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NAD: 68 Custom Vibrolux

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Ignatius, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    Okay the actual NAD was last week. I found a virtually unused floor model at a dealer and negotiated a pretty nice price on it. So far I'm really pleased with the amp. I think Fender did a GREAT job with these.

    Years ago I owned the white-knobbed Custom Vibrolux Reverb in the 90's. Hated it.

    I love the 68 Custom. Mine is dead quiet. Big round cleans, plays very well with my dirt pedals. Hooked up an A/B/Y switch and I love how I can dial in the Custom channel to have a little different voice.

    I have owned an almost embarrassing string of amps over the years, including a DRRI, some very nice Dr. Zs, a Morgan, a Boogie, and a (er, make that two) Fuchs. And a number of others beyond that. Tonally - for what it is and for what my expectations were - this amp hangs right in there. My gig situation is such these days that I wanted a simple, great sounding and portable platform that would be useful for the quieter gigs but would still hold its own if something bigger came along. This amp will do that very well, I think.

    For fun I threw an ANOS RCA 12ax7 in v1. I can't say I heard a dramatic difference but the higher were subtly sweeter. Right now I see no need to upgrade the stock Celestions. I'm going to break them in, play the amp and not worry about it.

    I've gotta say that since getting this amp I've been enjoying just playing. More than I have in quite a while, in fact.

    Ironically I've owned a couple very nice amps in the past two from other manufacturers, and their cleans were described as having "big Fender cleans". The 68 CVR sounds better to my ears.

    These amps caught my eye some time ago, and for a while I weighed going this route versus finding an actual silverface and having it serviced, etc. In the end I decided that the 68 Custom had the feature set I wanted right out of the box, and tonally I think it's going to be darn close enough to the real thing. I didn't want to deal with hunting down a good example of an older amp and then having to deal with the possibility of a cap job, tubes, speakers, what have you. Having said all of that, if the right one pops up under my nose down the road and I have the cash in hand...ya never know.

    I'll report back here when the inferior PCB construction causes the amp to fail. That's a joke, son. In all honestly I did briefly consider the PCB issue when I was weighing this vs. the real deal, but I'll take my chances. I don't doubt for a second that some of the repair folks on this board have seen those failures (and I don't deny that some PCB amps are cheaply built, even arguably these 68 Customs), but I'm also of the belief that for every one of those failures there are many (many) more of the Fender reissue amps out there getting hammered on every weekend. Fender sells a ton. I owned two myself many years back and I know lots of people who own them now and I'm not aware of any of them failing prematurely.

    Anyway - if you're kicking the tires on this amp I absolutely think it's worth a look.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  2. Treynor

    Treynor Tele-Holic

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    Congrats on a great amp...enjoy!
     
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  3. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I have played one of those in a local shop. Beautiful cleans. I found that when I dialed in cleans, an overdrive did not sound good. Hmmm. Maybe I needed an ABY for drive on the custom channel and clean on the other? Who knows.

    Cool amp though. And those cleans - wow!

    Did I mention the cleans are really nice?
     
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  4. TeleFunk Man

    TeleFunk Man Tele-Afflicted

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    Photos or it didn't happen. :)
     
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  5. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sounds like you found something you like - congrats!

    Of course, some may be skeptical until photographic evidence is posted...
     
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Congrats. So you changed V1 and liked what went on in that Cusom channel with the change?
    Fwiw, there is only one vintage amp based on that basic circuit. That is the 6G16 Vibroverb with bias vary trem. The vintage Vibrolux Reverb is based on the AB763 circuit with the opto-isolator trem circuit.
    This ‘68 Cutom Vr is the third amp built on that RI 6G16 PCB...the original Vibroverb RI, the Custom .vibrolux Reverb, and this 68 Custom Sf Vibrolux Reverb.
     
  7. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I think it made a difference in v1. I like the way the Custom channel is voiced too, but I've been spending time switching back and forth. I don't like one channel better than the other, but depending on the guitar I'm using or if I happen to be using a certain OD pedal I'll select one or the other. It's nice to have options :). I have an ANOS Mullard that I might try in v1 but I dunno what the mids will be like. I might also throw the RCA in v2 to see how that sounds, and it may in fact be better suited for that channel. Guess I gotta find out!

    It's actually okay with me that this amp isn't intended to reproduce the original circuit (or attempt to). I think it's cool that it has it's own thing going on based on what someone might have done in modding their original Vibrolux.
     
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  8. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]

    Welcome to the Blue Jewel Club!
     
  9. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Holic

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    Congrats! This amp is on my short list for my collection too! I dont worry about the pcb- I have never had issues with fenders with them in the past- and the reality is younger techs are also doing computer work all day long and they are not afraid to work on a PCB.
     
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  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Nice!
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sometimes it is not the physical aspect of the work as much as it is the non-availability of parts when working on PCB amps...especially if they are older. Does anyone have a 25K PCB mount bias balancing pot for a 1988 Fender The Twin?????
     
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  12. Kreepy

    Kreepy Tele-Meister

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    That amp is next on my list. Congratulations.
     
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  13. gridlock

    gridlock Poster Extraordinaire

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    Love drip edge amps.
    Congrats!
     
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  14. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Holic

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    Absolutely correct-without question. My point rather is that most people dont put parts avalability-they put PCB harder to work on. I know nothing of the parts-but is this it? https://www.amprepairparts.com/fbp-25kl.jpg
     
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  15. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My jazz-playing friend rocks (jazzes?) one of these. Beautiful cleans, both with his ES-175 and my tele.
     
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  16. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    The thing that I find most incredible with the Vibrolux, is that I can get great tones at any volume, from bedroom to gymnasium.
     
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  17. Rich Lather

    Rich Lather TDPRI Member

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    Sorry I know this is an older thread. I too recently acquired a used 68 Custom Vibrolux and am extremely happy with it. I was initially put off by the Silverface appearance, being the least desirable of all Fender eras. Not sure why Fender chose the silverface cosmetics because the rest of the amp has nothing in common with that era of amps. But after researching the features I realized this is pretty much the perfect package. Both channels have reverb and trem - an obvious improvement that Fender should have made decades ago. The two voicings are also brilliant and the Custom side is surprisingly Bassman-esque. Being a trem junkie I really love the hypnotic, pulsating, tube bias trem. So much better than the choppy optical trem that arrived in the blackface era. And at 40 lbs it's very much a mini-me of my now retired Twin Reverb hernia machine. I did find the Custom channel to be too nasty for my tastes after you hit 5 on the volume, so I substituted a 12AT7 in the V1 position which helped a lot. I prefer as much clean headroom as possible so I may look at increasing the negative feedback as well. Otherwise I think this is one of the best thought out offerings from Fender ever.
     
  18. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    How would you say it compares to the '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb? I know it is more wattage, and different speaker configuration. But is the innate tone relatively similar?
     
  19. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats! I tried one in a shop once and thought it was fantastic. The vibrolux reverb is my favourite format for a blackface type amp: enough headroom for proper cleans, but still plenty of raunchy potential.
     
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  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The 68 Sf Custom VR is not a remake of the BF/SF VR....it is based on the 6G16 Vibroverb RI with a minor mod tothe right channel.
     
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