Fender Tube RI Amps

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jumpnblues, May 8, 2020.

  1. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Welcome back to electric.

    There are probably at least a hundred threads on this.

    Let me give you the consensus:

    - the circuit is the same
    - the circuit is different
    - the reissues sound and perform great and are reliable
    - the reissues sound like garbage and break all the time
    - the tubes and speakers in the reissues sound great
    - the tubes in the reissues are junk and the speakers are terrible
    - any of a million boutique “hand wired” clones that cost 2-3x as much are obviously “better”
    - buy a Silverface. No wait. Those sound terrible. You must blackface them. Even the small circuits like the Princeton Reverb that barely changed if at all
    - buy a Blackface!!!!!!!
    - if you can’t get a blackface tone and feel out of a reissue that is properly-biased, it ain’t the gear’s problem

    One side is fueled by confirmation bias. It just is. But that’s ok. At least now you know the “consensus”.
     
  2. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    There are a lot of threads on the RIs but I see you bought a TMDR and are wondering about it. I have both a DRRI and a TMDR among other nice amps, and I don't think you're missing much with the TM other than 17lbs. Especially with the added conveniences of the line out and attenuator, they are fantastic amplifiers. I wouldn't feel an ounce of buyer's remorse if I were you!
     
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  3. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Holic

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    I do always enjoy the threads where someone asks about getting a simple affordable amp and half the replies tell them to get a 60 year old vintage amp or some boutique job. Like someone asking about a Blues Deluxe and being told to spend thousands of dollars more like its nothing.
     
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  4. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    On page 41 of my 1986 copy of The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman he says, "many models such as the Deluxe Reverb were never altered in any way" referring to the black to silver face switch and pre/post CBS ownership.

    I can't see any evidence that electrons will behave differently in hand wired vs. PBC circuits.
     
  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve had a DRRI for many years. I have a replacement speaker celestion Creamback British made, JJ and Tung Sol tubes, a tech did the biasing much warmer and I think it sounds wonderful. The damn pilot light keeps going out despite changed bulbs. That’s my only moan.
     
  6. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I have a 65'twin BFRI sounds great 85 watts great reverb tones,

    I serviced one last year a full recap and noticed several inconsistencies with the build parts not in place properly etc Pic #3 and some badly soldered connections Pic #1 after the repair I took my own amp apart to look to see if I had the same issues ,no I did not.

    here are some pics of the repairs

    -2.jpg -5.jpg OI000317.JPG
    the things I noticed that were an improvement to the original design were the chasis mounting bolts were hard fixed to the chasis easy for de/re assembaly
    the pots are connected to the motherboard with molex type connectors Pic #2 making it easier to service as you can disconnect them to gain access to the bottom of the PCB the caps are laid out logically and easy to change

    the amp i have works with out issues after I turfed the cheap chinese tubes that were in it and replaced them with a matched set of 4 Fender #4 6L6's
     
  7. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    Or an early swing devotee ;D

    OP, it’s very difficult to make hard and fast statements like “RIs sound like the old ones” or “no they’re totally different”. Throw the TM in and it gets even more complicated. Tastes vary a lot, and amps vary from one to the other … a lot for vintage amps (different component drifts and maintenance) and quite a bit even from a modern one to another.

    My question to you would rather be: are you happy with your Deluxe, or do you have the nagging feeling you’re missing out on something? When I had that feeling with a tele, I eventually took it out and A/Bd it with a few vintage teles, and it was on par with the best of them (though a bit different) and better than the others. To me. You might have to do just that, COVID permitting. Thankfully, Deluxe TMs are light and portable ;D
     
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  8. Alex W

    Alex W Friend of Leo's

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    I have never sat down with two Fender amps, one vintage and the other a reissue of the same model, and done A vs B comparisons on the sound. Nor have I tried tweaking a reissue amp to make it sound exactly like some other amp. However, I do own both some vintage amps and some reissue amps. On my Princeton Reverb reissue, I swapped out the stock speaker for a Weber alnico speaker. I was not trying to get the exact speaker type for a 1960s PR. The speaker I got was more of a 50s tweed type. I also put some NOS tubes in it. Anyway, to my ear the PRRI sounds beautiful, and that is all that matters to me. Whether it's recreating the beauty of some other amp's sound, or whether it's its own unique sound, I have no idea.

    I don't think PCB amps necessarily sound any different but they are probably not as robust for life on the road. I practically never take my amps out of the house so that is a non issue to me.
     
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  9. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Afflicted

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    I've also been thinking of getting a tube amp again. After reading this, I don't know if I will. Seems to be a lot of negative comments about the reissues, such as the tubes are bad, the speaker needs replaced, other components need upgraded, etc. I've had two Twins, a Deluxe, an old Peavey Classic, so I know about tube amp problems. Even though I love a tube amp sound, I don't think I want to spend around $1000 and take a chance that I'll have to sink another $500 into it, then end up with all the little buzzes and other mystery sounds I've had with my older Fenders. I might try the new Tonemaster series, a Quilter, or a Vox solid state. I'm sure there are other brands in my price range that sound real good, but I'll have to try them. Then again maybe I'd be satisfied with a new Fender Princeton RI that's been on my mind. It's risky, sounds like.
     
  10. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sometime in the late 1950s...
     
  11. gregj1964

    gregj1964 Tele-Meister

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    I bought the TM Twin. Couldn't be happier. Owned both Deluxe Reissues, both Princeton Reissues, a Princeton with celestion blues, a reissue twin, Henricksen (awesome amp), an orange Roland cube from the 80s....the Tonemaster is as good if not better than these. Sold them all for various reasons. I won't sell the TM. It's a jazzer's dream.
    Greg
     
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  12. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Afflicted

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    The Chinese Schumachers? Really?
     
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  13. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Guess I misunderstood the question. The change from Triad to Schumacher was in the 1950s. Sorry.
     
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  14. GregWessel

    GregWessel NEW MEMBER!

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    If you can find a comparable Silverface amp for around the same price, I would go that route. All amps will eventually need service, and handwired amps are almost always easier to work on. If a potentiometer or jack is soldered to PCB it makes it much trickier to work on. Sound wise, YMMV.
     
  15. Alex W

    Alex W Friend of Leo's

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    I'd like to point out that I, for one, just like to tinker and I would strongly recommend a used tube combo amp as a great amp for not much money. Princeton Reverb is one popular one, obviously, but you can get even better deals on used boutique amps. They're sort of like fancy cars that sell for a lot new but can be had used for cheap. Unlike the cars, used boutique amps don't need expensive timing belt replacements.
     
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  16. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Afflicted

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    I stopped asking for advice about gear. Nobody else plays like me, or can hear the sound in my head.
     
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  17. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I’m a vintage amp guy and I have owned most vintage SF and BF Fender combo amps at least 2-5 times each.

    I do own a ‘63 Vibroverb RI that I really love. My Vibroverb sounds so good, I often wonder how good a real-vintage Vibroverb would sound.

    ADF2845A-CDB8-4635-AB7B-11FA0F115FC1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The TMDR I owned briefly was on par with the the best vintage and reissue DRs I’ve owned (too many).

    But I could get “that” sound and feel at any volume from loud TV to small room/full band.

    I moved on when I admitted I’m a master volume guy who needs a mid knob.

    To (gasp) a HRD IV for most shows. A BJ IV for rehearsal or really small shows or an Origin 50c when I want Marshall. Or my trusty JC40. Have never sounded better.

    But I wouldn’t worry about missing out on anything with a TMDR I’d clean Blackface were my jam.
     
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  19. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is the biggest issue with modern PCB amps. I'm changing one resistor on this '83 Marshall. It's a PITA. A real puta. To get to the underside of this board I have to undo 12 nuts and lift the board up. All to undolder that 1 meg resistor in the middle of the pic. Resoldering is a nightmare. Too much heat - burn traces. Too little - cold join no sound or buzzy.
    15893386539116596448415072999264.jpg

    By contrast an old one is a POP (piece of piss). Even though it's way more cramped, I changed mains trans in less time than it takes to unbutton the Marshall. So your techy guy will factor in an hour extra for repairs, mostly.
    IMG_20180416_220610.jpg

    Hence, all the old stagers recommend an original. No other reason. The reissues are capable of sounding just as good and are reliable. They are serviceable, just not as easily. For most people they're plug and play and 100% meet their needs out of the box. Might need a tech for new power tubes every five-ten years. New speaker, bias tweak no problemo.

    Buying new, you'll lose some on resale. Of course if you want convenience of purchase and warranty, trade-in, reissues are a very valid option.

    Old one bought sensibly will not lose value. Yes, they can have buzzes or pops. So can new ones. Even if you have to replace inputs, pots, resistors - it's pennies and easily done. All of my amps I can fix. But the old ones are easier and the parts last plain longer mostly. If you're a fiddler and like fixing stuff the original is a no brainer.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  20. mojek

    mojek TDPRI Member

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    My only experience with vintage vs modern ri’s is with 60´s Voxes. Vintage ones need attention, strong nerves, time and a looot of cash. The difference in tone is 5% for the player, 0% for listener. That 5% consists of 1% of 50-60 yr parts sound different now and then(dry/wet wood, dry caps, dry/wet speakers old vs new magnets etc). 1% is different technology(cc resistors, transformers, cabinet MFD/plywood, speakers, caps). And 3% is the feeling you play time-machine.
    Vintage amps are 50-60 years old devices and the beauty is when you find one of them in good condition for a really cheap/bargain or even better, as a gift from your dad, who bought it new and the amp serves another generation and you have a heart relation to it.
    Otherwise, if you like the vintage models sound, and have money for initial paymemt, buy new JMI or Victoria.
    Or buy a BJ and just play the guitar;-)
     
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