"All Tube" - Not Always True

Angus

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
882
Mike Soldano's take on this topic...

And he should know - he invented the soldering iron.

Sorry for my ignorance, but who is Mike Soldano?

I'm interested in what he says - up until the point where it changes from factual knowlege to opinion.
 

Big John

usually off
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,525
Reaction score
10,525
And he should know - he invented the soldering iron.

Sorry for my ignorance, but who is Mike Soldano?

I'm interested in what he says - up until the point where it changes from factual knowlege to opinion.
Mike Soldano owns and operates Soldano Amplification. His amps, most notably the Super Lead Overdrive (SLO), is/was/has-been used by a lot of pros. His opinion is very well respected among tube amp manufacturers and repair techs.

I'm curious...what part of his article goes from factual knowledge to opinion? Maybe I'll forward it to him for a response.
 

Angus

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
882
I'm curious...what part of his article goes from factual knowledge to opinion? Maybe I'll forward it to him for a response.

Well, the penultimate paragraph, that starts, "In my opinion" basically - and goes on:

"all amps should have solid state rectifiers. I don't believe there are any really good rectifier tubes on today's market and, even if there were, why use them? The technology is obsolete, they are horribly inefficient, and far more expensive and troublesome to build into an amp. These tubes, no matter how good, will routinely need replacing, adding to your maintenance expenses. Besides that, tube rectifiers kill the headroom of an amplifier."

I'm sorry, I'm sure he's a very clever and experienced chap (and I'm not) but it sounds like a bit of a rant to me, and fails to take into account that what he's describing will be exactly what some guitarists want, which is totally fair enough. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

He's probably a demon guitarist too and this probably doesn't apply to him, but I've noticed that some (and I emphasise "some") electronics engineers appear to see things in fairly black and white terms, and will often disregard an opinion from a musician (for example) when that opinion doesn't conform to their discipline and experiences.

This is why I won't take my amp for repair to an electonics engineer that doesn't specialise in guitar amps.


Anyway, just my _opinions_. :)
 

dwagar

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
7,897
Reaction score
1,397
I don't get caught up in what's "better" than something else before I play it. Too many great tones have been played and recorded through the years on gear that, according to the experts, isn't very good. SS rectified or not, I'm the weakest link in my gear chain.

What I do feel is dishonest with regard to the "all tube" discussion, is when a company advertises that they have an all tube amp for that "pure tone", then they put clipping diodes in for the overdrive channel. I'm aware of at least one company who has done this on a couple of their models. This doesn't sit well with me.

Yet, lots of people love these amps and I'm in no position to tell them they shouldn't love them. And of course, putting an overdrive pedal in front of the amp negates the "all tube" thing anyway. I just have a problem with the concept of misrepresentation that I think is present when the clipping diodes are used in an "all tube" amp.

I'm the weakest link in my gear chain
:thumb: Yep, me too.

I understand what you're saying about diodes. Maybe they should be disclosed in the amp spec? I know there's always confusion over what 'really' is a JCM800.

"All tube", I think, by definition just means preamp and output tubes. Choice of rectifier, whether distortion is coming from diodes or not, probably doesn't matter to 99% of the buyers. The big buzz of course is "all tube", and most probably don't understand or know why they even want that.
 

KSG_Standard

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
30,523
Reaction score
46,706
Here's what Randall Smith from Mesa Engineering has to say about rectifiers...

Class A - Exposed and Explained by Randall Smith

"...In the old days, rectifier technology was primitive and expensive, usually requiring a tube, though selenium rectifiers were often used, even if they were almost as cumbersome, expensive and unreliable. Now we have reliable silicon diodes that do a “technically superior” job of converting AC to DC for pennies. (I add the emphasis because we have a patent on amplifiers that feature switchable rectifiers to showcase the musical differences between vacuum tubes and silicon diodes. That feature is included in both Lone Stars as well as the famed Dual Rectifier models. But we’ll go in-depth on the rectifier topic another time.)..."
 

Soldano16

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2007
Messages
295
Reaction score
8
I haven't read all the posts but I doubt few would argue that my '68 Marshall plexi isn't "all tube".
 

dtube

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
336
Reaction score
4
Hi all. Good discussion. I agree with Mike Soldano that there isn't a tube rectifier made nowadays worth having. If an amp comes across my bench with a bad tube recto, it gets a Weber Copper Cap (unless the owner is willing to pay for NOS glass). I view these as the best of both worlds: PSU sag with SS reliability (although I have read a couple accounts of those coming apart in high-heat situations). The cost is about on-par for a new recto - but I suspect you won't be replacing it every couple years like you would with any of the new production tube rectos. But, this is JMHO - YMMV.
-Darren

webervst copper cap page
 

Splattle101

V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
8,826
Reaction score
4,601
Given the way the Chinese have improved their quality control almost out of recognition lately, what are the new Chinese valve rectifiers like? Have you seen many amps come in with Shuguang 5AR4s in them?

From what I’ve read and been told by techs, the 5AR4 (i.e., GZ34) from JJ is supposed to be the pick of the current crop, and that Sovtek GZ34s aren’t much better than firecrackers.
 

dtube

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
336
Reaction score
4
Given the way the Chinese have improved their quality control almost out of recognition lately, what are the new Chinese valve rectifiers like? Have you seen many amps come in with Shuguang 5AR4s in them?

From what I’ve read and been told by techs, the 5AR4 (i.e., GZ34) from JJ is supposed to be the pick of the current crop, and that Sovtek GZ34s aren’t much better than firecrackers.

To be completely honest, I haven't bought a Chinese or Russian recto in probably 3-yrs. But the reports from other techs I keep up with haven't really changed in a few years: the Chinese tubes overall have improved, but they still won't last for any appreciable time. The Chinese GZ34 that ships with the new Vox AC30CC series is good for maybe 9-months to a year (if your AC30CC starts popping fuses for no reason, replace that crappy GZ34). I bought one Sovtek GZ34 years ago for a 67 DR; it lasted a few minutes. The replacement tube lasted two weeks. Conversely, the original Mullard GZ34 that was in the amp - the one I misdiagnosed as arcing - is still running in that amp.
-Darren
 

overdriver

Banned
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
6,134
Reaction score
29
Given the way the Chinese have improved their quality control almost out of recognition lately, what are the new Chinese valve rectifiers like? Have you seen many amps come in with Shuguang 5AR4s in them?

From what I’ve read and been told by techs, the 5AR4 (i.e., GZ34) from JJ is supposed to be the pick of the current crop, and that Sovtek GZ34s aren’t much better than firecrackers.
Been running the JJ in my DRRI for over ayear now , no problems with it.

Also the EH 12at7wc work better than the NOS Mullard 4024.
 

Latest Threads



Top