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Old 27th October 2011, 08:12 AM   #21
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Well i believe i have to take my hat off to the concensus and now admit that Class D and Tube Amps are just different, and neither is "better".

Since the entire world is now succumbing to energy efficiency regulations (eg energy star, blue angel etc).......and since Class D and tube amps are not that much different, you can be virtually certain that tube amps will be banned by law within the next few years.....due to their inefficiency.

This is because a tube amplifier is always in Class A or Class A/B and is much less efficient than a Class D amplifier.

Just like they have now banned the sale of incandescant bulbs, in favour of CFLs, so we will see the banning of tube amplifiers.

And from these threads, it won't make a shred of difference, because tube amps are NOT really "better" than class D amplifiers anyway.
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Old 27th October 2011, 08:47 AM   #22
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Remember that they are still different sonically, just because they're not 'better' does not mean certain people (myself included for the most part) won't continue to prefer all tube amps, so a ban on valve technology (which seems pretty unlikely to be honest...cars are an inneficient mode of transport, but I can't see those being banned, can you?) will make much more than a 'shred of difference' to those musicians.

You seem very keen to make closed, definitive, sweeping statements out of things that can only really be regarded as an opinion: 'so we will see the banning of tube amplifiers', 'No other Guitar amplifier technology can compete with a valve amplifier', I like your style, it's fun to read

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Old 27th October 2011, 09:57 AM   #23
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Every house and every building was full of incandescent lamps, but converting to CFLs, tremendous amounts of energy were to be saved. There are not tube guitar amps in every house and building. Guitar amps are a very small portion of the electic power consumption in our society, and as such will get no particular attention.

Tube amplifiers were never about efficiency, they were and are about the tone they create, and the dynamics of play that they possess. When I chose between a 6L6 amp and a class D amp, the last thing on my mind is which one uses less electricity. If I am touring, the weight of the amp may be a consideration. Knocking 40 pounds off an amp is no small matter.

Yes indeed, that class D amp is way more efficient than the tube amp. Dpesn't matter to me.

I doubt we can sort out your confusion over different versus better. One is not better than the other, because "better" is a matter of personal preference. That doesn;t make them the same or interchangable. When playing bass, I want a nice clean strong solid state amp. When I play guitar, I want a nice strong responsive tube amp. Those are my preferences. BB King plays a solid state amp, and who am I to second guess BB? For him the solid state amp is better, for me the tube amp is better. And obvious to anyone who has seen me play, BB's talent is also a lot better.

If better in your mind is more efficient, then that is your preference. Better in my mind is an amp that responds and creates the sound I prefer.
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Old 27th October 2011, 09:57 AM   #24
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Class D amps are for the wifes ). Man are high voltage, low efficiency loving animals )
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Old 27th October 2011, 01:49 PM   #25
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eem2am View Post

Since the entire world is now succumbing to energy efficiency regulations (eg energy star, blue angel etc).......and since Class D and tube amps are not that much different, you can be virtually certain that tube amps will be banned by law within the next few years.....due to their inefficiency.
<snip>
Last time I checked we still lived in a democracy.. I think it exceedingly unlikely that this will happen in North America.
High End audio is a small but significant export industry here.
Make energy expensive and let the market decide..

Ultimately the average automobile consumes more energy than the average household and contributes more to global warming than most human activities outside of heavy industry and power generation.. Targeting tube amplifiers or limited use types of consumer electronics in general is not going to bring the sort of gains one could achieve just by getting 1 million large SUVs off the streets of North America. Obviously anywhere that there is no perceptible downside energy saving technology is a no brainer..

Also I don't necessarily buy the idea that Class D = Tube or solid state in class A/AB sonically speaking. It has its merits, but I personally don't care for it. I've got a pair of 1kW ICE Power modules sitting in my garage that aren't going anywhere.

I also have to complement you for the very provocative way you word your posts.. Please go out and build something!
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Old 28th October 2011, 12:25 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eem2am View Post
Well i believe i have to take my hat off to the concensus and now admit that Class D and Tube Amps are just different, and neither is "better".
I'd put it differently. Each is better for some applications, each has its strengths and weaknesses.

A good class D (or class AB) solid state amp is as close as you can get to the pure ideal amplifier that behaves like a "straight wire with gain". In other words, if you want the amp to do a perfect job of re-creating at its output what you put into the input, solid state is the way to go. Class D is more electrically efficient than class AB, but doesn't sound any different than class AB if both are good designs.

This type of amp is very suited to some types of guitars and music styles, the ones that require truly clean tones. For example, acoustic guitars with onboard pickups are usually played through this sort of amp. Some jazz guitarists like to play their hollow-body archtop guitars (or thinline semi-hollow guitars) through these sorts of perfectly neutral-sounding solid state amps too. And, as has been pointed out here, some bass players also prefer this type of amp - virtually always for amplified upright bass, and often for electric bass. And obviously, amps for vocals, keyboards, and P.A. use should pretty much always be clean and as low distortion as possible - solid state is definitely the way to go here.

At the other end of the scale, some types of music (various forms of metal, in particular) call for very heavily distorted guitars. At those extremely high distortion levels, there is not much difference between solid-state and tube amps. They all sound about equally harsh. If the band is called "Death Maggots" or something similar, chances are their sound will hurt your ears equally whether they use solid state amps or tube amps.

Somewhere in between these two extremes is the area where tube guitar amps come into their own. Many styles of electric guitar playing require some distortion - much more than you want for playing an amplified acoustic guitar, but much less than you want for metal. Blues, rock, pop, etc. And a lot of guitarists will tell you that for these musical styles, nothing sounds as good as a tube guitar amp.

I'm a hobby musician, I have pretty good ears and enjoy good guitar tone. I use solid-state amps (which happen to be class AB, but I'd have been equally happy with class D) with my amplified acoustic guitars, and with my electric bass guitars. And I use a tube amp with my electric guitars.

In each case, that's the best sounding solution to my ears. Acoustic guitars lose the subtleties of their tone if played through a (nonlinear) tube amp, particularly when you play big six-string chords. Bass guitars sound thin and flabby through a tube amp unless you have some monstrously large transformers in it to cope with the low frequencies, and a monstrously large amp to put out enough power. So solid state amps sound better for these, to my ears at any rate.

And electric guitars - particularly solid body guitars - don't sound good to my ears when played through a completely clean solid-state amp. They sound better with at least a hint of tube distortion added. So I always play these through a tube amp if that is possible.

So it's just horses for courses...each amp type has its niche. The new class D amps make roadies and bass players and keyboard players very happy at not having to lug huge heavy amps around, and sound good for those applications. And tube amps still sound best for some musical styles - blues, for instance.

I don't know how seriously you take your nightmare scenario of government intervention into tube amps, but I'll point out that a car - any car - wastes thousands of times more energy than any amplifier. If any sane government was going after energy efficiency, they would go after things like cars long before they even thought about tube amps.

To me, the miracle is that tube amps have not already died and vanished off the face of the earth. Electronics is one of the fastest-moving technologies on this planet, so much so that an electronic device that is four or five years old may be hopelessly obsolete and completely unavailable. But tubes are the oldest electronic devices - the triode is now over a century old. It's a bloody miracle that they're still around, and that factories are still actually making new ones!

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Old 28th October 2011, 12:28 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
Ultimately the average automobile consumes more energy than the average household and contributes more to global warming than most human activities outside of heavy industry and power generation.. Targeting tube amplifiers or limited use types of consumer electronics in general is not going to bring the sort of gains one could achieve just by getting 1 million large SUVs off the streets of North America.
I agree completely. I missed this earlier when I wrote essentially the same thing (cars are far better targets for energy efficiency improvements than guitar amps).

For reference, a single horsepower is around 750 watts. So a small car with a 100 horsepower engine uses as much power as a 75,000 watt amplifier would. Quadruple both numbers for some of the larger SUV's out there today.

Seen any 75,000 watt tube guitar amps lately? Me neither.

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Old 28th October 2011, 11:52 PM   #28
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Now now, that 100 horsepower comes only at the peak of the power curve, like when you screech away from a stop light. But just driving down the road, you are more likely only using 20,000 watts.
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Old 29th October 2011, 12:06 AM   #29
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I think a 100HP car would be pretty wimpy, many cars here - some with turbocharged 4cyl engines and moderate displacement V6 engines are cranking out pretty close to 300HP.. (My Subaru fits this category) A large SUV probably takes 40kW or so to keep it moving at highway speeds due to its poor aerodynamics. There are huge wins to be had on the automotive front I think, and I hope this is where most of the energy is expended - doing otherwise is hugely misguided, a drop in the bucket.
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Old 29th October 2011, 12:15 AM   #30
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Off topic but ..Cars will always be inefficient (non petro-chemical burning) until they go electric, and can use electricity derived from wind/solar/nuclear to power them.

But electric cars will never be good enough until formula 1 goes electric....as then the high quality design effort will go into electric cars.
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