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Post new topic Transitor or tube Amp
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Author Topic:  Transitor or tube Amp
Mike Vallandigham


From:
Martinez, CA
Post Posted 14 May 2018 12:53 pm     Reply with quote

You can say that again, Jack. Smile
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Steve Pawlak


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 14 May 2018 1:35 pm     Reply with quote

Steam
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Jerry Korkki


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 14 May 2018 8:22 pm     Reply with quote

I need to mention that in another group that I was only playing six string in the piano player (Fender Rhodes) used the Session for that until she got a Yamaha electric baby grand (SP80?) and that Session sounded incredible. I'd like to hear a Twin do that. Something about wide dynamic range that is similar to the pedal steel sold me on solid state for steel. Strat, Tele, 335 or LP, nothing but tube.
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Brad Sarno


From:
St. Louis, MO USA
Post Posted 15 May 2018 8:44 am     Reply with quote

Virtually all the golden age classic steel guitar recordings were made with tube amps. That beautiful sound that made us fall in love with steel guitar - that was tubes.

In modern years, many of the guys best known for tone also continued to use tubes - Brumley, Byrd, Hughey, Buddy, Lloyd, Beavers, Franklin, Johnson, and many more.

My observation has been that players that use entirely solid state rigs often struggle with tone and complain of harsh mids and harsh treble while those using tubes don't struggle as much. Good, warm, sweet, balanced tone is kind of automatic with tubes.

And to be fair, many players that have tubes in their rig may not be using a "tube amp" but instead may be using a hybrid combination of tubes and transistors like when Hughey used his favorite combo amp, the Evans Hybrid with a tube preamp and transistor power or in later years with his Revelations into Stewart power amps, or Buddy Emmons with the Black Box or his Revelation tube pre into a transistor amp, or Franklin's famous rig before the Little Walter era when he used a Mesa tube preamp into a Mosvalve power amp, or Randy Beavers V8 tube preamp into the PA direct or thru a Furlong powered cabinet. The hybrid approach is arguably the best solution that addresses TONE and weight, power, maintenance issues.

I think the best way to answer the original question in this thread is to simply make a list of one's 5 top favorite steel guitar recordings of all time, and then see if that was with tubes or transistors or a hybrid of both.


B
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Jerry Korkki


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 16 May 2018 7:36 am     Reply with quote

Recording is one thing, live is another. Live I still prefer the Session (current one is a modified 400 Limited) but for recording, which is rare for me these days, I go through a Mesa V Twin tube pre set for clean direct to the board. I suppose both have their pros and cons. For six string tube is the only way live or studio. While recording I like to sit close to the amp so the guitar can hear its self, adds a little something. Just gotta make sure ya didn't have too many beans for breakfast! Don't wanna add too much.
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John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 May 2018 2:47 pm     Reply with quote

Class D opinions anyone?

I suspect most of the live music we hear nowadays is being amplified by Class D amps. It is light and inexpensive, and industry standard.

I find most PAs and car stereos to be irritating. My 15 year old car stereo was far superior to my current car’s sound. Same auto company and price point.

I’ve plugged my ears or walked away from some very talented musicians because the PAs are so harsh. I long for the days when you saw those racks of Crown 200 power amps. That was a kind of loud PA that didn’t hurt your sensibilities.

I get that the economics no longer allow for heavy gear. And that my ears are getting long in the tooth.

I’m just asking, have you noticed a harsh quality to the new digital/Class D amplification?

As far as the steel guitar goes, I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to players at the conventions.
With all the great players, with awesome musicianship, I still prefer the tone of a Peavey or Stereo Steel, over a Telonics or Quilter. I’ve never heard someone playing through a Telonics and thought, “that’s the tone I want”.

I suspect Telonics may be Class D. You tell me.

As far as best recorded steel tones go, I like Buddy’s tone on Rainbow All Over Your Blues(1968 in LA), the Brumley ZB Twin Reverb era, Lloyds early solo albums, Weldon Myrick I’ll Come Running, anything by Greg Leisz, and I suspect those are tube amps with 12” speakers.

Anyone else noticed this Class D/diigital trend toward harshness?

John
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Brad Sarno


From:
St. Louis, MO USA
Post Posted 17 May 2018 7:53 am     Reply with quote

John, that's a great question. The truth of Class-D is that it varies. Cheap class-D is everywhere now.

Cheap or lesser quality Class-D amplification can have a harsh quality to it. But good Class-D is absolutely astounding. It actually is smoother and cleaner and LESS harsh than many older designs, class AB, etc. Class-D does not exhibit much "crossover distortion" as found in class AB. That makes it have a smooth quality similar to Class-A, but that's only in good designs. Telonics and Furlong SPLIT are very nice implementations of Class-D. Here in the mastering studio we use high end class-D for critical monitoring. Super high end audiophile gear today, more and more, is becoming class-D.

But the slew of cheap power amps and compact bass amp heads, some of them are really not the best versions of Class-D and can have a harsh upper midrange and treble. They are light and loud and deliver bass really well, but the tonality is not the warmest or sweetest.

So short answer is that good Class-D is amazing and fantastic. Cheap or poorly designed Class-D is not so special and can sound harsh.


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robert kramer


From:
Nashville TN
Post Posted 17 May 2018 8:59 am     Reply with quote

I'd like to ask what would be the best small class-D power amp? Is there one that would fit in the corner a cabinet?
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Tommy Boswell


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 18 May 2018 4:10 am     Reply with quote

robert kramer wrote:
I'd like to ask what would be the best small class-D power amp? Is there one that would fit in the corner a cabinet?


The best? Only an expert who's tried them all could say, not me.

Fit in a cabinet? Absolutely! I've got the Straight Ahead 500 watt class D amp built by Jay Ganz (search here on the Forum). And to my ear it sounds great, not harsh at all.
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Brad Sarno


From:
St. Louis, MO USA
Post Posted 18 May 2018 10:00 am     Reply with quote

robert kramer wrote:
I'd like to ask what would be the best small class-D power amp? Is there one that would fit in the corner a cabinet?


I love my tiny little "Straight Ahead" class-D amp by Jay Ganz. It sounds great, runs cool, plenty powerful for anything I've done, super affordable.

B

https://www.facebook.com/Straight-Ahead-mini-Power-Amp-477980325694936/
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Stephen Abruzzo


From:
Philly, PA
Post Posted 18 May 2018 10:53 am     Reply with quote

I'll "third" the comments by Tommy and Brad about the Straight Ahead Amp by Jay Ganz. Real good pedal platform too.
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Four Pettingills and a Clinesmith Aluminum. Fender Blues Junior. Quilter Mini-101.
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George Redmon


Post Posted 18 May 2018 1:28 pm     Reply with quote

I also have the little Jay Ganz Class D amp. Sounds absolutly superb. I have used mostly Peavey steel amps, and a couple of Fenders along the way for steel. I sold my Peavey Nashville112 worse peavey i ever owned. But i really enjoy my Milkman Half & Half. Full tube pre, reverb to die for, and Class D powered. Doesn't git much better. I too had one of the original Session 400's with the JBL speaker. Thought i wanted a Session 500, so i sold the Session 400. To this day i take a mental 60 second break midday and reflect on that mistake. I cry for 30 seconds, then continue my day. Smile
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robert kramer


From:
Nashville TN
Post Posted 19 May 2018 7:45 am     Reply with quote

Thanks to all for tip on Jay Ganz Class D amp. I ordered one.

My plan is to build a 12" cabinet / neo speaker with Jay Ganz Class D amp built inside and wired with inputs to either hook up a preamp to power amp to speaker or amp top to straight to speaker. Plus plug for AC to power amp.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 24 May 2018 10:11 am     Reply with quote

My two cents...

The difference between types of solid state designs (transistor type, ic chips, class D) can be very dramatic, like comparing a solid state to a tube amp.

By far my favorite sounding solid state amps are the early germanium transistor models. Unfortunately, there weren't a ton of amps made this way. I guess the demands for louder stage volumes and keeping production cost down to mass produce amps in the 70's led to the use of silicon transistors - which in my opinion don't sound nearly as nice.

An example would be all the classic recordings Pete Drake did from the mid 60's on. He used a '64-'66 all transistor Standel Custom XV on a ton of hits. I would never have known that that was a solid state amp if Danny McKinney hadn't told me so. I have one just like it. It has a lot more in common with a great tube amp than most solid state amps. Harmonic distortion, compression, etc...

It's too bad no one has built an amp like it since. I had my local amp guy replicate one of the preamp modules (which turned out better that the original) so I'm sure it can be done.

I played a loud gig last weekend where I needed the coverage of two amps for steel. The one on the left is the Custom XV, on the right is a 50L15. The all tube 50L15 has a slight edge on the Custom but the two sound pretty great together.

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Tom Cooper


From:
Orlando, Fl
Post Posted 26 May 2018 12:32 pm     Tubes Reply with quote

These days I am using octal tube pre into pwr amp in of Special130 or Bandit65 for 10 string lap steel and some pedal steel. Although sometimes I just take LTD400 or Nas 400 without tube pre and it works fine for modern steel work situations. The tube pre gets me real close to old 50s,60s steel tone when that is needed. I like the reliability and clean power of the old Peaveys(all with Neo spkrs). Can’t really afford classic or boutique so I just got a good octal tube pre and use that. Sometime use Blues Jr with 6v6 tubes for lap steel and LTD and Nash depending on the job. Use hybrid set up for most. Kinda nice to have both. The tube tone is fun. But I will never sell my LTD, Nash or Session. Tube pre is very economical way to get there without much money.
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George Seymour


From:
Notown, Vermont, USA
Post Posted 28 May 2018 4:57 am     Reply with quote

Don't know the technical term, if there even is one, but the tube amp just feels better ( as long as it's not being unintentionally overdriven)[/quote]

True. You need to have the experience of both and decide what you like, the "squeeze" factor I feel in the note with tube amplifiers is one of the reasons I'm drawn to the tube side of steel amplification. There's lots of great stuff out there in the audio world, specific use, budget and experience , and personal likes are the determining factor in my opinion.
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