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-   -   Tube saturation (http://metaltabs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36109)

Carbonized 2007-03-01 16:04

Tube saturation
 
Hi everyone,
I have a question about tube saturation. We know that tube amps sound best when cranked but how high is cranked? In other words, at what volume does tube saturation occur? Does the volume have to be maxed all the way or is half-way or three-quarters high good enough?
Thanks and I hope this question is not too silly. :D

MetalThrashingMad 2007-03-01 16:30

It varies, on my amp, I'd notice it increase right from 2 all the way to 10.

Silent Night 6 6 2007-03-01 16:56

my 5150 that i had, at about 3.5 and i had a great sat. tone

tmfreak 2007-03-01 17:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Night 6 6
my 5150 that i had, at about 3.5 and i had a great sat. tone


So not even half way cranked?

This is actually a good question because what is exactly cranked? This too i've wondered for awhile. I used to play my Bv300 in my room occasionally on half (5/10 i guess) and it sounded pretty good.

Silent Night 6 6 2007-03-01 17:09

Dude, 3.5-4 on the Post Gain on that amp is pretty fucking loud.

tmfreak 2007-03-01 17:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Night 6 6
Dude, 3.5-4 on the Post Gain on that amp is pretty fucking loud.


I've never turned my amp up past 5. The 150 or the 300. The 300 was shaking the entire house so i think that is probably loud enough.

3ish is when it starts to get too loud for normal everyday fucking around. Although on a day when i want to rock out (in my apartment) i'll put it around 3 or 4.

Soeru 2007-03-01 18:22

To get the powertubes really cooking you REALLY have to push that master volume, even wallquaking volumes aren't gonna produce any powertube distortion, only very seriously high levels will do that. I have an Engl Fireball and have pushed it to 11 o clock(FUCKIN LOUD) and didn't feel any powertube breakup, I only tried it at around 2-3 o clock(got neighbor complaints from 3 stories below me) and it was a fuckin Sunday at 2 pm) and I STILL didn't get any powertube breakup, you need to push it much more. (funniest thing is that I bullshited them into thinking I was an audio engineer student and I had to finish my amplifier-project for college, the suckers fell for it but I only played for a few more minutes at 1 o clock. :p)

Since everyone here has high gain amps noone notices that 99% of their sound is coming from their preamp, not poweramp tubes. The real way to hear how loud you have to push an amp to get powertube breakup:

Go try a Marshall JMP or any other 70's or early 80's rock amp, and see if you can crank it til you can get acceptable metal sounds, if the store owner lets you! :p True powertube breakup is extremely difficult to achieve, most apartment dwellers with 50W tube amps like me aren't going to be experiencing it at home anytime soon.

Or even easier, try an Epiphone valve junior, put it the volume up nearly on full to get some actual distorted sounds, that's how far you have to dime the volume to get powertube breakup.

Carbonized 2007-03-01 22:01

Thanks for that valuable information, guys! As for me, I'll stick with my low wattage tube Marshall for now. That way I can crank it and get more power out of it. I'd rather not get a high wattage stack and use an attenuator. I'm "sceptical" of those things, even though I must admit I never used one! But I read they weaken the sound and make it sound "hissy" too.

PUngency 2007-03-03 00:53

Tube saturation is when you turn level up loud enough for your tone to distort.

You can saturate two sets of tubes.
Pre and Power

Signal reaches the pres first. If you distort these you wont have to turn your power up to hear an overdriven guitar.

You can turn your pres down to a suitable level and turn your power up full and it may distort depending on amp specs.

Some people like to get a combination of both.

The higher you turn up your pre the less it takes to overdrive your power.

It so sweet when you get the right amount of distortion. Its so sweet.

Soeru 2007-03-03 03:32

Thing is power tube distortion sounds extremely different from pre distortion. Pre distortion is most suitable for high gain metal, because everyone loves that compressed tone. But if you're a fan of those loose raunchy fuzzy sounds from the 60's and 70's, you really want powertube distortion then.

It's weird to see so many metalheads saying that you have to crank your amps to get good sound, when for popular metal-y tones the best results are yielded from a high gain preamp, without overdriving the poweramp.

Combining both yields spectacular results, and also spectacular sound pressure levels. :p

Carbonized 2007-03-03 12:30

Awesome, guys. Thanks for explaining how it works. :beer:

By the way, which current Marshall model would you say is the best for Metal? Only tube amps please. ;)

Silent Night 6 6 2007-03-03 20:33

The JVM looks really nice, it's the best Marshall so far IMO.

Soeru 2007-03-04 03:29

Yeah that new JVM looks appealing. Then there's the 2000DSL, JCM900 and 800's.

brainsforbreakfast 2007-03-04 13:15

you might want to look into using a hotplate.

Soeru 2007-03-04 13:31

Or better yet a Weber MASS.

Carbonized 2007-03-05 06:37

I've heard a lot of good stuff about the JCM800.

So what's a hotplate and a Weber MASS? Ah, what a cabbage I am! :D

Soeru 2007-03-05 08:01

They're attenuators. They bog down the signal coming out of your poweramp to make it quieter, letting you push the master volume of your amp without blowing the windows out. They go in between your amp head and cab/speaker, or they can act as a dummy load for direct recording or testing purposes.

Most conventional attenuators like the Weber Load Dump, THD Hotplate, Dr. Z Airbrake, or Marshall Powerbrake use capacitors, just a bunch of small electrical components that take part of the signal from your amp and convert it into heat energy(hence they can get very hot!) so not all the power gets to the speaker cab, therefore it makes your amp quieter.

However at moderate to high attenuation levels, capacitors start to eat away the tone coming out of your amp a LOT. The Weber Mass has a real speaker motor inside, so the amp interacts with it like if it was a real speaker, so it actually vibrates inside of the mass instead of using capacitors to turn everything into heat energy, and you don't lose any of the tone. Plus they have treble adjustments, which are crucial to maintaning the integrity of the signal going into the cab.

PUngency 2007-03-05 10:12

A huge resistor.

Valtiel 2007-03-06 02:57

As a general statement, most high wattage tube amps start to run out of headroom when you have the master at around 2-3 o'clock and begin to distort. When this glorious event occurs, angels sing, women weep, and eardrums collapse onto themselves and burst into flames.

Soeru 2007-03-06 05:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtiel
As a general statement, most high wattage tube amps start to run out of headroom when you have the master at around 2-3 o'clock and begin to distort. When this glorious event occurs, angels sing, women weep, and eardrums collapse onto themselves and burst into flames.


And pregnant women have miscarriages. :p

I've pushed my Fireball to 2-3 o clock for a bit and didn't really notice a big difference in tone from 12 or 11 o clock or so, just massive volume difference and it was a 60W amp, you'd need to push it a bit more but there's no way I could do that at home.


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