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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 9:34 am
Posts: 10
Location: Fresno, CA.
I've always preferred tube amps to solid state. Solid state amps just don't sound warm enough to me, and it seems that when they blow (especially the newer ones), that's it, game over. I use a early 70's Fender Vibrolux for gigs where I can crank up the volume more (I'd rather crank the amp than use a pedal, if possible), and my 330/6 and 360/12 sound wonderful through it. For smaller venues where volume level is more of a factor, I have a Fender Blues Junior, which is a great little class-A amp with one 12" speaker and 15 watts. It gets a really neat Vox-like tone (and it's small), and has a great reverb.
However, one of my regular gigs is a casino, where they are absolutely militant about the volume coming off the stage (they'll pump you up in the monitors). I originally got the Blues Junior in an attempt to get a good sound at a low volume, but even that amp is "too loud." So, I've been reduced to using a Line 6 Floor Pod for that gig. It's not bad, but believe me, I only use it when I have to. I have friends who love modeling devices like the Pod (and it is convenient) but bottom line, tubes sound better.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:59 am
Posts: 3
Location: west coast
To the original poster...You might want to try the Nick Greer Ghetto Stomp.I have a friend who swears by it and he knows his tone.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:03 am
Posts: 45
Location: Dallas, Texas
I love these debates! Just to throw in my 2 cents, try a Traynor YCS-50. Very flexible amp, and when you punch the "Brit" switch... there's the Vox sound! North-American made, best warranty you can find, and sensibly-priced. Sorry if this upsets anyone, but even though I love the sound, my personal experience with Vox amps... as a tech and user... have a back-up handy.

Regards,
Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
I had a little YCV-20 recently - it was a very good-sounding amp, but unfortunately these Traynors have the same basic design fault as the Voxes... it's impossible to change tubes without fully dismantling the amp. This means that you *do* need a back-up for gigs, just like with a Vox. So I reluctantly decided it wasn't for me.

Ironically, the only time I've ever actually had a tube blow at a gig was with an old Traynor - a MkIII combo, which I was able to get sorted in under two minutes, on stage... because the tubes are accessible without even taking the back panel off. (This was also a truly great-sounding amp, by the way.)

I've said this before, but I agree totally with rondocmorse about tube amps being more dependable in a gig situation because 90+% of failures are just tubes, which can be replaced on the spot (assuming it's not a Vox/modern Traynor-type design), whereas solid-state amps, although they fail less initially, when they do it's always a workshop job. Modern solid-state amps don't seem to be much less prone to failure than old ones either, especially those that use integrated power ICs. I've long since lost count of how many of these I've replaced...


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:03 am
Posts: 45
Location: Dallas, Texas
Hi, BlueAngel. I retubed my YCS-50 without touching a tool... the tubes are easily accessible. Perhaps Traynor/Yorkville heard your complaint!

Regards,
Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 6
Location: north babylon new york
I do feel a quality tube amp is the way to go to bring out the best in sound from a RIC. This is my opinion only. As many have noted here this is an individual preference. I recently purchased a JMI AC4 reissue. I am quite happy with the sound I now get with my RIC 330. JMI is selling a line of hand wired tube amps based on the original VOX specs of the early 60's. I do not gig and play at home only and the AC4 is most adequate for me. I would love a JMI AC 30 and perhaps if I can save enough, a few years from now I will take the plunge. I waited a year after purchasing my RIC before purchasing an amp. Researched as much as possible and listened to many an amp at local music shops. IT came down to a JMI or VOX and I just read too many reviews about reliablity issues with VOX. Though fewer in number the reviews on the JMI amps were stellar in every review I read.. So despite the expense I would recommend a JMI. If your looking for the classic 60's Brit invasion sound and if you want to bring a great sound out of your RIC I highly recommend JMI.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
Quote:
Hi, BlueAngel. I retubed my YCS-50 without touching a tool... the tubes are easily accessible. Perhaps Traynor/Yorkville heard your complaint!
It must be different. (Good!) The YCV-20 and a bigger one (YCV-80?) I worked on a while back both had the same lack of accessibility, with the tubes under screwed-down plates on the underside of the chassis. On the 20 there wasn't enough clearance behind the speaker to get the cover plate off without taking the chassis out of the cabinet first either. (I forget if the other one was the same.) This made it a no-go for me as a lightweight gigging amp, which is a shame because it sounded very good and seemed well-built otherwise. Tubes - especially EL84s - can fail without warning, and I won't carry a backup amp when I could take spare tubes... but that does rely on being able to get at them!

(So I'm back to my old 1980s Peavey Backstage Plus! Which is solid-state, but doesn't sound bad at all, and those old Peaveys are about as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning...)


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:49 pm
Posts: 573
Location: Stanstead, QC
Traynor YCS50 and YCS100 combos and heads --- tube change is Nascar/Grand-Prix style. You should be able to do it in 20 seconds or you don't deserve to be in the business, provided that you are wearing silicon gloves to take the heat. Auto-biasing is also a nice feature.

As for some other offerings, I've heard Vox salesmen range from "normally, you don't have to touch the tubes for xxx years, so it's not a problem" to "with the new design, changing tubes is a lot faster".

Maybe because it's more necessary...???

As for the quality of the tubes supplied as original equipment on just about any tube amp, that's another story entirely...


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
Quote:
As for some other offerings, I've heard Vox salesmen range from "normally, you don't have to touch the tubes for xxx years, so it's not a problem"
That's just wrong. The vast majority of problems with any tube amp are tube failures, plain and simple, and they can take place at any time from five minutes after you buy the amp onwards. The vast majority (all bar one, that I can think of) of repairs I've had to do on any of the modern Vox amps have been due to tube failures. Not only are they impossible to get into on stage, they're not even a particularly easy job on the bench (I'll not bore you with repeating why), and it annoys me to have to apologise to customers for charging an extra quarter hour's worth of labor just to get the amp apart and back together. Pure bad design, and trying to justify it by saying that the majority of tubes don't fail for years (which is true) or that the majority of owners don't want to do their own tube changes (which I've heard as an excuse too) does not fly with me... tubes are a wear/replacement part, period.

Imagine a car which was designed so that accessing the spare tire was a workshop job involving getting under the vehicle and removing large sections of the bodywork and frame... I'm sure a lot of people would complain about that, no matter how relatively rare a puncture is with modern tires.

Quote:
to "with the new design, changing tubes is a lot faster".

Maybe because it's more necessary...???

As for the quality of the tubes supplied as original equipment on just about any tube amp, that's another story entirely...
This is also very true, and Vox can't be blamed for that - although they could perhaps choose some of the more reliable current-production types, instead of some of the least reliable. It's entirely true that a large number of failures on the CC model were due to the poor quality rectifier tubes, but the right solution is to use better ones, not do away with the tube rectifier - it's still no reason to cheapen the whole amp.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube amps-Your info and thoughts?
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:00 pm
Posts: 1957
Location: San Bernardino, CA
BlueAngel: Quite interesting as to what you have to say on the tube topic.

From your experience and opinion, what are some of the "better" tube replacement brands to seriously consider for a Vox amp (AC 15) and what are some brands that should be avoided?


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