Amplifiers have become a common need for musicians especially guitarists and studios. You may have often heard about guitarists using tube amplifiers, this is because they offer better performance. It should be noted that the tube amplifiers are also known as valve amplifiers. A valve amplifier is quite different to a solid state amplifier in terms of structure and inner workings. People often get confused while deciding whether they should go with a solid state amplifier or opt for a tube amplifier. They find it challenging to know the basic difference between both types of amplifiers. In the end people usually go for a solid state amplifier or transistor amplifier as transistor amplifiers are abundant in the market and widely available. However, this should not be the key criteria for the purchase of sound amplifiers. People, but especially musicians, should consider their requirements before opting for any one type of sound amplifier. We have put together some valuable information about both types of sound amplifiers that will help you in deciding which type of sound amplifiers addresses your needs:
We will try to highlight the differences of tube amplifiers from transistor amplifiers in terms of structure and enlist their advantages over the other types. When it comes to structure, tube amplifiers consist of hand made vacuum tubes that enable these amplifiers to keep better control over the power in case of fluctuating impedance. The structure of tube amplifiers is more durable as compared to solid state amplifiers. This is because a short circuit in the leads of your speakers doesn’t affect a valve amplifier. These amplifiers are not directly connected to speakers, instead their output transformers act as a buffer and thus, faults occurring in a valve amplifier are not transferred to your speakers. In simple terms, you are less likely to experience any speaker damage because of valve amplifiers. Vacuum tubes are used in a tube amplifier to amplify sound signals. The main stand out point is the warm sound that comes from tube amplifiers. In specific terms, warm sound refers to sound that is equipped with good bass and mid response. This warm sound is particularly important when the tubes of amplifiers are overloaded and result in warm distorting sound that is termed as overdrive. Here are some advantages of tube amplifiers:
A lot of musicians like tube amplifiers because of the response offered by these amplifiers. Vacuum tubes featured in a valve amplifier are capable of generating subtly varying sounds based on the instrument being played. If a guitarist is using a tube amplifier he will get different sound output from a tube amplifier as compared to his fellow guitarist who has a different style of playing guitar. This means you will get two separate sounds from a tube amplifier if a different style is being played on the same amplifier. Solid state amplifiers have a crisper sound and don’t have the capability of playing unique sounds.
People, especially guitarists, love a warm and clean sound. Tube amplifiers are capable of giving a clean sound output with soft music playing. However, the sound tends to distort on notes of a heavy accent. This helps them play a clear sound through amplifiers that include the specific nuances of a player.
Solid State Amplifiers:
When it comes to the structure, solid state amplifiers consist of transistors and extensive electronics. These amplifiers use electronics to amplify the sound signals. These amplifiers play a harsh sound as compared to tube amplifiers. This is especially true when female vocals are played through these amplifiers, because sibilance coming with the sound from transistor amplifiers is clearly audible. These amplifiers get easily affected by short circuits in the leads as they rely on extensive electronics to amplify the sound signals. Similarly, in case of a fault in transistors, the speakers will receive considerable damage. Here are some advantages of solid state amplifiers:
Solid state amplifiers are usually cost-effective because of use of electronics instead of hand made vacuum tubes. This is why they are much cheaper, however, there is a downside as well. These amplifiers are more likely to cause damage because of short circuits, fluctuations in electric input and their extensive circuitry.