• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

A short video about valve amps.

corpse

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
3,964
Thanks OMITN- not much to joke about. A tech knucklehead couldn't tell the difference about wit vs serious and it would confuse me.
Not that that is too difficult.
 

ourmaninthenorth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
6,289
Thanks OMITN- not much to joke about. A tech knucklehead couldn't tell the difference about wit vs serious and it would confuse me.
Not that that is too difficult.
The only thing that matters Mate, is that this geezer along with many others in the game, know that our gear is our treasure, and when they're working on our stuff it's like they're working on their own treasure.

They know.
 

Cream Fan

Active member
Joined
May 1, 2003
Messages
2,687
I respect what the man had to say, though I disagree with his contention that tubes don't have a "sound." If that were the case, why bother having so many varieties of tubes that performed the same function, i. e. power tubes? Yes, wattage, for sure, but why else? I'll admit some of the sonic differences can be subtle, and as he admits, he's a lab rat and not a player. Still, when lab rats were designing amps back in the day, they didn't want them to distort, either. They were actually horrified that anyone would want to play an amp that was distorting. Oh, well, to each his own...
 

thin sissy

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,522
I respect what the man had to say, though I disagree with his contention that tubes don't have a "sound." If that were the case, why bother having so many varieties of tubes that performed the same function, i. e. power tubes? Yes, wattage, for sure, but why else? I'll admit some of the sonic differences can be subtle, and as he admits, he's a lab rat and not a player. Still, when lab rats were designing amps back in the day, they didn't want them to distort, either. They were actually horrified that anyone would want to play an amp that was distorting. Oh, well, to each his own...
Yeah, I loved the vid and thought he seemed like a wonderful person.

But tubes and their sound is one of the guitar related voodoo that is hard to deny. One can argue how much, and the circuit itself plays the biggest factor, but different brands (and types!) def change the sound and/or feel.

But nevertheless, cool vid and cool dude :) !

But I think maybe he said it tounge in cheek? As in he, as a lab rat doesn't care or hear the difference, he only focuses on functionality.
 

ourmaninthenorth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
6,289
Yeah, I loved the vid and thought he seemed like a wonderful person.

But tubes and their sound is one of the guitar related voodoo that is hard to deny. One can argue how much, and the circuit itself plays the biggest factor, but different brands (and types!) def change the sound and/or feel.

But nevertheless, cool vid and cool dude :) !

But I think maybe he said it tounge in cheek? As in he, as a lab rat doesn't care or hear the difference, he only focuses on functionality.
That's exactly it.

He's a self described misfit, and a real contrarian. The real challenge is deciding for oneself if he's being serious or not - or in my case simply accepting that I don't care if he is or isn't.

I like this Gentleman, he is charming company - he loves what he does, and he loves us lot who do what we do.

Plus, I don't think these geezers actually speak English, or if they do I only catch one word in every 8. The only thing I do is nod a lot, ask if it'll be ready by Friday, and remind them to use the lightest pencil possible when writing the invoice.

Works a treat for me...

:LOL:
 

J.D.

Active member
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,678
He sounded dead serious about everything he stated.

I agree that valves (independent of an amplifier) don't have a sound per se, but as he stated, I can hear subtle differences between valves in the same amplifier (pushed to distortion) without question.
 

ourmaninthenorth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
6,289
He sounded dead serious about everything he stated.

I agree that valves (independent of an amplifier) don't have a sound per se, but as he stated, I can hear subtle differences between valves in the same amplifier (pushed to distortion) without question.
I think this is what I found so utterly fascinating about this short film, the sine wave meeting the mojo.

Roland is a scientist, by his own descriptor a very opinionated one, and one who is always right, and yet he readily concedes to the mojo of the thing. He's making a serious point in my opinion is a tongue in cheek way, to help his point.

He states that if guitarists think a certain valve is the bees knees, even though he considers them in a purely empirical way not, then that valve is indeed the bees knees to all intents and purposes.

The correlation he makes concerning the magic we can all get out of our gear, because we have faith in our gear, and that faith being essentially a result of a dry as a bone sine wave, is to me the heart of the matter. We play on confidence...if I believe that a GEC KT66 is the only valve that's going to make me sound my best, then the GEC is the only valve that's going to give me that confidence. Roland concedes the point, whilst unambiguously not conceding that he thinks it's nonsense. I like the way that he accepts, as I do, that if an individual believes something, it simply doesn't matter what anyone else believes.

Notice how this scientist still expresses disbelief and astonishment at what we as guitarists can do with what he obviously considers an empirical engineering system.

I think this is a lovely little piece of narrative where the science meets the talent, all chasing the same goal of simple musical happiness. I like the way that Roland valiantly and rather mischievously defends his position, but doesn't over defend it...because to quote the man himself, it doesn't really matter. As long as the player believes in the gear enough to express themselves...then that really is end of errand.

Isn't that what we've all dedicated our lives to, isn't that what we're really all trying to do here?

I played for a whole of 5 minutes last night, as good as I've played in months, I put the guitar back on it's stand, turned the amp off, and was smiling to my DNA.

Bloody magic this music dodge.
 

J.D.

Active member
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,678
Agreed. I believe the point he's subtly trying to make is that properly working gear allows the guitarist/artist to express himself, but the artist is the talent and not the amplifier.

To your point on valves. I tend to return to certain brands and models that I know are reliable and do the intended job with the flavor I like. If it isn't broken don't fix it so to speak. With that said, I listen with my ears and not eyes. For example, on a recent small combo tube amp that I repaired for a friend, we both agreed that an unbranded set of common Chinese preamp tubes sounded audibly better overdriven than a bunch of more expensive "name brand" tubes in that particular amp.
 

PaulD

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
528
As someone who both builds and repairs amplifiers and plays guitar I can see both sides. From a technical point of view what he says is perfectly correct, valves do not have a sound they are simply electronic devices that control voltage and current. The magic happens when we push those electronic devices way beyond their design limits and the nice clean sine wave going in to them becomes a messy distorted wave coming out of them and no 2 valves will have exactly the same effect on the waveform.

Having said that there is a great deal of audio-foolery and snake oil involved and the assumption that there is some magical ingredient in valves made in Blackburn in the 1960's that warrants the price some people pay for them is somewhat beyond me - but hey-ho if it makes you happy......

I once knew a guy who was seriously into HiFi and was what I can only describe as an audiofool. He believed everything he read in the HiFi mags and on the internet and would think nothing of spending ridiculous amounts of money on a set of speaker leads. On one occasion he was waxing lyrical about his new speaker leads that had cost him several thousand pounds so I challenged him to a blind listening test. I played the same track to him 4 times, 3 times the speakers were connected with bog standard 16 gauge copper wire, and the fourth time with his shiny new oxygen free grain orientated snake oil cables (all he knew was that one set was his new cables ant the other three were something different). He claimed that he could hear a "night and day difference" between all three and set number 2 were clearly the best and must be his new cables. Strangely enough when I asked him if he wanted to buy the 12ft of copper mains cable he had just identified as "night and day" the best for the bargain price of £1000 he declined!!!
 

J.D.

Active member
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,678
I am on both "sides" as well. I know what sounds good to my ears and what does not. I also know the basics of electrical design and how to troubleshoot and repair simple amplifiers. Roland seems to understand both sides, and clearly knows his role in this.

First and foremost, anything electrical/electromechanical needs to first be understood and working properly. But once that is established, modifications and tweaks can be a whole lot of fun, or at least enlightening. I could never accept that some amplifiers of the same make/model/build "just sound better than others" - I would have to understand why.

Engineers and technicians, the real geeky guys like Roland and Leo Fender, are sometimes overlooked. Well, maybe not Leo. :p
 
Top