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Thread: Tube rectifiers VS solid state, ???

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I'm not sure what you're implying here?
    I can't speak for the amp designers...but when I consider that some high quality amps that get no grief from users about their design and component implementation, come WITH standby switches and not some other way to mute or to provide a stepped power up/down process...
    ...I'm pretty confident that the builders new what they were doing, and if there was any danger of some damage occurring with the use of the switch, it went into their though process.
    These are not assembly-line, mass produced amps...but ones that often cater to some very selective players, so the builders are not going to half-ass a design just to please some "misguided" need for a standby switch.

    There may be other options for muting...but the standby switch has been the go-to choice for like the last 60+ years of amp building...so I think its safety has been well vetted.
    The "silent cable" might work for some...but it's just a solution at the guitar end. If you have to swap out pedals, etc...you would need multiple silent cables and some fumbling around. A standby switch is just makes it all too easy...plus it lets you lower the power/heat consumption at the amp when you're taking a break, without having to shut off the amp...and most people feel it's kinder to the tubes.
    I "imply" nothing. I am sure, as you say the designers are top blokes. I have said several times that my views on the switches are not shared by many but they are supported by some in the industry.

    There is no evidence that the SBS prolongs valve life. In radios and PA amps power valves lasted a decade, often two or more (you could NOT kill a 6V6!) but in a guitar amp in constant, hard use a year is good going sometimes. Why? Because the valves fail catastrophically due to being overdriven. That last is not a "bad" thing, it is what players DO to amps and the fact must be taken into account by the makers(I spent a good deal of my time trying to bugger amps!)

    Many valve amp circuits are simply clones of older designs complete with mistakes. The uneven PI anode loads is one example. Often power valves are given G2 resistors too low in value and G2 failure (under clipping) is the #1 failure mode. Some circuits have no G2 Rs at all!

    But let us leave this in peace? We shall not agree and you like the SBS convenience.

    Dave.

  2. #12
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    having close to 35 years of tube knowledge, and close to that in amp building and with both in mind, I half agree with both of you guys,.... a standby switch in a modern guitar amp is a big benefit to those who want to take a break for 15-30 minutes for lunch, or other things, but is not an essential component for amp operation. However, the subject of this thread is to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of the rectifier in any amp, or actually any tube gear.
    The original designers of tube gear, the engineers at Western Electric in the late 20s and early 30s, at least here in the US, used the only thing that was available then, a tube rectifier. Solid state and whatever that brings was not around till the late 40s early 50s,...
    Leo Fender used some of the original WE info to begin building his Guitar amps.... and still no solid state existed... The sbs was not introduced till mid to late 50s...
    And an added note, sorry about my rant on NEW production tubes, I was mainly referring to the Pre-amps and it does relate to how shitty most of the cheap Chinese and Russian brands are.
    S

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    Quote Originally Posted by weakenduser View Post
    However, the subject of this thread is to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of the rectifier in any amp, or actually any tube gear.
    Yeah...no problem. You kinda brought up the standby switch in your first post...and ecc83 picked up on it, and I also responded.

    Anyway, I'm not really sure what discussion you're looking to have regarding tube vs. ss rectifiers....?
    You seemed to suggest in your fist post that tube were better than ss...but that modern tubes suck...so...what is it that you want to discuss exactly?
    I thought you were just providing some background info on rectifiers and NOS vs. current production of tubes.

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    Sorry for the miss direction.....
    I do think overall a tube rectifier is much better for the life of any tube operated gear. Speaking from experience, I have seen a lot of amps with solid state rectifiers that when new power tubes were installed, had 20-30% less usable life than an amp with a tube rectifier that had power tubes installed during the same week. overall the tubes seemed to just sound better as well.... and
    as a whole new production Power tubes are generally OK, as really they do not provide tone, only pushing out the signal to the output section.
    It is the Pre-amp tubes that are the most important to the tone and feel of any amp anyway.
    With the introduction of effects, even premium tubes of ANY kind are totally overshadowed by the change in the signal, and all the tonal differences are pretty much lost, except at lower wattages and volumes. this is especially true in a recording situation.
    By the way, I joined this board in the early years, and after a computer crash, lost all the info needed to sign back in using my original handle of .'UpstateNY' I think it was in 2002 or 2003
    S

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    Quote Originally Posted by weakenduser View Post
    my original handle of .'UpstateNY' I think it was in 2002 or 2003
    What part of upstate?
    I'm in the Middletown/Orange County area...though I use to live up in Columbia County, just north of Red Hook/Rhinebeck.

  6. #16
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    6 miles south of Lake George.... about a mile from exit 19 off the northway....
    Lived in Kingston for a couple of years before moving up here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by weakenduser View Post
    Power tubes are generally OK, as really they do not provide tone, only pushing out the signal to the output section.
    It is the Pre-amp tubes that are the most important to the tone and feel of any amp anyway.
    As a player (not an amp tech) I partially disagree with this.
    Power tubes are quite important to a good 'tube sound'
    Relying on just preamp tubes for the saturatuon never sounds as good as when the power tubes are cooking.

    In the 80s I spent a bit of time with Mike Soldano. After the popularity of his SLO head rose, people were requesting a rack mount preamp version.
    Mike was reluctant to do this, saying it would never sound as good.
    But public demand prevailed.
    It was the exact same front end as on his amps, but didn't sound the same. Half of what made a Soldano a Soldano was missing.
    Of course you can factor in all the rack gear that was in vogue at the time as contributing to it not sounding the same. But long story short, the rack 'SLO' never took off like the amp. It just didn't have that sound.

    Anyway, I think power tubes are a big part of the sound. Much like an electric guitar doesn't sound good without an amp. Maybe not that extreme, but I think you get my point.
    Last edited by RFR; 01-15-2019 at 21:16.

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    Guitar player with anecdote here. I've owned a decent number of amps over the years, some tube and some SS rectified, and I've played many others. My go to amp today is an SS rectified Blackstar HT40 with an EVM12L, and I recently bought a Peavey Delta Blues (loaded with an EVM15L) which is SS rectified, and no slouch either, although a different flavor than the HT40, preferring Strat's more than the Les Paul that the HT40 favors. Prior to buying the HT40 (initially because the price made it too good to pass up), I was solidly in the "must be tube rectified camp", not because I hadn't AB'd a large enough sample of both to form some kind of opinion, but because I bought the tube rectified is better argument without applying a sufficiently critical ear and/or overcoming my biases and prejudices that came from reading. I can't add anything more useful here than to say that my SS rectified HT40 - with one cord and no pedals - inspires me to play more often and better than any other amp I've owned or played, and that has to count for something. I'm open to the idea that there's a tube rectified amp out there that would have me retire the HT40, but I haven't heard it yet.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by weakenduser View Post
    Sorry for the miss direction.....
    I do think overall a tube rectifier is much better for the life of any tube operated gear. Speaking from experience, I have seen a lot of amps with solid state rectifiers that when new power tubes were installed, had 20-30% less usable life than an amp with a tube rectifier that had power tubes installed during the same week. overall the tubes seemed to just sound better as well.... and
    as a whole new production Power tubes are generally OK, as really they do not provide tone, only pushing out the signal to the output section.
    It is the Pre-amp tubes that are the most important to the tone and feel of any amp anyway.
    With the introduction of effects, even premium tubes of ANY kind are totally overshadowed by the change in the signal, and all the tonal differences are pretty much lost, except at lower wattages and volumes. this is especially true in a recording situation.
    By the way, I joined this board in the early years, and after a computer crash, lost all the info needed to sign back in using my original handle of .'UpstateNY' I think it was in 2002 or 2003
    S
    I would like to see the methodology that finds that 20-30% reduction in valve life. The idea that a valve rect "brings HT up slowly" won't wash because Vrects heat up faster than power valves and by the time the latter are emitting HT is well established. Sound qualities are so subjective that no meaningful data can be obtained but note that in any given amp chassis a valve rect will give slighlty less HT voltage than a pai of diodes. Is a correction made for Va, bias and escpecially VG2? Of course not.

    In the thousands of YT vids showing the "night and day" differences between valves never do they use a "flat" reference microphone. Never is there a before and after DC voltage conditions table. Never a gain difference check and NEVER an SPL meter so we know things are being compared at the same sound levels.

    It would very interesting (to me at least!) for some undergrad to do a well controlled test of the common guitar amp Wive's Tales. Trouble is, no matter HOW impeccable their research, the vast majority in the business would still dismiss it! Such research would need a good wedge of funding and would hardly be in the interest of the major guitar amp mnfctrs and DEFINITELY bad for many "boutique" builders!

    Dave.

  10. #20
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    For the most part I stand by my comments, and with the understanding that all of it sort of depends on the tastes of the player. Having said that there are exceptions to every rule.... some power tubes do make a difference as anyone who has an amp freshly re-tubed will tell you...
    especially if it is a 6L6 amp and the old tubes had 150 hours on them, and were EI or Groove tubes, etc and the re-tube installed Vintage Black Plate RCA tubes. Yes, HUGE difference, but for the most part the power tubes only add punch and volume, and in some circuits can add a bit of extra feel to the amp,... but for the most part after 15-25 hours, not really any tone benefits to speak of..... This statement also depends on ....Guitar electronics, type and size of the speaker, volume and picking or strumming dynamics, IE hard or soft.....
    Tubes can also be questionable right out of the box, and even a slew of testing on several machines, will not guarantee how they will perform in an amplifier.
    One more critical fact,..... any amp, solid state, tube or combination will react poorly to any fluctuations in AC power,.... a drop of 3-4 volts can make a world of difference...or a spike of the same in higher voltage....
    If any of you has ever played a club that has power fluctuations, you know exactly what I am talking about....Hey how come my amp sounds so shitty tonight ??? it was great at our rehearsal...????
    Check the voltage you are plugging it in to.....
    S

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