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PRRI Rattle - NEED HELP TODAY

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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?

stevehuff69
December 12th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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?

Billm
December 12th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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?

Billm
December 12th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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.

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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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.

chet
December 12th, 2008, 11:42 AM
I haven't noticed any rattle at all on mine and I usually notice something like that. I'll double check it tonight.

twangcaster1
December 12th, 2008, 11:46 AM
It's probably the circuit board rattling around with the vibrations. I had that problem in a PCB amp I had once.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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?

tyrone
December 12th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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).

Cam
December 12th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 12:52 PM
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?

stevehuff69
December 12th, 2008, 01:00 PM
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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 01:14 PM
I wish that I could call Fender and ask what's up, but they have about zero customer access.

chet
December 12th, 2008, 01:51 PM
I plugged into mine at lunch and set it at 6. Plucked the low "E" and there was some "rattle". :eek:

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*! :smile:

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.

Cam
December 12th, 2008, 06:01 PM
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.....

stevehuff69
December 12th, 2008, 10:22 PM
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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 11:03 PM
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.

imwjl
December 12th, 2008, 11:29 PM
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.

markesquire
December 12th, 2008, 11:52 PM
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.

markesquire
December 13th, 2008, 12:01 AM
What about this? The cab itself is the original size I think, but Fender tried to make the baffle "removable" to accommodate the people who would immediately put a 12" in. If this "removable" baffle design is causing so much consistent trouble, would replacing it with a fixed, sturdier baffle solve the problem? The original PR's didn't have a "removable" baffle, did they?

Billm
December 13th, 2008, 12:24 AM
The original PRs did have removable baffles. Some CBS-era PRs had glued-in baffles. The PRRI is a faithful copy of the 1965 Princeton Reverb.

strat a various
December 13th, 2008, 03:49 AM
OK, Mark, if you really want to solve the rattle once and for all, you'll need a screwdriver, a friend who can twang your guitar, preferably a player (so you don't go nuts hearing open strings over and over), and a couple of hours to make some loud noises.

Pull the chassis (take reasonable precautions to not touch the capacitors that hold a charge .. or discharge them), run a speaker cable from the amp chassis to the separate cabinet; get at least 5 or 6 feet from the speaker with the chassis upside-down.. Now play loud.
If you get a rattle, have your helper play vigorously while you feel around the speaker and cab for the source of the rattle. You may want to wear earplugs. Tightening, loosening and variously adjusting the screws that secure the baffle, or the back panels may solve the rattle. Be CAREFUL tightening speaker bolts or nuts. Over-tightening can warp the frame and ruin the speaker- DON"T OVER-TIGHTEN SPEAKER MOUNT FASTENERS!
You may need to repair screw holes by partially filling them with plastic wood or even bits of toothpick, to make sure screws properly tighten.

If the speaker or cab are not rattling, the problem is in the chassis. Examine the amp for obvious loose components and loose screws. Tighten tube socket pin contacts as needed, careful not to over-tighten anything that might crack a plastic part or bend a metal part out of shape.

Reinstall the chassis, test for rattle... if it still rattles, get your helper to play while you carefully hold the tubes firmly into their sockets. Use oven mitts, tubes get very hot. Feel around the reverb tank, reverb wiring, anything that might be shaking.

Last thing to try is to carefully wedge soft wood, plastic or rubber (rubber spatulas work well here) into the cracks where the chassis meets the cabinet at different points. Some gaps will fit a toothpick or a split chopstick; careful to not damage internal components. If one or more of the wedges makes the rattle go away, you can make a permanent wedge out of glaziers rubber, available at good hardware stores or builder's supply houses(used for setting window glass), stiff foam rubber, or soft wood. Dollar stores have cheap rubber spatulas that you can cut chunks from, but they're usually white.

After all this if you still have a rattle, you need an exorcist.

imwjl
December 13th, 2008, 10:46 AM
OK, Mark, if you really want to solve the rattle once and for all, you'll need a screwdriver, a friend who can twang your guitar, preferably a player (so you don't go nuts hearing open strings over and over), and a couple of hours to make some loud noises.

Pull the chassis (take reasonable precautions to not touch the capacitors that hold a charge .. or discharge them), run a speaker cable from the amp chassis to the separate cabinet; get at least 5 or 6 feet from the speaker with the chassis upside-down.. Now play loud.
If you get a rattle, have your helper play vigorously while you feel around the speaker and cab for the source of the rattle. You may want to wear earplugs. Tightening, loosening and variously adjusting the screws that secure the baffle, or the back panels may solve the rattle. Be CAREFUL tightening speaker bolts or nuts. Over-tightening can warp the frame and ruin the speaker- DON"T OVER-TIGHTEN SPEAKER MOUNT FASTENERS!
You may need to repair screw holes by partially filling them with plastic wood or even bits of toothpick, to make sure screws properly tighten.

If the speaker or cab are not rattling, the problem is in the chassis. Examine the amp for obvious loose components and loose screws. Tighten tube socket pin contacts as needed, careful not to over-tighten anything that might crack a plastic part or bend a metal part out of shape.

Reinstall the chassis, test for rattle... if it still rattles, get your helper to play while you carefully hold the tubes firmly into their sockets. Use oven mitts, tubes get very hot. Feel around the reverb tank, reverb wiring, anything that might be shaking.

Last thing to try is to carefully wedge soft wood, plastic or rubber (rubber spatulas work well here) into the cracks where the chassis meets the cabinet at different points. Some gaps will fit a toothpick or a split chopstick; careful to not damage internal components. If one or more of the wedges makes the rattle go away, you can make a permanent wedge out of glaziers rubber, available at good hardware stores or builder's supply houses(used for setting window glass), stiff foam rubber, or soft wood. Dollar stores have cheap rubber spatulas that you can cut chunks from, but they're usually white.

After all this if you still have a rattle, you need an exorcist.

My PRRI sits about 6" from my DRRI. IMO the top middle of the PRRI baffle board will oscillate more. That oscillation or vibration is what remained after I touched and looked at other issues including re-seating the components.

Again, I'll repeat that I wish it was not an issue, I wish my call and same for my sizable dealer (Full Compass - a fair sized mail order firm in my town) to Fender did not yield people daft to the issue but I played more expensive amps in the past 10 days and if tone means anything my PRRI was 1/2 to 1/3 the price of those others.

IMO where my PRRI really shines is giving rich and percussive tone at moderate volumes so that also makes this less of an issue for me. If shop labor is $50-90 an hour you can buy have the PRRI and fix up for much less than many other great sounding amps whether it's your labor or a pro. That's not saying I would not enjoy something like a Bogner Duende....

stevehuff69
December 13th, 2008, 11:55 AM
Bogner Duende..sweet amp! I tried one myself a while back and that is about the only amp I have GAS for besides the PRRI I already have! My buddies BJ sounds pretty good and has NO rattle at all but its not the same sound as the PRRI, but is half the price.

I have thought about swapping the PRRI for a DRRI but I am strictly an at home player and have heard the DRRI doesn't do as well as the PRRI at lower volumes. I played a DRRI in the store and thought it was great but not sure how they do side by side (PRRI/DRRI)

I may go out today for a drive and check out some amps for the fun of it to see what compares to the PRRI (tone wise) in the same price range. I am sure there is not much out there that will, if anything.

stevehuff69
December 13th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Actually, I just discovered an amp that beats the PRRI at a dealer 90 min away from me. The Headstring Lil King - exact replica of a 64 Princeton reverb. Looks just like the PRRI but is hand built, hand wired, 10 year warranty and sounds just as good if not a bit better than the PRRI. Also, no rattle to be found. Only problem is the price - $1500. I got the dealer down to $1376, still a bit rich for my blood when the PRRI cost me $719. But if I had the extra $650 or so to splurge I would do it in a heartbeat.

markesquire
December 13th, 2008, 08:25 PM
Yeah, I occasionally think about Clark's Kanee Reverb, but I'm not sure that going from PCB to hand-wired justifies doubling the price, SO LONG as you're comparing two non-rattling amps. The PRRI amp (not cab) is one of the better sounding amps that I've heard fender put out in quite awhile.

We all know that the actual amp is not vintage correct, but does anyone know whether the cabinet and cab dimensions are vintage correct? If so, why does the PRRI have consistent rattle problems while the originals (or Clark or Headstrong) examples do not?

stevehuff69
December 14th, 2008, 01:17 AM
Here is a question. Has anyone hooked up the PRRI to an extension cab? I was looking at the fender extension cabs and if I could plug in the PRRI to one that would eliminate the rattle. Could I Just hook the cab to the PRRI speaker input and only use the cab? This would then be a 12" speaker which should even make it sound bigger. I can get the Fender extension cab for $240. Just not sure how it would sound.

mkern
December 14th, 2008, 09:35 AM
I have the same rattle but what eventually became the bigger issue was tube rattle. Its a powerful amp to be crammed in such a small enclosure. Makes a good case to go with a head and cab, eliminating these issues. Found some silicone rings that made a vast improvement on the tube rattle. As far as the baffle rattle, tried jamming stuff between the baffle and chasis and decided I didn't like the idea of transfering the energy of the rattle directly into the chasis that houses the tubes and electronics. Right now, I'm not all that bothered but I have plans to cross-brace the baffle using against the walls of the cabinet.

Rattle aside, this is a brilliant amp. I'm an audiophile and to my ears this is the best amp I've heard for my playing style.

stevehuff69
December 14th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Hey! I am also an audiophile (own a Sonus Faber Guarneri Momento/all tube HiFi setup) and I agree, this PRRI is the best amp I have ever heard. I am planning on bracing the baffle today with aluminum angle iron. So far there has been no tube rattle for me but I'm sure it will creep in sometime.

milocj
December 14th, 2008, 11:57 AM
I haven't played any of the PRRI's, but I've got a 1967 Princeton Reverb that once in awhile will have some rattling problems. Late 1967 was also the first time Fender added the brief run of "drip-edge" trim around the baffle so when mine rattles the drip-edge could be part of the problem.

In my case it was solved simply by taking a cut off section of old phone cord (the cord that goes from the phone to the wall) and stuffing it between the cabinet and the baffle on the bottom of the baffle. Either my drip-edge was making noise on the bottom or the baffle was flexing (like you guys seem to mention) and it was buzzing along the non-moving Tolex at the bottom of the cabinet. I know that the drip-edge has sometimes been known to buzz against the baffle but mine seemed to sound like the baffle rubbing on the Tolex. Maybe some of the problems folks have been having is coming from the bottom and not the top of the baffle.

Another question: Has anybody tried loosening all of the baffle screws and tried slightly moving the baffle around to center it better in the frame of the cabinet so that it doesn't touch on any of the sides where it might rub when vibrating?

markesquire
December 14th, 2008, 01:59 PM
Has anyone compared the PRRI to a vintage example? What were the results? What would be the difference (if any) between the PRRI and a modern replica of a hand-wired vintage PR made by Clark, VintageSound, Headstrong, etc?

chet
December 14th, 2008, 03:53 PM
Hey! I am also an audiophile (own a Sonus Faber Guarneri Momento/all tube HiFi setup) and I agree, this PRRI is the best amp I have ever heard. I am planning on bracing the baffle today with aluminum angle iron. So far there has been no tube rattle for me but I'm sure it will creep in sometime.

Sheese, Steve- I thought you liked the PRRI better than the Deluxe? If the Deluxe didn't rattle i would've kept it. I'd have to crank my PRRI up all the way to get even a little noise out of it.

chet
December 14th, 2008, 03:54 PM
You guys do realize that there is such a thing as "tube rattle"?

markesquire
December 14th, 2008, 04:28 PM
You guys do realize that there is such a thing as "tube rattle"?

Yeah, I've had tube rattle before, and that's a legit issue. However, the one that I tried in the store (and may buy if it gets settled) did not have tube rattle, or if it did, I could not hear it over the cabinet rattle, which subsided when I touched/pressed the top of the baffle.

markesquire
December 14th, 2008, 04:34 PM
Do you guys think that these problems have been blown out of proportion, or are they significant enough to warrant holding off on the PRRI and saving for a Clark Kanee Reverb replica?

The Fender Forum and Harmony Central reviews are replete with consistent complaints about the rattle.

imwjl
December 14th, 2008, 04:39 PM
Has anyone compared the PRRI to a vintage example? What were the results? What would be the difference (if any) between the PRRI and a modern replica of a hand-wired vintage PR made by Clark, VintageSound, Headstrong, etc?

I played older blackface and silverface models and neither did it for me based on the asking price, shape or work needed.

I have not played the brands you mention but played Victoria and Bad Cat as boutique types stocked in my area as well as a few of the amps an amp builder friend made. It all left me happy with my DRRI, PRRI and my planning to build an amp kit with help from said friend because nothing has sounded better than his work.

At this point I've probably spent more time typing on Internet threads about the PRRI rattle than I have spent fixing mine.

tyrone
December 14th, 2008, 07:52 PM
Here is a question. Has anyone hooked up the PRRI to an extension cab? I was looking at the fender extension cabs and if I could plug in the PRRI to one that would eliminate the rattle. Could I Just hook the cab to the PRRI speaker input and only use the cab? This would then be a 12" speaker which should even make it sound bigger. I can get the Fender extension cab for $240. Just not sure how it would sound.

If you do this, please share. I'm thinking this is probably the best solution for when it comes time for recording...

chet
December 14th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Yeah, I've had tube rattle before, and that's a legit issue. However, the one that I tried in the store (and may buy if it gets settled) did not have tube rattle, or if it did, I could not hear it over the cabinet rattle, which subsided when I touched/pressed the top of the baffle.

Don't buy that amp if you hear rattle from it.

I had a Pro Jr. about ten years ago that I could never find the source of it's rattle so I sold it.

Another thing that may be causing rattle is the guitar you use.

strat a various
December 14th, 2008, 09:38 PM
Lot's of good amps have potential rattles. Any combo amp can be prone to rattle at any time, new or used. I passed on a new silverface Twin Reverb w/ JBLs back in the 70s because it rattle badly at high volumes. I should have picked it up and fixed the rattle. Great amp, sounded beautiful. My current silverface w/ vintage blackface-style Jensen speakers, has never rattled, but it could start tomorrow, no way to predict.
Anytime you put amp and speaker in a screwed together box'n'chassis, you're askin' for a rattle. If the amp sounds good otherwise, talk down the price "because of the rattle", then fix it.

markesquire
December 14th, 2008, 10:29 PM
Essentially, I keep going back and forth between getting the Fender and holding off for a Kanee Reverb. The Fender is $850 while the Kanee is $1450, but the Kanee will come with any speaker that I want, be handwired, personalized, and have exceptional one-man-shop attention to detail.

The Fender part of me says "is the Kanee REALLY worth $600 more?" The other part of me says "do you really want to pay $850 for ANYTHING that you know rattles horribly at gigging volumes, with some potential fixes out there that have worked for some people but not others?" I don't want to buy an amp, deal with it for a few years and try to sell it off, eating the loss in value.

JamonHamon
December 15th, 2008, 04:08 AM
Go to http://www.americanmusical.com/BrandItems--Celestion--b-48
and put a Celestion Blue http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-CEL-BLUE128-LIST or Gold http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-CEL-GOLD128-LISTor or Century http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-CEL-CNEO128-LIST in there

Billm
December 15th, 2008, 08:25 AM
How will a Celestion speaker help the rattle problem? It's not the speaker that's rattling.

chet
December 15th, 2008, 10:34 AM
Essentially, I keep going back and forth between getting the Fender and holding off for a Kanee Reverb. The Fender is $850 while the Kanee is $1450, but the Kanee will come with any speaker that I want, be handwired, personalized, and have exceptional one-man-shop attention to detail.

The Fender part of me says "is the Kanee REALLY worth $600 more?" The other part of me says "do you really want to pay $850 for ANYTHING that you know rattles horribly at gigging volumes, with some potential fixes out there that have worked for some people but not others?" I don't want to buy an amp, deal with it for a few years and try to sell it off, eating the loss in value.

The other amp might rattle too. :razz:


PS: My PRRI does not rattle.