Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: Groove Tubes Solid State Rectifier for Kingsley ToneBaron

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Groove Tubes Solid State Rectifier for Kingsley ToneBaron

After acquiring the Two Rock 2x12 cabinet for my Kingsley ToneBaron and then fixing the intermittent radio reception the amp was picking up, there was only one thing left I wanted to "improve" upon: SAG.

The ToneBaron has a beautiful tube sag feel to it which makes it perfectly suitable for blues and even some faster linear Jazz runs, but pulling off snappier, super fast “shred” licks is made more difficult because of this sag effect. Since the ToneBaron is a tube rectified amplifier, it was easy to convert it over to solid state rectification using the Groove Tubes solid state rectifier plug in place of the 5AR4 rectifier tube that came in the amp. The SS plug lowers the sag effect significantly and increases the amp's response time to the signal coming from the guitar.

What exactly is a rectifier and what does it do? Well the short answer is this: a rectifier converts the AC (Alternating Current) from the wall socket to DC (Direct Current) which electronic circuits need in order to operate correctly. Batteries also provide DC current, by the way, and is what the typical guitar pedal, handheld gadget and/or children's toy uses for power as well. So, when a tube rectifier is used in an amp as the sole converter of AC power to DC power there can be small current drops to the amp's internal circuits when the amp is taxed by digging in more on the guitar or by playing the amplifier loud. The rectifier tube works harder to keep up with the increased voltage demand by the amp which lowers impedance causing a natural compression in the sound (this compression effect is referred to as “sag”). This compression, or sag effect, can also make the amp feel more sluggish to the player and, therefore, make faster licks more difficult to pull off. It feels kind of like attempting to run in deep, soft sand. A solid state rectifier, on the other hand, is built with semiconductors and has a lighting fast response which introduces little to no sag when the amp requires more power. This, as you might expect, produces a "quicker" feel when playing faster licks and riffs.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to tube sag. Whether or not more or less of it is desirable is totally up to the individual player and his or her style. I personally like some tube sag in my sound and the Kingsley ToneBaron still has plenty of it despite my replacing the tube rectifier with a solid state plug. By using the solid state rectifier plug the amp’s response to input has increased significantly and I am able to play faster licks now while retaining the tone I like from the amp and getting the response I need in order to play my style.

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