For years, guitarists have been conducting bitter discussions about this decision on whether to choose Tube or Transistor type guitar amplifiers, but what are the arguments for and against tubes or transistors?
Howdy SEA Fans, Welcome to another tiptuesday blog post and today we are discussing some tips which will help you in choosing the right Guitar Amp.
Fact: There are not only sonic differences – also in the handling and the guitar box connection.
In tube amplifiers, the guitar signal is amplified using electron tubes or short tubes. In contrast to the transistor, where of course none are used. The louder you turn on an amp, the more power is sent to the tubes. At a certain point, the tubes begin to saturate the sound clearly audible. This is a distortion of the guitar sound, which is also called overdrive. In addition, a tube amp responds well to different loud string stops, which gives the sound a very lively dynamics. In the first generations of tube amplifiers, saturation was caused by increasing volume adjustment in the final stage. The louder the amp was turned, the more distorted the sound was. Today, the distortion is generated depending on the model in the pre-stage and the volume of the power amplifier can be separated from it separately with a master controller.
A guitarist used to have little choice when he was looking for a good sound. But in recent years, that has changed fundamentally. Today, transistor amps are coming onto the market that mimic the best characteristics of tube amplifiers quite well. Guitar amplifiers with transistors are usually characterized by a neutral and unadulterated playback of the audio signal. In contrast to most tubes here a higher sound transparency is offered. Further advantages are a low background noise and a very stable noise intensity curve. For the sound, this means that the trebles are more present and the overall result is a colder sound. Probably the biggest advantage lies in the price differential. Anyone who plays many gigs or often has to drag his guitar combo to the band rehearsal will also appreciate the comparatively low weight of transistors. At the same time, these amps are more robust because there are no fragile tubes inside, which should also cool before transporting.
The disadvantages of a tube vs. transistor
In addition to the mentioned higher weight in tube amps, the higher energy consumption should also be emphasized. Since the tubes heat while playing guitar, also a high heat development is to be mentioned. Especially in small closed rooms in the apartment or in the band rehearsal, this can be felt. The vacuum tubes used are fragile and can break if carelessly transported. Although there are fewer components to be found than with a transistor amp, tube amplifiers are more maintenance-intensive overall – not least due to the tube wear after the corresponding playing time.
Disadvantages transistor amp
Unpleasant become the otherwise so modern guitar amplifier with transistor technology if they are overloaded. Thus, in contrast to the other type, they are only briefly overloadable before they take damage.
Decision between tube or transistor
How do you decide between a guitar amplifier with tube or transistor? Above all, it’s about assessing your own needs correctly. Just because your idol is playing a 100-watt all-tube amp on stage does not have to be the right choice for you. Even if friendly guitarists or people in the forum make this the only true choice. Your own guitar sound will be primarily influenced by you: your game, your ideas. The aura that surrounds many a hot amp is usually just a natural or artificially generated hype by the manufacturer.
Here are some facts to consider while choosing Tube Amplifiers, You get along with the maintenance and servicing. You’re willing to carry the many pounds for the ultimate tube sound and here are some facts if you consider Transistor amplifiers, You play mainly in the bedroom or basement. Your budget is limited and you still want to have a great sound. You play many gigs and do not want to wear heavy. You’ve found a better-sounding one than the tube amp you can afford.
Hope the above discussed topic has been useful for you and as always
Happy Sound Engineering !!!