Other Amps

Tube VS solid state

27

If you play at home, it's better to pay a bit of extra money and buy a small tube amp, up to 15 Watt or even 5 Watt. For example, VHT Special 6 Watt costs only around $250. Check out some cool low watt tube amplifiers here: https://guitar-amp.com/low-...

28

Had many, many, many boutique tube amps. Literally spent thousands! The sheer weight and unreliability of tube amps is astonishing for a gigging musician on a budget. For my money; the best thing going right now is the Boss Katana Artist 100. Check out the YouTube reviews. $ 600.

29

Tubes amps are simpler, more reliable, and much easier to repair. Transistor amps can sound just as good if they're designed correctly. Most solid-state amps are not designed correctly.

30

For my money; the best thing going right now is the Boss Katana Artist 100. Check out the YouTube reviews. $ 600. Paul McConnell

I have the Boss Katana 100 watt 2x12 amplifier, Paul, and it's a great amplifier. I still have my Fender 75 Watt tube amp 1x15", stacked on a Fender 4x12" cabinet, but it weights about 70 lbs and the cabinet weighs at least another 50 lbs. The Boss weighs 45 lbs total, and is far more versatile. It has all the on board effects a guy could ever want. I bought the 6 (dual function) button foot controller as well. I can't say enough good things about it!

31

Love tubes, always have. Will never be without a tube amp. However, I am about to buy a Roland Blues Cube Artist. Lighter, no biasing, no worry about tubes breaking or going microphonic during a gig (and no carrying spares in case they do), no worrying about "the right size amp for the right venue" (as these SS'ers basically have built-in power attenuators, the Artist from 0.5W to 80W, goes from the outdoor stage to the bedroom).

90% of the reviews are stellar, even from "die-hard tube guys for 30 years". I'm sold enough to buy one and give it a try.

32

I'll be interested to hear your conclusions. It's tempting for a number of reasons including the ones you mention. I had a quick look on Ebay and Reverb, and apparently nobody is selling a used one at the moment. Maybe people love them?

33

Sounds awesome in that video. I guess they‘ve made their homework. Really interesting anp and even in the budget range.

34

I’m currently seriously diggin’ the contrast in my mixes between 6-strings through a Deluxe and/or Playboy and 12-strings through a JC-120.

35
– jeffed

That looks like an old Gretsch, If so, why do people insist on calling Tennesseans, Tennessee Rose's??

I concur that tube amps are easier to build and maintain. If made well they are very durable and not at all unreliable on the road. As I mostly play clean and don't overdrive them the only reason I use tube amps is that I can build them myself for a small fraction of the average selling price. The whole 'magic tube sound' thing kind of got out of hand in my opinion.

I never was intrigued by 'boutique' amps simply because they were always priced way out of my range. It's the sort of money I might pay for a guitar but never an amp. Also the descriptor 'boutique' seemed like the word 'marine', just add it to a product (amp, pedal what have you) and double the price. That said, I do like the idea of supporting small businesses and I am well aware of the time that goes into an amp build.

36

I really don't care if an amp has vacuum tubes or transistors inside the box but every time I try another amp I always get drawn to those with 6L6 power tubes. There's something in the round tone and overall power of those big glass bottles that just sounds right to my ears.....even in a hybrid amp like a Music Man.

I play amps with 6V6 and EL84 power tubes when recording and at home but for live gigs it's got to be the Carr Rambler, the Music Man RD50 or, if I feel up to lifting it, the Fender Vibro-King.

37

If you are playing clean all the time, solid state is better. Lighter. Cheaper. Less noise. Less apt to break down. The sound is pretty much the same (minus the hum, sizzle, rattle etc of those tubes. Also if you are looking for a bedroom "practice amp"...don't be a fool and buy a one-trick pony Champ type tube amp. Get something like a Roland Cube 30.

Tubes mostly got popular when it was discovered that they distorted better when overdriven in live situations. If you want that...you can't beat a tube amp. But be prepared to deal with that weight, cost, noise and unreliability of tubes.

38

I play both. Probably more often SS these days. An old Polytone Minibrute II for jazz practice, a Quilter OD200 on a ported cab downstairs next to my tube amps.

Which is better is largely personal taste, and/or which fits your musical mission. Tonally, there is a depth and aliveness to a good tube amp ... doesn't have to be played loud, dirty to hear and feel that. Tube amps remain popular for very good reasons.

At the same time, good SS amps have their own tonal virtues. Two of my archtops sound best to me through the Polytone. And most of my electrics love the OD200, which can easily be set for a very pleasing "edge" of drive sound.

I love both.

39

I'll be interested to hear your conclusions. It's tempting for a number of reasons including the ones you mention. I had a quick look on Ebay and Reverb, and apparently nobody is selling a used one at the moment. Maybe people love them?

– Scorpio

Not sure if you're asking about the Katana or Blues Cube? But a few days ago there were several used Blues Cube Artists for sale on reverb.

I'm just trying to decide if I want to save a little money and buy used, or buy new so I have the entire warranty at my disposal, should I need it. I bought a mint-used boutique tube amp recently, and when I got it it wasn't functioning properly (and it wasn't a simple tube issue), and while the buyer was perfect and I got a refund, shipping the thing back was still a PITA.

40

For those interested in the Blue Cube Artist, it is modeled after a tweed Bassman, stock. The tone capsules change the tone of course, but out of the box it's supposed to sound like a tweed Bassman, altho with more gain available on the crunch channel... a friend of mine say it can get into Marshall Plexi territory (which makes sense, since the first Marshalls were just Bassmans with a 12AX7 in the preamp instead of a 12AY7)

41

Tubes mostly got popular when it was discovered that they distorted better when overdriven in live situations

Tubes mostly got popular because that’s all there was.

42

Can’t say enough good things about my Quilter MP 200 w/ 8” speaker. Changed my life! It’s only 17 lbs.

But...and here’s the BIG BUT... you have to put in the time to get the tone.

Whereas a tube amp is pretty much “plug in and play”, make a couple of tweaks to Gain/Master, maybe dial in a bit more mids, etc...you have to really dig into the controls of the Quilter. But when you do, you will be rewarded with amazing tone! Too many guys just plug in and spend ten minutes and say “ it doesn’t sound like a tube amp”! And give up. Too bad, because it’s capable of doing far more than a single tube amp!

when I saw this amp demo’d at the amp show by Chris from Quilter, I knew I had to have one! And, I have the 12” extension cab if I want to get Uber loud! But for most gigs where I’m playing acoustic and electric the amp w/ 8” is all I need. And I’m still too loud! LOL!

43

I've started using a Roland solid state for rehearsals and some small acoustic gigs. Sure is nice to have a $400 16 pound amp that is way louder than my 30 pound $2000 blackface Princeton Reverb for that sort of thing. As a bonus, solid state does a great job with vocals obvs, and I can run both simultaneously. I am a shameless vintage amp snob, and yet, here we are.

44

Early solid state amps sounded terrible. That's the main reason people avoided them. They've come a long way in 50 years. Considering that tubes are only utilized by primarily audiophiles and guitarists, and that the availability of quality tubes is getting rarer all of the time, it's well worth looking into a good solid state amp.

As a keyboardist, I have to admit that I've gone solid state in a big way. While I still love the sounds of a Wurlitzer EP and a tone wheel Hammond, both of my Korgs reproduce the sounds well, while being much less expensive, trouble free, and far lighter to tote. As a sound guy, I get magnitudes more power and quality for less money and less weight by going solid state. Around the 1980s, the industry changed drastically for the better. I still use a tube guitar amp, and a tube driven stereo, tho. Still have to maintain being a bit of a curmudgeon.

45

Tubes mostly got popular when it was discovered that they distorted better when overdriven in live situations

Tubes mostly got popular because that’s all there was.

– Proteus

I meant after that wasn't all there was.

46

if you still think that solid-state amps aren't for rock and roll, i'd point you to the number of rock guitarists who have used the Roland JC-120. the most notable is probably Andy Summers with The Police, but there were a lot of people playing the Roland in the 80s/90s including Neil Halstead of Slowdive and Vini Reilly in the Durutti Column. the Roland built-in chorus sound became something of an 80s cliche, in fact.

47

I use my Roland VGA77 all the time, and my Fender The Twin, sits gathering dust (along with lots of other combos). The Roland sounds great at any volume, and I still love that cliche`d chorus sound.. A little of it just works.

48

I say have one tube and one solid state. I think the Orange CR 60 is a great transistor amp. SS amps are good because they sound good at low and high volumes. If you play jazz depending on the style, an SS may workout. If you play the blues maybe not but didn't Albert King play an SS amp? Then again he was Albert King. Some '80s brit pop like The Smiths and The Cure would work with SS, especially that on many songs they used Roland JC-120 amps.

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Don't know about Albert, but B.B. King for many years played a LAB Series L5 solid state amp. So did British fusion virtuoso Allan Holdsworth.

50

Weren't the LAB series amps the further development by Norlin of the Standel SS amps? Or am I thinking of another brand.


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