Is there anyone here who actually LIKE the tone of digital amps/distortion?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Akkush, May 4, 2017.

  1. El Caco

    El Caco Djavli te ponesli Contributor

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    Someone asked me years ago "what does digital sound like?".

    I like the sound of digital gear and SS gear and tube amps. I think modellers produce great tones but my biggest problem with them is too many options and I'm easily distracted.

    Peavey have made great sounding transistor amps with the transtube range for years and there have been people unable to tell the difference from tube amps yet there will always be those who say they can. As for modelling, I would have thought the debate has been settled, modelling can sound like tubes or anything else.

    For me the difference is when playing a good tube poweramp vs a SS poweramp and it's something I've A/B'd so many times, even today because I've had both for years. So today I was switching between

    a Mooer Blacknight into one side of a Mesa 20/20 going into a Blackstar cab fitted with a Celestion Seventy 80

    and a Blackstar HT5R head with a JJ ECC83 going into the same cab

    and the emulated out of that HT5R going into a SS powered 1x15 speaker.

    The solid state option is the loudest with the most headroom and the widest frequency range and I really like the tone.

    The Blacknight into Mesa 20w is also capable of being very loud, much louder than the HT5R and it can push a decent amount of air for that thump you can feel.

    However I can dial in very similar tones with the HT5R when both are matched at similar volumes. I think the HT5R does lower volumes a little better and I prefer it at those lower volumes. Both the HT5R power amp and the Mesa power amp are more enjoyable to play through than the SS option. The Mesa cranked is more fun than the others.

    Over the years I've done similar tests with lots of different gear. The most enjoyable combo ever that I can remember was at a meet up where we ran my E530 through a Triple Rec's power amp into a 4x12 cab and even through my 2x12 it was still awesome. I haven't come across SS power amp options that are as fun yet but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the higher powered SS options from Peavey gave tubes a run for their money.

    I love the little Blackstar HT5R and 112 cab with the mods I've made. It is a hybrid design and it sounds great. My only issue is I want it to have the punch and headroom and volume potential of a bigger tube amp but still sound just as great at low volumes. So I want to try the bigger amps in the Blackstar HT range and see how they compare to what I have but that is the piece of gear I'm looking for. However I'm happy with the HT5R because it sounds great at lower volumes and I can get the headroom with great sound by running the emulated out to powered speakers and the only thing I'm missing out on is that bigger tube amp fun. I'll be selling my Mesa and Mooer pedal soon and that is why I did the test today, I haven't been using those and I wanted to be certain before I put them up for sale.

    I used a GSP1101 for years until it died, I replaced my E530 with it because I could get the same tone from it. My regret is digital stuff dies, analogue stuff breaks and can be more easily repaired.

    Guitarists everywhere push their tube amps with transistor pedals.

    There are heaps of great little modelling amps now that sound great and can even gig and are inexpensive. I've considered getting one plenty of times but I'm afraid that it will one day die and digital stuff doesn't age or hold its value and appeal like tube amps do but I guess my little Blackstar is in the same boat there. It will probably also die and it will never be sought after like an old tube amp.
     
  2. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Frequencies are frequencies. Soundwaves are soundwaves. So on. That's why I do believe the following:
    1. One day, digital technology will get to emulate analog sound 1:1
    2. If you don't like your digital tone, it just means you could have dialed\eq'ed it better
     
  3. Great Satan

    Great Satan Hell-o

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    Generally the more current/expensive the digital technology the better sounding it is. Yet you pick up some rack gear from the 80's and it'll sound just as good as when it was more prolific back then (& for much much cheaper than an axe, helix or kemper etc.)

    Boils down to how much money you got to spend, or how much time and effort you want to put into tweaking (a good sound can still be had from a pod hd but not often 'better' than a similar non-digital tone i find).

    Pedals/preamps into clean tube amps > all imo.
     
  4. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    Yeah!! I have a BP80 that has this fuzz setting that I use.
     
  5. HerbalDude420

    HerbalDude420 SS.org Regular

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    I read an article similar to this one
    http://www.techradar.com/news/the-physics-of-why-valve-amps-sound-better

    But basically until SS or modeling amp can copy the way harmonics come out. Tube amp will remain superior. But at the crushing gains most metal heads use closes the gap between the two. Plus all the tones I grew up on are produced by tube amps nowadays kids .... its all digital.
     
  6. Kingcrimson

    Kingcrimson Electra Glide

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    This guy seemed to do fairly well with all solid state.

    Dimebag, Randall and Mr. Dean.

    [​IMG]

    :metal:
     
  7. Kingcrimson

    Kingcrimson Electra Glide

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    True dat.

    However, I think more precisely, you would characterize electric guitar "tube amps" as capable of producing a open set of theoretically infinitely "overtones" based on the primary tone.

    [​IMG]

    SS guitar amps don't adhere to this law of physics in the audio realm.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Hmm, well, it's actually a fairly controversial topic, but the "handwaving" argument I hear all of the time is that tube amps tend to amplify even and odd harmonics differently.
     
  9. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    This picture just shows how a string vibrates in multiple lengths when a note is picked, generating a series of overtones along with the fundamental (the note actually played). This occurs with all instruments, and it is this overtone series that allows us to identify one instrument from another.
     
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  10. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    There's some folks here that run modelers into tube poweramps for exactly this reason.

    They also have a much smoother clipping profile compared to SS and older digital stuff.
     
  11. Kingcrimson

    Kingcrimson Electra Glide

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    Close, but no cigar. :wavey:

    Overtones generated from the "primary tone" are excited by plucking "stringed instruments" only and is due to the harmonic frequency of its origin (outside or off of the dead node(s), ex: the bridge and the nut).

    As an exception, a piano is a stringed instrument, but it’s defined as a "percussion" instrument and is unable to produce overtones. Similarly, all wind instruments can “slur or bend” individual notes, but is unable to produce overtones from a primary tone.

    Tube guitar amplifiers are much more dynamic than SS guitar amplifiers when generating overtones and harmonics. There are natural harmonics at every fret of a electric guitar, other than the 5th, 7th and 12lfth fret.

    Tube equipped guitar amplifiers are a living and breathing electrical device due to its valve(s), and become more dynamic in tone the longer it is powered on –hence a tube equipped guitar amplifier's "standby" switch. Unlike SS equipped guitar amplifiers become more debilitated in tone and become "muddied" as the electrical device remains powered on over long periods of time – hence "solid state" without any tonal variation. This is why for decades; electric guitarists that strive endlessly for hours attempting to achieve "their" ultimate tone (for the most part) prefer a tube amp over SS. However, of course, this is merely a personal preference.

    Enjoy :shred:
     
  12. Kingcrimson

    Kingcrimson Electra Glide

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    Blah, pipe dream! I'll give you "~+- one day". Do the physics, the Laws of Physics don't lie.
     
  13. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Digital pre into tube power, you won't be able to tell the difference. And again, once it's put down on a digital track, it's moot.
     
  14. Kingcrimson

    Kingcrimson Electra Glide

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    Completely missed the point. Digital or tube preamp only lets you adjust the EQ and output to the drivers. The power tubes yield and carry the "POWER" dividend.

    You okay?
     
  15. elkoki

    elkoki SS.org Regular

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    I do like some modeling stuff but it isn't necessarily because I like the tone of the amps it's more because there's so many effects and different options that it's easier to dial in a bunch crazy stuff and save them on presets . Usually the amp sims of the actual amps alone I don't care for but once you add a bunch of effects it sounds pretty nice .
     
  16. Unleash The Fury

    Unleash The Fury SS.org Regular

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    Did you really just say "12lfth"? :lol:
     
  17. athawulf

    athawulf SS.org Regular

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    :lol:
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    There are a lot of buzzwords getting thrown around all of the sudden. Whether the electrons are tunneling through a semiconductor or flinging through a vacuum, it doesn't matter. All that matters, from a player's perspective, is how it sounds.

    The idea that transistors cannot amplify overtones is, well, no offense, but it's mistaken. The idea that vacuum tubes are somehow a living breathing thing is also incorrect. Yes, the metal burns off electrons and ends up reducing or oxidizing itself in the process, but transistors are not immortal.

    The mechanism for how amplification works in a wafer of silicon versus how it works in the vacuum of a glass tube is different, indeed, but the differences in the surrounding electronic components has just as much influence in the overall sound.

    It's fine to prefer one over the other, but to try to justify such opinion with hard science is futile.
     
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  19. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    I'm fine.

    Your point is vague.

    OK, you need to define some things there, you are misusing terms I think.

    First, "drivers" generally refers to speakers, not sure how you are applying it.

    And I have never heard of a "power dividend" in my life of 46 years, unless you are talking about financial investments of some sort.

    My point was, the power section matter more than the preamp section of a rig, when concerning tube response in a signal chain. The interaction between the power tubes/transformers/driver are the largest impact on the "feel" or response of the circuit.

    That response is being emulated rather well today in the Fractal Audio gear, and actually convinced me to sell my tube based preamp and all tube heads, and try FRFR. But it's just not exactly the same as power tube interaction in my estimation.
     
  20. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Overtones are a function of the way in which something vibrates. If that something vibrating happens to be a string attached to a guitar, then yes, plucking it is one means of causing it to vibrate. One could also hammer, bow, blow upon or otherwise excite the string. All methods of string excitation will yield string vibration, and overtones will be present in each case.


    Pianos produce overtones. So do percussion instruments, both pitched and unpitched. And the vibrating columns of air inside wind instruments while they are being played.


    This depends upon the specific amps in question.


    Is that really what you meant to write?

    Natural harmonics can be produced anywhere along the string's length where a node occurs, including, but not limited to, the 5th, 7th and 12th frets given an open string (fretting the string will obviously move these nodes as they are relative to the fundamental).


    I like tube amps, myself and still play them instead of solid state amps or modellers, but that doesn't make them living breathing organisms. That's just silly.

    If you want to discuss this topic, it will make for a much more productive discussion if you do a bit of research before posting such nonsense going forward.
     
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