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anyone ever duilt a simple TUBE AMP ?

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I'd say that:
Tube Amps > Transistor Amps

The feel, the envellop is better. The clean of the transistor is cleaner but the sound of that is too direct/in your face.

Trust me I know the differeance, I work in a music store and test all the amps :p

I'd say that you would not hear it on a record, it's more of a feel thing.

I keep gain on minimal or to have a very subtle grain, and cause it's well complimented with a tube screamer.

edit: that's my personal opinion tho :)
 
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ronsimpson

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Isn't that simply treble boost ?
No. Treble for example will increase everything above 2khz. (2khz is an example not the exact frequency)
If the instrument produces 100hz + 200 + 300 + 400 the treble will have no effect.
If the instrument produces 4khz + 8k + 12K the treble will increase everything.
Increasing the harmonics (above the fundamental) will leave the first alone and add to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. The exact frequency of the first is of no importance.
 

tvtech

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I just read this story a week ago or so. The guy building the amps is literally a few miles from me, I should go check his place out. As to building a vacuum tube power supply most of the stuff is available including the transformer for the B+ supply. The link is a nice read.

Ron
Thank you Ron. That was indeed an interesting read. Just shows how personal sound perception for artists is to be able to give of their best when using an electric guitar. An amp either compliments the players style or makes it mediocre.

+1
 

bountyhunter

Well-Known Member
I'd say that:
Tube Amps > Transistor Amps

The feel, the envellop is better. The clean of the transistor is cleaner but the sound of that is too direct/in your face.

Trust me I know the differeance, I work in a music store and test all the amps :p
It's a lot like headphones: people are most comfortable with the kind of distortion they are used to hearing. Loudspeakers and headphones by far add the most distortion to music, which is why they sound so different and why people have such strong feelings about the ones they prefer.
 

Jon Wilder

Active Member
Pay no mind to Audioguru. He's a hi fi guy who knows nothing about how to play guitar and despises rock music and has been conditioned to think that ANY form of square wave audio on anything is "bad". Therefore, he will never understand that us rock guitarists live for the sound of an overdriven valve amp. Guitar amps are NOT "hi fi" and ARE NOT used for sound "reproduction". They are used for sound "creation". They are just as much a part of the instrument as the instrument itself. It is a completely different application than what he's used to using amplifiers for and it's an application in which he has little to zero experience in. Quite honestly he should stop trying to force his opinions down people's throats about something he knows nothing about nor will he ever understand much less agree with.

That being said, I specialize in valve guitar amps and can talk about them for days on end. Feel free to ask any questions you want about them here and I will keep an eye on this thread as well as try to help in any way that I can. Here is a clip of one I'm currently prototyping -

Clean Channel

http://www.sinisterdesignsonline.com/soundclips/AmpProtoClean.mp3

Overdrive Channel

http://www.sinisterdesignsonline.com/soundclips/AmpProtoDirty.mp3

And here's one with the amp clean with a wah pedal in front -

http://www.sinisterdesignsonline.com/soundclips/WahModClean.mp3
 
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ronsimpson

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Jon W. Thanks for the MP3s. Sounds good.
We need to make the man with the check book happy. He might say 'no audio processing' but at the end of the day he will say 'yes--that's it'. And we don't talk about how much I had to changed his music to make him happy.
 

audioguru

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I walk my dogs on the boardwalk beside the lake. Frequently there is a middle-aged man in a sailer outfit with (no kidding) a portable 45 RPM record player that distorts exactly like the "overdriven" guitar sound. It also distorts vocals and every kind of musical instrument.

I think electric guitar people are deaf to the many harmonics caused by a fuzz circuit and by overdriving an amplifier. The harmonics sound very harsh to people like me with good hearing. Luckily the speakers used by electric guitars have a cutoff of about 5kHz like an AM radio so the very high harmonics are not produced.
 

ronsimpson

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I think electric guitar people are deaf to the many harmonics caused by a fuzz circuit and by overdriving an amplifier. The harmonics sound very harsh to people like me with good hearing. Luckily the speakers used by electric guitars have a cutoff of about 5kHz like an AM radio so the very high harmonics are not produced.
Exactly! You want a nice sign wave plus natural harmonics. They want square waves at constant amplitude, (fuzzy overdrive). and every one is happy in their own world.
 

Reloadron

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Thank you Ron. That was indeed an interesting read. Just shows how personal sound perception for artists is to be able to give of their best when using an electric guitar. An amp either compliments the players style or makes it mediocre.

+1
Most welcome and glad you enjoyed the read. I need to get over and check this guys place out. In the article the parts about Joe Walsh was interesting. I never knew he was into ham radio. I remember him back to his James Gang days here in Cleveland.

There is also a nice little nitch for maintaining and repairing tube amps. I have several co-workers who play and everytime an amp fails they come to me. Hand crafted wired chassis using tubes are actually pretty easy to troubleshoot. Over the years I have come to find there is a nice little nitch for someone who knows how to work on the things.

Ron
 

tvtech

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It's a lot like headphones: people are most comfortable with the kind of distortion they are used to hearing. Loudspeakers and headphones by far add the most distortion to music, which is why they sound so different and why people have such strong feelings about the ones they prefer.
That's radical.

I used Sennheiser Headphones way back in the 80's. Clean rock music only. Distortion on headphones is BAD.

Anybody remember the likes of good old Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Journey, ACDC an on and on. Those were the real rock days. Guitars complete with the real raw sound of artists who knew how to bring out the best of their instruments....

Now...we have a bunch of wankers that play keyboards and copy. No true artists anymore.

Sad hey
 
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Jon Wilder

Active Member
I walk my dogs on the boardwalk beside the lake. Frequently there is a middle-aged man in a sailer outfit with (no kidding) a portable 45 RPM record player that distorts exactly like the "overdriven" guitar sound. It also distorts vocals and every kind of musical instrument.

I think electric guitar people are deaf to the many harmonics caused by a fuzz circuit and by overdriving an amplifier. The harmonics sound very harsh to people like me with good hearing. Luckily the speakers used by electric guitars have a cutoff of about 5kHz like an AM radio so the very high harmonics are not produced.
And the very high harmonics above 5kHz with distorted guitar are NOT desirable at all. They tend to "thin out" the sound. But that's why they voice guitar speakers the way that they do.

Overdriven electric guitar/valve amp sound is VERY lo-fi. But as to whether it is a "bad" or a "good" sound is a matter of OPINION...NOT FACT. On the factual side, it is just a "different" sound. Some love it, others hate it. You're of the latter variety whereas myself as well as most rockers are of the former variety. Different strokes for different folks. ;)
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Some of the responses in this thread are argueing about HiFi amps? The OP specifically asked re "guitarist" use and posted a link the the Dr. Z tube guitar amps.

A guitar amp does not "distort the music" it is part of the instrument, so the guitar amp is AS responsible for providing shape to the instrument waveform as say the type of wood used in the guitar. The guitar amp is part of the instrument itself, so the way the guitar amp modifies the waveform of the guitar is vital and tube amps simply do it better, in every case classical to rock the "HiFi impairment" of the tubes and transformers act in a way to smooth the harsh high frequency content of the natural guitar waveform and make it mellow and silky.

alec_t said:
I'm sure it would be much simpler and cheaper to make a solid state amp, with extra components to emulate the distortion of the old tube amp. Dunno why, but musicians seem to like the 'character' that adds.
There are plenty out there. I have a tiny Marshall "Valvestate" which is solid state only but the citcuitry designed by Marshall to simulate the particular waveform characteristics of a valve amp. It does a reasonable job and is the best sounding little practice amp I've ever used. Likewise most of the guitar effects units now use massive dsp processors with algorithms designed to simulate valve amps, even down to the speaker and cabinet resonances(!), and do a very impressive job if mimicing all the classic valve amps even if you play the guitar through a clean final amp like a HiFi.
 
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Reloadron

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That makes what I consider two people, apparently very well versed who make the same claim. The amplifier is an extension of the instrument, in this case the guitar. I am not a musician while my brother and one sister are. My brother has always shared those very same sentiments. Musicians, especially old musicians have always clung to the tube amplifiers. I believe it is like a religious thing. Musicians, real musicians make and create music. Spare me all of the harmonics and distortion and clipping ********. The people closest to the music know what they like and why. Call it warm, explain it as Mr RB has or whatever trips your trigger. When accomplished musicians who do really great music say something, I listen. These people have their act together and have my vote.

Just My Take

Hell yes, build a simple vacuum tube amplifier! Learn a little and enjoy a lot!

Ron
 
Guys thank you for the links and audio samples
Joe Wilder, I'll ask you 1001 questions when they'll pop up, thanks sir

I'm a "real" musician (I beleive), and as I grow older I want to devellop my craft to a certain degree of mastering. I think I have done that with the instrument itself (feel free to ask me any question about repairment/setting/tips) but the other thing, which is almost "another world" is all the physics behind. So not only is the playing important, with a care of motion efficiency, of emotion also (we have a soul); all that translate to a signal. I'm all about the vibration.
Sound propagation in 3D space, obstacles and everything from the knobs on the guitar to LFOs on a synthetizer and mastering a production with tools and a SSL mixing board.
That kind of stuff [...]

Signal-wise and "science-wise" I'm also very interested in the feild of cymatics, which is the study of frequencies on physical matters (fluid, solids, ...).

At a certain point, I want to make a little melting pot of those "experiements" to create some really cool and refreshing music. For that matter, I have chosen not to rely on the famous 440hz tuning anymore, because it does not translate correctly in matter when you view it with cymatics.

Another part of my interestment is of course the signal from my guitar to the amplifier. I'm really into the "sinusoidale quest" if you will. But I'm not a purist, it's not for a trend or anything. I love my transistor amp and will never get rid of it, but I'm looking for new things to explore. I also use a GT-10, that's a great guitar processor and it's best used with a tube amp, in the fx loops, for effects. I'm really digital when it comes to time-based effects.. but again in a tube amp, with a so-called "4CM method", you get interesting result and preserve the signal.

And for my visual pleasure, how can one not like the glow of some tubes ? :p

Btw, I do not fear square, triangle and other waves. I'm "metal" guitar guy but also like very much classical music and also electronic-based music like hip-hop, dubstep, playing around with filters and stuff (I'm a reason 6 user, if anyone knows what it is..).
So yeah, not trying to fit a "rocker endoctrination" with tube amps. heheh

with that said, I'm studing electrical engineering technics and gonna focus more on programming automates and work with motors and that kind of stuff. I think I can put an amp togetter but I'll gladly abuse your help if you share the passion ;)
 
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Jon Wilder

Active Member
The amp is very much an extension of the instrument and this is something that hi fi guys have a tough time grasping. Depending on power supply design and valves used, every amp also will yield a different dynamic response. If the supply is underfiltered and valve rectified on a class AB push pull amp, this will cause voltage sag when the current demand goes up while cranking it, which produces a "spongy" kinda feel for bluesy stuff while a solid state rectified and overfiltered power supply will yield a "tighter" and more aggressive response in the low end which is perfect for rock/metal.

While the tonal coloring produced by the very lo fi design of a guitar amp would not be good for sound reproduction, it gives the electric guitar sound its own "character". When electric guitar is too "clean" it comes out sounding thin and sterile and doesn't "feel" very good to play in the dynamic response realm and you would have no way of controlling your tone via your playing dynamics.

I never cared for any of the Boss GT series processors, mainly because the switching between patches isn't seamless (there's a 1/2 second break in the audio when you call up a new patch). Also, I prefer to run digital delays and reverbs, but I use a small 2 channel line mixer in a series FX loop set at unity gain. The processor is set 100% wet and returned into channel 2 of the mixer, while channel 2's fader controls the wet/dry mix. The channel 1 fader as well as the master fader are set at 0/U for unity gain on the dry side. Any sort of series effects go between the FX send and the mixer input. This keeps my dry signal analog while the mixer mixes the wet signal into the dry analog audio.

If you're a metal player I hope you enjoyed my clips. Here's a clip of a valve overdrive pedal I designed and built using a single 12AX7 and runs a B+ of around 270V. The amp is a 100 watt 4xEL34 amp with 2 channels...one is the clean channel and makes the amp a dead on clone of a '69 Marshall Super Lead Plexi while the OD channel is an 80s metal style hot rodded 2203. The amp is set on the clean channel and I have a Zoom Studio 1204 FX unit in the FX loop for some plate reverb -

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16771514/STE-017.mp3

Even heavier -

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16771514/STE-015.mp3
 
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Hell yeah ! Sounds good man

Well I thought about it and I think I'll build a pedal first, that will run on 12V with one or 2 12AX7

It will take a lot less time to make and money, I need to find schematics tho!
 

Jon Wilder

Active Member
With 12V you'd be severely plate starving it and not sure it would sound all that great. Valves are high voltage devices. That and you have to account for the heater, which will require 6.3VAC @ 300mA. That will have to be powered from a separate winding.

I had transformers custom wound by Heyboer for my OD pedals. They include a 200VAC @ 10mA winding, a 13.2VAC @ 100mA winding (this winding is also powering a bypass relay) and a 6.3-0-6.3V @ 600mA winding for the heater.
 
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