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Old August 18th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Best Sounding Fender Amp I ever heard !!!

I just retubed and repaired a Fender Vibro King for a customer. This had to be the absolute best sounding Fender amp I have ever hear. The reverb was simply silky without the hint of spring-y-ness, for lack of a better word. Even the vibrato which I don't normally use was extremly musical.
After looking at the schematic it was obvious what Fender did was to build one of their stand-alone reverb units right into this amp. The input jacks not only feed the directly into 1/2 of the first triode but also in parrallel into the input of the reverb circuit, just like you would do if you pluged into one of their stand-alone reverbs.

Any of you guys play out of one of these? Let me know what you think.

I was planning to build a Super Reverb clone or even the elusive Vibroverb but I tempted to throw all those ideas out the window after hearing this amp.

What do you think?

-Tony

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Old August 19th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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yeah!
I have the Dual pro, which is essentialy the same circuit, maybe some minor differences, but the reverb and vibrato are awesome. Did that Vibroking have 5881's or 6l6's. Mine has sylvania 5881's and I have a couple 6K6's on the way for my reverb unit plus this amp to get that original smoother reverb sound.

I wish I could get my hands on one of the theme Vibrokings, preferably the county western one.
Look on ebay!
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Old August 19th, 2005, 01:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh yeah!

I got my Vibro-King shortly after they first came out. I was enchanted by the clean tones. I had to do the mod recommended by Fender to solve the problem with the reverb tube constantly blowing. Fender changed the design somewhat thereafter to use a different tube for the reverb to take care of that problem. I've been using NOS Tung-Sol 5881/6L6WGB power tubes in mine for some time for a "better" tone and earlier breakup.

Also I put 3 Weber alnico speakers in mine; a Blue Pup, Silver Bell, and the Weber P10N. I think that is what they were called at the time. Ted Weber has changed his nomenclature since then. Great speakers and great guy. Ted made me a wiring harness when I bought the speakers and threw it in for free. After initial break in, the speakers seem to continue to get better and better.

The tone and volume controls on the Vibro-King are extremely interactive. Anyone trying this amp should experiment with running the volume control on 10 and the tone controls on zero then run up the tone controls to taste or vice-versa, tones on 10 and volume zero. Somewhere between those two extremes you'll find a tone you like. I think many of the folks who have tried a Vibro-King briefly and given the opinion they didn't like the amp were probably unaware of this. I found a sweet spot that works for me and I love my Vibro-King. My Strat loves her too!

BTW what tubes did you use when you retubed your customer's amp, Tony?

P.S. Thermal Relief is a great name for a business in Las Vegas! I was down there from Reno on business last month and it was boilin'.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Vibro-King is a Bruce Zinky design.

http://www.zinky.com/current.html

Quote:
I was offered a position with Fender in AZ. I worked at Fender for 4 years to the day. I designed a number of amps and speaker enclosures, custom shop and standard production. Some of the standard amps were re-designed for costing and manufacturing reasons, after I did the initial prototype. Others were my work totally, and remain that way to this day. Amps I worked on in total or in part include the Vibro King, Tone Master, Pro Jr, Dual Professional, Custom Vibrolux, Prosonic, Custom Vibrosonic, ’46 Professional limited edition, and Rumble Bass.
He's also the guy doing the Lil Smokey amps.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Vibro King

Hi.

Want to tell you one think I noticed by mistake when working with Vibro King and LIKE IT.
I repaired Vibro King and found volume pot was bad.
I ordered new one, soldered it in and fire it up. Somehow amp sounded much cleaner and more like Super Reverb.
I could turn volume up to 5 or 6 still pretty clean.

Took chassis out again wondering what was different.
Found out that new pot I put in was LOGARITHMIC, Vibro from factory uses LINEAR.

It´s different and I like it more like that.

Regards
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Old August 19th, 2005, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Vibro King

Quote:
Originally Posted by kepa
Hi.

Want to tell you one think I noticed by mistake when working with Vibro King and LIKE IT.
I repaired Vibro King and found volume pot was bad.
I ordered new one, soldered it in and fire it up. Somehow amp sounded much cleaner and more like Super Reverb.
I could turn volume up to 5 or 6 still pretty clean.

Took chassis out again wondering what was different.
Found out that new pot I put in was LOGARITHMIC, Vibro from factory uses LINEAR.

It´s different and I like it more like that.

Regards
Kepa
Now I have to buy a Vibro King just to try that... :)
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Old August 19th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replys guys.

As for the volume pot, you may be right as the gain seemed to come on very fast like a linear pot.

Bruce Zinky design !!! I never would have guessed that. I never cared much for his new little amps.

Now for the reverb tube, this one had a EL84. Certainly a lot beef for a reverb driver tube.

As for retubing it, it came in with all GT. The customer had it retubed a couple of years ago. Unfortunatly the customer didn't want to spend a lot of cash so we used EH 12AX7's for dual triodes. a Mesa Boogie EL84 for the reverb driver and the Sovtek 6L6WXT+'s for the outputs. I did have to add a resistor to the bias circuit in order to get enough bias voltage to run the output to 70% of their max.

These wouldn't have been my choice for tubes but they were the least expensive.

Still this was defintley the best Fender I ever heard.

-Tony
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Old August 20th, 2005, 11:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trdlasvegas
As for the volume pot, you may be right as the gain seemed to come on very fast like a linear pot.
Aha! See, this gain coming on very fast may be a function of the interactivity of the tone and volume controls. Were the tone knobs dimed when this happened?
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Old August 21st, 2005, 02:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Vibro King

Quote:
Originally Posted by kepa
Took chassis out again wondering what was different.
Found out that new pot I put in was LOGARITHMIC, Vibro from factory uses LINEAR.
Didn't the Vibro King use dual-ganged "stereo" pots with both sections in parallel?
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Old August 21st, 2005, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Vibro King

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett
Quote:
Originally Posted by kepa
Took chassis out again wondering what was different.
Found out that new pot I put in was LOGARITHMIC, Vibro from factory uses LINEAR.
Didn't the Vibro King use dual-ganged "stereo" pots with both sections in parallel?
The '95 Prosonic I had used the ganged pots, but the volume inly used half. I'm not sure if the Vibro-King is that way or not. I read that Zinky did this so that all the pots would have the same feel.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 07:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My biggest complaint on these is the splash, crashy reverb...it is not lush like SF/BF or reverb unit. The problem is that there is not enough low end being fed into the reverb circuit. This can be remedied easily by using larger coupling caps at both ends, I've done a couple or 3, including one that belonged to Bill Kirchen. It is a nice improvement.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 10:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Tim-

Do you know if the Prosonic used the same reverb circuit? I sold mine partly because I disliked the reverb. Mine was a January of '95 Prosonic, Fender Amp Custom Shop on the tube chart, and also printed on the circuit board. Green Lizard Tolex.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 06:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Vibro King

Let me say that I once owned and sold this Vibro I repaired. I Never liked it so much, because to me, it was just too much "in your face" sounding, but this simple volume pot chance got me wanting Vibro King again... it´s great now!

I also made that reverb mod few years back, because this is early model, burning that el84 too much.

Kepa
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Vibro King

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett
Quote:
Originally Posted by kepa
Took chassis out again wondering what was different.
Found out that new pot I put in was LOGARITHMIC, Vibro from factory uses LINEAR.
Didn't the Vibro King use dual-ganged "stereo" pots with both sections in parallel?
bruce told me the reason he did that was because when a half the pot gets scratchy or cuts out, your amp keeps working. sorta make sense, but what happens to your component values when that happens? wouldn't it drastically change the sound of it.

johnny atomic
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 12:06 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Yes I did notice that mostly all the pots were dual pots wired in parallel. But the Volume pot although it was dual was not wired in parallel. One section of the pot was wired to the output of the reverb return tube while the other section was wired as a normal volume control feed in to the tone control tube. I guess this means you get more reverb return the louder you put the volume and vise-versa.

And I especially know what you guys are talking about when you change the caps to get a little more low end into the reverb. But this is what I really liked about the reverb was that it didn't have so much low end and therfore it was not springy when you turned the reverb way up. I have a feeling for the country music most of you guys play you would want to modify this to get more reverb spring, but I think the slightly less springy sound is prefered in blues and rock. But everyone has their own tastes.

-Tony
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