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Plugging Straight in to a Vibrolux Reverb Amp

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Telecastoff1, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I, too, love the VR, but I can understand how someone who has really bonded with a TR could miss that THUMP.
     
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  2. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    +1 re Wally's suggestion to make sure the amp is operating properly. Having said that, I think 10" spkrs aren't ever gonna sound like 12" spkrs. I could be way off, but I think its a matter of... size matters ;)
     
  3. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have the Vibrolux Reissue. I can blow the walls out on five. If you have played twins loud a long time without protecting your ears maybe your problem is hearing loss.

    It could also be whoever redid your amplifier has not done a good job and has negatively impacted the sound. Only you can decide.
     
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  4. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I play all my amps tilted back, facing me.
     
  5. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Vibrolux Reverb has smaller transformers than the big Fender amps. The ones I've played (silver face) excelled at smooth distortion starting around 4 or 5 on the volume knob. For max headroom, I'd think about getting power tubes that tend to run on the cool side, bias the amp on the clean end of the scale, and maybe put a 5751 in V1. Also, there are speakers that tend to stay very clear, like old JBL alnicos, and the big magnet EV speakers. Still won't sound like a Twin. For small venues, you should be able to play clean, maybe usable cleans through 5 or 6 on the volume.
     
  6. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    You're right...I plugged the amp into my old Bandmaster cab loaded with a pair of C-Rex's and the difference was like night and day. Suddenly this amp came to life and I actually had more volume than I'd ever heard from this amp. Definitely the speakers, I guess.
     
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  7. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    Glad you got it sussed! A buddy of mine took an recording engineer class and he shared that a 12" speaker is the ideal size in that it passes the full spectrum of sound frequencies... not sure whether that is true or not, tho it make sense to me that a 10" isn't going to have the same sort of bass response as a larger speaker.
     
  8. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have heard 12” speakers that had nothing but harsh high end. I have heard 12” speakers that had nothing but low end. I have experienced the same extremes with 10” and 15” speakers, and I have heard full frequency speakers of all sizes. design, design, design.
    There Is a difference between a closed back cab and an open back cab.....with the same speaker/s. It is amazing to hear that difference in real time. I once had a 2x10 cab built...one side closed, one side open...with a switch to run either speaker alone or bth together. That cab was instructive...and amazing.
     
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  9. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    I've seen and heard more blackfacing of silverface amps, that looked good on paper but didn't quite pan out sound wise, than I can remember. Heck, I've done them myself. Here is my humble recommendation:

    Reverse all the mods, get it back to original schematic. Dump those speakers and get something similar to the originals. I've modified my 81 a dozen times and it never sounds better than the original design. That's were I left it. It's punchy, lot's of low end, almost twin sound but not as loud. Kind of a Deluxe/Twin hybrid in it's natural state. This with the 2x10s by the way.
     
  10. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Roy Buchanan played straight into a stock silver faced Fender Vibrolux Reverb amp. He put the Volume, Treble, and Bass all on "10" and the Reverb on "3", and controlled everything from the guitar. It worked extremely well.


    Sweet Dreams


    Entire show
     
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  11. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi Wally....I'm not sure what the Tech did to "Black face this amp either. It had been done for the previous owner prior to me buying it. The Tech who performed the work is a local, well-respected, competent amp Tech. The pre-amp tubes that are in it are the ones that were in it when I bought it. I put them on my tester and they checked out ok. The 6l6's were another matter though as they were not a matched pair. I figured the previous owner probably took out the matched pair and installed the un-matched ones just to sell the amp and kept the good ones. i can't say for sure, but that's my thought on this. I installed a matched pair of original Winged C's from a quartet that I was saving for another amp, installed them and biased the amp. It could be that I have it biased on the cold side, but I don't remember my numbers now.
     
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  12. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've had a '71 VR for roughly the last sixteen years, and have changed the speakers more than I wanted to, but each speaker change, with a few exceptions, really changed both the volume and tonal aspects of the amp.

    No, you can't get identical 12" tones from 10s, but you can probably come close, IME.

    If it's really about the biggest cleans you can get, the speaker that I experienced that allowed for that was the Weber California 10 ceramic. The obvious problem is that a pair of those in a VR is going to add a bit of weight.

    The loudest that I've experienced would be the Emi Ragin Cajun. It stays pretty clean, but the emphasis is just on volume, IME. Great for rock, especially if using pedals, but I personally didn't long-term keep them in the VR. Like the Weber Calif 10 ceramic, the RCs add some weight.

    At the other end of the spectrum were speakers like the Weber Sig 10 S ceramics that I tried. The amp really lost the low end, and the speakers distorted really early on the dial. It was impossible to get the treble dialed in properly, at least by me. They were cool speakers for rock, but IMO they made the amp sound small and thin.

    ...Then there was everything else that came and went. I tried an Emi Ramrod that was sort of cool, and was as loud (and heavy) as the Ragin Cajun, but the treble characteristics still weren't to my liking (not enough treble, how I wanted it). I tried Emi Copperheads and they were a bit closer to the Jensen ceramic 10 sort of thing that I kind of favor, but the treble seemed a little too extreme, for me (not harsh - just harder to dial in). The Copperheads were also pretty loud, and they're fairly standard in weight.

    I also tried a Celestion G10N-40 that was pretty balanced sounding, and was certainly loud enough, and had especially good mids and lows. I just had to crank the treble up more than I was really happy with. This one was also pretty standard in weight.

    The ones that I'm finally happy with are the Eminence GA10-SC-64s. They seem to have the right combination of low/mid/high balance, are adequately loud enough, and seem to break up for the non-clean stuff, at higher volumes (starting at maybe 5 on the vibrato channel, just a tiny bit) in all the right ways. When I hear all of those old recordings using a VR, this is the sound I hear with these particular speakers.

    ...That's not to say that the GA10-SC-64s are the answer for anyone else. I like big cleans, but I'm not a country player by any stretch.

    I'd say if it really is a matter of volume, I'd start with either the Ragin Cajun or maybe the G10N-40, or perhaps even one paired with the other.
     
  13. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you so much for your detailed descriptions of the speakers you've tried in your Vibrolux. I've been leaning towards trying the Ragin Cajuns, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Louder would be better, much better. But, what do you gain or lose tone-wise with the RC speakers? Did the amp still sound like it's supposed to? Did it lose any of the Fender charm?
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    For what I was looking for, it lost too much of the Fender charm, and especially what I look for in how an old VR is "supposed to" sound.

    The RCs were really loud, especially in the lows and mids. To me, that came at the expense of the treble stuff. The RCs didn't sound muffled or anything, but I personally couldn't get the top end balanced like I wanted it. More than anything, the RCs probably put too much emphasis on the mids, for my liking. Between not being able to adjust the mids, and something about 2 10s in an open back cab with the dimensions of a VR made them not work how I wanted them to. I only run the bass on my VR (on the vibrato channel, anyway) at typically no higher than 2. With the RCs, there was absolutely no way I'd ever run it higher than 2 on the bass, especially.

    ...I'd say that for rock music, especially if you're using pedals with a VR, where you want it really loud, and with the most lows and mids you can get, the RCs are possibly a great choice. As best as I can remember, they didn't break up that much on their own, or at least not when being pushed by 35 watts max. At the same time, they weren't as super clean (or actually "uncolored") as something like the Weber California 10 ceramic.
     
  15. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    The Custom (BF or SF) can sound great, and it can get close to VR territory, but it isn’t a VR circuit and doesn’t do what a VR is famous for. The Customs are Vibrolux in name, only, for marketing purposes.
     
  16. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the quick reply and your own detailed experience with the RC speakers. I've really been hoping to get this amp to sound and perform like a mini version of the old Fender Twins I own. Instead, it's sounding very much like an old Tremolux I had many, many years ago. The sad thing is that my 90's Classic 30 kicks its butt in power and tone. It could be that I'm expecting too much out of this amp. I don't expect it to sound or perform like a Twin Reverb, but after every good thing I'd read and heard about these amps, I was expecting much more that what this is. Comparing it to a Twin is unfair, I know, but not being able to gig with it renders this amp useless for me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Something dawned on me - the C30 has a bit of mid emphasis to it. If you favor that, you might actually like the RCs in a VR. It might sound more similar than different. A VR with a pair of RCs should absolutely kill a C30 just WRT volume potential.

    I got my VR around the time I was getting ready to let go of my Delta Blues 1X15. As much as I loved the DB, part of the reason that I got the VR was because I wanted less emphasis at the mids, to get more of the classic BF/SF Fender sound. Even with the 15, the DB has lots of mids.

    ...So, for me, putting speakers in the VR that made it sound anything like the DB was simply not what I wanted. Back then, I was more into playing stuff similar to Roy Buchanan, Jim Campilongo, and Los Straitjackets, and those were the guitar/amp tones I really wanted.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  18. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Something dawned on me - the C30 has a bit of mid emphasis to it. If you favor that, you might actually like the RCs in a VR. It might sound more similar than different. A VR with a pair of RCs should absolutely kill a C30 just WRT volume potential.

    I'm not really a lover of heavy mids, but rather some mids would be nice from this amp...a little more body and clean thump to it....like a Twin. It doesn't need to be as loud. Just clean,whoop-a$$ would be nice. I really want to love this amp and I'm really working hard at it.
     
  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's entirely possible that my VR sounds just a bit more mid-heavy to me as it is, because I've also got a '67 SR, and with 4 10s (and bigger cab), the response of the SR is a little more relaxed in the mids. Well, the SR also has adjustable mids, too. I've actually got a RC in the SR, but it's combo'ed with 3 other types of 10s (all stuff that got pulled from the VR - Weber Calif. 10 ceramic, Emi Ramrod, Celestion G10N-40).

    I'm also going from memory. Other than the single RC in the SR, it's been probably at least a couple of years since I've had one in any amp that I own, and I'm undoubtedly probably shaping my perceptions around how the pair of GA10-SC-64s sound compared to everything else. So based on that, I can say that the GA10-SC-64s give the VR nice body and good punch, but the RCs are probably going to come much closer to the body/thump/volume of a TR, just obviously within the constraints of the cabinet dimensions for the VR.
     
  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Super Reverbs are interesting in that until the UL era they used different mid caps than does the ‘normal’ BF/SF circuit. Those ‘normal’ values are .1 mfd for the bass, .047mfd for the kids and 250pfd on the treble. The early SR’s used a .033mfd for the mid cap. The AC568 circuit, iirc, changed to a .022mfd, and that was maintained until the 70 watt ULSR adopted the .047mid cap to fit in with the rest of the reverb amps.
     
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