[Ardour-Users] New tube amps

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Sun Dec 24 02:31:39 PST 2017

Ralf Mardorf <ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net> writes:

> On Sat, 23 Dec 2017 23:19:19 +0000, Matt Keys wrote:
>>>... "but a real guitar tube amp still surpasses even the best
>>>transistor based guitar gear."
>>I picked up my first "tube amp" this month and love it. It's the tiny
>>(seriously pedal size) Vox MV50 clean. I run a 2x12 cab with it at 4
>>ohms (50 watts) and it's a monster!
> At least this is the reason why Gordonjcp makes a fool out of himself,
> begin forwarded message:
> On Fri, 22 Dec 2017 15:35:39 -0500, Al Thompson wrote:
>>On 12/22/2017 03:28 PM, Gordonjcp wrote:  
>>> Valve amps don't sound any different to transistor amps, and anyone
>>> who says they do quite honestly needs to lay off the cocaine for a
>>> while and get some perspective.  

Frankly, if you can only sell a tube amp sound for a reasonable price by
putting a tube in, then you'll do just that, even if the tube's role in
the circuit is that of a light bulb.  Then you add Fender-style rotary
controls and a backlit VU meter, and people expect and pay for tube
sound and are willing to swear on it.

Here we are talking about the amp head described at

Key part of a tube amp sound is the output transformer.  How much of
that will you see in a "pedal size" amp that has a class D _digital_
power amp stage?

The English blurb actually evades lying all too much:

    The MV50 is equipped an all-analog pre-amp circuit that features
    Nutube, a revolutionary new vacuum tube that produces authentic tube
    tone at a fraction of the size. By taking advantage of this
    incredible new technology, VOX’s engineers were able to design a
    true, miniature tube amplifier. Beyond the inclusion of Nutube, the
    pre-amp circuit in the MV50 features a staggering number of analog
    components that effectively reproduce the dynamic character of a
    traditional tube amp. Paired with this innovative pre-amp circuit is
    a reliable and efficient Class D power amp that has been
    specifically designed for the MV50. From warm, natural cleans to
    dynamic overdrives, this power amp has been engineered to respond to
    the nuances of your guitar and, of course, your technique.

I mean, "staggering number of analog components that effectively
reproduce the dynamic character of a traditional tube amp"?  The dynamic
character of a traditional tube amp comes about by a staggeringly
_small_ number of components.  A typical full-scale tube amp has fewer
circuits all-in-all than an average Opamp these days.  If you need a
"staggering number of analog components" then you do it because you need
to emulate the very few actually _crucial_ but expensive components.
That's where the tube sound part actually sits.  The tube itself is
mostly window dressing and possibly noise generator.

I mean, now you can go whole hog over this and insist on an actual tube
amp with an actual tube power stage and not "a staggering number of
analog components that effectively reproduce" a tube amp.

But you can't pay your marketing department by selling old technology at
old production costs (or even higher because of economy of scale) and
likely not meeting modern energy efficiency standards.

This basically is a transistor amp with digital power stage modelled to
sound like a tube amp, modeled to _look_ like a tube amp (or a steampunk
version of one), and designed to _market_ like a tube amp.

There is nothing wrong with that except that it makes people even
stupider.  But then that's what marketing is for.

David Kastrup

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