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paul, the

Valve amps vs Solid State

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[quote name='Mr. Foxen' timestamp='1343897411' post='1756869']
Doing something seriously wrong if you need to replace power valves annually.
[/quote]

Going on what I've read in magazines/forums, havent owned a valve amp, so I can't comment on it I suppose!

Edited by Smythe

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[quote name='Smythe' timestamp='1343931472' post='1757570']
Going on what I've read in magazines/forums, havent owned a valve amp, so I can't comment on it I suppose!
[/quote]

Believing what you read on the internet and magazines would be the seriously wrong thing in this case then.

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[quote name='Mr. Foxen' timestamp='1343931876' post='1757581']
Believing what you read on the internet and magazines would be the seriously wrong thing in this case then.
[/quote]

As read on internet! :lol:

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anyone interested in buying my Trace Elliot


[url="http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/trace-elliot-gp12-smx/109408984"]http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/trace-elliot-gp12-smx/109408984[/url]

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man is this thread still running lol!!
im a convert from the last time i posted onnit.
i always loved valve amps, bought a yank svt classic years back, discounted down from £1650 to £1050. cost me another 200 sovs to flightcase it.ran it with a Ev loaded mesa boogie 4x10. loved it, and it delivered til it got a few years old, when it started getting unreliable, despite being regularly serviced. was bloody heavy in its pukka case, and cost a lot everytime it needed valves. then it got even more unreliable. had it serviced, advertised it here, some young feller came down with the dosh. it bloody blew up while he was trying it...had it fixed(another 100 quid) he bought it, took it away. a week later got a call from his amp tech(checked out genuine) summat else had gone wrong. gesture of goodwill i paid that bill too. bye bye ampeg and bloody good riddance.
anyhoo, two years down the line this time around i gotta get me gear sorted from scratch, right bloody quick like, and to a tight budget. i buy all secondhand..a GK rb 700 combo off a feller on here for £380, a eighties MIJ precision off another bloke in peterborough for £350 and a sansamp valve amp emulator thingy(what a cracking bit of kit) off a mate for 100 sovs. leads etc takes my spending to about 900 quid, and im sorted.
so i get to the gig, and gorblimey guvnor!! it all sounds better than my old rig!or at least as good...and everything all together cost less than me old svt alone!
i know valve amps are the mutts, but im done with the expense and unreliability issues, i'll stick with what ive got and be well happy with it, without feeling like a poor cousin to anybody with a tube amp.
but then again thats all just my humble opinion, and whatthe hell do i know, im only a brickie..

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[quote name='ogri' timestamp='1346104801' post='1785449']
man is this thread still running lol!!
im a convert from the last time i posted onnit.
i always loved valve amps, bought a yank svt classic years back, discounted down from £1650 to £1050. cost me another 200 sovs to flightcase it.ran it with a Ev loaded mesa boogie 4x10. loved it, and it delivered til it got a few years old, when it started getting unreliable, despite being regularly serviced. was bloody heavy in its pukka case, and cost a lot everytime it needed valves. then it got even more unreliable. had it serviced, advertised it here, some young feller came down with the dosh. it bloody blew up while he was trying it...had it fixed(another 100 quid) he bought it, took it away. a week later got a call from his amp tech(checked out genuine) summat else had gone wrong. gesture of goodwill i paid that bill too. bye bye ampeg and bloody good riddance.
anyhoo, two years down the line this time around i gotta get me gear sorted from scratch, right bloody quick like, and to a tight budget. i buy all secondhand..a GK rb 700 combo off a feller on here for £380, a eighties MIJ precision off another bloke in peterborough for £350 and a sansamp valve amp emulator thingy(what a cracking bit of kit) off a mate for 100 sovs. leads etc takes my spending to about 900 quid, and im sorted.
so i get to the gig, and gorblimey guvnor!! it all sounds better than my old rig!or at least as good...and everything all together cost less than me old svt alone!
i know valve amps are the mutts, but im done with the expense and unreliability issues, i'll stick with what ive got and be well happy with it, without feeling like a poor cousin to anybody with a tube amp.
but then again thats all just my humble opinion, and whatthe hell do i know, im only a brickie..
[/quote] Probably a Brickie that knows more about Bass kit than me and a lot of others,

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My first Amp was a VOX AC30 Bass and I loved that amp until I changed the valves and then it sucked. I was an electronics apprentice at EMI and I later learned why. If you change the valves you have to set the bias to suit that particular valve. I later bought a Sound City 100 Watt head and cabinets (I think they were 4 x 12s but time dims the memory). Great amp that came to an abrupt end. A pint of beer was rested on my amp by the singer. With the vibrations it slowly crept across the amp finally depositing about 3/4 pint of directors bitter directly (pun intended) onto the four EL34s. Cold beer plus very hot valves = glass and beer everywhere. II ended up playing the rest of the gig with a 50W SS Pa Amp.

So the moral of this story is that valve amps are mechanically fragile and need a great deal of love. In return they may sound great, they may sound bad but they will sound different to a transistor amp (don't get me going on ICs).

I have to say that to date may favourite amp was my Trace BLX combo. Weird looking thing but sounded great. With an extension cab would outperform many 200 watt heads. Trace used MOSFETs as the output devices. ironically Peavey bought the Trace name and when I last heard were making them in the UK still.

In my opinion, unlike a six string egg slicer (guitar) a bass should sound like a bass and the distortion so loved by guitarists is not what I want for a bass.

Many of that great bands of the pasts used bass rigs that probably never got close to 100Hz at the bottom. The bass sounded like a bass because the harmonics way up the frequency scale do not decay much so most of the "bass" energy of say an open E is above 100Hz. It makes more sense to go as low as you can on a 5 string but striving for 25Hz may not be the Nirvana that many seek.

Oh I now use an HH Bassman100 bi-amped into an HH VS Bassamp feeding a Ramsa 12" Sub and Ramsa 12" full range PA speaker. To me it sounds divine but maybe the cool lighting of the VS Bassamp sways it for me. I suppose that is also why some people love an SVT rig. It does look cool in the same way as a 100W Marshall stack does. Fender Aerodyne Jazz bass completes the rig.

I will now sit back and prepare to be flamed :)

Edited by Chienmortbb

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[quote name='DHA' timestamp='1190997164' post='67034']


I still don't understand how they get 300W from only 6 EL34s, I think they mean peak and not rms. So I would say its more likely to be 150-160W rms.

Or am I missing something :)
[/quote]

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They are missing something. You cannot get more than 30 watts per EL34. That I'd why Marshall sound city etc rated their heads with 4 EL34s at 100 watts.

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You can get 200w from 4 EL34 if you run them right, most modern ones probably won't take it, and it isn't the standard way of running them: http://www.chambonino.com/construct/const7.html

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You can get 180W if you run them wrong. Running at 800V, will lead to valves wearing out much faster and the life of a guitar or bass amp is far tougher than a hi-fi amp or indeed a PA amp in those days.

Valves are traditionally thought of as electrically indestructible but like transistors, if run close to their absolute maximum ratings, will fail sooner.

If you want to find out how good and how bad both valve and solid state amps can be, without the BS go to both of these web sites. Their is some very good reading [url="http://lenardaudio.com/education/14_valve_amps.html"]http://lenardaudio.c...valve_amps.html[/url] and http://sound.westhost.com/valves/index.html

The authors of both sites design and build Valve, SS and MOSFET amps and do know what they are talking about.

Edited by Chienmortbb

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[quote name='Badass' timestamp='1349425309' post='1826059']
[b]Chienmortbb[/b] that second link is 404, and chance of a re post of it?
[/quote] Sorry, I don't know what happened but it seems fixed now.

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[quote name='Chienmortbb' timestamp='1349424556' post='1826051']
You can get 180W if you run them wrong. Running at 800V, will lead to valves wearing out much faster and the life of a guitar or bass amp is far tougher than a hi-fi amp or indeed a PA amp in those days.

Valves are traditionally thought of as electrically indestructible but like transistors, if run close to their absolute maximum ratings, will fail sooner.

If you want to find out how good and how bad both valve and solid state amps can be, without the BS go to both of these web sites. Their is some very good reading [url="http://lenardaudio.com/education/14_valve_amps.html"]http://lenardaudio.c...valve_amps.html[/url] and [url="http://sound.westhost.com/valves/index.html"]http://sound.westhos...lves/index.html[/url]

The authors of both sites design and build Valve, SS and MOSFET amps and do know what they are talking about.
[/quote]

Don't agree, you can run them at 100W a pair and they'll still last a decent amount of time, obviously if you ran them 800/800 they'd pop in a second but for the 100W you need about 400v~ on the screens and it really has to be regulated.

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[quote name='umph' timestamp='1349431664' post='1826161']
Don't agree, you can run them at 100W a pair and they'll still last a decent amount of time, obviously if you ran them 800/800 they'd pop in a second but for the 100W you need about 400v~ on the screens and it really has to be regulated.
[/quote]

Just out of interest, how would you efficiently regulate a 400v HT line? I believe most solid state regulators only work up to a fraction of that voltage?

EDIT: Dont worry, Ive figured it out I think. :)

Edited by Mikey R

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Seems there are things people like about tubes that might be worth separating. One is the harmonic restructuring of the signal as it starts inaudibly to distort (that whole even-vs-odd, tube-vs-solid-state thing, AKA "tube sweetness"). Another, the tube's accuracy in reproducing the sonic events that add up to "grunt" or "growl." Those are inherently tube issues. Then we have EQ issues based on circuit design, like the way some circuits change the EQ permanently (the "Ampeg sound" or the "Fender sound") and how interactive or independent the tone knobs are.

I like a tube. One. Many folks say "hybrids" are just a marketing gimmick. Many say it doesn't do much. I think it can do a lot cheaply. If the first thing your signal hits coming into the amp is a tube, and all the signal goes through it, then any re-shapings it experiences should follow it the rest of its journey out to the audience. It doesn't seem much is added by filtering it again and again through the same kind of filter.

I think of each piece in the bass puzzle as a filter. Even the tone generator, the string, has built-in filtration. Then each thing sucks up this thing or that, shaping the sound by removing something. The things to conserve are sonic events, that which produces what's called "three-dimensionality of sound." These events can't be re-invented and added back. Once lost, they're gone. Rigidity of tube construction is relevant.

Another reason why I'm beginning to think it's better to keep tubes to the preamp is that distortion pedals these days, like the Hartke VXL and the Catalinbread SFT, sound so good that all we need out of a power amp is power, reliability, low weight, low cost, and low distortion. We don't really need power tube distortion.

On top of that, I have recently noticed an awareness by cabinet builders that some cabinet schemes don't play well with tubes (has something to do with impedance curves). With that, the ancient advice to start with the cabinet and work backwards from there seems safest.

I have played my share of Ampeg and Mesa all-tube amps. But with one tube and everything else solid state, I found all the difference I need. Now if you like the SVT flavoring, Ampeg makes a SVT preamp. If you like a drier hi-fi sound, you can get that. I've seen people beginning to go to tube DIs to get that tube sound, and it seems these are split into more flavored units like the Reddi and Evil Twin, and flatter like the TD-100 and Monique (which is also a preamp).

This isn't to say there's not a great deal of convenience in simply buying a good used SVT-2 Pro. It's easy to operate, plug and play. There are other readymades, like the SVT-4 Pro with a tube preamp and MOSFET power amp. There are lightweight hybrids like the LMT 800 and PF500. And there are amazing bargains like the SVT-7 Pro and Carvin B2000. I might go with one of those.

Right now I have 3 all-tube 100w heads in the Ampeg tonal family. Of course, local varieties will differ with tube heads weighing so much and being so delicate in shipping (I don't mean the tubes, I mean the way my Buster head was dropped in shipping and the transformer kept going when the floor stopped the cabinet). It just so happened that AIMS amps in the US (I found one in Iowa and another in the Southwest where they were made) are obscure enough and appear infrequently enough that few look for them. I also got a Pignose V100B, another obscure head, lighter and more modern (Chinese made) but also overlooked.

But I'm aiming for that 2x15 sound, and so will probably end up running it on solid state power with one tube up front in the signal chain.

Edited by kurosawa

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I've always loved valves, they just do 'that thing' that's really hard to put your fnger on..

I've had SS / Hybrid / Valve rigs for bass and can never seem to get away from valves. I worked with Trace 7 (SM / SMC) band kit for years and found it great but when I moved over to 12 band (SMX), I preferred it with the input blend sound over to the valve side. Fast forward to today and via V-Type (4808 and V4 mk2) I'm running my full valve Ashton rig and can't see my changing it any time soon..

I rather fancy trying one of John Chambers 200w EL34 amps, sounds different and very interesting. John's site is really interesting, loads of great stuff on there including a wealth of info on the classic Linear amplifiers I have.

For my general day-to-day listening, I found I also prefer those glass bottles. The Leak amplifier is a lovely bit of kit despite of it's moderate power rating.

At work, the use of big SS amps is essential as the thought of 7.2kW worth of valve amps would probably generate as much heat comparable to an industrial oven! I find the Crown amplifiers to be reliable and well suited to the job although the idea of a big valve PA would rock.

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Does anyone have any experience or own one of John Chambers (or anyone elses for that matter) 200w (4x) EL34 amplifiers?

I always think of EL34s as a valve that begins distort early which (in most cases) isn't great for bass. My own experience and what I percieve my bass 'should' sound like shows I prefer a cleaner valve such as 6550 / KT88. I'm not saying they don't get loud, a 50w Marshall on the boil seems somewhat massive not to mention the Sound City Energizer 120 (6 x EL34) I had. That thing was capable of hurting speakers but again with plenty of distortion. EL34 amps always seem to begin to break up then go loud whereas 6550 / KT88 go loud then break up. And I know this isn't strictly true because it doesn't work like that but it's always how I've percieved it..

Beavis used to run EL34s and was marginal at best but with the appropriate mods (bias etc) now runs a pair of R/I Tung Sol 6550s and is capable of keeping up with most situations. I don't play in any rock groups.

[IMG]http://i778.photobucket.com/albums/yy70/VTypeV4/BeavisChassis.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i778.photobucket.com/albums/yy70/VTypeV4/BeavisClean.jpg[/IMG]

And the Ashton doesn't really need a mention because it's beyond any doubt the cleanest valve amp I've ever played.

I'm rambling a bit here but what I'm really trying to get at is [b][i]'how much of a character change do the EL34s go through when worked much harder in this way' [/i][/b]? Are they still clearly crunchy and biting like in more conventional circuits or do they take on something altogether different?

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[quote name='VTypeV4' timestamp='1353976750' post='1880527']
Does anyone have any experience or own one of John Chambers (or anyone elses for that matter) 200w (4x) EL34 amplifiers?

I always think of EL34s as a valve that begins distort early which (in most cases) isn't great for bass. My own experience and what I percieve my bass 'should' sound like shows I prefer a cleaner valve such as 6550 / KT88. I'm not saying they don't get loud, a 50w Marshall on the boil seems somewhat massive not to mention the Sound City Energizer 120 (6 x EL34) I had. That thing was capable of hurting speakers but again with plenty of distortion. EL34 amps always seem to begin to break up then go loud whereas 6550 / KT88 go loud then break up. And I know this isn't strictly true because it doesn't work like that but it's always how I've percieved it..

Beavis used to run EL34s and was marginal at best but with the appropriate mods (bias etc) now runs a pair of R/I Tung Sol 6550s and is capable of keeping up with most situations. I don't play in any rock groups.





[/quote]

Thats an awesome looking amp, so is that one of John Chambers? Any chance of a gut shot? ;)

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Sorry for the delay, my laptop has gone mad so I'm on my big computer for a bit..

Beavis isn't one of John Chambers creations, if he was I'm sure the build would have been much tidier! Johns amps are built much to the same standards of the '70s Hiwatt amps, top drawer indeed. The original amp was a Linear L50 (pictured) but it was rebuilt by my stepdad as a beefed up Marshall circuit back in about '96 whilst he was on an electronics course.

Linear L50 (without cage):

[IMG]http://i778.photobucket.com/albums/yy70/VTypeV4/LinearBeavis.jpg[/IMG]

Beavis guts:

[IMG]http://i778.photobucket.com/albums/yy70/VTypeV4/DSC00188.jpg[/IMG]

Here is a gut shot underneath not very tidy but still easy enough to fix and not excessively noisy surprisingly enough. Inspite of the slightly messy interior, everything works just fine with the amp making 62 watts just before clip. And they're good 'full fat' watts at that! I do however think the o0utput transformer must be marginal!! A lovely sounding amp!

It's been really reliable too, used as a back up when the various Trace amps I've had over the years decided not to play ball. I've used it since about '97 and can report only two breakdowns to date and not to jinx it but none since 6550 conversion back in '08.

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I have some "experience" of John Chambers' amps. Though mostly to look at, I have seen/heard a 1000W bass valve amp turned on and music played though it as his place. I can't remember what he called it... killer or squasher or something or other. John was a bass player back in the day. It was immense and looked very dangerous! He makes some lovely amps to oggle at :lol: Unfortunately, I've only had repairs done through him rather than buying any of his stuff (bar the odd NOS valve, which he does a good line in). I'm mates with the fella that winds his transformers who also makes some rather lovely valve HiFi. Seriously lovely.

Edited by bigjohn

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