014, 06:55 PM
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Wow, HH amps.
I knew one guy here in L.A. that had one. Great amps!
I believe Bill Nelson used them wink.gif
Been listening to 'Modern Music' for the past week. Extraordinary! Does anybody put that time in anymore?

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 1 2014, 07:32 AM


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