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paul, the

Valve amps vs Solid State

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I've decided I hate amplifiers.
That, or they hate me!

Tube or SS, you send 'em, I'll bend 'em.

(And it's not like I'm some psychotic volume freak who wires it all up wrong, either. Before you ask!)

I need something that will not go up in smoke at the sight of i) an input signal ii) a pair of cabinets.

Not very constructive, I know, but I'm sick of things breaking without them suffering what I'd call abuse.

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[quote name='Lfalex v1.1' post='23374' date='Jun 26 2007, 09:21 AM']I've decided I hate amplifiers.
That, or they hate me!

Tube or SS, you send 'em, I'll bend 'em.

(And it's not like I'm some psychotic volume freak who wires it all up wrong, either. Before you ask!)

I need something that will not go up in smoke at the sight of i) an input signal ii) a pair of cabinets.

Not very constructive, I know, but I'm sick of things breaking without them suffering what I'd call abuse.[/quote]

Hell, you have been having a bad time!
There may be some undiagnosed common factor going on. Something that's not immediately obvious. Here's a shortlist of possibles:

1) Dodgy local mains supply (unlikely, but...)
2) Mains wiring fault in your house/rehearsal space
3) Faulty wiring inside one or both of your speaker cabs
4) Having met a mysterious stranger at the crossroads and signed a contract in your own blood...

My money's on the last one. C'mon, don't you remember me...?

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[url="http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RSC-BASS-MAJOR-VINTAGE-VALVE-AMPLIFIER-RARE-MULLARD_W0QQitemZ270137506265QQihZ017QQcategoryZ10171QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem"]http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RSC-BASS-MAJOR-VINTA...1QQcmdZViewItem[/url]


:)

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Question that hasnt been answered that im fair interested in, are tube amps less bothered about whether you put guitar or bass through them? Ive seen a couple of randall all tube guitar heads go for fair money that ive really wanted to see what would happen if i tried bass through them. Put my GT6B in front and use that for any EQ adjustments? hmm.

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I used a all tube PA amp(Eminar-Aus brand) from 1976 for 15+yrs with bass into a EV TL 1x15" cab. Sounded great. I don't think it matters what the amp is, just the EQ section will be voiced for guitar not bass. As long as U match the impedance U should be good to go!

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[quote name='ste_m3' post='23449' date='Jun 26 2007, 11:32 AM']Question that hasnt been answered that im fair interested in, are tube amps less bothered about whether you put guitar or bass through them? Ive seen a couple of randall all tube guitar heads go for fair money that ive really wanted to see what would happen if i tried bass through them. Put my GT6B in front and use that for any EQ adjustments? hmm.[/quote]
In addition to what rodl2005 has said about the EQ options, in a decent valve amp designed for bass, you'll find that:

1) the coupling capacitors (used to pass the signal from one stage to the next while blocking DC) will be of a larger value, allowing more low frequencies to get through.

2) the output transformer will be larger and designed with care to deliver all the low frequency energy fully and faithfully

Designing guitar amps is easy, because they don't have to be optimised to deliver such a wide frequency range. Designing a good bass amp is a much more demanding business. Everything from the power supply upward has to be heftier to handle all the LF energy, and the circuit as a whole has to be more carefully designed to avoid slipping into instability, and these factors naturally make it more expensive to build. Guitar amps are like TT motorbikes; bass amps are more like monster trucks.

By all means experiment with the Randall heads (before you buy!). I'm not au fait with their innards, but to be honest I don't imagine they're significantly different from most other valve guitar heads. Just keep in mind that in asking them to deliver bass faithfully, you may be imposing on them a burden they were never designed for.

P.S.: rodl2005 mentioned getting good results using a valve PA amp. Again, these are a much better bet than guitar heads, for the same reasons. They are designed to deliver the full audio range with faithfulness and stability.

Edited by Oxblood

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[quote name='Oxblood' post='23392' date='Jun 26 2007, 09:58 AM']Hell, you have been having a bad time!
There may be some undiagnosed common factor going on. Something that's not immediately obvious. Here's a shortlist of possibles:

1) Dodgy local mains supply (unlikely, but...)
2) Mains wiring fault in your house/rehearsal space
3) Faulty wiring inside one or both of your speaker cabs
4) Having met a mysterious stranger at the crossroads and signed a contract in your own blood...

My money's on the last one. C'mon, don't you remember me...?[/quote]
Errr...

1 IS unlikely.
2 House? No. Everything else works okay, no issues there, methinks.
3 Nope. Checked them internally AND my cables for dry joints, shorts, crappy terminals, damaged cables etc.
4 Satan is in my amp. Seems likely. My Mrs has the same effect on cars, particularly FIATS.

Maybe I should go "rigless" and use in-ear monitoring...

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[quote name='Lfalex v1.1' post='24171' date='Jun 27 2007, 10:08 PM']Maybe I should go "rigless" and use in-ear monitoring...[/quote]
Naaah. It'd go bust on you.

Tried a packing case and broomstick? You could spearhead the 2008 skiffle revival.

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I have skimmed the thread and it makes for good reading! I do love 'gadgets' and a valve amp has bits you can fiddle with!!! ;o)

The only sweeping statement I will add to this thread, is that the 'biggest problem with valve amps are the myths that seem to surround them'. lol.

My own feelings towards them have already been echoed several times. They aren't better, just different to SS. Long live amplification!!

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[quote name='dood' post='24917' date='Jun 29 2007, 02:37 PM']The only sweeping statement I will add to this thread, is that the 'biggest problem with valve amps are the myths that seem to surround them'. lol.

My own feelings towards them have already been echoed several times. They aren't better, just different to SS. Long live amplification!![/quote]
+1 Dan.
Couldn't have put it better meself. :)

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[quote name='Lfalex v1.1' post='24171' date='Jun 27 2007, 09:08 PM']Maybe I should go "rigless" and use in-ear monitoring...[/quote]


Nah, as an audience member(read - Know it all would be sound engineer,guitarist,bassist,vocalist-U name it.....;=( ) said to me last week " wouldn't you hear the feedback better with in ear monitors?? Obviously meant foldback...but..................................coh!!!!!!!

SO going rigless is just asking for in ear feedback!!!!!!! -just ask the 'experts"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by rodl2005

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Not if your in ears are controlled by you before they reach the 'engineer' - I take mine right out of my rack pod and it sounds fantastic. Then again, with a very bad back at the moment my Trace isn't moving anywhere soon!

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Y'know, Ped, the more I think about it, the more your impending surgery starts to look like a golden opportunity. In addition to the aforementioned truss rod modification, while you're under they might as well do a couple of cochlear implants. Fit an XLR socket into a suitable orifice and you're sorted! :)

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Exactly - I was looking into MIDI and USB ins and outs too. Possibly firewire. They got terminator all wrong - he could have been a walking studio rack accesory.

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[quote name='Oxblood' post='26412' date='Jul 3 2007, 10:11 AM']Y'know, Ped, the more I think about it, the more your impending surgery starts to look like a golden opportunity. In addition to the aforementioned truss rod modification, while you're under they might as well do a couple of cochlear implants. Fit an XLR socket into a suitable orifice and you're sorted! :)[/quote]


lol Ha ha I'd love 2 see an XLR in a strategic orifice- well see might be too strong a word.... from a distance may be OK... I'd love to 'hear about the results anyway!!!! Then, of course, sticking to the OP- we could always have a cuppla 12AX7's mounted also- keep ya warm!!!!! :-)

Edited by rodl2005

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Interesting basic article about valves vs. transistors.

[url="http://www.drawmer.com/help2.html"]http://www.drawmer.com/help2.html[/url]

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[quote name='The Funk' post='27547' date='Jul 5 2007, 05:55 PM']Interesting basic article about valves vs. transistors.

[url="http://www.drawmer.com/help2.html"]http://www.drawmer.com/help2.html[/url][/quote]

Interesting in more ways than one.
It could have been a great article. It's actually trying to make some worthwhile points, but unfortunately all these good intentions are ruined by the fact of it having been written by a TOTAL DWEEB who has:
a ) less idea of how valves work than my dog,
b ) an unfortunate tendency to exaggerate for effect,
and
c ) an appallingly arrogant attitude.

Examples of Mr. Wentk's dweebdom:

[i][color="#A0522D"]"A radio made out of valves lives in a box the size of an LP collection, produces enough heat to toast the occupants of a small room, and needs the kind of power that's usually reserved for kettles, cookers and washing machines."[/color][/i]
TRIPE.
Even in the 1940s, using miniature valves, battery-powered radios were being made small enough to fit into a car dashboard or be taken on a picnic. Even the very largest domestic valve radios only emitted a moderate amount of heat, and consumed about as much power as a couple of lightbulbs.

[i][color="#A0522D"]"Valves rely on the peculiar properties of clouds of electrons in a vacuum being pulled around by an electronic field applied to a metal grid. To create the electron cloud you need to heat up part of the valve, which is why valves glow. [b]You need to apply thousands of volts to make this happen, which is why valve equipment runs for about a tenth of a second if you try to run it off a battery. Even a car battery.[/b]"[/color][/i]
DRIVEL.
Most valve heaters run off very low voltages: as low as 1.25 Volts. The highest-voltage heater for which I have data was only 80 Volts. As pointed out above, valves will run perfectly well off battery power, provided they are designed to do so. In fact, in the early days, all valves ran off batteries. Mains operation was a later development, which only became possible when stable mains power became available nationwide. Thousands of volts my arse.

[i][color="#A0522D"]"As for the crap valve kit, you'll often find this being sold at vintage hi-fi exhibitions. Sad men in anoraks discuss the virtues of amplifiers of yesteryear while drinking weak tea and polishing the bottoms of their terylene trousers on plastic seats. And even here the stuff is expensive - £500 will get you an antique amp that must have cost all of seven guineas when it first appeared and which sounds nothing like a good modern amp. In a word: avoid - there's nothing here for most people. (Unless, of course, you like weak tea and terylene trousers.)"[/color][/i]
INSULTING DRIVEL !
Not content with spouting ageist (and innacurate) nonsense about a body of real tech-head enthusiasts who - unlike him - actually know what they're talking about, he goes on to pour arrogant, ignorant scorn on an entire generation of equipment, purely on the grounds that it wasn't made last week. In truth, amplifiers such as the LEAK Point One, TL10 and Quad 22 had such ground-breakingly low distortion and noise figures that thousands were bought by the BBC, commercial broadcasters and recording studios worldwide.

[i][color="#A0522D"]"...you'll see the same old model numbers with exciting names like OC71 and EC88 appearing in lots of kit."[/color][/i]
Childish innacuracy that could have been corrected by referring to a basic data book. EC88s are hardly used at all (he means ECC88), and an OC71 is a Germanium transistor, not a valve.

[i][color="#A0522D"]"...unlike transistors, valves do wear out after a while."[/color][/i]
Nope. In fact, both valves and transistors have similar life expectancy. Provided they're not abused, both will last for decades.

Summary:
Considering the well-deserved reputation of Drawmer as a manufacturer of top-notch studio signal processing gear, it is to be hoped that, whoever Richard Wentk is, he isn't employed by them in any technical capacity. :)

Ooh, I can be a bit tart when I want to, can't I ? :huh:

Edited by Oxblood

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[quote name='Oxblood' post='27595' date='Jul 5 2007, 07:41 PM']Interesting in more ways than one.
It could have been a great article. It's actually trying to make some worthwhile points, but unfortunately all these good intentions are ruined by the fact of it having been written by a TOTAL DWEEB who has:
a ) less idea of how valves work than my dog,
b ) an unfortunate tendency to exaggerate for effect,
and
c ) an appallingly arrogant attitude.
...
Summary:
Considering the well-deserved reputation of Drawmer as a manufacturer of top-notch studio signal processing gear, it is to be hoped that, whoever Richard Wentk is, he isn't employed by them in any technical capacity. :)

Ooh, I can be a bit tart when I want to, can't I ? :huh:[/quote]

Classic. His article did come across as a bit '[i]Evening Standard[/i]'. I'm pretty sure he has absolutely nothing to do with Drawmer but that that was the only article they could find on the subject.

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yeah i think valves are better- my behringer OD pedal never sounded so good through my solid state laney but my JCM makes it sound awesomo. still upgrading to a DHA and blowtorch like but the tone from my marshall is such a step up from the laney its surreal.

and as for the reliability point- my laney hated high gain sounds above about a third volume- the JCM valves just sound better the more juice gets pumped through 'em.

Edited by SiOfBass

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Yep- valve amps just sound better & better the more juice is pumped into 'em. But I agree with above posts- Neither is "better" they're just different animals! Different strokes......... I think we're lucky to have the choice!!! I remember a few yrs ago I was the ONLY person around using valves for bass.... everyone thought I was a dinosaur-even tho many were older than me :)) Now- A couple of bassists use valves here, but at least U can buy them again!!! They were VERY hard to find for a few dark yrs....so were actual valves!!!! Thank God for Muso's- single handedly-(almost) saving the vacuum tube industry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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