Other Amps

Tube VS solid state


I want to know the pros and cons of each. I have to say that after hearing the difference between the 5222 and the Fender Frontman with clean settings I'm a little scared. I think I may become addicted to tube amps. I'm gonna start selling my blood.


I have always been a loyal fan of tube amps until I got my G-DEC and have heard the new Fender Mustangs. To my ear, Fender has closed the gap. I think modern technolgy has finally caught up with tube warmth and ambience.

If I were to start gigging today, I'd buy a Mustang III and an extension cabinet with a fifteen in it if I couldn't fit a fifteen in the amp itself.


I vote tubes all the way for guitar. Tone is everything. I feel if you're a guitar player you should be addicted to tube amps.


I'm of the opinion that 70% of your tone comes from the amp. A great guitar will sound like crap through a bad amp, a mediocre guitar will sound great through a good amp. Just my humble opinion. Also, I think playing clean through a tube amp teaches you to be touch sensitive and accurate.


There are some very decent solid state jazz amps around — Fender Jazz King and Jazzmaster, various Polytones, Roland JC-120, Acoustic Image Clarus, Henriksen, Evans. And there are good solid state amps for acoustic guitar — Fishman, AER, plus most of the big amp companies. But IMO for rock'n'roll it's still tubes. How close amps like the Vox Valve Reactors/Valvetronix, and Tec21 get to tube tone these days I'm not sure.


Oh, no... here we go again...:D


I completely agree with Bonedaddy.

As for the tube vs solid state I think In theory a solid state amp could be superior or at least as good as any tube amp out there. But in practice no company is going to try to market a high end solid state amp. What we end up with is most low end amps being solid state and most high end amps being tube.


Exhibit #1 for the expensive solid state amp... The Wiggy.


Uncle grumpy, you just opened up a can of worms! Pros of tube amp? Tone, Of course some may say the same about solid state amps. In the end, you need to let your ears be the judge.


It depends on what you're after.

Today's decent solid state amps (like Tech 21) do a credible job on clean sounds and some can do a very good job on distortion sounds too.

My Tech 21 amps I swore by for years even gave me a bit of touch sensitivity and some of the bouncey reactive feel of a tube amp. Their compression was hearable and sounded somewhat tube-like (and was ALWAYS present in the sound).

All that to say this: though the "tweed" switch selection on amps like the Vox Valvetronix and Roland Cubes can give you some huffy midrange, they can't really give you that wooly sound at the same time as a real tweed Fender design like a 5E3 is giving you that chime and complexity, as well as the touch, feel, and "bounce."

For couch noodling my Roland "Street Cube" gives me hours of versatility and entertainment, with reverb, and I even play it on some low volume dinner jazz jobs, and have gigged Tech 21 amps for decades.

BUT, when I want to play authentic primitive emotive blues with the boys on a Friday night, with all the nuance my Gretsch, Tele, or Strat has in there for moment by moment expression well, it's going to be played through my 1 X 12" Champ clone, or my 5E3 tweed Deluxe clone with NO interfering pedals!

It is then I'm swimming in a sonic bath of heavenly delight.

All the above is the low volume small amp stuff.

Then there's the Mesa/Boogie tube amp blast-fest with my son and his friends out in the garage (with ear plugs, so who knows what that really sounds like, and is/was there any nuance??? NO!)!


Ones not better, they are different beasts.

I've heard guys sound like vomit playing tube amps, and I have heard guys sound like angels through SS amps.


I think it depends on what you are looking for. you will Never get a full open Marshall plexi out of anything solid state. But there are some real great solid state amps out there. Like my Tech 21 trademark 30! I really love it! it is a solid state analog modeler. and my vox mini3 is amazing for a battery powered amp. Now both of them have very useable tones and great reliability but they don't really sound like what they are emulating. My 74 Silverface princeton reverb Sounds amazing also, But way more up keep, and only does 2 things Quite clean and loud crunch. But it does them really really well. I think I am an amp polygamist! I can't decide I love and use them all. I think there is a spot somewhere for all amps.

Mesa dual recto's are great for metal But dimebag darrel played a solid state Randall and crushes just as hard as any Marshall, Mesa, Krank, or Deziel!!!


Tubes for me, please! I have good friends who are all about solid state & digital effects. It really does depend on what you hear as ideal tone.


Congratulations on the new amp!!! Make sure and drink plenty of fluids before you donate.


It's a debate that's been around for may years and my take on it is this: I love my old Fender tube amps but for live playing I can get by with a decent solid state amp using pedals, reverbs etc. in front of them or in a loop if I have to. When I travel overseas I take a little 200 watt class D solid state power amp that fits in my gig bag pocket because I never know for sure what they will have for me at the gig. With this I can grab a monitor speaker and plug into it and I know I'll have some clean power to use and warm up with my pedals. However, when it comes to recording, I have never been happy with anything but tubes. I don't know why this is, but the recorded sound from tube amps sounds more natural to me. I would be curious to learn why this is so. -Roy


Have had Many of Both through the Years . when I was young that's all there was Tubes . Had a Vox Cambridge that still to this day I think was one heck of a great solid state amp , I think it was a 68 from Thomas organs in the U.S. favorite all time amp is a Fender Bandmaster Reverb for me , all though I just sold it a few days ago . another favorite is the fender Super Reverb . The what they call Sag you get from a Tube rectifier can not be replicated from solid state amps . So for my Tubes all the way . if some one out there 's got a Bandmaster Reverb they want to part with , please let me know !


Well obviously, tube amps are dangorus to databases,bax got his new amp and ka-pow! The newer solid states are amazing,any tone you want.


I suck no matter what type of amp I use.


Even I have to admit that solid state amps have come a LONG WAY in the last few years. However, I won't be trading in my 76' Fender Princeton Reverb or 60' Ampeg J-12 for one.


As an aging-but-progressive novice to all this, I have to say I lean toward SS in the face of mid-20th-century technology... with the proviso that tube modeling is not necessarily the way to go either IMHO. The comparative fragility of vacuum tubes is one reason. Secondly, isn't it time to move on into 2014 as the brand name "Tech-21" suggests?

Fundamentally, what I want in a Gretsch-friendly amp is, first and foremost, to faithfully reproduce the clean nuances of my Gretsch guitar rather than colour them. Any other digital/analogue options are just icing on the cake - meaning that neither is modeling/effects my primary concern in terms of features I want in a compatible amp.

Admitting I'm not a gigging guitarist and never will be, my desired amp will simply, reliably, unmistakably sing (to my ears) "Gretsch"!


A good amp is better than a crappy amp.


My amp technician friends tell me that tube amps produce even-order harmonic distortion when pushed into saturation, whereas solid state amps tend to produce uneven-order harmonic distortion which sounds less musical. Are they correct?


No. EIther one can be either one. Tube amps are easier to repair though. Solid-State guitar amps got such a bad reputation in the early days that they've never been popular sellers, so they're usually limited to entry level amps, or modern class D amps that only weigh a few pounds. Any type of amp can be designed and built poorly, or not. Generally speaking, the simpler the design is, the better the amp will sound, and transistors or tubes will sound better than opamps.


These will rival any tube guitar amp, but notice it's as simple as a tube amp and there's only that one opamp for the reverb. I don't know of any modern solid-state gear that's in this league.


I'll defer to BZ's expertise in terms of overall quality and maintainability.

But part of the decision is based on your requirements. Are you gigging or playing in your home? Are you playing through a PA? Are you recording? Are you playing clean or with a lot of dirt?

I'm playing at home, mostly at low volume. While I sometimes play clean, I also use a lot of dirt. Even with prdals, it's hard to get dirt at low volumes with tubes. But my SS Tech21 Trademark can deliver it. I also use a small tube amp (Vox AC4TV) for cleans, but even with the attenuator in the 1/4 watt setting, it's louder than my Tech 21. At the same time, neither of those amps can give me the cleans of a Princeton Reverb, which is on my wish list.

the right amp depends on your requirements. But the idea that SS amps are all crap is clearly no longer true.

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