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To amp or Not To amp...that is the question
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Amp all the way...with floor monitor
Amp with Ears
60%
 60%  [ 6 ]
No amp....only Processor and ears...less to cary!
40%
 40%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 10

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jon5150
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 Post Posted: Thursday Jan 15, 2015 
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Amp on stage is the way to go

or

Floor Processor with in ear monitors


Which is your ideal way?

I like both but some cases it may be better to be less is more...lets discus...
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 Post Posted: Thursday Jan 15, 2015 
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Amps are for suckers.

Quiet stage = better mix.

It's 2015. The Analog Digital War is over, and analog lost. You can cry all you want about "your sound" and the "feel" of your rig, but that just shows weakness in your ability. You are up on stage to entertain; most people don't give a crap about the subtle nuance of your tone. You can swap your tubes, lug your 4 x 12, listen to your LPs, read your hardback encyclopedias, and call your friends on your rotary phone all you like, and the world will leave you behind with the rest of the heavy junk we don't use anymore.

Gig bag has a shoulder strap, processor is a one-handed carry. One trip from the car to anywhere, don't need a loading dock, stairs are no problem at all. I don't even need anybody to hold the door.
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jon5150
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 16, 2015 
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The whole no amp thing is new to me for live stage based performances, Although I don't use an amp in our church band, the other band Im in...it seems scary for some to cross that line.... Its a mixed scene it seems.

My direction for this is going to be, using ears with the amp and processor, then one day just show up with only the processor and ears.

My goal is to have all of us with ears by summer. 2 of us have them 3 to go....then let the fun begin..
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 16, 2015 
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From a bassist:

The only thing I can add is make sure your in-ears (and the way you get the sound to them) are of good quality. You want them to be really flat, response wise. Otherwise I've seen guitarists get sucked into a tone war with themselves trying to get the FOH to sound like his in-ears or vice-versa.

The only way I'd play on stage again, ever, would be with a guitarist that either packs a sound shield (like a drum shield) for his 2x12, runs his amp at a "ridiculous" low wattage, or is no-amping.

With things like the Kemper Profiling Amp, there isn't a single reason to go with a large amp to "get the tone I need" (IMHO), let alone the fact no average person around here would care about your tone other than it "fits" with the band.

Big rigs are a thing of the past. Just like everyone fought (and sometimes still fights) for vinyl over digital, there are digital formats with more bandwidth and clarity than the best turn tables could ever hope to have.
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 Post Posted: Sunday Jan 18, 2015 
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I'd love it if more guitarists used Kemper units. I've never been anti-modeling. It's just in my experience, there's a world of difference between stuff like Kemper and Fractal Audio and the budget line modeling stuff that gets swallowed up in the mix the moment the rhythm section kicks in. Even my Tech21 VT Deluxe, which is a great unit, becomes super compressed in the low-end once you start pushing the drive. It's a good unit, but it's still not a real SVT. Is the audience going to care that the bass sound is coming from a pedal rather than a real SVT? They may if the bass tone becomes too compressed and gets buried in the mix.

As a bass player, I can get away without a rig on stage more easily than guitar players. I'm not a fan, but if the situation necessitates it, I plug in my DI and don't whine about it.

As far as the audience caring, nobody except the musician geeks are going to be standing next to the stage going, "Yeah dude, I'm really glad that Bob switched to a tube rectifier from the solid stage rectifier, and the greenbacks Todd put in his 1960 cab are killing it. And I'm glad John switched to Dean Markley prosteels on his bass, and the D112 on Mary's kick drum sounds great." However, in my experience the audience does respond to clarity and quality, even if they can't articulate it. They don't care what it takes to make sausage; they just want sausage. But if your sausage ingredients and process sucks, the people aren't going to like your sausage (that sounded better in my head, trust me Razz). Does a guitarist need to play through a Dumble or Trainwreck to have a successful career? Not at all. However, getting the best sound possible giving the always present limitations of the situation should be something every musician cares about.
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Jasaoke
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 Post Posted: Sunday Jan 18, 2015 
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I'd love to go with IEMs. With direct instruments, especially electronic drums, the monitor mix will never really change. So you could keep a small mixer and a mult-box, and just plug and play virtually anywhere. You would never require any kind of monitors, the whole band would only need about 10 inputs, and the FOH mix becomes ridonkulously easy. If you took the final step and went wireless, you could have your entire stage setup done in the time it takes you to turn it on. Zero feedback, zero bleed-over between intruments/mics, everything will sound exactly the same every time you turn it on, you could practice any time, anywhere, on the same rig that you gig with. And with what's available electronically, you could actually have a much wider spectrum of sound at your disposal.
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bassist_25
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 Post Posted: Sunday Jan 18, 2015 
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I also should add that I've always been an advocate of matching the gear to the gig. I love playing through my NV610 cab with a tube amp on top, but it's just not always a practical rig. I traveled for an out of state show back in September. I knew that I was going to be on a smaller stage with a five-piece, but I'd have full FOH support. The 1x12 and the 10 lb. class A/B amp went in the trailer.

The gigs where the PA are two-way tops and I have to fill the room? A bigger cab is going to be a necessity there.
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 Post Posted: Sunday Jan 18, 2015 
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As long as the FOH is there, if you still need a massive rig behind you, might I suggest:



...way lighter to load-in/load-out, safer for you in case of earthquake.

Of course I always like Geddy's rig. You even get a great meal out of it after the gig Laughing:




One trick I've learned, for bassists or guitarists, is to rotate or move forward/backward your amp if it just doesn't "sound right" or sounds too quiet "in this room" (for you or the rest of the band) instead of grabbing a bigger amp or turning up the burners.
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 Post Posted: Sunday Jan 18, 2015 
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My preference is a smaller tube amp. That way you can crank it up to near-meltdown without offending small children, the elderly, and PLCB officers. Amp modelers sound great and are really the better option from a functional standpoint. But I'm addicted to controlled feedback and my experience has been that amp modelers don't howl when you touch your headstock to them, so that's no fun.

Either way, IEM is the way to go. Volume wars were never the answer to the "I can't hear myself" dilemma.
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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Bassist_25 touched on a good point about room fill, but I hold a very different opinion. As a bassist, guitarist, drummer, (insert your performance here) it is NOT your job to fill the room or provide coverage; that is what a PA is for. Instrument amps, while clearly quite loud, are not designed to fill the venue, and asking them to do so is an abuse of the the gear, and a major headache for your engineers. When a bass amp like an SVT gets cranked up to the point where it competes with the PA, it creates all kinds of sonic interference with everything else in the form of standing waves and overlapping frequencies. Add a 100-watt 4x12 guitar amp to that mix, and the problems multiply. PA speakers are designed to produce even coverage and frequency response, which translates into clarity and quality.
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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Jasaoke wrote:
Amps are for suckers.

Quiet stage = better mix.

It's 2015. The Analog Digital War is over, and analog lost. You can cry all you want about "your sound" and the "feel" of your rig, but that just shows weakness in your ability. You are up on stage to entertain; most people don't give a crap about the subtle nuance of your tone. You can swap your tubes, lug your 4 x 12, listen to your LPs, read your hardback encyclopedias, and call your friends on your rotary phone all you like, and the world will leave you behind with the rest of the heavy junk we don't use anymore.

Gig bag has a shoulder strap, processor is a one-handed carry. One trip from the car to anywhere, don't need a loading dock, stairs are no problem at all. I don't even need anybody to hold the door.


I'm not even a guitarist or bassist, but I do have to remark that even after re-reading the entire thread and considering all points made therein, this comment remains as one of the most upper-echelon posts I've read in terms of snarkiness and complete douchebaggery. Sure, nobody uses amps anymore. Rolling Eyes
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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Seems its still a mixed field. I would love to go less is more, but it takes an experienced sound tech to "fill the gap" I have 3 Live rigs now working on the 4th.

My "go to" rig is : Mustang IV 120W 2 12. This has all the bells and whistles I need and honestly is not that hard to set up...just plug in...

My Big set-up: (I rarely use) Marshall Stack with a couple pedals
(Tuner/Booster/Wah)

My Holy crap its a small room rig : Fender Super Champ 15W tube...with a couple pedals. (It does the job and sounds amazing mic'ed)

The one Im working on : Boss GT 6 with ears.


Having this at my disposal I feel is a plus, there is a lot to be said for all points who knows...mabe we are all just addicted to gear lol...
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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Jasaoke wrote:
Bassist_25 touched on a good point about room fill, but I hold a very different opinion. As a bassist, guitarist, drummer, (insert your performance here) it is NOT your job to fill the room or provide coverage; that is what a PA is for. Instrument amps, while clearly quite loud, are not designed to fill the venue, and asking them to do so is an abuse of the the gear, and a major headache for your engineers. When a bass amp like an SVT gets cranked up to the point where it competes with the PA, it creates all kinds of sonic interference with everything else in the form of standing waves and overlapping frequencies. Add a 100-watt 4x12 guitar amp to that mix, and the problems multiply. PA speakers are designed to produce even coverage and frequency response, which translates into clarity and quality.


I agree 100%. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world where every gig has a three- or four-way system that can handle full instrument reproduction. I've arrived at a venue and had the argument with the bandleader on whether or not to bring in the subs many times. Sometimes I win the argument and sometimes I don't - and it often has nothing to do with the rationality of my argument. In those cases, when the tops have a steep roll-off in the 60 - 80hz range which are the foundation frequencies of an electric bass guitar, the best solution is to use a bass cabinet designed to produce the sound of the instrument. I'm always cognizant of phasing and comb-filtering issues, and that solution always produces more stage volume. But sometimes you gots to do what you gots to do. I've played in just about every PA situation imaginable, from acoustic guitars and a cajon box into some self-powered tops on sticks to concert-sized line-arrays - sometimes within the same two days. You have to be adaptable to the situation.

I've yet to try one, but there are some bass players using these cabinets called fEarfuls. They're two- and three-way designs that are supposed to be analogous to a PA system. They're very flat response. Most commercial bass cabinets don't produce a ton of true low-end. They have bumps in the low-mids to compensate. From what I understand, the fEarful cabs actually produce a lot of true low-end. Players really like them in situations where they can't get reinforcement in the house.

P.s. The Fender Champs are sweet little amps. A lot of people think of them as practice amps, but they are tone machines. Mic it through the PA, and you're good to go.
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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bassist_25 wrote:
I've yet to try one, but there are some bass players using these cabinets called fEarfuls. They're two- and three-way designs that are supposed to be analogous to a PA system. They're very flat response. Most commercial bass cabinets don't produce a ton of true low-end. They have bumps in the low-mids to compensate. From what I understand, the fEarful cabs actually produce a lot of true low-end. Players really like them in situations where they can't get reinforcement in the house.

P.s. The Fender Champs are sweet little amps. A lot of people think of them as practice amps, but they are tone machines. Mic it through the PA, and you're good to go.


I personally think the fEarful 15+6 is just a rework of the Carvin LS1503 cabinet (which is itself a rework of some JBL cabinet -- or they might be both reworks of the JBL), the only change being re-computed volume for the 3015LF driver and the volume taken up by extra bracing required to get a bit more "work" out of the 3015LF. Most of the full-range fEarful designs appear to just be re-worked copies of PA speakers (reworked to compensate for the more powerful low driver).

I also think if you've gotten used to a 6x10, none of the fEarful cabs will impress you during actual use (even if they do impress it will be just a matter of time till you are back on the 6x10). Any gig you could take a fEarful cab to, your 6x10 will only take a bit more room and have a bit extra "just in case" volume.

I guess that argument could be used for any large rig... to have "just in case". The problem I've experienced is that to some people, every gig seems like "just the case" for using that extra bit they brought along.



My next amp experiment arrives Thursday. A Carvin MB12 (think of it like a fEarful 12+6 combo, but slightly smaller and 4db less max SPL).
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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Thanks for the response, Rob. I remember you were using some of those Carvin cabinets for bass reinforcement. I am still curious to try one of the fEarfuls to hear what all of the accolades are about. They sound somewhat boxy in most of the YouTube demos, but Ed Friedland does a very impressive demo of the F112.

The 6x10 I have is modeled to cop the vibe of a vintage Ampeg 810 flatback, which means a classic sound but with a somewhat narrow frequency response. My guess is the fEarful designs should - at least theoretically - be more full-range. The 6x10 actually doesn't make it to a lot of gigs, again because of its practicality. Most of the time, it's still the tried-and-true ported 4x10 with a horn on stage with me.

I actually have had that Carvin combo for a few years. I picked it up when they were relatively new. I needed a personal practice amp, but I've used it on gigs before too. My experience is that it really benefits from an extension cab. It produces great highs and mids but lacks a bit in the depth department when played by itself. That combo's true strength lies in the BX250 driving it. The BX is an incredible hifi amplifier.
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 19, 2015 
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I think I'll go ahead and order the 1x15 extension cab now, thanks Smile I did get the MB12 wrapped in "Brown Marvelon" so if I don't order now I might have two different colored cabs Wink I got tired of boring old black amps, but not quite adventurous enough for red vinyl, blue vinyl, or.. "Tuck-And-Roll" naugahyde (like a Kustom).

I happen to have a 3012LF laying around from a horn-loaded sub project (a Fitzmaurice Tuba 30) and I was going to try swapping out the basic 12" Carvin to see if a driver change will do anything at all. Not hoping for much because that 3012LF is a power hungry beast (the reason its not in the horn-loaded sub project anymore) and the MB12 probably doesn't have the power to drive it properly. It will tell me if its worth getting a Deltalite II 2512 for it though (or trading the 3012LF to someone for a 2512).

My ideal any-size rig for gigging would be 2xLS1503's fed by a SVP-Pro fronted generic 4KW amp. Could take one LS1503, or two (giving the option of using one as a side fill on a short stand, or stacking sideways) if the gig needed. Of course I would dress them up in some tooled leather coverings in a walnut color and cover the front grills with black grill cloth with black piping trim rather than leave them looking like PA cabs. Twisted Evil
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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Please let me know how the amp pairs with the 1x15. I've been on the fence for quite a while about ordering one. It's not that they're super expensive. Word on the street is that they sound good paired with the MB combos. It would make a pretty sweet modern sounding rig.

You could try the driver swap, but I don't know if the result will be earth shattering. Unfortunately, the cabinet is a bit too small for the 12 and xmax seems to be relatively short.
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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Quote:
I'm not even a guitarist or bassist, but I do have to remark that even after re-reading the entire thread and considering all points made therein, this comment remains as one of the most upper-echelon posts I've read in terms of snarkiness and complete douchebaggery. Sure, nobody uses amps anymore. Rolling Eyes


Well, the snarkiness was intentional.

As for the douchebaggery: Apparently the tone of my original post did not translate into print as I had intended. I jumped at the chance to stir the pot of what I hoped would be a spirited discussion on a subject that I'm quite passionate about. I suppose I'm a zealot. Don't get me wrong, I would prefer to live in an analog world, but that ship has sailed. So maybe I'm just frustrated that I, too, have lost the war.
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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I'd be hesitant to say that the analog ship has sailed. It definitely has in pro-audio (as it should as I don't know anyone willing to drag around thousands of pounds of super expensive McIntosh amps) and much in the recording environment, but the majority of guitarists I run into out there are still plugging into tubes of some sort. Effects range from analog pedals to digital MIDI-switchable processors. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. It's all in what you want to do and what solution fits best with your playing situation.

Digital is becoming more prominent in the bass world with class D power sections. While I own a couple class D amps, I still haven't found one that has has the girth and authority in the low-end as an amp with heavy lead. I'm not saying they don't exist; I just haven't tried one yet. But there are still a lot of bass amp companies churning out all-tube heads. Even GK, a company built around warm solid-state design, has started putting 12AX7s in the front-end of some of its models.

I think it's a bit of a false dichotomy to approach music by purely embracing analog or digital. Both technologies have places where they shine, either in terms of sound quality or practicality.
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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While what Paul said is on point, I need to toss in my 2 cents. There is no "war". If you want to drag a Marshall JCM800, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, or a Fender Twin into the studio to record your album, then just DO IT. If you want to take in your all-digital thingamajig, then just DO IT.

You make the choice as a guitarist/bassist on what you want to play, gear-wise. I understand the ease of going all digital, especially with the sonic choices that are out there, the versatility, and flexability of some of these rigs. It's unreal.

But I also know this: The beauty of analog is in it's IMPERFECTION.

That's what makes an LP sound better than a CD or MP3 in my opinion. You absolutely cannot get the sense of presence of imperfection, for lack of a better term, from anything digital. Tube amps may not be as versatile a tool as their all-digital counterparts, but across the country I'd be willing to wager that the tube-to-digital rig ratio is about 3 or 4-1 for tube amps.

So don't despair, and my apologies if I came off as an ass to you, Jasoke. The "war" is not lost, it really never existed in the first place. It's just all in your choice for the right tool for your job. With KBand, you need that sonic versatility of a digital rig to do what you do. Therefore it's the right tool for the job. But if you walk into a gig with Naildriver, digital just don't cut it. It's TOO perfect and too sterile.

Spirited discussion on.
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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ToonaRockGuy wrote:

You absolutely cannot get the sense of presence of imperfection, for lack of a better term, from anything digital. Tube amps may not be as versatile a tool as their all-digital counterparts, but across the country I'd be willing to wager that the tube-to-digital rig ratio is about 3 or 4-1 for tube amps.


It wouldn't surprise me if the ratio was even higher. Tube amps have been pronounced dead more times than Jason Voorhees but they're still the weapon of choice for guitarists and probably will be for some time.

Scary thought: The mid 60s were the golden age of Fender Blackface tube amps, but their top-of-the-line amps in 1966 were solid state models. Fender thought tube amps were obsolete before Jimi Hendrix had even released his first album and they went all out for solid state. Yet here we are in 2015 and reissues of those obsolete old Blackface Fenders are still best sellers.
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Jan 20, 2015 
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This is in no way a cut on the band, but I have to admit that I just never dug Green Eggs' no amps on stage approach. It was never what I sonically liked to hear. But it worked for them and obviously they had about as a successful career as a regional band can have. I'm always willing to be proven wrong and my tastes in gear have shifted dramatically over the years. I'm always left wanting when listening to bands not using amps, but I'm open to the possibility of hearing one that makes me sit up and take notice of their sound.
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 
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I do agree that there is a "tube sound" when it comes to amps (it can also be profiled accurately, which is why I believe in "tube sound").

I still find no reason why a reasonable volume can't be maintained using "less amp", "less cab", cabinet simulators, profiling amps, etc. if you require that "tube sound".

A PA system will be able to reproduce the waveform generated by your tube amp as long as it creates some signal loud enough to be sent to the board... (and the sound guy isn't driving his system into areas of distortion)
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 
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Sure, you need a proper PA, but you need that no matter what.

As far as tubes, ehhhh. I very seldom hear a satisfactory explanation of the "tube sound" from guitarists. They often use terms like "warmer" or "grittier", but I don't hear a lot of quantitative descriptions of the "tube sound" (but I bet Paul has one). I kinda think that guitarists are the only people driving the vacuum tube industry.

From a bigger picture standpoint, any instrumentalist has to give up some of "their sound" when playing with other musicians. Whether recording or live, there is only so much room in a mix. So it's more important to do what works for the overall sound of the band. Being that I'm not going to get my "dream tone", and even if I did, it wouldn't be reproduced to the rest of the room, it makes no sense to take more than you need. And with proper PA, you don't need to make any noise on stage. In fact, it's better if you don't.
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 
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In messing around with a few amplifiers a couple years ago with a spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope, mainly pushing pink noise and sine/square waves through them, the only difference I noticed between tube and solid state was tube is less accurate in reproducing the output. Whether that is good or bad would be up to the listener I suspect. Granted the amps I was playing around with were milliwatt to 5W class, they are still representative of larger amps.

If you want a signal produced faithfully in as many ways as possible, solid state is the best choice ...as long as you're not driving the amplifier into areas of distortion/overdrive.

I would characterize tubes as being much more forgiving to "errors" introduced by signal controls on a given amplifier. (errors being things like taking the amp into overdrive or any number of poorly chosen settings). There were definitely "colorations" imparted on the signal by the tube amp at all signal levels. Mainly slew and harmonic anomalies. Any "warming" of a signal that I witnessed could be accurately described as a multi-stage filter if it wasn't caused by nulling from some of the harmonics interacting.

In the end, any signal I put into the tube amp could be reproduced by a non-overdriven solid state amplifier, once the signal went through the tubes first.

PS if you want to have a bunch of fun, get a spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope then start pluging it in to all your audio equipment. Once you feel like you've got a handle on that, open up the equipment and start attaching the leads to different parts of the signal path. Its amazing how much filtering goes on inside a piece of audio gear without your permission.
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