Discussion » Technology » Tube amps

  • joe
    joe wrote:
    <p>Anyone here into tube amplification?</p> <p><img src="http://img.dl.e.weliveinchina.com/_outimages/839F7A411E96FFF64A40C3FEE2FB31E7/536/images/sca35/536_1000sca35_02.jpg" alt="alt text" /></p>
  • Simen Wangberg

    Thought about snagging one, you can get decent Orange and Jet City amp heads here from some of the shops in Gulou.

    Not sure if it's worth it though, not a big fan of lugging stuff around and a lot of venues here already have a backline, even if it's a shitty one.

    Not sure how most Chinese sound guys would react if I rolled up with my own amp either, a lot of them seem like they have enough to handle just trying to figure out the basics of mixing.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "do u guys know a place where I can try (and buy) a hifi tube amp in Beijing? I knew a little shop at Electric World south of Solana but they closed .. :("

    Walk up and down Gulou Dongdajie 鼓楼东大街 there are a few stores there that have decent amps. I'm pretty sure "7 Music Store" has Oranges and some other cool stuff, but there's a few stores that carry good amps there.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Also, if you're inclined to buy things online after trying them out, I really really recommend these guys: http://shop.6735.com

    Far better selection than your average shop, friendly salespeople (hit 'em up via email or MSN to place an order), prices are reasonable, delivery is free and mostly punctual. They've got Orange, Engl and Blackstar, as far as nicer amps go.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Ohhhh. I guess you really did mean "hifi" when you wrote it. I'm used to people writing things without actually knowing what they mean. Plus the rest of your post was about guitar stuff, but I didn't really read the whole thing, so...yeah. Hifi stuff. I have no idea, sorry.

  • Simen Wangberg

    I dunno, do tubes really make a difference when you're just listening to music? I'm pretty skeptical. As a guitarist, I like using tube amps cos I can push the power amp and get that sick crunchy-crunch.

    However, I do not want sick crunchy-crunch when I'm listening to the sixth volume of Power Ballads of the 90s, and when it comes to accurately reproducing a signal, digital equipment beats tube gear. I'm pretty sure.

    I hate hate HATE low-bitrate MP3s and the like, don't get me wrong. I'm just not sure if the amount of cash you'd have to drop on a tube hifi setup would make a noticeable difference. But I recognize that the tubes color the tone a little bit, and I guess some people can perceive that and they like it.

    I prefer to hear most tunes as they were originally mixed - I don't use EQ too often for this same reason. But you say potato, I say...I don't really like potatoes. Fair enough.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "I've listen to some records I know well on hifi tube amps.. man u can hear stuff u never heard before.. have a better stereo image, have a better feel for the reverb used.. u feel more into the music.. no kidding.. I'm mainly a bass and double bass player... well I use a tube amp back home for that.. the accoustic sound of the double bass is so good through that.. very natural"

    From a technical standpoint, I'm still gonna go with my original statement and say that digital equipment reproduces signals the most accurately - but if you like to bring out the bass frequencies, analog equipment is yeaaaahhh.

    One of the only people I know who's super-anal about his stereo setup is a bass junkie who uses analog stuff for that very reason. This is the same guy who plays guitar through a bass amp and rolls off the tone and treble knobs on all of his equipment, he's just bass bass in your face.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Well yeah, of course the speakers make more difference...no bass of any kind will ever come through a pair of earbuds. Filter caps, yeah maybe, dunno 'bout those. Just know all of my friends who prefer listening to vinyl/having "rich" bass (whatever that means...) prefer to use tube stuff.

    They never really say anything about the frequency range or any of that. Still pretty sure digital equipment reproduces signals more accurately...digital stuff definitely has a greater frequency range. Tube amps might sound "warmer" or whathaveyou, but digital equipment reproduces signals almost flawlessly. Tube gear, you're gonna lose some frequencies.

    But actually the discussion is moot cos it depends what you're listening to. Vinyl or MP3. Tube gear won't get a good sound out of a 96 kbps MP3, vinyl might still sound decent through a digital preamp. Never messed with vinyl myself.

  • Peter S 李贝勒

    Thank Phil for the leson!!!

  • Simen Wangberg

    Low-bitrate MP3 will sound like butt no matter what you play it through, man. It'd be like playing a record with a bunch of scratches or a tape that's been dragged through the mud. Nothing to be done with it.

    "tube amps can reproduce frequency far beyong human hearing range.. so there no limit for high frequencies using a tube amp."

    I guess it's cool that tube amps can do that, but...since these high frequencies are out of our hearing range, why do they matter? We can't hear them. I'm pretty sure digital equipment can reach and exceed the highest perceptible frequencies, somewhere around 20,000 Hz for humans.

    So they can reproduce the same frequencies, that's dandy. High frequencies sound nicer through tubes? Yeah, maybe. But that has nothing to do with fidelity. Music just sounds "warmer" and "punchier" through tubes? Yeah, usually. But that's because of tube coloration - the opposite of fidelity, since it's actually changing the original tone of the recording.

    Tube amps might sound nicer or warmer to some, but I'll say it again: digital equipment produces the highest fidelity sound, if you sample it at a high enough bitrate. I believe CD quality is somewhere around 320 kb/s, FLAC is even higher. Most folks can't even tell the difference at that point. In technical terms, digital equipment reproduces signals more accurately. The treble might not shine they way you like it or whatever, but high-bitrate digital audio features none of the coloring that you get from tube systems. That's the point.

    I guess you guys probably grew up listening to tube stereo systems though, huh?

  • Simen Wangberg

    Yes, I know the difference between the source and the amplifier. If your source audio is crappy, no tube amp in the world will make it sound nice. I already said that.

    I don't feel like quoting all the pieces-parts, but all of the nice things you have to say about tube amps are subjective, in terms of just listening to audio. For playing guitar, there is little to no debate - tube amps just sound better, unless you're playing certain types of metal or experimental music.

    But I'm talking about reproducing audio as accurately as possible - tubes just don't reproduce signals as accurately as digital equipment. They might make it sound warmer, or nicer, or whatever it is that you like about tubes, but - once again - digital equipment does not color the audio as much as tube equipment.

    Are we talking about two different things? Cos you keep going on about how tubes enhance certain frequencies, which I already agreed with.

    Maybe you have a different definition of the word "fidelity," but I was under the impression that it has something to do with an audio signal's similarity to its source. People like tube amps BECAUSE they make the audio dissimilar - they add coloration and enhancement that happens to be pleasing to the human ear. But to say that they are "higher fidelity" than digital amps doesn't make sense.

    I'll put it this way: high fidelity is not equivalent to getting a "pleasant" sound. It's equivalent to getting an accurately reproduced sound.

    "and on the subject analog vs digital media, vinyl recordings or tape recording are better than digital"

    Basically it boils down to this, which is purely subjective.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "there is facts."

    Yes, there are. There are also opinion, which is for all of peoples.

    I mean, didn't you say yourself that the tubes add a lot of harmonics and whatnot? That's coloration. The opposite of fidelity. Still standing by my original statement, which was that digital amps reproduce signals more accurately/faithfully/whatever than tube amps.

    But I can hear the warmth, man. It's so punchy and defined...

  • Simen Wangberg

    Meant to say digital equipment, not digital amp. Pretty sure you knew what I meant and are just being snarky, but hey whatever.

    Add harmonics = enhance harmonics or whatever goofy phrase you used when you meant to say "color the sound," since that is - once again - what tube equipment does. It colors the sound. Thus making it less faithful to the original. Less fidelity. Capisce? I'm really done repeating this.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Oh please. Because I used the wrong word or phrase or whatever? Right, sorry my technical slang isn't as wizardrous as yours. Better go check to see if "wizardrous" is a real word or not - it might not be!

    Tubes color the sound more than transistor equipment, by and large. Can't see how that gives them greater "fidelity," since what they do to the signal renders it highly unfaithful to the original. I'm sure it sounds pretty and all - sounds great with guitars - but if you want to hear a tune as its producer/composer intended, I don't think you want all that tube coloration.

    Unless the producer/composer was born before 1980, I guess. Then he would probably love for you to add all that tubey-tube "warmth" to it or whatever. Since that's all they had back then.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Right, I'm familiar with harmonic order, transient response, this and that. Learned up on all that stuff when I started playing guitar. Hoop doop. Stillllllll swinging for non-tube gear as far as fidelity goes - I don't want tube coloration when I'm listening to my jams. I only want it when I'm playing jams.

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