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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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PRRI Rattle - NEED HELP TODAY

Do any of you have PRRI Rattles?

I've planned with dealer to do an amp trade today for a PRRI. I knew that many people had speaker baffle rattle, and the amp at the store DID rattle at high volumes when I played low notes, so I'm having the dealer have his amp tech do what he can to fix the rattle.

However, I read some horrible reviews documenting the rattle on the Fender forum and on Harmony Central - several people had bought and returned 3 PRRI's, each having the same rattle problem, and it seems that it is a VERY common problem. Some people on Harmony Central thought that the problem was so common, and Fender's response has been so unhelpful in trying to fix current amps, that a recall is likely.

I may be overreacting, and maybe the people complaining are dwarfed by the number of people who are completely happy with their PRRI's? How many of you PRRI owners have rattle, how many don't, and who has fixed it? Should I go through with the trade?

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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Mark,

I have been having the same issue with my PRRI. I LOVE the amp to death and actually cant find another amp I would want to trade it for so my dilema is do I return it (already have an RA# but have been holding off seeing if a decent fix shows up) or try to fix it. If I attempt to fix it myself, I may void the warranty or not be able to return it. If I send it to Fender, I'll be without an amp for many weeks. if I return it, what else will give me this awesome tone for low volume home playing?

I personally think ALL PRRI amps have the rattle. Fender should of been on top of this MONTHS ago when the complaints were all coming out. For the $$, this little guy should be free of this kind of problem. The only other small amp that I really like is a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 - but its cleans are only about 80% of the PRRI and its $1200.

So, yea, others chime in. WHo has the rattle? You have to be at volume 5-6 at least and for me I can just hit the low E string and it starts to buzz/rattle and it gets pretty bad until I mute the string. Play some low notes and its there making recording impossible. If it was not for this issue, this would be my perfect, lifelong amp.

Anyone have a solid fix?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The rattle is no big deal to fix. Most every amp has a resonance point or a buzz note; you fix it, you get back to playing. But a couple of helpless guys who didn't know which end of a screwdriver to hit with the hammer got all worked up about it.

One fix is to push a little felt or weather stripping into the space between the top of the baffle and the chassis. The downside is that it may come out if you remove the chassis some time in the future.

The other fix (which one of the original complainers finally adopted) is to get a piece of 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch angle aluminum from your local hardware store, cut it just short of the width of the baffle, drill four holes in it, and screw it to the baffle from the inside, just under the chassis. This stiffens the baffle so it doesn't vibrate. You can put one at the bottom, too, if you're so inclined. If you have a choice between thin and thick angle aluminum, go for the thick stuff.

Also, make sure that the speaker is neither too loose nor too tight. People have found speakers that were cranked down so tight that the metal basket was deformed. Others were buzzing against the back of the baffle because they were too loose. "Just enough to compress the gasket" is the right amount.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Billm:

Do you happen to know whether the things that you mentioned void any warranties?

Also, I noticed that (like other complainers that I had read), the rattle goes away if I press the top of the grill pretty hard. Does that fact help to specify the problem as a baffle rattle and not a speaker screw issue?

I REALLY hope that it's fixable because the amp sounds INCREDIBLE!

My biggest concern is this: will I be able to turn it up to 10, play low notes, and get tight, clear sounds?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not an authority on warranty, but Fender mostly cares about the electronics, not the cabinet. A speaker swap wouldn't void the warranty. It's up to the tech at the Fender service center to determine if the warranty has been violated. If he goes inside and finds sloppy solder joints, replaced components, and hacks, bye-bye warranty.

If he sees a brace on the back of the baffle, he'll probably just smile and remember it for his own bag of tricks.

If you're getting vibration at the top of the grille/baffle, try loosening the chassis screws on the top and moving the chassis forward or back a little to eliminate contact with the baffle. Likewise, you can loosen the screws that hold the baffle and maybe move it away from the chassis, holding it down as you retighten. If that doesn't work, stiffen it.

Quote:
turn it up to 10, play low notes, and get tight, clear sounds
You may encounter the limits of the C10R speaker. Some folks like the Ragin Cajun or Copperhead in there.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Billm. Hopefully, the amp tech will have fixed it completely since I demanded that they (1) fix the rattle and (2) bias it before I pick it up today. I just don't want to spend $1k for an amp that doesn't already work the way that it should.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I haven't noticed any rattle at all on mine and I usually notice something like that. I'll double check it tonight.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's probably the circuit board rattling around with the vibrations. I had that problem in a PCB amp I had once.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Anybody else permanently/completely fixed their rattle problem? Why is this even an issue - did nobody at Fender play one of these before sending them out?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've managed to eliminate a lot of it... I found I had to go in and really tighten down all the screws holding the baffle in, and played with the tightness of the screws on the cone. Beyond that, for recording, I've found jamming broken chopsticks in the space between the baffle and the control knob area will also dampen the noise (mind you this looks like crap if you're on stage).
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Old December 12th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Rattle, buzz not uncommon in most amps in my experience. Find and tweak! Usually a baffle, screw, bolt or tube. Sometimes the handle, sometimes the chassis shielding etc. etc.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam View Post
Rattle, buzz not uncommon in most amps in my experience. Find and tweak! Usually a baffle, screw, bolt or tube. Sometimes the handle, sometimes the chassis shielding etc. etc.
Is it too much to expect a solid amp that doesn't have these quirks, especially right out of the box? My current amp is a Dr. Z MAZ Jr., which I spent a lot of money on to get great quality, and even it developed some weird buzzes, etc. What do I have to do to get a solid amp that won't rattle?

What good is "the best recording amp ever" if rattle precludes recording with it?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've had about 8-10 amps in my house in the last 4 months. The onlyones that had a buzz or rattle were the Hot Rod Deluxe (Tube rattle) and this PRRI (HUGE vibration noises when volume is above 5 and you play a low note) - It appears to be the baffle vibrating pretty bad on mine. Guess Ill try the tips mentioned here.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I wish that I could call Fender and ask what's up, but they have about zero customer access.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I plugged into mine at lunch and set it at 6. Plucked the low "E" and there was some "rattle".

I felt around the amp while plucking it. I thought the top panel in the rear might be causing some of it but noticed that I had all the little cardboard tags that came with it inside the amp. I took all of them out and *no rattle*!

I can't play the amp that loud in the house anyway without getting neighbors upset. I'll tighten up the screws on the panels etc. but I think I'm good to go.

You have to be realistic about this. Screws might come loose and you might have to tighten some up. That's just the way it is.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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markesquire, you are right in thinking that things should be gremlin free especially when you buy new. It can be frustrating. So much for quality control departments.....
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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I tightened all the screws in mine, added felt between the baffle and chassis. For some reason it now rattles even louder! ARG! Looks like the one and only real fix is the Angle iron, but how would this be attached exactly? I'm not really a fix it kind of guy and have no idea how to put it in.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Stevehuff 69:

I'm with you, I didn't pick up the PRRI today b/c the amp tech never got to it.

Try loosening the speaker screws a bit but keep the felt between the baffle and chassis. Some people have said that rattles can actually occur from extra-rigid vibrating pieces like a speaker and baffle.

Let me know how it goes.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Possibly the easiest fix and it leaves no trace.

Mine got much better after the speaker broke in, but low F# will remain bad at high volumes.

I've heard other amps rattle and have quirks too and at the price I just can't complain because the other amps that sound similar or as nice are all 2-3X more.

The simple fix for me that should not void the warranty was wedging the wood shim material you can get at hardware stores or just make. It's cut down and wedged between the metal chassis and top of baffle board that vibration stops and any sign of your fix can be gone in a moment with no sign if you're worried about warranty.

Is it perfect? No. Is it one superb sounding amp with reverb that won't wake the house, wake the neighborhood and won't break the bank? Yes. Thus, I'm living with it.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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We Need Pics

Will you guys please post a picture your "wedges" and how you've placed them in your PRRI. Did it completely fixed the problem? Is the "wedge" visible? Not sure I would know what I was looking for at the hardware store.
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