There is no replacement for the sound of true tube amplification. You have no doubt heard this wisdom in some variation when talking to guitarists about their favorite amps, but many folks do not go into – or perhaps do not understand – the main reason why.
In a tube amplifier, the signal is amplified using vacuum tubes, physical components that invariably have small flaws and variations. These imperfections are what give tube amp tones the distinct color of theirs. In a solid state amp, electronics as diodes and transistors do the signal amplification. Solid state amplifiers are able to obtaining a much cleaner signal, but eventually do the jobs of theirs too well; they cannot give the tone similar shimmer it gets from a tube driven system.
The main disadvantage of tube amplifiers is the cost, both the original purchase as well as the ongoing replacement of the tubes as they burn out. Guitar enthusiasts are going to tell you an excellent tube amp is well worth the money, but since they’re much more of an investment, you need to make sure of what sound you are going for before you take the leap (and we go into much more detail into what to look for in clean tube amps after the our products below).
But initially, with no much ado, the following are the recommendations of ours for the four best clean tube amps on the market:
Fender Super Reverb
A re issue of the ground breaking amp from 1965, the Fender Super Reverb is a faithful reproduction of the much loved vintage model. It’s a singular bright tone with a scooped mid range. It’s exceptionally transparent when it is running clean but can additionally be cranked for great overdrive. The sound lends itself better to country, blues, and rock, styles that suit the classic American tone this amplifier does really well. It comes equipped with 4 10″ Jensen P 10R speakers, that brings sparkling detail to the higher tones as well as adds a warmth that compliments the Super Reverb’s sound.
Blackstar HT Club 40
Blackstar is an UK based company that is been a trusted name in amplification in Europe for many years but has come onto the radar of guitarists in North America. This particular model from the Venue series is run by 2 sets of tubes, one set of ECC83 and one of EL34. The Blackstar is made of sturdy black Tolex that is got a vintage look, in addition to the settings on the front panel are reminiscent and intuitive of the dials on simpler old school amps. It comes equipped with a 12″ Celestion Vintage thirty speaker that provides a cleaner, brighter sound.
Peavey Classic 50/212 Tweed
The Peavey Classic is an old school amp for the contemporary world with an intuitive and basic design that is built for life on the road. The control panel is chrome and the switches all steel for ultimate durability. The clean tone stays pure at even high dynamic levels and also the combination of 12AX7 and EL84 tubes strike a good sense of balance between articulation and warmth and the Blue Marvel speakers are a great fit for the tone. The tweed exterior provides it with a fresh, sophisticate look that is a great fit for the sound. The modern comes from features such as the footswitch channel switching and the range of tone controls, including reverb level and post-gain and pre- tone tweaking options. If you love portability, this just may be the very best clean tube amp on the market.
Price as of 02/13/2019 17:04 PST (more information) Tube amps do not come cheap, even so you are able to find authentic and fantastic tube sound in a sensible cost with the Marshall DSL5C. Powered by a combination of ECC99 and ECC83 tubes, it combines the very best elements of vintage and modern Marshall styles. Clean tones are glassy in the clarity of theirs, aided by the included Celestion Ten 30 10″ custom voiced speaker. The ruggedly constructed cabinet has a classic Marshall look and control lay out, and provides you with plenty of influence over the sound of yours, with 2 foot switchable channels, a full switch to give your low end more definition, and rear panel by passable effects loop. If you are on a budget, this just may be the very best clean tube amp for the investment.
Getting the perfect Clean Tone
Adjusting the settings on your amp to get a great clean tone (i.e., with no distortion) can be monotonous and potentially intimidating if you are new to the entire world of guitar amplification. Amps which have a gain adjustment is going to give you most control, but even in case you just have volume and EQ knobs you will find a few things you are able to do to get the optimal clean tone of yours.
To begin with, set the guitar’s volume (the knob that is on your real instrument) most of the best way to the top at ten and then leave it there. Majority of guitars are intended to sound their best at maximum volume, and if the signal coming out of your guitar is constant you will have a simpler time fine tuning it at the amp level.
Make use of the master volume on your amp to control its overall output. If your amp has a volume control at the channel level, set it somewhere towards the center (around five to seven). Altering this will not affect the tone of yours almost as the guitar volume, but the sound of yours is going to stay most consistent in case you simply make use of the master volume for dynamic control.
In order to get your baseline clean tone, start with all of the frequency knobs on your amp set to five. The mids have most influence on the good characteristics of yours, while the treble tends to become most delicate and must be adjusted carefully. If your sound feels hollow, try turning the mids down a notch and putting the bass up to seven or perhaps eight. If the sound feels way too heavy, cut the bass down to two or perhaps three. You are able to reduce the treble down to four if the sound is very piercing or perhaps brilliant, but do not reduce the treble way too much or perhaps you might discover your sound getting lost in the mix once you are playing with the bandmates of yours.
There’s simply no such thing as an ideal amp EQ. Even similar guitarist on similar instrument is going to need to make small tweaks based on the other musicians and the acoustics of the venue. Finding your personal ideal settings in the practice room, although, will make for even more subtle adjustments when you are at gigs and rehearsals, letting you find your ideal clean tone faster on the fly.
Even in top clean tube amps, most tubes will last a few years before failing, but in case you’ve a used amp or perhaps play a lot, you may find yourself having to change the tubes. You will find differing opinions on when you should replace tubes, but in case your amp is not giving you the clean tone you expect, changing them would likely improve the audio production.
Check inside the amp of yours and find out if the vacuum in any of your tubes has been compromised. Sometimes this can be very easy to make sure because the whole tube will have burst, but small cracks also can form, making the tube apparently intact. You will understand the vacuum’s been compromised if the metallic layer at the top part of the tube is white or perhaps stained with milky discolorations. Tube failures this way seem to occur usually once the amp gets dropped or perhaps jostled, therefore make sure you check out the tubes of yours if your amp takes a spill.