Fender Princeton Chorus .... types/versions?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by newmachine, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    Need info about this Fender amp.
    As far as I know, there are three versions of Fender Princeton Chorus: black knob, red knob, and Princeton Chorus DSP.

    Any difference between them? Any other version?

    thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  2. Rockdog

    Rockdog Tele-Afflicted

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    Those are the only three versions that I know of. I've never used the red knob or DSP versions, so can't speak for them, but I used to have the USA blackface version. Bar none my favorite solid state amp of all time. Great sound and very reliable. I wish I still had it, but I had to sell it to buy a tube amp.
     
  3. sbpirate

    sbpirate Tele-Holic

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    Some of the later Black Knob amps were made in Mexico. I have a made in USA black knob and it is my favorite amp as well. Great SS amp for cheap money IF you can find one
    There is an older thread in the amp section about these amps. Check it out
     
  4. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I tried one when gigging a couple of months ago, it sounds really nice, clean & sparkle. It was the black knob version but I don't know whether it's the MIA or MIM one.
    Yesterday my friend bought one, black knob MIA. It looks older and sounds different from the previous, this one sounds smoother and more "rounded" than the previous.
    So, I'm curious about the differences between each version (MIA/MIM/red knob/DSP)

    Anyway, anyone compared this to Ultimate Chorus or Ultra Chorus?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  5. sbpirate

    sbpirate Tele-Holic

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    The ultimate chorus has larger 12" speakers and a bit more punch. They both have nice clean Fender tone. They both use the same footswitch. The ultimate chorus is heavier than the Princeton. They are all sweet amps.
     
  6. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    Yup, found those pages already :))
     
  7. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    The one I had sounded great nice chorus but I did not think it was loud enough to gig with but then when I got it some one took the speakers out of it so I replaced them with Kustom branded tens. Maybe they were not as efficient as the stock speakers.
     
  8. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Princeton Chorus models won't be particularly loud amps. While they are listed as 50 watts, they are actually a true stereo amplifier with two 25 watt power amps. This gives the chorus a very nice sound. The DSP model also has some nice effects and features. They are a very good amp for what they are. They are also quite nice as acoustic amps. I use mine for jazz mostly, the stereo reverb gives it a nice full sound.

    These amps are not really suited to loud rock or blues situations. This is where you would want an Ultimate Chorus amp, with twin 65 watt (IIRC) power amps and 2 12" speakers.
     
  9. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    Are you saying that the Ultimate Chorus has the same circuitry, but with bigger speakers & power?
     
  10. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    No, not at all. While the amps are similar in layout, (they are stereo amps with twin power amps and twin speakers), the circuits are not the same, neither are the controls.
     
  11. beanthos

    beanthos TDPRI Member

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    I've gigged (blues and rock) with my '94 black knob USA PC, but it really was a struggle to be heard in the drums and bass mix. A mic would help, I'm sure. Still, great amp for practice and smaller gigs. And I've recently discovered nice clean tones with a hollow body jazz style. Pretty versatile little box...and this coming from a tube kind of guy.
     
  12. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's

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    I have both a red knob and a black knob FPC, both USA, and there's no difference I can perceive between the two amps (save the look).

    I found they were just not loud enough to gig with (against drums and bass) except in the SMALLEST venues, but were OK for garage rehearsals.

    I reloaded them with Eminence Ramrods and Rajun Cajuns, which cured the farting-out on low notes at volume, but didn't quite make the difference in volume that I had hoped for.

    My solution was to use the stereo effects out to hit a poweramp (2x100 watts) that I jury rigged (mounted) in a 212 cab, and that setup absolutely rocked for me. I could use the same small amp at rehearsals at gigs of any size, and always got the tone I wanted with the volume I needed. So, basically, I was using the FPC as-is at rehearsals and as a preamp on the gig...

    I never played the DSP version, but I have Stage 100 DSP. I like it, it's enough power to gig with (anyplace I would gig, anyway), has great Fender cleans, and the effects are certainly usable - but it's not STEREO, MAN!
     
  13. newmachine

    newmachine Tele-Meister

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    that clears things up. Thanks Eddie!
     
  14. Kestrel

    Kestrel Tele-Afflicted

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    I picked up a used black-knob USA-made Princeton Chorus today for cheap. Not sure of the exact year of manufacture.... Mid to late 90's perhaps? Anyway, cleans on the amp sound amazing (as does the chorus). It needed quite bit of cleaning and the LED for the chorus doesn't light up, but everything works fine otherwise. Too bad they are no longer manufactured as these Princeton Chorus amps are a real bargain for what are arguably the best solid state amps ever produced by Fender.
     
  15. Mechanic

    Mechanic Friend of Leo's

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    Got mine on the cheap. Docs from online don't say much of what the amp is capable of. Like the sounds from it with my CVC Tele. What and how are the jacks on the rh side used for?
     
  16. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's

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  17. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Deaf Eddie knows his stuff; he also pointed out a good method for handling venues of various sizes - but do not expect sterling tonal results with off the shelf power amps driven by a Princeton Chorus's preamp. It's also not a low-budget solution - but if you know how to work with SS equipment to warm up the sound and are willing to spend money on boutique equipment it IS a physical/sonic/practical alternative to carrying multiple amps.

    For those who are not aware, DE is also a well-respected tech and his website is a great resource for other techs and players alike.

    As far as why off-the-shelf equipment might not be the best solution, he post didn't detail what the slave amps are - if he's still using the same rig I'm aware of the "big rig" uses power amps made by the Gerry Walker down in the San Diego area. He makes Walker Stereo Steel amps - boutique solid-state stereo pedal steel amplifiers that many studio guys around SoCal use. I've played through Dean Parks' Walker and tonally it's not anything like a cheap stereo preamp and a couple 1000 Watt QSC power amps - at reasonable volume it sounds more like a '64 Vibroverb or other warm tube amp (and in that case run through one or two 15" cabs); Walker's system is "modular" with separate or integrated preamp/power amp/processor head configuration. The full head and pair of speaker cabs will run you about two grand after tax, and I'm pretty sure the stereo power amps run around $800 (plus tax and shipping). No dealers as far as I know - he sells direct.

    So it IS a great sounding, light weight alternative to multiple SS amps (and undoubtedly better sounding than the typical production SS combo) or heavy tube amps - but not a cheap one.

    FWIW I and other multi instrumentalists have used rack-mount bass rigs as pedal steel amps; traditional guys for headroom, me for weight reduction. With the right combination, it also can work for 6-string and is similar to Deaf Eddie's rig - in my case an Alembic tube preamp, Crest power amp and two Acme "Low B" cabinets. You need a TON of power to move those Acmes, which is why a 1200 watt and up Crest, QSC (on the lower-budget end) or other power amp is needed just to get a decent low-volume tone. But I could, in a pinch, use the same rig for anything.

    Eddie's solution is better for the 6-string player because the preamp *is* a standalone amp. Both are not cheap, though.
     
  18. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Tele-Afflicted

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    In my experience, cleans are wonderful, chorus is heavenly - but the FPC is not an amp if you want volume, or any kind of on board nasty - its actually pretty awful at dirt - you need to do a lot of knob twiddling to find anything semi-reasonable.

    I use mine mostly clean, with my Digitech RP, and the amp becomes much more useable - in fact, it seems to love amp models very much. Eddie is correct about the farting though, mine does that but I don't gig - so it's plenty loud for me, that kind of volume at home is not welcomed by the fambly.

    Also in my experience and reading around the forums, this amp seems particularly susceptible to scratchy pots, so a dust cover is pretty essential.
     
  19. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's

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    Exploring adding a poweramp to a combo...

    I don't know about that "respected tech" stuff... but Silverface called it - I was referring to the little custom poweramp that Gerry Walker built for me a few years ago - great stuff. Some of the best guitar tone I ever got was out of that rig, and it wasn't that much to pack around, really - just the FPC and a regular-sized 212 cab (the internally-mounted amp was quite light). I recently reloaded Gerry's amp into a 210 cab, and it's just that much more compact. It has served me very well on every occasion that I have ever had a chance to use it.

    And, yeah, I don't think the results would have been near as toneful using a regular hi-fi or stereo "PA" amp. Gerry does have a sweet touch...

    This is getting a little tangential to the OP's question (and this is UNTESTED personal OPINION), but I think most players would get satisfactory results using the FPC, augmented for the BIG GIG by using just about any specifically-for-guitar stereo poweramp driven from its stereo effects send (basically a line out). Yeah, you have to build yourself a goofy stereo cable - big deal.

    Now, even if you're NOT pals with you local amp guru, there are still some interesting choices out there. You'd want to use something that at least doubled your power - triple would better (Gerry's amp basically quadrupled my power).

    Before Gerry's amp, I looked long and hard at getting a Marshall 8008 poweramp, because I liked the way the FPC sounded running a Marshall Valvestate 8200 head as the slave the few times I tried it (the power amp "in" jacks on the back of that head are your friend!).

    Now, I'm thinking that something along the lines of a Mesa Boogie 50/50 or Peavey Classic Series 60/60 amp running a nice stereo-wired 212 cab (or two!) would sound pretty dang good, being driven by the FPC. Fender preamp tone with tube power - does it get any better than that (for the Fender tone, anyway)? Take the FPC to practice/rehearsal, and add the big rig for the gig...

    Maybe even a Rocktron Velocity 300 (the bigger one, not the 100) would get you there - can't speak to the sonic quality of that one, though.

    I did try it with a Crate PowerBlock, but I wasn't blown away - it didn't seem loud enough to make it worth the effort, IMHO. The PowerBlock is cool, but the 75 watt per side rating is at 10% distortion - probably works out to a clean 35 watts, not that big a jump from the FPC's 25 watts.

    It's all food for thought. I don't know how much help this info is to the OP, I just know I'll never get stuck dragging around some big stack, ever again!

    I just had to edit this to add, click on the (above) link to Gerry's website to hear some GREAT steel pickin' !
     
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