For this article a few ideas how you can combine a Transitor amplifier with a Valve (Tube) amplifier to get a better, complex clean sound.
The idea of Trans Tube amps is not new, in the 1990s Peavy came up with a line of amps which listened to the same name: By doing so Peavy’s idea was to give transitor amps the feel (and sound) of Tube amplifiers.
The idea explained here is the opposite: Use the clean sound of a transitor amp to achieve a better, clean sound for your valve amp.
What Kind of Amp?:
Ideally use a simple, one channel valve amp which does not use complex tone controls. The overal sound of this amp may be good but it may not give you many tonal options for your clean sound. Match this valve amp with a transitor amp of which you like the clean sound. Make sure the transistor amp does have an output socket.
The more basic your valve amp the better. When you start using a complex valve amp you defeat the object as the clean sound of the valve amp may sound great anyway.
Now You Have Your Amps What’s Next?:
Plug you guitar into the transistor amp, set up sound to how you like it. Use another cable from the output of the transitor amp to the input of the valve amp. Set the tonecontrols of valve amp for basic setting. Listen to both amps with regards to volume, make sure the transistor amp is not set too low, match the valve amp’s volume with the level of the transistor amp. Once you have the levels right you should experience a difference in the sound of your valve amp: The tone may be thinner, but it also will sound a little cleaner compared to using the valve amp on it own.
Basically you amplify the sound of the transistor amp by using the valve amp.
To check the difference in sound you can unplug your guitar from the transistor amp and go straight into the input of the valve amp. Once you hear the difference you will start to appreciate the results of both amps mixed. Remember to plug your guitar into the transistor amp, only the cable of the output of the transistor amp is used for the input of the valve amp. The guitar’s signal hits the preamp of the transistor amp first not the other way around. You can experiment with connecting the amps the other way around, but remember, the idea was to improve the clean sound of the valve amp. Connecting the amps the other way around may give you a sound you may like but it will not improve the overal, clean sound of the valve amp.
Enjoy your experiments and hope to catch you soon again here for more, tonal ideas.