Alesadndro PRRI Rewire Opinions

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Texicaster, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    yeah, now we're getting into "what changes actually make things sound better," which may or may not have been the intent of the OP.

    It's hard to beat a good vintage Fender. If you give it some time, you 100% will see silverface princetons for less than 1400. I would expect them to come up for sale in the 900-1000 range. Get that serviced, and you're good to go. Unfortunately, no matter which option you choose, you're not going to come out ahead - most people rarely do in the gear game :D
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm familiar with what Allesandro does and I personally love hand wired amps.
    I could gaze into vintage chassis' endlessly, and have fond memories of the wiring layouts of some of my old favorites.
    I even one of the TDPRI pedants that corrects those who mix up PTP with turret board and eyelet board.
    I actually just bought a PTP wired amp with just one small turret board and a couple of terminal strips, but all PTP between pots and tubes. Less beautiful looking than a nice Hiwatt or Marshall, yet extra cool in a different way.

    I also love seeing the signature of different builders in a classic circuit, where they all do a little different interpretation of the same layout. Never mind the gradual worsening of the vintage Fender amps hand wiring, along with the tell tale wire wrapping attempts to reduce the parasitic oscillation caused by the more sloppy wiring.

    I almost never buy a vintage amp without pulling the chassis in the shop, but if it wasn't possible I have a hard time deciding whether to play it first or look at the wiring first.

    So I really understand wanting to get a reissue amp rewired by hand.

    We have also had numerous threads exactly the same as this, debating the merits of gutting a pcb amp to hand wire it.
    None have ended with a definitive result that showed an audible improvement.
    None have concluded that the amp sounded exactly the same either, but we here know pretty much for a fact that the money spent of gutting and rewiring one of the Fender reissue amps does not net you a notable improvement in the sound.
    We've all had the experience of squinting and saying "I think it sounds better" after some mod to our gear.

    This is just one experiment that's been done and discussed and doesn't make amps sound better in and of itself.

    Because my amp buying was all about Plexi Marshalls and BF Super Reverbs for years, I clung to the assumption that hand wiring had a sound. I still tend to assume the really high end hand wired amps sound better than the assembly line pcb amps, but the problem there is that the assembly line amps are just cheaper, they are not less great sounding because of the pcb.

    I have three hand wired 18w Marshall variants and to my ear they sound pretty boring through a Greenback speaker which is typically stock, though they do pretty well cranked and distorted.
    But for my 25 or so tube amps I have easily 50 speakers, most in boxes, and audition multiple speakers with an amp to determine which pairing is best. Usually I find one of my expensive high power alnico speakers is best for my ear, but some amps respond better to a ceramic.
    On the internet, speakers like the C Rex are popular, but I find it dulls the tone, and only use it in one boutique amp that has no tone control and is just too bright for an Esquire.
    As others have said, finding the right speaker is as big a sound improvement as can be done to an amp.

    I just bought four Baldwin branded '60s Sylvania 12ax7 and they should arrive soon.
    While some report they cannot hear the difference when tube rolling, I find that with practice we can hear what different preamp tubes sound like in V1, then choose according to what we want a little more of in our sound.
    Some soften the bass, some soften the treble, some have more or less gain even in the 12ax7, some slightly reduce gain and also harshness. For example '50s Raytheon black plate 12ax7s have an immediately recognizable brilliance, which may be too much in some amps. I use them like spice, not as a blanket improvement.

    With the BFPR/ SFPR/ PRRI the bias adjustment can make the amp sound "a little thin", or really thin, or nice and fat, or raspy.

    Bias adjustment, speaker, and tube choice are all going to change the sound of the amp.
    Some new production tubes sound good, don't last as long, and have a sonic footprint.
    You should be able to hear a notable difference in a PRRI between JJ 6v6 and reissue Tung Sol 6v6 in your PRRI.
    The Tung Sols would sound fatter if biased properly.

    Anyhow, my old belief that hand wiring had a sound has passed on, though my love of hand wired amps has not left me.

    If you go with the Allesandro hand wiring, I'd say do it because you just love both the PRRI cosmetics and the idea of hand wiring you can't see or hear.

    If you want it to sound a little better and less thin or more fat, I'd take the $600 sale and add the cost of gut and rewire, and spend that on a used Allen Sweet spot.
    It has all the good parts Allesandro uses plus better lumber, chassis, transformers and assembly, plus it has knobs to adjust fatter and thinner!

    Or see what you get from a speaker swap.
    I only say all this because you asked.
    If a friend showed me their newly rewired PRRI I'd just say wow that's cool...
    Allesandro makes great amps too, though they don't seem to come up very often.
    Didn't he do a solid sterling silver chassis amp some years back.
    I know he had a run of solid copper chassis amps.
    Then a line of cheaper working dog amps.
    Tough market the boutique amp world...
     
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  3. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    Just today I‘ve seen the Princeton prices rising again on Reverb: 1979 SF for 1.600$ and more. The next little amp you’ll see with astronomical prices is the Vibro champ.
     
  4. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Holic

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    OK...

    So a vintage PR IS better

    A custom build clone IS better

    A modded PRRI is NOT any different....

    I'm not following this logic of how certain amps may sound "better" but rewiring an amp to vintage specs will not make a difference.

    You can't have it BOTH ways!


    Could it be the sheer mojo of the vintage is effecting your ears?


    I'm just guessing but if you want a vintage tone in a modern build you find the schematic of the amp you like and reproduce it as exactly as you can with modern or NOS components.

    BTW If NO difference you can buy the brand new PCB's from Alesandro for a song..... I don't see anyone going that route....

    Still firmly on the fence..... building a little platform with a fridge and lawn chair....:D

    BTW I'll reiterate. I'm a compulsive tinkerer! I love seeing what small changes will do to just about anything I can tweak! I don't have the skills to work on amps else I'd have iot apart already!

    I'm not trying to make the PRRI into a Showman etc... Just figuring it'd be the best bang for a $700 investment...

    TEX
     
  5. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Meister

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    I totally agree... different is the word. I also believe that there are magic combinations consisting of ONE ( particular) GUITAR AND ONE ( particular) AMP that just sound better... much better to your ear and closer to the sound in your head you are always chasing.
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I agree that a PRRI will be worth more with the Allesandro rewire than a stock used PRRI.
    I doubt it will be worth the value of a stock used PRRI plus the cost of the rewiring job, but hand wired mojo attracts more buyers than modded/ upgraded/ "improved" guitars.
     
  7. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Holic

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    I can't say I read every reply completely, so forgive me if this has already been said. I think the re-wiring is a bad idea, personally. You talk about not getting much for the amp as it is... say $600 or so, so it seems that the economics matter somewhat to you. They do for me, too. With that said, I would suggest that it investing another $700 or so in to the amp would not be great economics. You will have spent as much as you would have on a silverface PR, but you will never get silverface PR money back for it.

    I agree with a few others here who suggest a speaker swap. I have a vintage 68 Princeton Reverb, and while the original Oxford is around here somewhere, there is a WGS G10C/S in it. It does not sound thin in the slightest.
     
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  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Realistically speaking, all the "better" we read about on the internet is just stuff we read on the internet.
    There is no way all the originals sound better than all the reissues, because a lot of originals sound like crap, and some that sound great have lots of replaced parts including the power transformer, which is actually a Champ PT and inadequate for the Princeton, so proned to overheating and burning out.

    The PRRI is widely considered a great sounding amp.
    Those who insist a vintage BF/SFPR sounds better are probably a smaller group than those that find that a PRRI sounds great.
    For many players here and around, a PRRI is their amp of choice after years and dozens of fine tube amps, and many players have compared the PRRI to originals but found little or nothing better about the original.

    Also plenty of players find that both original and reissue PR's sound like crap because it's not an amp they think sounds great.

    What might make a custom builder clone/ interpretation better would be for one thing the ability to control your complaint of thinner sound than your Swart, with a knob on the front panel that adds thicker or goes back to stock thinner mid scooped sound.
    Another thing that might make it better would be the bias test points and bias pot accessible with the chassis in the wood, allowing correct bias and even listening to bias settings with the amp running.
    Believe it or not, many classic Fender amps can be improved upon since they were designed in the early '60s.
    Even if only in reliability, noise, and convenience.

    In cases where a vintage PR sounds better than a PRRI, it's very likely that they are not biased the same, not using the same tubes, and not using the same speaker.
    I wouldn't say the PRRI sounds exactly the same as a vintage PR, but vintage amps vary in sound, as do reissue amps to less of a degree.
    Again, the PRRI is a highly regarded amp and not generally considered thin sounding by those who prefer the Princeton reverb sound.
    Plenty of players who used to own and use a BFPR switched to a PRRI when their gigging tool became a valuable collectors item.

    If MOJO effects our ears, it usually happens when we spend a lot of money on a mod that does almost nothing to the sound, but makes the piece of gear extra cool to think about and covet.

    Allesandro gutting and rewiring a perfectly good PRRI will indeed make it a better amp if you love the idea of a really nice hand wired amp. What we are saying is that there is no solid evidence to support the idea that it will sound better due to the rewire.
    It may sound better due to proper bias and a better speaker.
    But it may not sound as good as an Allen Sweet Spot if what you really want is fatter rather than thinner.
    I love hand maybe even more than most, but there are tons of great hand wired amps for sale at affordable prices, and I have to choose sound over pretty guts.
    My most recent mostly PTP amps is still out of the wood, partly trying different tubes to find a combo that sounds best for my single bridge pickup guitars, but also because I just love the MOJO, and peek at the wiring now and then.
     
  9. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Meister

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    I bought Deluxe and Princeton boards from Allessandro's and they are spares for my amps..
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Realistically speaking, all the "better" we read about on the internet is just stuff we read on the internet.
    There is no way all the originals sound better than all the reissues, because a lot of originals sound like crap, and some that sound great have lots of replaced parts including the power transformer, which is actually a Champ PT and inadequate for the Princeton, so proned to overheating and burning out.

    The PRRI is widely considered a great sounding amp.
    Those who insist a vintage BF/SFPR sounds better are probably a smaller group than those that find that a PRRI sounds great.
    For many players here and around, a PRRI is their amp of choice after years and dozens of fine tube amps, and many players have compared the PRRI to originals but found little or nothing better about the original.

    Also plenty of players find that both original and reissue PR's sound like crap because it's not an amp they think sounds great.

    What might make a custom builder clone/ interpretation better would be for one thing the ability to control your complaint of thinner sound than your Swart, with a knob on the front panel that adds thicker or goes back to stock thinner mid scooped sound.
    Another thing that might make it better would be the bias test points and bias pot accessible with the chassis in the wood, allowing correct bias and even listening to bias settings with the amp running.
    Believe it or not, many classic Fender amps can be improved upon since they were designed in the early '60s.
    Even if only in reliability, noise, and convenience.

    In cases where a vintage PR sounds better than a PRRI, it's very likely that they are not biased the same, not using the same tubes, and not using the same speaker.
    I wouldn't say the PRRI sounds exactly the same as a vintage PR, but vintage amps vary in sound, as do reissue amps to less of a degree.
    Again, the PRRI is a highly regarded amp and not generally considered thin sounding by those who prefer the Princeton reverb sound.
    Plenty of players who used to own and use a BFPR switched to a PRRI when their gigging tool became a valuable collectors item.

    If MOJO effects our ears, it usually happens when we spend a lot of money on a mod that does almost nothing to the sound, but makes the piece of gear extra cool to think about and covet.

    Allesandro gutting and rewiring a perfectly good PRRI will indeed make it a better amp if you love the idea of a really nice hand wired amp. What we are saying is that there is no solid evidence to support the idea that it will sound better due to the rewire.
    It may sound better due to proper bias and a better speaker.
    But it may not sound as good as an Allen Sweet Spot if what you really want is fatter rather than thinner.
    I love hand maybe even more than most, but there are tons of great hand wired amps for sale at affordable prices, and I have to choose sound over pretty guts.
    My most recent mostly PTP amps is still out of the wood, partly trying different tubes to find a combo that sounds best for my single bridge pickup guitars, but also because I just love the MOJO, and peek at the wiring now and then.

    Years ago I had a late '50s Ampeg Jet I bought as a bare chassis.
    Built a head cab with the amp at the front and a 1/4" clear plexi panel so you could see the whole inner chassis wiring.
    Around then Matchless had an option for a clear plexi top on amps allowing the wiring to be seen.
     
  11. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    Do you‘ve compared an original Princeton with a PRRI side by side? Of course you‘re right concerning different tubes and speakers, but the basic character of an amp stays the same, no matter what tube or speaker you put in.
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I haven't done a comparison of BF/SFPR and PRRI.
    My vintage SF Princeton is heavily modded, and i also have a Brown Princeton which I vastly prefer for the fatter (less thin) tone.

    My observations of the similarities and differences between the sound of original and reissue are partly from what members here I consider sane have reported, and also from having owned numerous samples of the same amp that all sounded different.
    Sane being relative, but I've observed my own questionable sanity tell me I need this or that when it was really just a GAS attack.

    I strongly dislike the thinner scooped mids sound of the BF Fender circuit, and prefer the fatter mids of mid hump Brutish amps.
    Sorry, British amps.
    Even clean I prefer a vintage Marshall.
    I've had the chance to buy vintage Princeton Reverbs that were gone through by skilled techs and found them to have the typical thin mid scoop.
    I can accept that a vintage PR is likely to sound a little better than a PRRI, if it is gone through and well adjusted with a great speaker.
    But I don't think it's fair to say all PRRIs sound thin compared to all vintage BF/SFPRs, if both are set up the same and run through the same speaker.

    A neck pickup sounds nicer to me through those circuits but I play Esquires and other not-hot single bridge pickup guitars, so none of the PR amps sound fat.

    As far as speakers go, I find that some speaker swaps really do change the basic character of an amp, but I've tried all sorts of mods and speakers on BF/SF Fender amps trying to get fatter tone.
    I still have a SFSR and a SFTR but really don't use them because I have lots of fatter sounding amps.

    A nice twin is super sweet with a weak Strat neck pickup though.
     
  13. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    My main guitar atm is also my Esquire but I couldn’t find anything thin about her voice thru the Princeton. It‘s typical Fender clean-heaven which I really love, but that‘s personal taste- you prefer clean british amps.
    My Swart STR Tremolo sounds also fantastic, but- as said before, totally different amp. But we‘re talking Princetons here and my only advice to the thread starter is: buy an old one. Soon. Prices are rising. Re-handwiring the PRRI doesnt make any sense, but that’s just me!
     
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  14. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Meister

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    Same observation here.... I think Swart's are between Vox and Fender in terms of tone and I love all 3 of them for that reason. It means that a guitar may sound just better AKA different on one amp versus another one and that is a good thing.
     
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I agree in terms of our individual preference for how and amp should sound and what I might call "thin" and you or another player might call clear bell like or whatever.

    Here you say your PR is a different sound from your Swart.
    The OP complains that his PR sounds thin compared to his Swart.
    The question is will hand wiring the PRRI make it sound fatter, or less thin, or obviously better.

    I guess we both say no, hand wiring the PRRI won't make it sound less thin or more fat or obviously better, even as we have different tastes in amps.

    I also agree that vintage Fender amps are better than the reissues.
    Much of this is the transformers and some of the other components.
    Allesandro will replace all those parts but charge more for new transformers and speaker, above the gutting and wiring work price.
     
  16. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    I guess it’s also because of all the old materials they mustn’t use today. And maybe because everything‘s already broken in, the parts in an old amp are welded together, so to say. They sound experienced and confident, sweet and sophisticated. Don‘t have other words :rolleyes:
     
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  17. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    And one important thing concerning vintage amps vs. clones and reissues:
    those vintage amps are in most cases more or less unique products. They‘ve got their own personality, so to say. It‘s not only because they‘re old, it‘s the way they‘re built back in the day. „Part XY is out?“ „Doesn‘t matter, you can also use part YZ“. That was the usual way they‘ve done it. And those amps were built by real people, not machines.
     
  18. Fred Rogers

    Fred Rogers Tele-Afflicted

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    I own vintage Fender amps, reissues and I have a Alessandro Deluxe Reverb. I love the Alessandro! Had it for a few years, sounds great and I’ve had no problems with it. No regrets!

    What I’ve learned, before investing in hand wiring do a speaker and tube change first. Some people knock the reissues, but I think they sound great. They mostly just need a speaker change and better tubes. I’ve changed speakers and tubes in my reissues and in a blindfold test you’d never know listening what amp is a vintage, reissue or hand wired. Yes, each amp will have some variables in overall tone, but they all sound fantastic.
     
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