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Author Topic: power scaled tube amps  (Read 4193 times)

Offline bembamboo

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power scaled tube amps
« on: November 09, 2006, 01:50:44 PM »
OK, tube flavors are great, but the end all/be all in the best guitar tone is power tube distortion/saturation, thus we play too loud.  So, is power scaled tube amplification the ultimate in amp technology onstage?

power scaled tube amps

Offline 908ssp

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 04:06:30 PM »
No the Maven Peal Sag circuit is but that is an argument of increments. Variable power tube output does work and Maven Peal has the best system by far. His technology is covered by a patent every other application is a half measure. But half a measure is better then none at all so in that sense yes. It does work and it sounds great. London Power Scaling works well on small amps and when installed by a licensed tech or when built into the amp. I have read of many people spending great amounts of time and energy to get it work. When it finally does they are usually happy. If you're convinced you want that type of technology look for a Maven Peal amp or at least one that has Power Scaling installed from the builder.

Not all amp architecture require power amp distorsion. It is part of the sound of amps like Marshalls, Trainwrecks and AC30 it not part of the sound of Mesa Boogies and Dumbles type amps.

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power scaled tube amps

Offline bembamboo

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power scaled tube amps
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2006, 01:57:23 AM »
Alex, although the forum response to this power tube saturation notion was a mere yawn, I do wish to say thx for your response, and try to move the discussion forward.  
Sounds like there are a few design approaches out there such as cranked tweeds, hot plates, power brakes, new amp approaches with pairs of ever increasing switchable power tubes like 6v6s, el84s, 6l6s or el34s, Vox ac15s and 30s, hand-wired boutiques with best components possible, venerable twins, deuxes, and matchless amps,  and MP's sag approach which I salute for its creativity but  haven't yet tried  nor London  Power, Bruno, Komet, or Train Wreck amps. I want to avoid the fizzy 12ax7-ish type pre-amp distortion with master volume that you mentioned. Obviously that sound can be great at higher volumes when the power tubes start to sing.  
Then there is the class A approach that seems to emphasize warm over-tones involving negative feed-back over class ab push-pull power tubes.  There is also the tube vs. silicone diode rectified spongy sag vs immediate articulation.  Finally there is the overdrive pedal which I tend since the 60s to try and avoid.
The goal is to have power tube saturated, singing, distorted response from the amp in any venue. Such an amp literally becomes a musical instrument communicating with the player's attack.
In bigger venues it is always easier. I hate to carry a heavy GT Solo 75 head  with el34s or 6l6s to a gig and then have to turn down and rely on pre-amp distortion. I also have a thd bivalve 30, a mesa 20/20, and a marshall 50/50 for various sized rooms.
In my bones I know there is a better way to get power tube crunch than by just sheer volume. This is not an esoteric search, but one every tube player knows when it is heard and felt. I think power tube saturation will deliver the grail that tube brand- and tube type- switchers crusade for.  Talking about this stuff with talented tech people like lord valve, who is a key-board player who happens to do allmans and trucks tube gear, or even fred waleki at Westwood music, has gotten me no where.

power scaled tube amps

Offline trap

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power scaled tube amps
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2006, 07:41:38 AM »
i am by no means an expert on this subject, but wouldn't using a smaller amp, princeton or champ, and miking it do the job? i was told years ago by bob mayo(rip) of the peter frmpton band that that was how he did it on tour. obviously it presupposes that there is a pa system.
 

power scaled tube amps

Offline 908ssp

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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2006, 08:33:35 AM »
My new Trainwreck Rocket clone showed up yesterday. I tried playing it without my attenuator but after half an hour my ears were bothering me, it is just too loud. It has four EL84 tubes and I believe is rated for about 25 watts. Trainwrecks run lower power tube voltage and higher bias so that the power tubes over drive and saturate at lower volumes and in tandem with the 12ax7 preamp tubes. The Rocket is like the best AC30 you have ever heard. Anyway it is a shear joy when played with my Richter attenuator.

The Richter for the time being is the best solution. It has a couple draw backs but they pale to the alternatives. The Richter makes possible one rig one sound that you can control the volume of for any situation. The SAG circuit would do that as well but you have a choice of three amp models that aren't even in production. Power scaling factory installed is another option but those are few and far in between. So while you search and promote the goal of wattage consider a Richter.

By the way I have tried the other attenuators out there and they aren't anywhere near as good as the Richter.

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power scaled tube amps

Offline CrazyChester

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power scaled tube amps
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2006, 12:39:52 AM »
I know that amp tone is just as individual as guitar tone but for me the Allen Accomplice's combination of the post driver dual pot master volume and RAW control gets me any tone I want at any volume. Allen also provides an external bias jacks and adjustment that can be read with digital VO meter.  So changing Power tubes is fast and easy. The amp is set up to use Either 6V6s for 18 watts and 6L6's for 36 watts. You can even build the amp from a kit and customize your tone circuit to your taste. Its absolutly wonderful for big distortion without that nosey buzz and fizz sound that every other Master volume amp I've tried has. Big rich distortion at any volume.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2006, 12:42:43 AM by CrazyChester »
CrazyChester followed me and he caught me in the fog...

power scaled tube amps

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2006, 08:53:37 AM »
Allen amps have some cool features, as mentioned. There is an older amp called a "Convertible" which was made by Seymour Duncan. It has a variable wattage control which can allow you to do "power scaling". I have one of these amps and it sounds great. There's everything you could ever want to know about the Convertible at my website. [8D]

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« Last Edit: November 26, 2006, 08:54:25 AM by Paul Marossy »

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Offline 908ssp

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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2006, 09:48:00 AM »
Interesting I didn't know about the SD Convertible. Does the tone and quality of the distorsion stay constant when changing from 5 watts to 100? It does on the Maven Peal it doesn't on the London Power. The London Power requires you to adjust the preamp gain in conjunction with the power control to keep a harmonious balance. I know Egnator has been doing the module thing for a long time and he has collaborated with Roctron and now Randall.

My guess is that there is only one way of adjusting the power tubes to put out less power and maintain the necessary ratio to sound over driven. That leads me to believe that all these amps do basically the same thing. How they do that is where they differ. In the simplest version Blankenship installs a shunt to a variac to adjust the voltage going to the power tubes. In the London Power version he uses a transistor to control voltages. In the Maven Peal version he has a completely new digital controlled power supply. Since the power source doesn't pass signal only power you don't hear any negative effects from the power supply only pure clean power in exactly the balance needed to run at any wattage from 1 to 100.

Hopefully this will become more widely used. Until you have used this everything else just gets close.

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power scaled tube amps

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2006, 02:44:58 PM »
quote:
Interesting I didn't know about the SD Convertible. Does the tone and quality of the distorsion stay constant when changing from 5 watts to 100?


I can't hear a huge difference between 5 watts and 100 watts, but I have never really taken it outside of my studio. You can usually pick up one for about $350, and with the right modules, it's a smokin' amp! The second generation modular amps are more well thought out in terms of the modules and how they interface, but I suppose Seymour Duncan did the best that they could with the technology available at the time (early 80s).

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power scaled tube amps

Offline bembamboo

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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2006, 05:42:05 AM »
I wonder if you could saturate one power tube,single-ended, then another, then another, ect. in order to get sound quality at say, up to six different volume levels based upon maxing out each power tube, one after another.  This fits Alex's comment, but I suppose transformer and tube rectifier problems would be incurred.  Obviously my technical lack of knowledge is showing, but I've been wanting something like this since my first fender showman amp.

power scaled tube amps

Offline 908ssp

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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2006, 09:09:34 AM »
It isn't necessary to do a staged tube setup. Saturation in a tube is caused when the ratio of current reaches a certain level. A EL34 power tube can put out anywhere from 1/4 watt to 25 watts it just depends on the voltages within the tube and with four of them it goes from 1 to 100. Maven Peal can accurately control those voltages. There really isn't any mystery in all this. It has been figured out and Dave Zimmerman is the man. He just hasn't blown his own horn like the London Power guy.

http://www.mavenpeal.com/

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power scaled tube amps

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2006, 12:25:17 PM »
You can get great power tube distortion by diming single ended low wattage amps, too. Great for in the studio or in small venues. I scratch built this amp called the Octal Fatness that sounds great. I estimated it to be around 5-7 watts: http://www.diyguitarist.com/GuitarAmps/OctalFatness.htm

I know, I have strayed from the original topic, but thought I'd mention it... [8D]

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power scaled tube amps

Offline bembamboo

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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2006, 10:04:19 AM »
I don't get it.  We play the best guitars we can find, and most of us love tubes.  But for ultimate tone when the power tube saturates and begins to sing (usually at a volume inappropriate for the venue), this fundamental topic doesn't get much discussion.   Except for Maven Peal and London Power, only a few amps like Reeves and Mojave seem to deal with a single amp on stage that beats the alternatives mentioned in posts above....  Just more whining from a serious player!  After all, the best soloing occurs when the instrument and the amp are closely communicating with one another, as Carlos says. Thanks for bearing with me.