Ashen Amps - ReVibe

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by scottcentilli, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. scottcentilli

    scottcentilli TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    A reverb unit isn't a "stomp box," but is an effect, so... I'm posting here.

    Ashen Amps – ReVibe


    There are not many reviews for Ashen Amps out there. The few I found were of their custom cabinets. So, for those curious or interested in their circuits, here is my experience with their ReVibe (reverb and harmonic tremolo).


    I had been on the hunt for a reverb unit when I found Ashen’s ReVibe on Reverb. After reading the listing and finding it on their website, I sent an email. After a few emails back-and-forth discussing my options (which pretty much cover every aspect you could think of), I placed an order for:

    • Cabinet made of all maple
    • Specific dimensions
    • Long spring reverb tank (was hoping for 2 spring, but forgot to ask)
    • Lacquered black tweed
    • Oxblood face cloth (it’s not really a grill)
    • One Ashen logo (the default is two)
    They had it done and delivered within the estimated timeframe of 10 to 12 weeks. At first glance it looked great: everything I had ordered.


    [​IMG]


    At second glance, it was almost everything I had ordered; there was a short reverb tank installed.


    [​IMG]


    And, at third glance, I was little disappointed; there were two random holes that were not plugged nor covered on the bottom. I was later told the chassis had been wrongly installed.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I setup it up and quickly found a usable sound: reverb was washing and harmonic tremolo was warbling. Then the deep dive began.


    The control layout is as follows:

    • Speed
    • Depth
    • Level (a clean boost)
    • Reverb
    • Blend (blends dry signal into the effects)
    • Output
    • Input
    Speed and depth work as one would imagine. The slowest speed is still a little too quick for my taste, but usable. I inquired whether there were some component values I could change, but did not get a direct response – to be fair, they answered every other question and put up with my rants; my guess is that one question got lost. The level works great – when dimed, it adds a hint of lift to my signal; turn it all the way down and you’ll have no signal.


    Two of the potentiometers needed attention. The speed pot was hard to turn and I thought it had been overheated; thankfully it was a simpler fix: the knob had been tightened too low on the shaft and it was bottoming out on the control panel. The level pot was staticky, but a simple squirt of cleaner took care of that. Oddly, the speed, depth, reverb, and blend all have center detent potentiometers – not sure why, as none of those parameters in this particular circuit warrant a “stop here” or offer middle ground.


    As mentioned previously, the reverb was not as expected. Their website used to have the following statement:

    “The second part of the ReVibe is a tube-driven Reverb section, with a full-size spring tank and one control knob: The Reverb knob gives you a smooth gradient between a completely dry signal, all the way to 100% saturated reverb giving you the most apparent and lush effect.


    We prefer to use long reverb tanks with long-decay for more defined luxurious reverb sound you remember coming from the vintage reverb units.“

    Needless to add, that statement has been changed since this ordeal. However, the Ashen Converse, another reverb unit, still states it comes with a “Long (3 Spring) tank long decay”. I realize spring tanks are subjective, but I find short decay too “washy” and not enough “drip.” Ashen offered to send a short 3-spring tank with long decay. Although it wasn’t what I ordered, I took them up on it anyway and after the swap it was good enough.


    Overall: the market is plentiful with top-notch boutique builders and my experience with custom orders over the years has raised my expectations to near perfection. Admittedly, I went back and forth with Ashen over the holes, the pots, and the reverb tank. My takeaway: not all small builders, Ashen being one of them, have the capacity nor controlled facilities to make gear as tight as the bigger manufacturers and more established boutique builders. That said, the tone is there and I’m keeping it.


    Would I do it again? I’d order the Weber ReVibe and put it together myself.


    I made the following video for a friend to exemplify the difference between the tank they installed and the tank they sent — it offers a little sample of what can be expected.


    YouTube - Reverb Tank Comparison
     
  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    Been thinking of having them make an enclosure for a beat up JCM head. They’re beautiful.
     
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