What is special about valves?

Valves distort in a wonderfully musical fashion when driven hard, but this in itself is only part of the story.

If a guitar signal is passed into a typical PA amplifier, the sound from the speaker, apart from sounding bland and "flat", will actually represent quite an accurate replica of the original. With a valve amplifier, it is quite possible that each stage in the circuit will create distortion of the signal. This can colour the sound in a beneficial way. The effect through many such stages can be quite dramatic, with several "spices" contributing to an overall delicious flavour.

Many classic sounding amplifiers are the result of accidental "spice" combinations, where the real objective would have been a clean amplified sound. There are perhaps only few "Chefs" in the world who can deliberately play with these ingredients to manipulate the end result.

So, if you could make a simple point-to-point transistor guitar amplifier, with tone at least as good as any conceivable valve amp, which was individually hand-built using generously rated components,
why wouldn’t you?
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