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Tube amp watts


JuJu Kwan

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This is probably a stupid question, but I'm new to all the technical stuff. Why do amps using the same power tubes have such a wide range of wattage. As an example, 2 6l6 tubes can be 60, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and maybe some I missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is probably a stupid question, but I'm new to all the technical stuff. Why do amps using the same power tubes have such a wide range of wattage. As an example, 2 6l6 tubes can be 60, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and maybe some I missed.

 

The short answer is, the designs are different.

 

Different circuits, with different value resistors, capacitors, transformers, and different power-supply circuits, supply different voltages to the various components, all resulting in different output wattage.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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This is probably a stupid question, but I'm new to all the technical stuff. Why do amps using the same power tubes have such a wide range of wattage. As an example, 2 6l6 tubes can be 60, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and maybe some I missed.

 

The short answer is, the designs are different.

 

Different circuits, with different value resistors, capacitors, transformers, and different power-supply circuits, supply different voltages to the various components, all resulting in different output wattage.

 

There is no such thing as a stupid question JuJu and Caevan will always give you a great answer! :thu:

Take care, Larryz
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Also different amp makers measure wattage differently. Some measure wattage before distortion starts, some measure with a little bit of soft clipping . And every set of tubes will vary in output. And how you bias an amp varies the output. So you see its really just a marketing game. Rocket 50, Super 60 , whatever makes a cooler sounding name.

 

 

 

FunMachine.

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Thank you, I've never owned a tube amp, but have been curious about them. I had never even played one before I came to the USA. Almost everything here is solid state. I use public transportation so my ZT is the way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You mean it's not by weight? :D

 

Seriously, Cav did sum it up properly. But since you've brought up amp wattage, it's interesting to get opinions on what wattages we use as a function of size/type of venue. When I started in this business some 66 years ago, we didn't have a wide choice of amps, so I defaulted to my trusty Fender Tweed. We didn't even refer to wattage, but when the Fender Deluxe Reverb came out in the 60s, we knew it was heavy! :)

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The decision involves more than just size/type of venues. If I need lower stage levels there is a time I will take a Twin or my Boogie or Nashville 400 over a 20 watter like a Deluxe.

 

Does the power supply support the bottom end I want? .... Will a bigger amp will give better clean headroom that I can use to get better more appropiate agressive dirt from my pedalboard and allow me to still get the crystal clear cleans I need at an appropiate volume? etc....

 

Guitars .... pickups .... amps .... all this stuff ..... nothing can be taken into consideration in isolation it is all one big thing. It is a mixture/recipe problem.

 

In 2012-2013 I played large open air venues with a 5 watt 1-12 combo. It wasn't the size of the venue. It was that my tone was VERY homogeneous. Basically everything sounded along the lines of Brad Paisley's dirt tone. I needed no true cleans. In fact I used a graphic EQ that stored up to 10 EQ curves. I used these EQ presets to make all my Teles sound the same. My guitars had all different pickups and each had a different character. I wanted them to all sound like my #2 Tele when pushing the amp through the Ego compressor and Sparkle Drive. I used the same amp to play local bars also.

 

If I need more tonal variations I may bounce between a 20 watt Fryette/VHT, a 50 watt Boogie or a 65 Twin. On pedal steel I need bottom end headroom I will use one or Two Nashville 400s. 210 watts ea with one 15" Black Widow. The Nashville 400s are sold state and still heavy. That is why man invented the wheel. I don't use 2 because I need volume. I use 2 because I am a masochist and I like the chorus and reverb way better through 2 amps.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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The decision involves more than just size/type of venues.

In 2012-2013 I played large open air venues with a 5 watt 1-12 combo. It wasn't the size of the venue.

 

I played an open air gig with my little 112 ZT Club 100 SS watter when I 1st got it. I had my Hot Rod DeVille in the trunk just in case I needed my tuber. I ran the ZT over to the PA and I had to have the sound man turn it down...it was funny to see such a little amp sitting out there on the field on a little stand with some great sound coming out of it and having so much pazazz LOL! :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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I liked using my little 5 watter with the 12" Celestion. A guy the mixed that band a lot kept calling bullshit and said I only liked it because I could pick it up with one finger. That I could fit the amp in my front seat passenger floorboard didn't hurt.

 

Mine was a one trick pony but it did that one trick pretty darn good. I couldn't play clean for nothing. But if that band did anything resembling a pretty ballad it called for piano or some other keyboard part and I didn't play any steel in that band, just guitar, slide and keys.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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A lot of guys I guess don't play clean. I used to listen to GearManDude do dirt pedal demo. It was like .... "Here is my clean tone" { DIRT - DIRT - DIRT]. "Here is with the pedal on" {LOUDER DIRT - LOUDER DIRT - LOUDER DIRT} lol

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I remember the first time I saw Chet Atkins' Standel. Seemed like a big piece of equipment meant for you steel guitar players. But wow, what a tone! I did get to play through it once. Talk about getting a lesson in tone!

 

 

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This is probably a stupid question, but I'm new to all the technical stuff. Why do amps using the same power tubes have such a wide range of wattage. As an example, 2 6l6 tubes can be 60, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and maybe some I missed.

 

The short answer is, the designs are different.

 

Different circuits, with different value resistors, capacitors, transformers, and different power-supply circuits, supply different voltages to the various components, all resulting in different output wattage.

 

There is no such thing as a stupid question JuJu and Caevan will always give you a great answer! :thu:

 

If only most people in this world showed the same trepidation in offering answers that they do in offering questions (applying to none of you guys, though).

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I remember the first time I saw Chet Atkins' Standel. Seemed like a big piece of equipment meant for you steel guitar players. But wow, what a tone! I did get to play through it once. Talk about getting a lesson in tone!

 

 

:cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I'm sorry I'm going to most likely bore everybody with this post, but if you're kind of nerdy like me and are interested in this stuff read on....

 

First, despite anything regarding how you measure power and other things, there are different amp designs that have vastly different efficiencies. Normally we're measuring output power, so efficiency can be a huge factor. I won't go into all of the details, but for instance the very maximum theoretical efficiency a class A amp can have is 50%.... Meaning half of the power makes it to the speaker and the other half is burned up in heat by the output tubes and resistors. That's just the output stage alone. The power and output transformers consume power, the preamp stage consumes power, as do all the other components. A Class AB output stage has a theoretical maximum output efficiency of 67%. There are advantages and disadvantages to various topologies, but suffice it to say the most pleasing sound may not be the most power efficient design, so that a tube that outputs a certain power in one design may only be capable of half that in a different design......and that's only speaking output stage. Someone may use a tube rated higher than it needs to be in an amo designed for lower power. Most likely that means it will last longer.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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