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24 September 2019

Criteria and Important Things to Know Before Buying a Tube Amp

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In the field of electric guitar amplifiers, every music lover immediately gets the name Marshall. Marshall amplifiers are available as both tube and transistor amplifiers in different model variants and with varying levels of power. Primarily the tube amplifiers are known for high performance and rich sound. In the tube amplifier test, Marshall amplifiers also often score well to very good with the test grade.

Also, Fender and Vox belong to the classical, world-wide popular manufacturers of tube amplifiers for instruments. If you ‘re looking for tube amplifiers to hook up HIFI devices like turntables, for example, you ‘ll quickly come across Nobsound.

Furthermore, the company Dynavox offers tube amplifiers in different class ranges and power stages on, among other things even as an integrated amplifier.

There is a vast selection of manufacturers, brands, and models of tube amplifiers. Through a practical test or at least a pre-selection, it can be easy to find out what is the right model according to your needs.


Criteria for Tube Amplifiers

Critical rules that you should consider before buying a tube amp are the size and weight of the amp. Tube amplifiers are sometimes bulky and heavy compared to other types of amplifiers. That should be taken into account when considering which device is right for you. Are you going to change the place often while playing or is it going to sit in your home all the time? That should be the first question that you need to ask yourself.

Of course, you should also inform yourself before the purchase, which device is suitable for the purpose you want and test it if possible.

Would you like to control your turntables or would you like to connect your electric guitar or your electric bass to the tube amp? Depending on this, different categories of amplifiers, various models, and various performance classes are available.


Common Defects and Vulnerabilities That You Need to Know

  • A disadvantage of tube amplifiers are the large dimensions and the high weight, in particular, compared to the transistor amplifiers.
  • In addition, the tubes installed in the tube amplifier are subject to aging and must be replaced after a certain period of use. The aging processes of the components also cause the sound to change over time.
  • Overall, the care and maintenance of the tube amplifier are rather high compared to the insensitivity of other types of amplifiers.
  • During the performance, a tube amplifier consumes more energy compared to a transistor amplifier. The high energy consumption, which is partially released in the form of heat, is reflected by the heat given off by the tube amplifier.
  • Tube amplifiers are anything but energy efficient. A tube amplifier is also not immediately ready for use. Instead, the tubes must preheat inside the device before they are available for use. Due to the higher price, the purchase of a tube amplifier should be well planned.

It’s important to remember that tube amplifiers have a limited frequency range. The frequency range is not determined by the tubes so that even a replacement of the valves here brings no improvement.

In contrast, there are the transistor amplifiers, which have a much broader frequency range. As a result, the audio signal can be output in its original quality without change, ie, in congruence with the input signal. Tube amplifiers are also sensitive to faulty circuits. You should, therefore, check out the faulty installations before using the device.


Internet vs. Retailers – Selection and Tests

Buying a tube amp from a retail outlet gives you the benefit of being able to test and pass the desired amp on-site. Tube amplifiers are electrical devices whose handling requires some basic knowledge.

In particular, the possible interconnection of the tube amplifier with other devices can be subject to a sample or a test in stores and several methods can be compared in interplay with the other system components in a test run.

When considering whether to buy a tube amplifier on the Internet or in specialized stores, you should take into account your previous knowledge. Do additional study about the tube amplifiers before the purchase or seek the help of the professional dealer, including a test on the spot if it’s appropriate. 

Although tube amplifiers are still popular types of amplifiers and they are generally the winners in comparison, but the number of specialist dealers and even workshops that sells them is manageable. When you buy a tube amplifier on the Internet, you can choose from a wide range of possible devices, manufacturers and model ranges from anywhere.

In particular, the technical properties of different amplifier types or models can be compared in a comparison table and analyzed in the test. The study or the comparison of the test characteristics is an important step that you should carry out before the purchase decision.


In Conclusion

Tube amplifiers still enjoy great popularity among music lovers in the test. Especially in the high-end sector, they are even considered indispensable. Not only the retro charm of the tube amplifier plays an important role, but also the classic sound, which reminds many of the beginnings of the rock music.

Accordingly, the Marshall tube amp is considered a must or at least a desirable target for the ambitious electric guitar player. Some models are linked to artists like Jimi Hendrix and other guitar legends.

Above all, the advocate of analog music and the many younger lovers of vinyl technology will continue in the use of tube amplifiers even if everybody else stops.