A tube amp is an amplifier that is commonly used by musicians and vocalists in both live performances and studio recordings. Tube amps have a range of benefits over other types of amplifiers that make them very popular. Although reasonably fragile, they are easy to care for and maintain. They are comparatively simple electronic amps, and so are more reliable because there are fewer parts that can stop working. The simplicity of design also allows for cleaner sounds because there are fewer internal components for the audio signal to pass through. Tube amps are able to handle high voltages and are renowned for their expressive tones.
Tube amps use subtle distortion, which is considered a disadvantage when compared to other amp types. This distortion creates a warm tone favoured by musicians. Other benefits include the wide range of effects that can be achieved with a tube amp in conjunction with an effects loop. Tube amps can be purchased from specialist music or electronics shops. Alternatively, buyers can choose to shop for tube amps on eBay, where they can find a selection of new and used amps in excellent condition, catering to every budget and requirement.
What is a Tube Amp?
A tube amp is a type of amplifier that uses a system of valves and tubes combined with electronics to amplify a signal. One of the most common uses for tube amps is for amplifying the audio from a musical instrument such as a guitar. Other uses include GPS systems, radar, and television and radio transmitting. Tube amps are favoured by musicians and vocalists as they have a number of highly desirable properties.
How to Care for a Tube Amp
One of the many benefits of tube amps is that they are relatively easy to care for. However, they cannot withstand hard jolts, so it is important to purchase a good quality road case if the amp is to be transported. To get the ultimate performance and longevity from a tube amp, buyers can follow a few basic guidelines to care for and maintain their device. Tube amps should be moved with care to avoid accidental drops and damage. When stored, they should be kept at room temperature away from both damp or humid conditions, and extreme heat or cold.
It is important to allow the amp to warm up before it is used to reduce the risk of a sudden power surge that can damage a cold amp. Plug the amp in for around 10 to 15 minutes, before use. When finished, it is essential to allow the amp to cool down for around 15 minutes before moving it, as this reduces the likelihood of overheated components being damaged.
Technical Benefits of Tube Amps
Tube amps are very popular among musicians and vocalists. They have a range of technical benefits, particularly for performers and those working in a recording studio.
Simplicity of Tube Amps
Tube amps are comparatively simple with fewer components than other types of amplifier. Their simple design gives the tube amp several benefits. With fewer internal components, there are fewer parts that can fail, making the tube amp more reliable and less prone to mechanical or electrical problems than alternatives. Additionally, the sound signals, in the form of data packets, travel through considerably fewer separate components to reach their output destination. This results in a cleaner sound output, with a clarity not present with other types of amplifier. Signal quality remains largely intact because it has less opportunity to be lost, with fewer jumps from one component to another.
Linearity of Tube Amps
Tube amps are classified as voltage amplifiers. This means that the technology used has a straightforward, linear progression, requiring less negative feedback to correct any loss of linearity. This creates a much better audio quality than amps classified as current amplifiers.
High Voltage Abilities of Tube Amps
Another of the many technical benefits of tube amps is that they are able to handle high voltages passing through them. This enables them to cope with very high peak flows and turn the excessive voltage into useful distortion effects and pleasing tones.
Modern Components of Tube Amps
Modern components are of significant value when installed in a tube amp. The inclusion of electrolytic capacitors greatly improves the performance of the power supply, improving energy storage abilities, which makes the amp more efficient. Improvements to insulation in tube amps also enhances the current supply ability and stability. Better wire insulation allows for greater energy efficiency as there is less power lost as the energy travels. The constant improvements to components in tube amps means that the audio range, including powerful bass and very high frequency sounds, are greatly enhanced. Many tube amps are now fitted with PC boards that help to keep the components safely separated and securely in place, reducing the likelihood of loose connections.
Sound Benefits of Tube Amps
The sound benefits provided by tube amps makes them a great investment for anyone who plays an instrument or sings and wants an expressive amplifier. The benefits include the expressive nature that they give to the sound.
Expressive Nature of Tube Amps
Tube amps are favoured because of the expressive nature of their sound. Other amplifier types are considered to create a sterile, albeit accurate, portrayal of the sound input. Tube amps are a little bit less accurate and have a subtle distortion. This distortion is actually one of the main benefits of tube amps. The subtle feedback creates warm, expressive sounds that are considered preferable by musicians and vocalists.
Tonal Colour of Tube Amps
Tonal or pitch colour is largely a matter of personal interpretation and taste, but it is a highly prized benefit of tube amps. The warm tones created by the tubes combined with good quality speakers are considered to surpass anything that is achievable with other amps of a similar quality. The dynamic power handling of tube amps refers to the way in which they harness high voltages. Instead of creating abrupt distortion and feedback with clipping, tube amps create gradual mild distortion with clipping to create a warm, expressive tonal colour.
Volume of Tube Amps
The ability to handle very high voltages with relative ease allows the amplifier to create much louder sound outputs with the same amount of power as other amps. This makes tube amps ideal for playing in loud, crowded public performances, or when performing without a microphone.
Effects of Tube Amps
Tube amps have effects loops that many musicians find very useful. An instrument, most commonly an electric guitar, can be hooked up to the effects loop, bypassing the regular connection. This enables musicians to experiment with a variety of effects, such as increased reverberation, and enhanced or reduced distortion. The effects are usually alterable with a series of dials to get the desired level. This feature can produce some very interesting performances. The tube amp also works exceptionally well with the tremolo arm on an electric guitar. The tremolo arm produces a wavering effect for a musical note that, when combined with a tube amp, creates a soft, warm, distorted sound.
Buying Tube Amps on eBay
Tube amps can be found on eBay with ease. Buyers simply need to search from the eBay home page using a phrase such as, "tube amps". Buyers are able to narrow down the search results by using the filters provided. The filters include narrowing the search to show only new amps or only used amps. Buyers can also set a price limit or choose to view results within a certain distance from their postcode.
When purchasing a tube amp, buyers need to take into account the cost of postage and packaging, as these amps are large, heavy, bulky items, and can be expensive to transport. Therefore, buyers need to factor postage costs into their budget. Alternatively, buyers can try to find a tube amp in their local area that they can collect in person when the transaction is complete, if the seller agrees.
Buyers should check the feedback score of a seller before they commit to buy a tube amp. Feedback is information left by previous buyers, indicating their opinions of their experience with a seller. To ensure they get the best possible service and a high quality tube amp, buyers should select sellers with a high percentage of positive feedback, or with a Top-Rated Seller seal.
Musicians and vocalists often prefer to use a tube amp rather than any other type of amp. Tube amps are electronic amplifiers containing a system of valves and tubes that amplify an audio signal. Tube amps create a more subtle distortion and clipping than other amp types. Distortion and clipping are considered to be a disadvantage and unacceptable in other amps, but in tube amps, subtle distortion is favoured because it helps to create a unique sound. The tones created by tube amps are warm, expressive, and emotional, unlike the stark, cold, clinical sounds produced by other amps.
Tube amps are reasonably simple amps that are able to withstand high voltages and can produce considerably louder outputs than other types of amp. Tube amps can be found in both new and used conditions on eBay at excellent prices. They have many benefits that make them a fantastic choice for musical performers of all types that require an amplifier with a warm, expressive tone.