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  • TUBE POWER AMP for FOH speakers?

     I love the warmth hi-fi tube amps give...with a nice saturated mid range that sounds really wonderful.

    I have yet to see a TUBE POWER AMP for Pro Audio. Every amp I saw to date is solid state.

    I realise that Tubes have a life span and the possible hassle of changing it in the middle of a SHOW is real....but other than that.. I wonder...why is there no TUBE POWER AMP for FOH?

     


  • #2

    Size, weight, durability, output power. 

     

    -Dan.

    formerly known as IsildursBane

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      Add to that dubious claims of warmth, sound stage, and whatever other crap terms marketing folks dream up. Then there's the little issue of cost... maybe an "Ultra-tube amp Pro" would be appropriate for the OP's needs?


  • #3

    I know I have seen a pro tube amp.   I think it was Peavey?

    Tube hybrid maybe.

    The pre stage of the amp is like a 12ax7 or 6dj8, and the output is transistor.

    Honestly though can you imagine a rack of tube amps for pro sound use rolling around in an amp rack?

    I think there is a very good reason you do not see pro sound tube amps.

    Failure is one of them.

    I do not picture 1200wpc rms tube amps either.

    Heat another issue.


    .

    Comment


  • #4

    Fender made a tube PA head in the early 70's.  1971.. PA 100 and the PA 135. 100 watts and 135 watts. Very warm sounding.

      watched a vocalist/harmoica player give it a work out along with his band, they were A/B testing it along side a solid state power amp and the band was giving their opinions on which was better..the tube warmth and weight vs the less weight of the solid state power amp..

      Their conclusion was leaning towards the tube pa head for sound, but wanted less weight since they already had power amps and the tube pa head was icing on the cake, but more stuff to lug around.They kept both.

       There is a review in the HC archieves which gives it a 9.5 for sound. Pics avail on google images.

                                     Fender tube amps are hard to beat for warmth.

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      happwith12strin wrote:

      Fender made a tube PA head in the early 70's.  1971.. PA 100 and the PA 135. 100 watts and 135 watts. Very warm sounding.

        watched a vocalist/harmoica player give it a work out along with his band, they were A/B testing it along side a solid state power amp and the band was giving their opinions on which was better..the tube warmth and weight vs the less weight of the solid state power amp..

        Their conclusion was leaning towards the tube pa head for sound, but wanted less weight since they already had power amps and the tube pa head was icing on the cake, but more stuff to lug around.They kept both.

         There is a review in the HC archieves which gives it a 9.5 for sound. Pics avail on google images.

                                       Fender tube amps are hard to beat for warmth.


      Oh wait a minute, that was nothing but a glorified guitar/bass amp with frequency response anything but flat or practically useable compared with even the cheaper stuff toady. The tone controls were a modified tone stack that were all over the place, the distortion was off the charts compared with the cheapest stuff today, there was 60dB of gain available using 2 preamp tube sections common cathode VA, had a noise floor that would have been deemed horribly defective today, and was expensive.

      the reason it was made is because of the time frame, Fender made tube amps, it was a mature technology, it was based on existing designs using existing parts, and there was little else on the market available in the MI field that was any better. The speakers were even worse.

      IMO, this is remembering the good old days being better than they ever were. I was there, others here were there too, I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers how it really was


  • #5

    I think the Grateful Dead had a few tube power amps (350 watt?) in their Wall of Sound back in the day, although most of that was solid state amps. The tube amps might have been for the bass channel? I can't recall the exact setup. 

    Without getting all guitaristically in love with tubes for their own sake -- I think there's a place for tubes in live sound, mainly as DI's. I have a Groove Tubes Brick that sees some use occasionally as a bass DI, or for certain acoustic instrument pickups for taming spiky transients. The Brick is discontinued, but there are still a few decent tube DI's being made like the Radial Firefly, A Designs REDDI, and Summit Audio TD-100. I think only the REDDI has a big honkin' transformer like the Brick.

    The Universal Audio SOLO/610 also has a DI input, but that would be overkill unless you just wanted a "gold channel" on something and could justify the price. It does sound amazing, but you can get basically the same sound from a used Brick for a lot less money.

     

     

    Comment


    • telemike
      telemike commented
      Editing a comment

      Watch some old 60's British band videos and you'll see Marshall tube PA heads being used along with stacked 4x12's for the vocal PA and drums.  Granted they distorted easy (It's a Marshall for crying out loud), and 4x12's are not very good for wide dispersion.

       

       

      pa

      Attached Files

  • #6

    I used a tube amp for the mains on all the Listen shows.  

    http://m.youtube.com/#/user/listenshows?&desktop_uri=%2Fuser%2Flistenshows

    It isnt on the recording except as maybe a little leakage into the mics but it is very much a part in making our live sound as good as the recordings.

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      LSSD wrote:

      I used a tube amp for the mains on all the Listen shows.  

      http://m.youtube.com/#/user/listenshows?&desktop_uri=%2Fuser%2Flistenshows

      It isnt on the recording except as maybe a little leakage into the mics but it is very much a part in making our live sound as good as the recordings.


      I'm sure your tube amp makes all the difference in the world and EVERYBODY can tell the difference in your show's audio quality...


  • #7
    I didnt claim it makes "all the difference in the world". Just saying that i find that it does the job well for what i am trying to achieve. I could get 90+ % of the way there with a transistor amp but the tube amp in my opinion responds particularly well even compared to a good transistor amp and it helps in producing a smooth natural sound. My "venue" is tiny, the front row is just seven or eight feet from the speakers and the audience is dead silent unless they are clapping or responding to the band so we can hear things a hell of a lot better than in a bar or club.

    Comment


    • soulx
      soulx commented
      Editing a comment

      LSSD wrote:
      I didnt claim it makes "all the difference in the world". Just saying that i find that it does the job well for what i am trying to achieve. I could get 90+ % of the way there with a transistor amp but the tube amp in my opinion responds particularly well even compared to a good transistor amp and it helps in producing a smooth natural sound. My "venue" is tiny, the front row is just seven or eight feet from the speakers and the audience is dead silent unless they are clapping or responding to the band so we can hear things a hell of a lot better than in a bar or club.



       

      And yet the artist you're reproducing seems to do perfectly fine (and in fact, absolutely kills it) playing a sampled voice through a Peavey XR600 box head into a super-cheapie "Legion Sound" 2x15.

       

      Doesn't it seem a little over the top production-wise?


  • #8
    Any tube amps that may have been mentioned were likely used for ancillary purposes such as distribution amps. Afaik, the pa was all solid state.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

    Comment


    • LSSD
      LSSD commented
      Editing a comment

      By the late 60's transistor amps had become reliable and tube amps simply  were too costly and heavy. I'm guessing the three tube amps in the Dead's rig were probably leftovers.


  • #9
    I dont run a tube power amp as an overdrive effect, I run it because it is a good sounding amp.

    The situation I use it in is quite unusual because I have an actual listening audience which is seldom the case in most venues. For other types of gigs I wouldnt bother because a good transistor amp would be much easier to deal with.

    My point was in most situations none of this stuff really matters, run what you like, run what makes you happy. I'm not trying to sell anyone on using tube amps to power their system, I just thought someone might find it interesting that I do and why. Honestly more than the gear I wish i could find more people who want to shut up and listen to a live band so maybe some of the subtle gear stuff might actually matter a bit.

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment
      • The shows that I do have high paying audiences that listen and expect excellent sound. I have never found an excuse for using solid state amplifiers that might be considered inferior to something tube oriented. I have also designed both solid state and tube power amps, and frankly can not sat that the tube amps sounded any better or worse than the solid state amps.

    • partialtomusic
      partialtomusic commented
      Editing a comment

      Well, on that last, I hear you there that's for sure. My rig moves all the time so I put a high premium on weight... i.e. much easier to deal with. I don't actually use any tub pres in my rig (well, my guitar rig has plenty of tubes in it but that's a separate issue); my point was that if the OP is looking for tube warmth getting pres is an easier cheaper lighter way to do it than running tube based power amps.


  • #10

    that would be enough 6L6s to light up a small village.

    tlbonehead@yahoo.com
    www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy
    -For Sale:
    -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US
    -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.
    - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping
    - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds & looks good. $250 + shipping. SOLD
    - Crate Palomino V8 - 10" Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      tlbonehead wrote:

      that would be enough 6L6s to light up a small village.


      6L6's are for whimps, for audio, KT88's and 6550's will get your attention
      I designed a large servo amp using a bunch of 6550's, like a dozen, many years back. IIRC the plate voltage was on the order of 700V and that was one heck of a large power transformer. Seperate filament transfomer for the heaters, not worth the cost of combining as both were pretty large.


  • #11
    Your IM distortion argument is an incorrect assumption. Total bunk.

    Solid state amps can and are designed with a wide variety of specifications, a blanket statement like yours is meritless. The same applies to tube power amps BTW.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

    Comment


    • soulx
      soulx commented
      Editing a comment

      Haven't really read through this thread (I intend to), and I am pretty sure both weight and cost will have already been discussed.  But for pure kicks, I'd like to hear some postulation on what a tube amplifier similar to a $350, 7-pound cheap, efficient and clean-sounding Peavey IPR-3000 would end up at in both weight and cost.


      I'll start it off:  I'm going with a few dozen 6550s per channel, enough transformer to make it run, and enough chassis to hold it together as weighing in at 600 lbs a channel.  So maybe 1300 pounds (or a smart car or so) for the single stereo amp and a street price of $15,000 done on the cheap with real sucky components.  And I'd be pretty nervous to even stand near the thing.

      That's just spitballing.  Maybe somebody has a better design/materials


  • #12
    I smell a stinky troll.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

    Comment


    • dboomer
      dboomer commented
      Editing a comment

      Using amplifiers powered by firebottles are  appropriate for gigs when you transport your gear there by covered wagon. 


  • #13

    stunningbabe wrote:

     I love the warmth hi-fi tube amps give...with a nice saturated mid range that sounds really wonderful.

    I have yet to see a TUBE POWER AMP for Pro Audio. Every amp I saw to date is solid state.

    I realise that Tubes have a life span and the possible hassle of changing it in the middle of a SHOW is real....but other than that.. I wonder...why is there no TUBE POWER AMP for FOH?

     


    Look for a Mackintosh. The Grateful Dead used them...lots of them!

    VERY heavy, though, which may be why nobody uses them much

    Comment


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      Graeca wrote:

      stunningbabe wrote:

       I love the warmth hi-fi tube amps give...with a nice saturated mid range that sounds really wonderful.

      I have yet to see a TUBE POWER AMP for Pro Audio. Every amp I saw to date is solid state.

      I realise that Tubes have a life span and the possible hassle of changing it in the middle of a SHOW is real....but other than that.. I wonder...why is there no TUBE POWER AMP for FOH?

       


      Look for a Mackintosh. The Grateful Dead used them...lots of them!

      VERY heavy, though, which may be why nobody uses them much


      Almost exclusively solid state models as well.

      What is it with folks who make these comments, yet have no idea what they are talking about?


    • dboomer
      dboomer commented
      Editing a comment

      Graeca wrote:

      Look for a Mackintosh. The Grateful Dead used them...lots of them!

      VERY heavy, though, which may be why nobody uses them much


       

      The Beach Boys used them as well ... but you have to remember that was 1971 and back in that day those McIntosh amps were among the most powerful reliable amps on the market.

       

      Back in the day I used to use a bunch of rackmount green Altec tube amps ... 60 watts but was very happy to dump them when more reliable solid state amps became available.


  • #14
    I guess I have not worked with any...

    Comment


    • monthlymixcd
      monthlymixcd commented
      Editing a comment
      LSSD wrote:

      Class D amps certainly dont sound as good as tubes or a nice A/B transistor amp.


      LSSD wrote:
      I guess I have not worked with any...

      What?!? :smiley-angry009:

       

       


  • #15
    Nchangin, either you just don't get it or you are just looking to create problems. Either way, it's not productive and getting pretty darn old.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

    Comment


    • soulx
      soulx commented
      Editing a comment

      Getting your panties in a twist is a bummer.  Trust me.  Ugh, They're really tough to untwist, uncomfortable, and they may even knot at the wrong moment.

      Ugh.  Unknotting panties.  Don't even get me started when that happens.



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