The more i learned about guitar amplification the more frustrated i got. The gold standard for guitar amplification is without doubt the tube amp. Only problem with tube amps are
a) you have to change tubes once in a while which isn`t for free. b) a lot of owners obviously struggel with reliability problems which often are tube related c) have to be rebiased d) tend to have a suboptimal soundquality at bedroom levels (not all but most of them) e) have a certain characteristic/ limited versatility. With other words a JSX or a Diezel has a very different characteristic from a lets say Plexi or a Fender. This can be a good thing if you just want one sound but there are limitations with regard to athentically reproducing different sounds. f) tube amps are expensive and heavy g) i see that as the reason for that quite a lot of people go through a whole ****load of amps to find "the tone in their head" investing even more ****loads of money on the way. h) high gain amps have a tendency to be quite noisy, and so on and so on....
h) to cut a long story short tube amps er expensive have some reliability problems and limitations with regard to flexibility. No problem if you are a pro with an army of techs behind you and the disposal of almost every effect available.
But as average Joe these things can give some serious headache.
So what are the alternatives?
Solid state, modelling amps: Hmm, not quite the real deal as we all know.
So what about Fractal audio axe fx. Have read some raving reviews. But is it really that good and easy to handle/ free for problems?
Any experiences/ ideas?
a) Maybe once a year? It isnt something that needs to be done monthly and it isnt that expensive. It's just routine maintenance. No big deal
b)A reliability issue that can be fixed by changing a 12AX7 is a lot cheaper and easier than anything that would go wring with a solid state amp.
c)A lot of new tube amps don't need to be rebiased, even so it's no big deal. Again routine maintenance and something you accept if you want good tone.
d)buy the right size amp for what you need. No one needs a 100watt half stack for their bedroom or even most gigs, but everyone wants one because it looks cool
e)Every amp has limited versatility, still a weak argument. How many artists use/used a Plexi or a Super Reverb and they don't sound the same as each other. If the point is that a SS Crate is more versatile than a Bogner, you're crazy
f)heavy yes, expensive, not all of them, but you get what you pay for. You can get a valve jr tube head for under $200, $600 for an Orange Tiny terror, like anything else there is a wide price range.
h)Amp too noisy? Turn the gain down too much turns any tone to sht anyway.
The average joe has tons of options, but like anything there is a trade off. For most guys tubes are still the only way to go.