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'65 DRRI. Brittle? Boomy? Where's the sweet spot?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Bruce Kiely, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Bruce Kiely

    Bruce Kiely Tele-Meister

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    I've been playing around with a new '65 DRRI, right out of the box. I'm playing a Fender '98 Collector's Edition Tele with stock pickups straight in, no stomp boxes.

    I'm finding the amp to be very brittle sounding. Trying to compensate with different tone settings both on the guitar, and on the amp, and at all volumes. Trying to dial out the brittleness just makes this amp sound too boomy on the bottom end.

    Am I missing something? Where's the sweet spot? In fact, where's that sweet blackface tone?

    As always, all comments and opinons welcomed and appreciated.

    Cheers,
    BK
     
  2. staxman

    staxman Tele-Holic

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    I had a DRRI for a few months and sold it. In my opinion, you have to use that amp on it's own terms. A person may like the amp for what it is, but it is not a 65 blackface amp. You will not get a true blackface "sweet spot" tone out of it. No disrespect intended to DRRI owners, but the amp just didn't deliver what I wanted.
     
  3. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Bruce,

    If the amp is brand spankin' new, the speaker is not yet broken in. Give it some time.

    Also, those DR amps (all of them , even the originals) had a bright cap hard wired on the volume control which makes them sound bright. A LOT of guys think the amps sounds a lot better if that cap is removed. In your case you can unsolder it or just cut it off. I took that thing off my DR years ago and haven't looked back.

    Fender ships those amps with somewhat mediocre tubes. New, better tubes will warm it up, particularly if the 6V6s are biased correctly.

    Lastly, the stock speaker, even when broken in, is pretty mediocre. If you really want to warm up the amp, a Weber C12N (12F150) will work wonders.

    A reissue DR, while falling short of an original blackface, isn't a total writeoff, you can get good sounds out of them if you're willing to put some effort and extra money into it.

    It's your amp, your money, your tone. You decide.
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Ditto for Trem's comments....sounds like a bias problem. Turn it up and rattle that speaker a for a while....... :D
     
  5. Stan Martin

    Stan Martin Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have to disagree

    those speakers are real good. You definitely have to break them in though.

    On to the tubes.
    Have it re-biased. Fender is notorious for setting them to cold.
    Also since it is new DO NOT cut out anything on the inside. You will void any warranty.

    I would suggest you try better pre amp tubes. I'm assuming you have 12ax7wa or wb or some other cheap russian or chinese ax7. try the JJ 12ax7 or even the Electro-Harmonics.
     
  6. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    Bruce, as the owner of a '59 Reissue Bassman I gotta
    say that I'm very dissatisfied with the "Re-Issue Series"
    in general. I think they're "bricks". As far as the "sweet
    spot" on my own Reissue that'll come the day I kiss it
    goodbye. I wasted my money and quite frankly a Peavey Classic in any size and dimension blows the Fender Reissues away COMPLETELY.
    And Peavey uses a circuit board too.
    The "Fender" name once stood for quality right out of the box. Someone's gonna write "Fender's in business
    to make money."
    Obviously they're not going to get any more of mine.
     
  7. Walter Broes

    Walter Broes Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't agree at all on the bassman Stan the Man, or the Peavey Classic comparison. I've played various "backline supplied by promotor" bassmans, and almost all of them were pretty cool (my "home" amps are early silver face supers), and I could always get " a tone" out of them.
    I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating - but most Peavey Classics I got supplied at gigs either hàd a problem, either developed one during the gig, either died on me, no kidding. I also think the Peaveys lack low end, and have terribly cold and undynamic reverb.
     
  8. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Of all the reissues, the Bassman is probably the best. Like all new Fenders, stone stock as it comes from the factory, it kind of sucks, but it can be tweaked up with proper biasing, better tubes, and a revoice of the tone stack to make it like the classic 59 circuit, and clip out one of those filter caps to soften it up a bit. Yeah, it voids the warranty, but it sounds a lot better. I've heard a number of RI Bassmans that sounded pretty good.

    Fender fixed the biasing problem with the recent Bassman Ltd, which is now adjustable, now if they'd just fix their other mistakes.
     
  9. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only Fender reissue that has really blown my skirt up is the '63 Vibro, once the Oxfart speakers are replaced. Some folks hate those too.

    My tech guy has been dinking around with my DRRI for a while, trying this & that, to see if he can get it to fly for me. He settled on the EH 6V6's, says they're real close to RCA's. Seems like I've read a few nasty comments about the EH's, & I've yet to hear any Sovtek manufactured tube that works for me - but I highly respect his ear, & I'll keep an open mind until I hear it for myself, should get the amp back tomorrow. He put a JJ in VI to soften things up a bit, & clipped the bright cap as well. I'm gonna listen to it with the stock speaker... but if that doesn't jive, I'll order the $59.00 Reverend 12"... that is, if I feel like the amp is improved enough to justify spending further cash on it. Also thought about doing the carbon comp resistor deal, but nahhh, that starts to take it beyond budget.
     
  10. denny

    denny Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Break the Speaker in ...

    Ill throw in my 2 cents with the New Speaker crowd. Play it, or play music through it for a while. A new speaker will sound constricted, it takes some exercising to broaden out the bass and soften the treble response.

    If the amp still doesn't have the sound that you want, you can start replacing parts...

    The parts that will most affect your tone are the speaker and the tubes. Luckily, these are the easiest to replace, and/or experiment with replacements.

    The only reason to start replacing electronic parts (like the plate resistors ) is if you are hearing sizzling, popping, or other noises when there is no signal. There is no mojo to be found there... mostly just works or it don't.

    denny
     
  11. Oskar

    Oskar Friend of Leo's

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    Never had an ReIssue problems

    I've owned both the TR & the DR reissues and they were both very good amps. I got rid of the TR because it was too heavy to lug around and ended up with a Custom Vibrolux Reverb, not a reissue, but a newer all-tube Fender. It's is an excellent amp. The DR I used extensively for smaller gigs and sold it to one of the other guitar players in the band. He's using it as his main amp. I've never had any problems with any of these amps in the six years I've used them. Can these amps compete with $1000 plus boutique and vintage amps? Probably not, but I think they're much better than just about all of the mass produced amps out there. And finally, the reason I've used them is that I don't have One to 2 thousand dollars to buy a boutique amp, that may or may not fit my needs, and don't have enough technical knowledge to invest money in an older amp and then pay to have it fixed to specs. I guess I just want something to plug in and play.
     
  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'm using EH's in my '67 BFDR and they are sounding real good. The stock DRRI speaker will likely never sound great. The previously mentioned Weber C12N will improve the bottom end immensely. I've also found (for my style) that a vintage 15" Electrovoice speaker sounds superb with the DR. Kinda mini Vibroverb. Bottom end will knock you off your feet..yet the highs are full of great tonality. I suspect an EV 12 would be super too. My opinion is that the DR provides plenty of amp breakup at club volumes, so a clean speaker ain't all that bad.......
    I had a Bass man re-issue that sounded pretty good...I'm just not a tweed lover. I had a Peavey classic 30 that was super sweet at home...but just wouldn't cut throught the mix at the gig....blah, blah blah :rolleyes:
     
  13. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    Back in the '70s I had a SFDR that was no treat to listen to

    Even the originals weren't all great sounding. It has been a long time but as I remember it was a bit brittle. Who knows if it could have been improved with a re-biasing etc but my point is that the originals were not pure bliss for everyone. After a few disappointments on gigs I got rid of mine.
     
  14. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    It was probably because of the stock Oxfart 12K5 speaker (yuck) and the bright cap.

    Those amps really need a better than stock speaker and getting rid of that damn cap in order to sound good.

    IMO.
     
  15. Teleologist

    Teleologist Tele-Meister

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    re: bright cap alternative

    I know Tremo hates the thangs, but I prefer leaving it in my original '66 DR as it lets the amp work better with non-Fender guitars - we used to call the Bright switch in the bigger amps - the Gibson switch...

    My DR has a JBL so it's plenty bright but with a Tele or Strat I like to run the amp's volume higher(5-6) and turn down some at the guitar. This removes some of the effect of the bright cap and assuming the guitar doesn't have a treble bleed cap on the volume control, takes some of the top-end off(I also 'sweet-spot' the tone control).

    Didn't newer DR-RIs get a Jensen RI speaker???? If so it might not be too bad once broken in, but IMO the usual problem with RIs is lousey tubes and cold bias settings. I went further and 'fixed' an early Twin RI with NOS JAN 7581A power tubes, NOS preamp tubes, and by upgrading the critical small value caps in the signal path(250pF tone-stack, 10pF Reverb, .001uF to .0047uF preamp-PI). That one has JBL E120s and I swapped the 120pF bright cap to 47pF like the DR and many older Fenders have. It's been going strong for ~8 years now(3rd set of power tubes) with no problems.
     
  16. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Yep, with full size humbuckers, the bright cap can help. Those pickups are dark and middy compared to single coils, and can use some help in the top end to not sound like there's a blanket over the amp.

    If you play a Strat or a Tele, or a P-90 equipped Gibby, the bright cap will probably "get in the way" of good tone.

    The only full size humbuckers I've heard that were not too dark and middy were the SD Jazz models.
     
  17. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Got my DRRI back with the tweaks I mentioned above... much improved, but still not quite there... think I'll pop for the Reverend speaker, seeing as how the stock speakage has had plenty of break in hours...
     
  18. Bruce Kiely

    Bruce Kiely Tele-Meister

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    Thanks

    Thanks to all for the detailed responses!

    Cheers,
    BK
     
  19. Brad Miller

    Brad Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree with Tremo.........

    I replaced the speaker in my DRRI with a Weber 12F150W. And replaced the tubes with a full set of JJ's. I was quite impressed with the results.
     
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