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Adicted to Tubes said:
There are so many opinions about what sounds best out there.Some people like the buzzy preamp distortion ala boogie and some like the classic power tube distortion.The camp is divided here.
Hold on there, pardner. :)

Preamp tube distortion doesn't always sound "buzzy". It can sound remarkably like smooth warm power tube distortion. And power tube distortion can sound just as "buzzy" as anything else too. There's so much in the designs of the amps that's responsible for how the amps sound beyond whether it's just preamp or poweramp distortion.

I prefer a reasonable blend of both, relying more on the preamp for distortion (but in a friendly way) so that the master volume works effectively at varying volumes without changing the sound very much.
 

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Thanks for the kind words. :)

Adicted to Tubes said:
But you can't argue with people when they sell off their boogies and buy a custom classic amp because they are tired of that type of distortion.
That type of situation could have a lot less to do with whether it's preamp or poweramp distortion though, and that was my point. A lot of people will sell a Boogie and buy something with just as much preamp distortion that sounds better for their tastes. (And Dual Rectifiers aside, some might even prefer the smooth preamp overdrive of the Boogie Mark I/II to some amps which rely on output tube distortion and don't sound as thick/rich.)

Anyway it's easy to assume that a classic Marshall might be better suited to their tastes because of power tube distortion, since everyone assumes that's the biggest part of the Marshall sound, but you might also be surprised to learn just how much of that distortion is in the phase inverter and not the output tubes. The PI is a preamp tube, so if it can sound like "natural power tube distortion" in the PI, why not in the preamp. (As well as other compression/distortion sounds which remind people of power tube distortion.) I'm not just saying this about my own designs, but there are a number of other amps I've noticed which sound very natural in their distortion character. When it comes to old-school designs it's one thing, but with some later designs (especially with some small-volume amp builders who are really trying to do something different), you'd be surprised what's out there.

Adicted to Tubes said:
I love a properly executed master volume amp.But the circuit design in most Fenders' don't take to kindly to it.
I do take your point in a general sense. But as an amp builder you have the opportunity to put preconceptions like that behind you and do something different.

:rockon:
 

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Adicted to Tubes said:
Yes,there are a lot of pre-concieved ideas out there.I guess it's up to guys like us to break the mold.
In fact,the Fender long tailed pair phase inverter does add a lot of gain to the circuit.I rather like the sound of the princeton with it's split load inverter.
But push-pull aside,I am delving into the single ended realm with some interesting results.
SE is cool, it definitely has its own thing going on. But it has its limitations too, which can be frustrating (especially if people expect the amp to have "tons of gain" and still sound just as deep/broad as p-p amps they're used to). Split-load PIs sound cool; their sound can be imitated in the preamp section but it's very touch-and-go and pretty much requires redesigning the preamp.

Lots of fun stuff. :) We'll have to hang out one of these days...
 

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Adicted to Tubes said:
Meet me at L&M and we'll do coffee.

Do you work there? I figured I'd know you by now if that were the case...although I don't go there nearly as often as I used to.

I was there yesterday however, buying some [email protected] Gibson-style 3-way switches. $18 my @ss...

If you want to keep your anonymity safe, email me your name so I know who you are next time. :)
 

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Adicted to Tubes said:
No i don't work there! I couldn't live on the peanuts they pay those guys!
Everone there knows me though.
I'm going there today with one of my 18 watt combos to give them a test drive.About 3PM or so.
I don't like anonymity.If someone wants to talk to me I'm right here.:food-smiley-004:

www.claramps.com
Ok, oh ye who won't tell me his name. :D

Sorry but I'm on the other side of the city (72 Ave NE) and I have to work today, so I won't be able to go there.
 

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Unfortunately I can't tell when the power tube distorts on an amp unless I know its design already. It's possible as the "volume" is turned up, the preamp is distorting more (and the PI, if it exists, is also distorting), before the power tubes are distorting. At some point I'd assume the power tubes are distorting, but exactly where on the "volume" knob that happens, I couldn't tell you.
 

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david henman said:
...in order to facilitate power tube breakup, would it make sense to use power tubes that break up early combined with preamp tubes that break up late?

i play through a traynor ycv40wr with (thankfully) no master volume on the clean channel.
Possibly. The sound of the amp will significantly change by doing that, and you still don't have complete control over when one type of distortion happens as opposed to the other.

FWIW, whether it's preamp or poweramp distortion isn't important. If you like the sound of the amp, that's important.

I know of an amp that has distortion which occurs in the following order as the volume is turned up--poweramp, phase inverter, preamp. When people use the amp, they love the sound of it turned up--when it gets the most preamp distortion blended into the sound. I find it a bit ironic since people associate the sound of that amp more with power tube distortion.
 
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