The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,930 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
With solid state making great progress towards mimicking tubes to the point of getting harder to distinguish and the nutube technology being actual tubes, does anyone think that the old school tubes is finally on its way out? I know we've been hearing this for decades but is there a point where it will be a no brainer?
I'm especially intrigued about nutube technology. Is this a real tube or is it just some kind of solid state trickery that pretends to be a tube? I will be jumping in to this new technology with a smaller combo amp.
Although I won't be giving up on conventional tubes yet. I've got a nice tube head that I love and I'm currently in the process of adding a 1x12 combo amp to my collection.
I'm also seriously looking at this:

Vox - MVX150C1 150W 1x12 Combo Amp with Nutube

It uses nutube tubes for both pre and power. Although its 150 watts so I suspect that it is utilizing class D power in combination with the tube. How does that work? Some kind of hybrid. So will this be exactly like our old beloved tubes. I am skeptical.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,350 Posts
Nope. It won't be out until more than half of the people playing guitar don't remember or care about tube amps and they were raised on their phones/ipads/laptops as means to amplify their guitar. Perhaps tubes will stop being manufactured before that happens, but *that* would also depend on the hi-fi audio world.

Given there's a lot of guitarists in their mid 20's who still prefer tube amps, you'll see them around for a while yet.

The hard part will be finding competent people to work on them ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,190 Posts
Tubes will be around until solid state technology can accurately emulate the effects of natural tube distortion. When you can use a SS amp and go from clean to a modeled tube distortion by simply adjusting guitar volume, attack and how hard you hit the strings...then people might start to switch. There's an organic factor with tube amps that SS has never been able to capture despite the continued improvement they've undergone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,467 Posts
Tubes will be around until solid state technology can accurately emulate the effects of natural tube distortion. When you can use a SS amp and go from clean to a modeled tube distortion by simply adjusting guitar volume, attack and how hard you hit the strings...then people might start to switch. There's an organic factor with tube amps that SS has never been able to capture despite the continued improvement they've undergone.

Many say that that time has come. I cannot remember if they were talking about SS or high end modellers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,930 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Not sure if anyone knows but this nutube technology is that some sort of solid state trickery or is it the next evolution of tubes? A more efficient implementation of tubes much like LED lights as opposed to incandescent? When I illuminate a room with a 2700k LED light I can't tell the difference between that and incandescent. So is this nutube technology the same sort of thing. Its being marketed as an actual tube but I wonder if thats just marketing bull. Maybe it hasn't been around enough for anyone here to try. I wonder if this might be a better path for people like me who like to keep it simple.
In the past I've used modelers or guitar processors that took a lot of configuration (Roland GP8\16 - D50) But at this point I like to keep it simple. Turn it on and go. This is what has kept me from getting in to Kemper. Just seems to be a learning curve I have no desire to enter in to.
With this nutube technology it seems to keep it simple as they seem to be built like a tube amp and these little nutubes are supposedly tubes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
Not solid state trickery, but the use of cold cathode technology. A company called Noritake manufactures Vacuum Fluorescent Displays (VFD). Korg discovered you can get voltage gain from this technology, and developed the Nutube. FYI, Korg and Noritake are owned by the same company.
Here's a pretty good write up on the tubes and an application.
Design of a Korg Nutube Amplifier Part 1: Tube Basics
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,930 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Not solid state trickery, but the use of cold cathode technology. A company called Noritake manufactures Vacuum Fluorescent Displays (VFD). Korg discovered you can get voltage gain from this technology, and developed the Nutube. FYI, Korg and Noritake are owned by the same company.
Here's a pretty good write up on the tubes and an application.
Design of a Korg Nutube Amplifier Part 1: Tube Basics
I wonder if we would ever see this technology evolve in to building replacement tubes utilizing nutube technology for our existing old school amps. Or if that is even possible.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,250 Posts
I wonder if we would ever see this technology evolve in to building replacement tubes utilizing nutube technology for our existing old school amps. Or if that is even possible.
Don't think so - significantly lower voltages with nutubes IIRC.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,930 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Don't think so - significantly lower voltages with nutubes IIRC.
Yes so then I'm wondering if this nutube technology would then not be a good replacement for our conventional tubes. I know that Simon at Kingsley pedals designs his pedals for high voltages to get the tube tone. I'm not educated enough to know the ins and outs of tube design but I'm wondering if high voltages is the recipe for the sound we love.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,250 Posts
It is a requirement to make old style tube technology work. I haven't used nutubes so I can't comapare performance or tone-wise, but there were, towards the end of the classic tube era, a number of miniature tubes (see Nuvisors) that used significantly lower voltages than standard tubes (e.g. again with the nuvistors - 110V on the plate vs 300 or more for a 12A_ series - also simplifies the power supply; smaller and cheaper).
 
P

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
It is a requirement to make old style tube technology work. I haven't used nutubes so I can't comapare performance or tone-wise, but there were, towards the end of the classic tube era, a number of miniature tubes (see Nuvisors) that used significantly lower voltages than standard tubes (e.g. again with the nuvistors - 110V on the plate vs 300 or more for a 12A_ series - also simplifies the power supply; smaller and cheaper).
There have been pedals made with those mini tubes. From what I remember reading I don't think they were spectacularly better than SS pedals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,930 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
There have been pedals made with those mini tubes. From what I remember reading I don't think they were spectacularly better than SS pedals.
I used to own an Effectrode compressor that used a mini tube. I ended up selling it as I didn't think it sounded as good as the Diamond compressor that replace it or the Wampler Ego that I now have.
I find the Kingsley OD pedals are amazing in tone. Whether that has anything to do with the tube or not, I don't know. They are my favorite OD pedal.
 
P

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
I used to own an Effectrode compressor that used a mini tube. I ended up selling it as I didn't think it sounded as good as the Diamond compressor that replace it or the Wampler Ego that I now have.
I find the Kingsley OD pedals are amazing in tone. Whether that has anything to do with the tube or not, I don't know. They are my favorite OD pedal.
I was able to try out Gerome's (Glebe Guitar Repair) Kingley OD and it is really nice.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,250 Posts
There have been pedals made with those mini tubes. From what I remember reading I don't think they were spectacularly better than SS pedals.
I doubt it was nuvistors but rather the russian subminis, which are like smaller 12a_s vs the thimble-like nuvistors. Nuvistors were used in some pro audio gear back in the day including Ampex tape machines (the mic preamps) as well as later versions of classic era Neuman U47 and AKG C12 microphones (not well regarded, but that's because in both cases it was a retrofit when the original tube went out of prod - kinda shoehorned in to the existing circuit which is never ideal; the Ampexes are well regarded - I have 2 of them I use as stand alone mic preamps). I cannot tell if the Nuvistors sound good or not because the Ampexes also have 4 tube stages after them (12AX7 and 6AN8) so the magic (I love these preamps) could be from those (I do think the 6AN8 in particular is a part of it; as in the most desired tube mic amp ever made, the V72/V76, it has a pentode section vs 12A_s which are dual triodes).

There may be a few reasons the submini tube pedals don't sound very good (I never tried one, but checked them out generally a while back, mostly DIY vs readymade):
- many of them are still starved plate designs (not all)
- the tubes are not well documented (it's all in Russian) and the designs may not be optimal
- no iron (this is a major part of the tube amp sound)
- most of them are triode based (the tube amp sound we all love tends to involve trtrodes if not pentodes.... incidentally there are tetrode Nuvistors)

I mean 12a_ based pedals don't exactly impress much either do they (even the few that claim to run proper voltages, which is a partial truth - I've seen like 250V but not much more but I have not checked them all).
 
  • Like
Reactions: bolero
P

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
I doubt it was nuvistors but rather the russian subminis, which are like smaller 12a_s vs the thimble-like nuvistors. Nuvistors were used in some pro audio gear back in the day including Ampex tape machines (the mic preamps) as well as later versions of classic era Neuman U47 and AKG C12 microphones (not well regarded, but that's because in both cases it was a retrofit when the original tube went out of prod - kinda shoehorned in to the existing circuit which is never ideal; the Ampexes are well regarded - I have 2 of them I use as stand alone mic preamps). I cannot tell if the Nuvistors sound good or not because the Ampexes also have 4 tube stages after them (12AX7 and 6AN8) so the magic (I love these preamps) could be from those (I do think the 6AN8 in particular is a part of it; as in the most desired tube mic amp ever made, the V72/V76, it has a pentode section vs 12A_s which are dual triodes).

There may be a few reasons the submini tube pedals don't sound very good (I never tried one, but checked them out generally a while back, mostly DIY vs readymade):
- many of them are still starved plate designs (not all)
- the tubes are not well documented (it's all in Russian) and the designs may not be optimal
- no iron (this is a major part of the tube amp sound)

I mean 12a_ based pedals don't exactly impress much either do they (even the few that claim to run proper voltages, which is a partial truth - I've seen like 250V but not much more but I have not checked them all).
Try a Kingsley Jester out. Memorable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,159 Posts
This has been noted before. The only factories making vacuum tubes are in Russia and China. They are old and unsafe and not too efficient. They manufacturing methods have not been updated in 50 to 60 years. It is just a matter of time. I am not optimistic about new technology and streamlined manufacturing in the future to keep making them.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top