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    Default Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    No doubt this point has been made before, but i'll ask, if solid state technology is so good now, particularly from the likes of Roland, Audio Fractal and Kemper, why are tube amps still being made when even old school pros are taking to the brands I've mentioned ?. I believe there are as many brand of valve amps today than in the 50s & 60s, with some brands that were not even around during those years.
    Magnatone are still here, as are Supro who have been making tube amps since the 1930s. They clearly created a template in sound which solid state is trying to emulate and better.

    There has to be some intangible vibe to the kind of sounds/tones you get from good ones that people can hear and feel; the kind of thing you cant measure or pin down. One dark cloud with these is how long the tubes are going to be made...

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Because non-tube amps got a really bad name when they first came out. Then amp manufacturers couldn't sell them at high dollar, so made non-tube amps their cheapest lines . . . with ****ty components and ****ty design. So the concept of non-tube amps being ****ty was really driven home.

    It's possible to make a great sounding digital or solid state amp, but the highest quality amps made by most companies today are all still tube amps . . . so that's what most people want to use.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Fractal and kemper I believe are merely modelling tube amp tone via sampling a real amp. So they do nothing on their own.
    But the entry cost is still high, and the learning curve steep.

    Many would rather having something that is plug and play. And that is certainly not what a lot of the more complex systems are.

    The issue that many face in comprehension is that just because some find it better, doesn't mean others automatically have to, or that people should be forced to change.
    I mean, if tube amps are selling, which they are, why would you assume makers of tube amps would stop making them........seems utterly illogical to anybody really.

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexR View Post
    Fractal and kemper I believe are merely modelling tube amp tone via sampling a real amp. So they do nothing on their own.
    But the entry cost is still high, and the learning curve steep.

    Many would rather having something that is plug and play. And that is certainly not what a lot of the more complex systems are.

    The issue that many face in comprehension is that just because some find it better, doesn't mean others automatically have to, or that people should be forced to change.
    I mean, if tube amps are selling, which they are, why would you assume makers of tube amps would stop making them........seems utterly illogical to anybody really.
    I thought this thread is just beating a dead horse, but this comment made it worthwhile.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Who makes the best tubes?.....seems there is a lot of variation in price and a lot of claims made about tubes that may be dubious . Most are from china..then there is Slovenia and Russia.

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    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexR View Post
    Fractal and kemper I believe are merely modelling tube amp tone via sampling a real amp. So they do nothing on their own.
    But the entry cost is still high, and the learning curve steep..
    Kemper profiles an actual amp. So itís like a sample of that.

    Fractal totally creates the model from scratch. You can go in and change the tubes or even output transformer.

    I use a relatively cheap Marshall Code 100 combo on stage. Iím very happy with the tones Iím getting. It took a little tweaking of some of the presets, but itís got a bunch of good patches.

    And again, I can change things like having a JCM800 preamp into an AC30 power amp and different speakers.

    It also has effects, so all my delays and reverbs are in the amp. And some modulation effects too.

    People like to badmouth these amps that either never used one or just didnít understand how to operate it. These same people complain if a guitar has more than 2 knobs. lol

    The learning curve compared to a Fractal is very small.

    I played bass in a classic rock cover band a few years back. The guitarist switched from a Mesa TriAxis rack setup to a Fractal AxeFX II, mainly to reduce weight. Once he got it dialed in you couldnít tell the difference. I actually thought it had better note definition than the MESA. It also allowed him to replace another rack of effects.

    I went with a modeling amp because when I record I use amp and effect plugins. I like to get a tone to match the song, rather than the same tone on everything. So this was an easy means to that end. Itís my second modeling amp; the last one was a Vox VT80+, which was a great little amp.

    At gigs other guitarist come up and tell me what a great tone I was getting, and they donít recognize the amp. I love the look on their faces when I say itís digital. Lol. They always mutter something about how they need tubes. lol

    Also think about all the people who run a clean amp and get all their tone from pedals. Pretty much the same thing.

    I love a nice tube Marshall, but itís impractical gigging around NYC. And my digital amp sounds exactly the same. Plus I get to switch from a crunchy tone to a clean Twin drenched in reverb mid song! Not impossible if you have a multi channel tube amp, but I can get way more tones on mine.

    Hereís an example


    https://soundcloud.com/jezo-and-the-element/travesty


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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    Kemper profiles an actual amp. So it’s like a sample of that.

    Fractal totally creates the model from scratch. You can go in and change the tubes or even output transformer.

    I use a relatively cheap Marshall Code 100 combo on stage. I’m very happy with the tones I’m getting. It took a little tweaking of some of the presets, but it’s got a bunch of good patches.

    And again, I can change things like having a JCM800 preamp into an AC30 power amp and different speakers.

    It also has effects, so all my delays and reverbs are in the amp. And some modulation effects too.

    People like to badmouth these amps that either never used one or just didn’t understand how to operate it. These same people complain if a guitar has more than 2 knobs. lol

    The learning curve compared to a Fractal is very small.

    I played bass in a classic rock cover band a few years back. The guitarist switched from a Mesa TriAxis rack setup to a Fractal AxeFX II, mainly to reduce weight. Once he got it dialed in you couldn’t tell the difference. I actually thought it had better note definition than the MESA. It also allowed him to replace another rack of effects.

    I went with a modeling amp because when I record I use amp and effect plugins. I like to get a tone to match the song, rather than the same tone on everything. So this was an easy means to that end. It’s my second modeling amp; the last one was a Vox VT80+, which was a great little amp.

    At gigs other guitarist come up and tell me what a great tone I was getting, and they don’t recognize the amp. I love the look on their faces when I say it’s digital. Lol. They always mutter something about how they need tubes. lol

    Also think about all the people who run a clean amp and get all their tone from pedals. Pretty much the same thing.

    I love a nice tube Marshall, but it’s impractical gigging around NYC. And my digital amp sounds exactly the same. Plus I get to switch from a crunchy tone to a clean Twin drenched in reverb mid song! Not impossible if you have a multi channel tube amp, but I can get way more tones on mine.

    Here’s an example


    https://soundcloud.com/jezo-and-the-element/travesty


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Great post, I appreciate you explaining detail and your reasoning.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    Kemper profiles an actual amp. So it’s like a sample of that.

    Fractal totally creates the model from scratch. You can go in and change the tubes or even output transformer.

    I use a relatively cheap Marshall Code 100 combo on stage. I’m very happy with the tones I’m getting. It took a little tweaking of some of the presets, but it’s got a bunch of good patches.

    And again, I can change things like having a JCM800 preamp into an AC30 power amp and different speakers.

    It also has effects, so all my delays and reverbs are in the amp. And some modulation effects too.

    People like to badmouth these amps that either never used one or just didn’t understand how to operate it. These same people complain if a guitar has more than 2 knobs. lol

    The learning curve compared to a Fractal is very small.

    I played bass in a classic rock cover band a few years back. The guitarist switched from a Mesa TriAxis rack setup to a Fractal AxeFX II, mainly to reduce weight. Once he got it dialed in you couldn’t tell the difference. I actually thought it had better note definition than the MESA. It also allowed him to replace another rack of effects.

    I went with a modeling amp because when I record I use amp and effect plugins. I like to get a tone to match the song, rather than the same tone on everything. So this was an easy means to that end. It’s my second modeling amp; the last one was a Vox VT80+, which was a great little amp.

    At gigs other guitarist come up and tell me what a great tone I was getting, and they don’t recognize the amp. I love the look on their faces when I say it’s digital. Lol. They always mutter something about how they need tubes. lol

    Also think about all the people who run a clean amp and get all their tone from pedals. Pretty much the same thing.

    I love a nice tube Marshall, but it’s impractical gigging around NYC. And my digital amp sounds exactly the same. Plus I get to switch from a crunchy tone to a clean Twin drenched in reverb mid song! Not impossible if you have a multi channel tube amp, but I can get way more tones on mine.

    Here’s an example


    https://soundcloud.com/jezo-and-the-element/travesty


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Those codes are so great, so great they dont make them anymore. I had one, and it wasnt good at all. I guess I had to get the latest firmware and yada yada. Pulled my little Peavey toaster 6505 and it sounded good to me in about 3 seconds. I understand pros like you can make anything sound good, I dont want to work so hard

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by OLDERBUDWISER View Post
    Those codes are so great, so great they dont make them anymore. I had one, and it wasnt good at all. I guess I had to get the latest firmware and yada yada...
    You know they do still make the Code right?
    In my opinion they're good, versatile amps. Especially for the money. They're not everyone's cup of tea, and I'll agree that the factory settings are meh at best. But it's not hard to get good sounds, and there are hundreds of patches out there if you don't want to fiddle around making your own.
    I do love my tube amp, but the tone and versatility of the Code is very good at the price point.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by OLDERBUDWISER View Post
    Those codes are so great, so great they dont make them anymore. I had one, and it wasnt good at all. I guess I had to get the latest firmware and yada yada. Pulled my little Peavey toaster 6505 and it sounded good to me in about 3 seconds. I understand pros like you can make anything sound good, I dont want to work so hard
    My Code 100 sounds great. But if your the kind of person that just plugs into an amp and thatís your tone, itís not for you.

    Also you have to get past the first 20 patches that have lots of effects on them. The straight amp models sound like the real thing. Iíve compared them next to a real JCM800 at my rehearsal space.

    Iíve just had a recent firmware update. Didnít seem to change anything.


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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    My Code 100 sounds great. But if your the kind of person that just plugs into an amp and that’s your tone, it’s not for you.

    Also you have to get past the first 20 patches that have lots of effects on them. The straight amp models sound like the real thing. I’ve compared them next to a real JCM800 at my rehearsal space.

    I’ve just had a recent firmware update. Didn’t seem to change anything.


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    David, maybe I missed it, but have you had any experience with the Tech 21 Fly Rigs?

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Well, we still make BBQ grills, analog clocks, and manual transmissions. Some people like doing it the old way, which will never change. If there is a market for it, a company will make it.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Tubes are only made in about a handful of places in the world now. Perhaps 3-5 places. That means most all tubes you buy are rebranded. Groove Tubes is making a really good business of rebranding tubes for instance ( may he rest in peace ). The vendors buy the tubes in bulk that meet a criterion and then the vendor classifies the tubes based on quality, current draw, etc. It wouldn't be a far stretch to bet that your JJ tubes are the same as your EH tubes or your brand of choice. Many of the higher end tubes are not made by them ( Genelex, for instance, is made by New Sensor ). JJ is one of the few companies actually making tubes and you can bet they are selling to other companies as well as an OEM. So to get back on topic though.....

    Tube amps appeal for a multitude of reasons. The predominate one is likely pedigree. If you have a Diezel, Soldano, Bogner, Friedman, Dumble or whatever, you know you have the best tube amp that your money can buy. Who do you buy when you want the best solid-state amp you can buy? A Roland, Randall ( from the '80s and 90's ), Line 6? And not one of them are hand made nor cost as much as any of the aforementioned tube amps. Tube amps are analog, so there is little that can go wrong and when it does, there are actually user-serviceable parts inside. When you want to build a tube amp for yourself, you can buy several different variations of many different models of amps and it is still cheaper in most instances to the more basic modelers available. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that as guitarists we just like to be able to reach over, turn a dial and turn back around and keep playing, which is hard to do with digital anything. And you just can't weed out the most basic principle of KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. It is just easy, simple and more rewarding when you have your favorite tube amp pushing air at your legs.

    Modelers and other digital amps just aren't what even a basic tube amp is, simple, easy and of course WYSIWYG ( what you see is what you get ). No menu's, no choices and no complicated layouts, just a guitar and an amp. Perhaps the biggest thing going for tube amps is distortion. There is nothing else like it. digital and solid-state devices have been trying to emulate the sound since the creation of silicon chips and just haven't been able to do it. Tosin Abasi is using Morgan amplification now and has gone through several digital platforms to come full circle back to tube amps. Tube amps just do what we want them to at a price we can afford with a value that we can quantify. If you think in 20 years from now that your Axe-FX is still going to be relevant and even still working or fixable if it isn't, your living in a pipe dream. You can buy a Fender Blues deluxe today and it will still work and at least be fixable probably 50 years from today. Tubes will always be a mainstay in the music world because you just can't beat the simplest and most basic thing.

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewizard View Post
    Tubes are only made in about a handful of places in the world now. Perhaps 3-5 places. That means most all tubes you buy are rebranded. Groove Tubes is making a really good business of rebranding tubes for instance ( may he rest in peace ). The vendors buy the tubes in bulk that meet a criterion and then the vendor classifies the tubes based on quality, current draw, etc. It wouldn't be a far stretch to bet that your JJ tubes are the same as your EH tubes or your brand of choice. Many of the higher end tubes are not made by them ( Genelex, for instance, is made by New Sensor ). JJ is one of the few companies actually making tubes and you can bet they are selling to other companies as well as an OEM. So to get back on topic though.....

    Tube amps appeal for a multitude of reasons. The predominate one is likely pedigree. If you have a Diezel, Soldano, Bogner, Friedman, Dumble or whatever, you know you have the best tube amp that your money can buy. Who do you buy when you want the best solid-state amp you can buy? A Roland, Randall ( from the '80s and 90's ), Line 6? And not one of them are hand made nor cost as much as any of the aforementioned tube amps. Tube amps are analog, so there is little that can go wrong and when it does, there are actually user-serviceable parts inside. When you want to build a tube amp for yourself, you can buy several different variations of many different models of amps and it is still cheaper in most instances to the more basic modelers available. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that as guitarists we just like to be able to reach over, turn a dial and turn back around and keep playing, which is hard to do with digital anything. And you just can't weed out the most basic principle of KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. It is just easy, simple and more rewarding when you have your favorite tube amp pushing air at your legs.

    Modelers and other digital amps just aren't what even a basic tube amp is, simple, easy and of course WYSIWYG ( what you see is what you get ). No menu's, no choices and no complicated layouts, just a guitar and an amp. Perhaps the biggest thing going for tube amps is distortion. There is nothing else like it. digital and solid-state devices have been trying to emulate the sound since the creation of silicon chips and just haven't been able to do it. Tosin Abasi is using Morgan amplification now and has gone through several digital platforms to come full circle back to tube amps. Tube amps just do what we want them to at a price we can afford with a value that we can quantify. If you think in 20 years from now that your Axe-FX is still going to be relevant and even still working or fixable if it isn't, your living in a pipe dream. You can buy a Fender Blues deluxe today and it will still work and at least be fixable probably 50 years from today. Tubes will always be a mainstay in the music world because you just can't beat the simplest and most basic thing.
    Nailed this comment man

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Jacew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    New Sensor is owned by EH and makes EH tubes, Genalex, Sovtek, Svetlana, Tung-Sol and maybe some other brands I can't remember in Russia.

    JJ makes their own tubes in Slovenia, it's old Tesla factory that used to be in Marshalls.

    So you certainly wouldn't find EH labeled JJ tube...

    Shuguang makes their own tubes in China, there's other manufacturers too there.

    GTs, Rubys, TADs, amp branded tubes etc... are rebranded and come from those manufacturers.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Don't forget, the sound/tone of tubes are not the only appealing part of a Tube Amp experience, and honestly, the feel part is probably more of the preference now that Solid State and DSP has caught up to at least very very close with the tone portion

    There's that compressed surge lag on the attack that people get used to, and also the sustain is different (traditionally), and I'm not sure if Kempers and Fractals model that part well -but I know some real players had trouble with the A/B comparisons recently, but when you play a Solid State the lack of that latent attack is immediately apparent to many, this is why technical Metal guys started moving to SS amps in the 80s -because they valued the precision feel over that surge and sustain feel.

    But there is something amazing and charming and real about the surge and sustain feel of a tube amp -and so Tube amps will continue for another generation.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Mark Knopfler recently took to Kemper profilers on stage in the US ..something that has made Kemper very happy! I guess they just happen to be convenient for him for that purpose ...I doubt he'll give up his old amps though
    Last edited by Gold star; 09-04-2019 at 01:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    Don't forget, the sound/tone of tubes are not the only appealing part of a Tube Amp experience, and honestly, the feel part is probably more of the preference now that Solid State and DSP has caught up to at least very very close with the tone portion

    There's that compressed surge lag on the attack that people get used to, and also the sustain is different (traditionally), and I'm not sure if Kempers and Fractals model that part well -but I know some real players had trouble with the A/B comparisons recently, but when you play a Solid State the lack of that latent attack is immediately apparent to many, this is why technical Metal guys started moving to SS amps in the 80s -because they valued the precision feel over that surge and sustain feel.

    But there is something amazing and charming and real about the surge and sustain feel of a tube amp -and so Tube amps will continue for another generation.
    The Helix has a sag knob on every amp model. You can make them as saggy or tight as you want.

    There's only two advantages to tube amps anymore:
    1) the amp in the room sound, because modelers capture the micced sound
    2) the simplicity

    I think the simplicity (or lack thereof) is the biggest difference. It's extremely easy to get a great sound on a good modeling amp, that's not the issue, but having a million options isn't something the human brain does well with.

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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ibanezrocks View Post
    The Helix has a sag knob on every amp model. You can make them as saggy or tight as you want.

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    Whats your opinion on those settings compared to the real deal?

    also, I'm not against modelers at all if they pass muster.

    but for someone like me with about $30k in classic guitar tube amps -there's no reason for me to pay to change over to something imitating what I already have -although my big amps don't leave house or rehearsal place much -we use backline for big gigs.
    Last edited by NegativeEase; 09-04-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Better technology-so why are tube amps here ?

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    Whats your opinion on those settings compared to the real deal?

    also, I'm not against modelers at all if they pass muster.

    but for someone like me with about $30k in classic guitar tube amps -there's no reason for me to pay to change over to something imitating what I already have -although my big amps don't leave house or rehearsal place much -we use backline for big gigs.
    IMO modelers can perfectly replicate power amp sag. The Helix is cool because you can get sounds you couldn't out of the real amps. You can turn a normally tight amp into a spongy doom machine, or vice versa.

    The default settings are great, but there's a lot of versatility hidden in the sag and bias controls. Again, that goes back to my point about simplicity. It's not that it's hard to get good sounds, it's that you can't always avoid the temptation to tweak things forever.

    To the previous post, they also clean up with a lighter touch exactly like a tube amp. Don't confuse cheap solid state with high-end modelling amps.

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