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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Tube Amp, Baby!

   
Author Topic: Tube Amp, Baby!
Iain
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I was given an old Bogen M60A amp earlier this week. I was told that the tubes had about an hour of use when it was stored thirty years ago. First thing I did before I even fired it up was to replace what resistors I could with what I had in my parts box. Those old carbon resistors are known to 'drift.'

My plan is to have the sweetest guitar amp in this part of North Carolina. I'm going to try to overdrive the tubes a bit, just to get some distortion.

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Iain
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Anyone have some thoughts?
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Morbo
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If you blow a tube will you be able to get more?
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The Flying Dracula Hair
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Why mess with the amp if you can just get a pedal? I'm no expert and am ignorant to the overdriving process, but it seems to me fetishizing your amp like that leaves you with less options.
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Tatiana
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Tube amps sound so sweet! I have a 60 W Dean Markley tube amp and it's so much better than silicon! [Smile] Congratulations on your score.

Morbo, yeah they make tubes now for just guitar amps. They cost a lot more since there are no economies of scale anymore but they'll always be available.

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Iain
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quote:
Originally posted by Morbo:
If you blow a tube will you be able to get more?

I've got extras.

quote:
Originally posted by The Flying Dracula Hair:
Why mess with the amp if you can just get a pedal? I'm no expert and am ignorant to the overdriving process, but it seems to me fetishizing your amp like that leaves you with less options.

Partly because the thing sounds just freaking awesome, partly because it was free, partly because I like playing with electronics.

This thing lets pretty much my whole personality run rampant. My nerdiness shows through with the technical aspect, the part of me that loves classic rock-and playing it-is stroked with the sound, and my redneck side is going to town on the 'oldness' of the thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Tube amps sound so sweet! I have a 60 W Dean Markley tube amp and it's so much better than silicon! [Smile] Congratulations on your score.

Morbo, yeah they make tubes now for just guitar amps. They cost a lot more since there are no economies of scale anymore but they'll always be available.

Replacements for the tubes in my amp are pretty cheap because they are not the type commonly sought by audiophiles, yet they are still common in other applications, mostly big broadcast radio transmitters.
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Iain
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quote:
Originally posted by Morbo:
If you blow a tube will you be able to get more?

I've got extras.

quote:
Originally posted by The Flying Dracula Hair:
Why mess with the amp if you can just get a pedal? I'm no expert and am ignorant to the overdriving process, but it seems to me fetishizing your amp like that leaves you with less options.

Partly because the thing sounds just freaking awesome, partly because it was free, partly because I like playing with electronics.

This thing lets pretty much my whole personality run rampant. My nerdiness shows through with the technical aspect, the part of me that loves classic rock-and playing it-is stroked with the sound, and my redneck side is going to town on the 'oldness' of the thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Tube amps sound so sweet! I have a 60 W Dean Markley tube amp and it's so much better than silicon! [Smile] Congratulations on your score.

Morbo, yeah they make tubes now for just guitar amps. They cost a lot more since there are no economies of scale anymore but they'll always be available.

Replacements for the tubes in my amp are pretty cheap because they are not the type commonly sought by audiophiles, yet they are still common in other applications, mostly big broadcast radio transmitters.
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the doctor
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My experience with tube electronics is that the resistors and capacitors are much less "reliable" than the tubes themselves. And, yes, tubes are still available. In fact, there are are a few companies around making brand new ones, but if you can by new original old stock, that's usually better.

Anyway, if the thing sounds wonky after you've replaced the resistors, you might also look to see if there are any of the old paper-wrapped capacitors in there. They tend to get destroyed due to humidity and replacing them might be a lot cheaper than buying all new tubes and then finding out that wasn't the problem.


Bogen is a great amp from what I recall.

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DSH
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Tube electronics are still popular among some audiophiles and amateur radio licensees too. And they all say the same thing: "They [the 'tubed' components] just sound better"

Joe Walsh (of Eagles fame) is one of the most well know collectors of old tube ham radios and is a regular on eBay.

I personally can't tell enough of a difference to justify all the expense and effort required to keep an old tube radio on the air, but some old hams seem more interested in tinkering than actually transmitting.

To each his own!

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Tatiana
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I can definitely tell the difference in guitar amps. The amp of an electric guitar is a huge part of the sound, and tube amps sound warmer and more alive. The silicon amps sound slightly more sterile and "removed". It's a widespread preference among guitarists, though not universal by any means.

There is also a coolness factor, I think. [Smile]

I had an old tube stereo amp that by father built from a kit when I was a baby. I took that amp to college with me for my stereo, and it worked as a space heater as well as an amp. We heated our small apartment with it. I only ever had to replace one tube when it was about 20 years old. Those tubes last a long time!

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