Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
VanHalen

Are Tube Amps Overrated?

Recommended Posts

For several years I owned a Marshall JCM2000 TSL60 tube head with a Marshall 1960A speaker cabinet. For effects I used a Boss GT-8. Numerous times I had friends tell me that it sounded too "digital". I pretty much agreed with them. No matter what I did, I couldn't seem to find a good warm sound out of the setup.

 

When the Marshall head finally developed a problem that my local repair guy couldn't fix, I traded the whole rig even-money for a new Line 6 Spider III 150-watt head and a Line 6 cabinet with four 12" Celestions. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am with the trade!

 

I don't care if the Line 6 is not a tube amp - it sounds better than any tube amp I have ever heard or played on. The cool thing is that all the effects are built into the amp. I have never heard any amp that was using outboard effects that sounded this good. It seems like no matter what, plugging the preamp of an outboard effects unit into the preamp of a guitar amplifier always ends up causing there to be extra distortion and hiss of some kind - even when the amp has a good effects loop.

 

Now I have to admit, when I hear a tube amp that doesn't have any effects plugged into it, it does sound warm and clean. But who plays without effects anymore? The moment you add some effects to the mix, you have degraded the sound of the tube effect IMO. In addition, who's to say that your favorite effect unit is even compatible with the brand of amp you are using? Did the two different manufacturers get together and calibrate their gear in order to make sure they work well together? I doubt it.

 

After this experience, I am beginning to believe that the idea of having to have a tube amp to qualify as a high-end amp owner is way overrated. I am having more fun playing my $750.00 Line 6 rig than I ever did playing my $2,500.00 Marshall/Boss rig. It sounds cleaner, the effects sound better, and everyone in my band who has heard it is totally blown away.

 

What's your opinion or experience on this topic?

 

:wave:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I traded the whole rig even-money for a new Line 6 Spider III 150-watt head and a Line 6 cabinet with four 12" Celestions.

:facepalm:

 

Well, at least you're happy...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you were running a multi on a tube amp.... a crappy tube amp. get effects that like tube amps... analog delays, good quality OD or fuzz and put them through a nice tube amp... play your amp next to it... you will be swallowed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's great that you like your new rig, but I would have to guess that the GT-8 was the culprit in your original set up. I don't think "too digital" is a description I would use for the TSL ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the rig you bought was overpriced and not of great quality IMO (the marshall/boss one i mean)

 

if you like lots of effects and don't wanna spend a ton of money, than a digital setup like you have makes perfect sense

 

if you wanna get great quality effects with a nice tube amp, you're gonna spend big money on the amp and effects unit(s)

 

some amps have better fx loops than others, and not all fx units are created equally...while i'm a happy user of my boss gt6 i know it's a lower level unit, and i keep it bypassed 95% of the time because i'm not a big fx guy

 

for what i play, there's nothing like a high gain tube amp cranked up loud...but for some people they want something different and there's nothing wrong with that; i own tube amps and some line 6 gear (currently a toneport and a spider 3 practice combo...i've owned a spider 1 combo, flextone head, pod 2.0, and pod xt in years past tho)

 

this also can have a lot to do with whether you play in a band situation or on your own more, when i was 19 i had a 5150 head and an original spider 2x12 combo; used the spider for home practice and the 5150 with my band, i never really liked how the 5150 sounded but it seemed to work well with the band, i loved the tone of the spider combo at home but brought it to band practice one day and it sounded horrid there...my taste has changed a lot since then, even the spider 3 combo i have now sits in a closet, i just bought it for when another guitarist wants to jam and one of us needs something cheap/easy to plug into

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you played one of the not so natural sounding tube amps on the market, and you used a digital effects unit.... I wonder why you never found it that warm... I really do :idk:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The REAL Van Halen doesn't think tube amps are overrated.

 

BTW, your TSL60 head sounded too digital because you had a GT-8 plugged into it...dontcha think? The FX are okay in the GT-8 but you should really consider a higher quality unit with a tube amp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Better amp does not make a better player though, shall we watch the famous Bogner UBERSHALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL vid to reinforce that theory? :cop:

 

Thank god I dont need $2500+ amps to be happy myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you need to try a better tube amp. This thread fails.

 

You may be right, but I don't think it means that the thread fails. It's just one person's opinion, and I am asking for other opinions. Has anyone else had this same experience?

 

I must admit that the JCM2000 TSL60 seemed to be way too pricey for what it offered. I have heard other Marshall heads that sounded much better - even the older JCM800. For some reason the TSL60 didn't have a good effects loop to run the Boss GT-8 through in the proper way like other Marshall heads have. Maybe I just bought a lemon.

 

But I gotta admit - this Line 6 will give any amp a run for its money. I've heard a lot of amps in my 45 years, and this puppy gives the best bang for the buck of anything I have ever heard or played on.

 

:p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be right, but I don't think it means that the thread fails. It's just one person's opinion, and I am asking for other opinions. Has anyone else had this same experience?


I must admit that the JCM2000 TSL60 seemed to be way too pricey for what it offered. I have heard other Marshall heads that sounded much better - even the older JCM800. For some reason the TSL60 didn't have a good effects loop to run the Boss GT-8 through in the proper way like other Marshall heads have. Maybe I just bought a lemon.


But I gotta admit - this Line 6 will give any amp a run for its money. I've heard a lot of amps in my 45 years, and this puppy gives the best bang for the buck of anything I have ever heard or played on.


:p

 

OK, sorry, I was a bit harsh. However, I really do think you should try some better tube amps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be right, but I don't think it means that the thread fails. It's just one person's opinion, and I am asking for other opinions. Has anyone else had this same experience?


I must admit that the JCM2000 TSL60 seemed to be way too pricey for what it offered. I have heard other Marshall heads that sounded much better - even the older JCM800. For some reason the TSL60 didn't have a good effects loop to run the Boss GT-8 through in the proper way like other Marshall heads have. Maybe I just bought a lemon.


But I gotta admit - this Line 6 will give any amp a run for its money. I've heard a lot of amps in my 45 years, and this puppy gives the best bang for the buck of anything I have ever heard or played on.


:p

 

if you're happy with your rig than keep on playing and enjoy it

 

but you'll have a tough time convincing anyone here that a rig like that is superior or even equal to a good tube amp

 

truth is there are things your setup can offer that a tube amp can't, they just aren't the features most people around here seek...and there are certainly things that a good tube amp will offer that your amp can't, and that's what a lot of people into guitar amps go for

 

check out the guy that just posted the od100se+ vids on this forum :thu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I don't think the TSL60 is a terrible amp (although it definitely is not great). You really need to take some time to dial it in. Same with the TSL100. After a few hours dialing a 100, I got MASSIVE tones out of it. The 60 lacks some of the balls the 100 has, but I think its a decent amp.

 

The loops in the TSLs are TERRIBLE. Pluging anything into them is a tone sucker.

 

The GT8 is a huge problem too. That is going to kill your tone the second you plug into it.

 

GT8 + TSL loop = asstone

 

But to say the Line 6 can hold its own to ANY tube amp/outboard FX combo... whoa. Not a chance in hell. Ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Now I have to admit, when I hear a tube amp that doesn't have any effects plugged into it, it does sound warm and clean. But who plays without effects anymore?


 

I do quite often :confused:

 

All that ever gets plugged into my tube amp (and thats quite rarely) is a Tubescreamer or a Boost and the amp takes both very well without comprimising the tone :love:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you're happy with your rig than keep on playing and enjoy it


but you'll have a tough time convincing anyone here that a rig like that is superior or even equal to a good tube amp

 

I'm really not trying to convince anyone. I just stated my experience and my opinion, and I opened it up for others to share their opinions. So far it looks likem I am out-voted, and I kind of figured that would happen. But like you said, the main thing to consider when you buy a piece of gear is if YOU are happy with it (well, it helps if your audience likes it too).

 

All I can say is that when I put the two rigs next to each other, IMO the Line 6 sounds better. Plus the effects are all built into the amp, and there are hundreds of them. I can go from playing authentic-sounding U2 to Pink Floyd to Metallica to Rush to Ozzy to The Police to The Scorpions without having to dial in dozens of effects changes.

 

It's obvious that for most of you, tube amps are not overrated. But in my experience, I am much happier with this solid state rig than the tube rig that I had before.

 

:thu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I can't stand Line 6 stuff :o The fakeness shines through to me and I'd rather buy the real thing it's trying to model :o

 

The TSL range aren't exactly bare knuckle tube amps to begin with. A lot of tube amps aren't as simple as they were back in the day :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No wonder they are making fun of this entire forum over at The Gear Page.
:facepalm:
This thread = utter failure.

 

Who cares? IMO opinion this thread is a complete success, and so is my amp choice. I was out listening to a band the other night and the guy had a similar setup to my old rig (Marshall JCM2000 and Boss multi-effects). His rig sounded digital like my old one did. I asked the guy to come over and hear my amp, and he agreed that it sounded much better than his. He is now looking to buy one like mine.

 

Have any of you actually played on the new Line 6 Spider III 150-watt stereo head?

 

:confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...