The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
what makes gear better than other gear?
Old 26th June 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 

what makes gear better than other gear?

Was talking to an older friend and he used to take classes building tube gear in his youth. He said solid state electronics are better and no one can tell the difference. He said guys just liked to see the tubes glow, lol.

It made me release i couldn't answer him about why certain gear has a better sound. Sure there is bad tube gear and great solid state. But what makes one thing better than the other? Why is a telefunken v72 better than a mackie preamp? Why would an old valve amp be better than a new solid state reissue? Tell me so i can tell my friend. Thanks!!
Old 26th June 2012
  #2
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
To be honest, this is music, art, and not science. Sure, we can cite stuff like even-order harmonics, but those are only good when they are good. Any gear is good when it does what the artist desires. Every great producer that has Guest Moderated here has listed dozens of pieces of gear that are cheap, perhaps considered clunkers by people, that they used to get certain sounds. So, bottom line, if it sounds good, it is good. If a given sound, even a horrid, screechy one, is perfect for a given spot, it is perfect. It is all in the hands of the artist.

On the other side, gear is good if it does not break after a little use. Consumer gear tends to be made for lighter use. Pro gear uses higher great elements, hand crafting, so solders are cleaner, parts sourced and checked more carefully. Now, this can also result in more even tones, sometimes less noise, the occasional crackle that comes from poor build.

Finally, remember that building gear is also an art, like music, and that the designers carefully consider and choose what part goes where. So, you hear songs that you think , that is junk, the writer didn't put any thought into it, it is derivative, hack, and poorly played. Well, same thing applies to gear design. Someone like Behringer can make a junk, derivative box with cheap parts and little consideration, or someone like Geoff Tanner or Dan Kennedy can take years to plan, and apply his lifetime of wisdom to create an artistic masterpiece.
Old 26th June 2012
  #3
Gear Nut
 

The "best" gear, in my opinion, is the gear that YOU find most intuitive to use and that most easily and quickly gets YOU the sounds you're looking for. I can't stand the Avalon 737, for example, because I personally don't find it intuitive, but a quick search of this board will show that plenty of engineers out there are using that piece to get sounds that they and their clients really love.

It's like asking what makes one guitar better than the other or whether Fender is "better" than Marshall; it depends ENTIRELY on the person playing it.

Two engineers can use the same piece of gear to achieve wildly different results, and the same two engineers could use wildly different pieces to achieve more or less the same result.

I find the only objective measuring stick is build quality and reliability. If it breaks or works intermittently, I think it's fair to call that "bad gear".
Old 27th June 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 

thanks yall
Old 27th June 2012
  #5
Ask your friend if there's no difference between valve and transistor amplifiers, why do 99+% of guitarists insist on using a tube guitar amp?

Are 99% wrong and he's right or do they not hear a difference?
Old 27th June 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Ask your friend if there's no difference between valve and transistor amplifiers, why do 99+% of guitarists insist on using a tube guitar amp?

Are 99% wrong and he's right or do they not hear a difference?
Ever try and put a distortion box on a 100% solid state amp? Sounds REALLY bad, for a few good reasons..
Old 27th June 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
To be honest, this is music, art, and not science.
...building gear is also an art, like music, and that the designers carefully consider and choose what part goes where.
umm.... circuit design is science, done artfully in some cases.
Old 27th June 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
timtoonz's Avatar
Well, all other things being equal, there is a difference in sound between tube gear and its solid state counterparts. Many pros can indeed hear the difference, and they seem to prefer the tube 'sound'. It's not technically 'better', but it's different in a way that many musicians and engineers seem to like.

My hunch is that many of the things that make solid state technically better, ie. more extended top end, faster transient response, are often the same things that make digital recording sound harsh. But some folks may like that 'harshness', calling it 'clarity'. Personally, I can't help but chase the sounds of the 70's that I loved. And that means trying to shave off as many of the digital edges as I can.
Old 27th June 2012
  #9
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
umm.... circuit design is science, done artfully in some cases.
The argument is easily made that it is also an art, simply because while the technical aspect could be called science, and while any competent EE might design a functional circuit, using one's ears, imagination, and creativity in tandem to have the merely functional arrive at beauty is more. That beauty can include the subtleties in tone, but even the visual design can be far more than just "artful." Besides which, the whole thing is semantic, and the comment was but a casual pleasntry and compliment to some very fine people. I'd suggest that the criticism here was superfluous. But to each their own, if it feels good have at it! Cheers

Sent from my MB855 using Gearslutz App
Old 27th June 2012
  #10
Linearity was the goal of audio circuit designers until recently. Lately the efforts have been in creating non-linearities, aka distortion.
Old 27th June 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
The argument is easily made that it is also an art, simply because while the technical aspect could be called science, and while any competent EE might design a functional circuit, using one's ears, imagination, and creativity in tandem to have the merely functional arrive at beauty is more. That beauty can include the subtleties in tone, but even the visual design can be far more than just "artful." Besides which, the whole thing is semantic, and the comment was but a casual pleasntry and compliment to some very fine people. I'd suggest that the criticism here was superfluous. But to each their own, if it feels good have at it! Cheers
Semantics indeed.
My point was that anyone can make art. Engineering is science. The good engineers combine both to produce elegant devices.
Old 27th June 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Hi
Guitar amps are a different field of their own and it is the 'imperfections' caused by using them beyond their reasonably 'linear' region that causes the most 'interest'.
Gear being better or worse is a combination of so many factors, even faceplate colour and knob styling have some effect although not in an 'electronic' sense. Gear that can roll around in the car for a few weeks and still work flawlessly will rate higher than something that breaks when you look at it.
You have to define 'best' on your own criteria.
Matt S
Old 27th June 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
The difference between gear is if it does it's thing good. "It' thing" could be clean, neutral, wire-with gain thing or the raunchy, dirty gooey color thing. Or anything between. That covers about a thousand shades inbetween and you could do everything clean and leave coloration to the source (like a photograph without any depth, grain, or overblown expressiveness) or color the sources as you add elements.
So the absolute value here which determines other value is artistic choice, the user. Gear without artistic choices is value- and useless.
Old 27th June 2012
  #14
what makes gear better than other gear?

The sound,
playability,
ease of use,
the look,
stable value,
and for sure the Endorsers

R.
Old 27th June 2012
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
Tell me so i can tell my friend. Thanks!!
But, what about actually trying these gizmos out, to decide for yourself? I think whomever says "Squalid State sounds better than, .... blah blah blah,

Is a true time waster. Don't argue with anything he says. Who cares. Let him think whatever he wants. Then educate yourself swiftly. Use what you want.

Live how you want. Love what you want. Leap and Make records with it all.

These things should be first on your priority list of things to do. I would put your friend's argument at the bottom of the pile. Somewhere after "laundry, taking out the trash, watching Oprah"...

Because, getting some real world info behind you, will allow you to account for any real world variables, and find out your own preferences, and draw your own the line in the sand.

All this salt people keep passing around, is gonna raise some health risk's at the end of the day. Hearsay, rarely sounds any better on the track, than experience does.
Old 27th June 2012
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
Was talking to an older friend and he used to take classes building tube gear in his youth. He said solid state electronics are better and no one can tell the difference. He said guys just liked to see the tubes glow, lol.

It made me release i couldn't answer him about why certain gear has a better sound. Sure there is bad tube gear and great solid state. But what makes one thing better than the other? Why is a telefunken v72 better than a mackie preamp? Why would an old valve amp be better than a new solid state reissue? Tell me so i can tell my friend. Thanks!!
Tubes have different properties. It can be demonstrated easily, objectively with a spectrum analyzer and some sine wavs.

Now some of the newer model tube simulating amps/pedals? I'm beginning to doubt whether but a small minority (myself not included) can really tell the difference. The quality has been improving a lot in a short time. More importantly, they are at the point where the average and even above average non-sound connoisseur can not tell the difference.

I also reject the implication that 'wanting to see the tubes glow' is not a valid thing to look for in gear. :P
Old 27th June 2012
  #17
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Semantics indeed.
My point was that anyone can make art. Engineering is science. The good engineers combine both to produce elegant devices.
If you heard some of my clients, you'd think different, lol!

Sent from my MB855 using Gearslutz App
Old 27th June 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 
mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
Ever try and put a distortion box on a 100% solid state amp? Sounds REALLY bad, for a few good reasons..
Yeah, I'd have to disagree.

I run a Pedalworx Neodrive on full blast into a Sansamp classic with the output maxed into a Boss TU-2 (for some reason it doesn't sound as gnarly without the TU-2 right there) into a 70's solid state Acoustic Corp 470 into a 4x12 cab to play Stoner-ish heavy rock.

I also used to have a '71 Ampeg V4 that was maintained by a local amp tech who is well known across North Carolina, and who is certified by Ampeg (so there's no doubt about the condition of the V4).

With the same pedal and cab setup, I prefer the solid state Acoustic 470. It sounds bigger, beefier and it's light years more reliable...and about 1/3 the weight!
Old 27th June 2012
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
Ever try and put a distortion box on a 100% solid state amp? Sounds REALLY bad, for a few good reasons..
There is an exception.

The old solid state amps from the seventies with built-in Fuzz (Distortion). Exact for this Sound, they are splendid.

R.
Old 28th June 2012
  #20
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

what makes gear better than other gear?

Anything that is Class A
Old 28th June 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

Making a decision that gear x is 'better' than y is exactly that....a personal, subjective opinion based off of your own aesthetic, molded by experiences...

Your room must be considered, your mood that day must be considered, the style you're working in must be considered...all of it...

I remember loving a pair of mics as overheads in a friends studio so much that I bought a pair. I placed them over top of my drumset in my room...hated them...took that same drumset into his room...loved them again...

Ended up buying a different set of mics that I love over my set in my room that sound like total ass in his...

Bottom line...LISTEN...in your world, with an open mind...make your decision...class A or not, you may find a gem that you don't have to spend a lot of money on to get good sounds...
Old 28th June 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
kurt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
He said solid state electronics are better and no one can tell the difference. He said guys just liked to see the tubes glow, lol.
Hi was talking about Hi-Finot driving gear beyond specifications.
Old 2nd July 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
Making a decision that gear x is 'better' than y is exactly that....a personal, subjective opinion based off of your own aesthetic, molded by experiences...

Your room must be considered, your mood that day must be considered, the style you're working in must be considered...all of it...

I remember loving a pair of mics as overheads in a friends studio so much that I bought a pair. I placed them over top of my drumset in my room...hated them...took that same drumset into his room...loved them again...

Ended up buying a different set of mics that I love over my set in my room that sound like total ass in his...

Bottom line...LISTEN...in your world, with an open mind...make your decision...class A or not, you may find a gem that you don't have to spend a lot of money on to get good sounds...
Some gear IS built better than other gear..Better Pots, switches, Connectors, Power supply, High mechanical integrity, PCB layout ect..
Then there is performance, better dynamic range ect..

Some confuse "Sound" with quality..two different things, can NO doubt have both..
This also means you CAN have a well designed piece of gear with top level components and Some may NOT like the "Sound"...
Cars ect are No different...In a different way..
Old 2nd July 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

Well, if we're looking at component quality only, then yes. For me, to call it better, first and foremost, sound quality must be in place and it all has to do with how it works in my environment. Then if it's built well, it's a plus. Then again, I don't tend purchase consumer or pro-sumer level gear anymore in the hopes it sounds good AND is built well.
Old 5th October 2012
  #25
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

What makes gear better than other gear?
build quality, example some gear the metal work is light compare to more quality gear. The PC boards are thiner on some, the layout, the component choices, from chips to discreet.
As to sound I think linear as been and should be a goal, but as with many I do like some color so to speak, that I think is preference.
Old 5th October 2012
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
Was talking to an older friend and he used to take classes building tube gear in his youth. He said solid state electronics are better and no one can tell the difference. He said guys just liked to see the tubes glow, lol.

It made me release i couldn't answer him about why certain gear has a better sound. Sure there is bad tube gear and great solid state. But what makes one thing better than the other? Why is a telefunken v72 better than a mackie preamp? Why would an old valve amp be better than a new solid state reissue? Tell me so i can tell my friend. Thanks!!
For me, what makes one piece of gear "better" than another is its usefulness.
Old 5th October 2012
  #27
Gear Addict
 
jono_3's Avatar
What makes some gear better than others?

1. Circuit Design
2. Components
3. Magic
4. Time
Old 5th October 2012
  #28
Gear Addict
 
soypancho's Avatar
 

Taste. In lots of gear components are specifically selected that do something 'technically' bad to the signal but have a positive impact on the sound. I've read on here that studies have shown that humans like a little distortion generally speaking on any signal which is a bad thing from a purely technical standpoint.

Ask your friend what the best band is. Or the best painting.

Last edited by soypancho; 5th October 2012 at 07:01 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 5th October 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
string6theory's Avatar
perception
perspective
context
function
usability
results
reliability
Old 5th October 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Engineering is science. The good engineers combine both to produce elegant devices.
+1!
Quality components are another important factor also..
IMO there's nothing magic, it's pure science on why a piece of gear sound as it does..for the good or the bad.
Like old pultec,neve or LA2A, they sound that way for scientific measurable reasons.. good tubes, good xformers made with great windings made out of good metal, good pcb's..etc...
There's no magic, is science.

Just my 0.02$,

Cheu
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump