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Princeton Reverb RI vs. Blues Jr

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by rippingrudy, May 2, 2010.

  1. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy TDPRI Member

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    Could someone with experience with both of these amps tell me the tonal difference? I'm in the market for a smaller tube amp and don't have much time to try them out.

    Thanks
     
  2. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I moved from th BJ to the PRRI.

    The Princeton is warmer in general, the Princeton's reverb is wetter, the Princeton's tremolo is very warm.
     
  3. Webfoot

    Webfoot Tele-Holic

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    I can try. I bought a used blues jr and did the billm mods. The blues jr stock, was good at low volume but seemed boxy sounding at higher volumes. The billm mods (easy if you know how to solder) helped the sound as well better tubes and removing the negative feedback wire but ultimately I sold it. The blues jr is a EL84 amp and tends to be more mid based in sound )(more mids) but also fairly even in the tonal spectrum which is a good thing for me but is not considered the traditional fender sound.

    The PRRI (I also bought one of these) was a richer sounding DRRI at lower volume and mid volumes (higher volumes it can breakup in a unmusical way... but that is the nature of the circuit so just don't turn it up that loud or learn how to use that sound). A different tone structure then the blues jr. Pretty much the opposite. More mid scooped (more bass and treble and less mids). This is what they call the blackface sound. I think the amp sounded very good... a more traditional fender sound. To get a more rock sound for the PRRI you need a good distortion pedal that boosts the mids like a tube screamer.

    As is, I wish the blues jr sounded better because I think I personally like that type of tonal spectrum more. But out of the box the PRRI for its tonal spectrum (blackface) was much better sounding. A richer sound for that type of mid scooped sound. I would personally opt for the PRRI but its more spendy.

    So now it comes down to price. For the typical selling price (is it $900 for the PRRI?) I think the PRRI is overpriced. If you can get one new for around $700 with the warranty that would be my choice. Otherwise maybe a used blues jr for $300.
     
  4. cobaltu

    cobaltu Tele-Meister

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    I've owned a Blues Jr. for about 3 years and had my PRRI for almost a year now so I think it's safe to say that I have decent experience with both amps.

    I'll be frank, if money isn't really an object, I would go for the PRRI. The BJ was my best amp for years and in all that time I struggled to squeeze a sound out of it that I really enjoyed. Granted the PRRI is about twice as much the BJ, but after all this time I still can't think of any category where the BJ beats the PRRI. The Princeton is headroomier, cleaner, brighter, fuller, has better effects, and, somewhat ironically, seems louder. Overall just a friendlier sounding amp. Ever since I got my Princeton I'm much more comfortable with it and my BJ has literally been in the corner collecting dust. A few months ago I pulled it out (after the Princeton's "new thrill" had worn off) and gave it a test drive. I thought that some time of separation would leave me refreshed and that listening to it with a fresh set of ears would cast it in a better "light." I actually ended up wondering how I ever liked it to begin with.

    The experience even gave me yet another reason to like the Princeton more. When I was playing the BJ there was a small florescent desk lamp about 4-5 feet away from the amp. It was on and made the BJ buzz to a level that made it unusable. I had just gotten the amp and wondered why it never bothered the Princeton which sat about the same distance. Just for the sake of experimentation, I moved the Princeton the same place where the BJ was sitting in and turned it on. As far as the Princeton was concerned, even with the volume being turned to max, it didn't even know the lamp was there.I'm now selling the BJ because I cant see myself ever using it again.

    That being said, there are a couple things I miss about the BJ:
    1) Midrange control (although the Princeton's Treble and Bass controls are more effective than the BJ's 3 controls combined)
    2) Master volume control (the Princeton so much better sounding though that even with this limitation I'm willing to look past it)

    I guess if you don't want to spend the grand it takes to get a new PRRI and want a bit more versatility then go for the BJ. Also a lot of people do these "BillM" mods to the amp and seem pretty happy with it, but I've never tried them myself because I can't imagine the BJ ever being brought up to the Princeton's level. In short, 1 big thumb up for the Princeton.
     
  5. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the in depth account! I wonder how the Deluxe Reverb fits into this whole mess... haha
     
  6. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's like the older, cooler brother... :p
     
  7. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy TDPRI Member

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    Yes, the older cooler brother! And I guess the question would be "how much headroom do you need" when making the choice between the PRRI and the DRRI... I would run either amp with pedals for OD and Distortion so I'd prefer the higher headroom.
     
  8. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had ( being the operative word ) a Blues Junior and I have a PRRI. No contest. The Blues Junior is nice, but can't hold a candle to the reverb and warm tone of the PRRI IMHO. I even replaced the speaker ( with a Weber Alnico ) and retubed ( with JJ's ) the BJR and it still did not do it for me in the long run.

    I also had a DRRI. For my in - home only uses, it was too loud ( says my wife ). The PRRI fits my needs perfectly.
     
  9. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    My 3 Fender amps are the PRRI and DRRI and Champ 600,

    The DRRI has a huge speaker magnet and it goes VERY loud and stays VERY clean. Warm. Bigger reveb tank. Great tremolo.
     
  10. Joey

    Joey Tele-Holic

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    I first bought a BJ NOS and did most of the Billlm mods along with a speaker change to a C-Rex. I liked the amp before the mods, but decided for the first time to mod an amp and had Bill personally do the mods, as he lives only about an hour from me. Along with the basic cream board mod, twin stack,clean boost and presence control, I did the octal mod (converted to 6V6s), upgraded the output transformer (T020). Recently, Bill added the new coupling cap mod (a must) which produces amazing bottom similar to the PRRI. I really like this amp for it's edgy clean tone.
    Then I bought a PRRI and upgraded the output transformer to the T020. As described by other posters, this amp has a different tone which is extremely warm and clean. Compared to the BJ, which is more mid rangy, the PRRI is midrange scooped and has what I call vintage Fender blackface tone. I do find the PRRI to have more clean volume or headroom capability than the BJ. I intend to keep both amps as they offer different tone as do my various guitars.
    I do not compare the PRRI as a smaller version of the DRRI as they are different animals. The PRRI is warmer and has a distinct tighter tone with a 10" speaker compared to the DRRI 12" speaker. Before I bought the PRRI, I did A,B it against the DRRI and the PRRI won out hands down based on tone. In addition the PRRI produces incredible bottom end which can be tightened up nicely with a $50 investment in a T020 O/T. Lastly it has the best warm/smooth reverb I heard in a long time.
    I hope this input helps.
     
  11. Billm

    Billm RIP

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    The Princeton Reverb belongs to the blackface family of amps--scooped tone, sparkling cleans--moderate distortion. The Blues Junior belongs to the Hot Rod family--midrangey, less headroom, grindy distortion. Outside of the Blues Deluxe and Hot Rod Deluxe, the closest Fender amp is probably the Bassman. With some fairly simple mods, the BJr can be made to sound much more like a blackface amp, but doesn't lose the Hot Rod/tweed flavor.
     
  12. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    Here is how I would stack rank the amps:

    1. Deluxe Reverb - The most primal example of what a great Fender amp sounds like
    2. PRRI - Same as above only lower volume, less for live playing although some do. Best recording amp I own.
    3. BJR - After a couple of the Billm mods and a new speaker, its about 80% of the tone I desire. It can work in a pinch but I would prefer either of the above.
     
    Luthier Vandros likes this.
  13. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy TDPRI Member

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    Thanks guys - EXACTLY what I was looking for.
     
  14. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    Last week I sold the Bjr that has been my main small amp for 5 years and bought the PRRI. I play mainly blues and some clean with this amp.

    The only change I did to the Bjr was install Jensen P12N which really made a big difference, especially at higher volume. I did not like the Bjr distortion so for rock I would use a stompbox. I also did not like the Bjr reverb so I used a reverb pedal. I do like tremolo so theres another pedal. I was happy with the Bjr.

    The PRRI just sounds like a professional amp. Full, loud, great reverb, tremolo that I like. With humbuckers I can get great rock drive right out of the amp. I use the Sparkle Drive and strat for my blues tones. The tone controls seem so much more interactive than the Bjr, I never worked them on the Bjr as I do on the PRRI. It just seems like the PRRI has a greater range of tones.

    I loved my Bjr and played it for 5 years so I'm not a slammer or snob. But I've heard about all the mods and swaps and so on and I don't know that after all of that you end up with a better amp than the PRRI. It's been said on TDPRI before that you don't read many posts about the PRRI needing a list of mods to sound great. I know people swap speakers in the PRRI but that happens all the time in almost any amp and I'm very happy with the PRRI speaker.

    Now that I've had both, the Bjr extensively, I'm glad I didn't invest a lot of time and $$$ modding.
     
  15. Teleagain

    Teleagain Tele-Meister

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    put my Blues Jr. on consignment and will get a Princeton when it and a guitar sell..I tried one out today and it has the sound I'm looking for, the blues Jr. is good but the Princeton (to me) is better...still no amp is close to the Vibroverb I once had :(
     
  16. ShortBuSX

    ShortBuSX Tele-Holic

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    I just bought a PRRI yesterday, in considering thinning the herd Im curious:

    Any regrets getting rid of the Blues Jr???
    That master volume really gets the dirt at low volumes...
     
  17. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    I started a used with BJr, swapped speaker for Jensen P12N, and installed new tubes (not for tone quest, they were just old). I really liked this amp for Marshall type crunch with Boss SD-1.

    What it did not give me was the Fender sound, which I decided I really want. So this year I sold the BJr and bought used/stock PRRI. The PRRI for me has that Fender sound and the reverb & tremolo are great.

    I think you need to think about what sound you want, then find an amp that meets that sound. These two amps are from different product lines, Hot Rod or classic ReIssue. Think about the product line you want to be in first. A modified BJr is not a PRRI, it's still based in the Hot Rod tonal family.

    If my main sound was rock/crunch I would not have changed to the PRRI. As for mod’s I'm not much of a "do it yourself'er" and I feel paying technicians can get expensive with negligible resale value, so I look for products that fit my needs right out of the box. If the BJr is in the sonic range you want but your not completely satisfied, there several other amps in the EL84 world that give you what you want without a bunch of extra work.
     
  18. ShortBuSX

    ShortBuSX Tele-Holic

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    I like alot of different sounds at different times.
    With 5 Fender amps in my stable, they all do something differently, even if it is a subtle difference. Being able to dial dirt at low volume with a master volume is a pretty significant difference.
    I just dont want to regret it later and then have to buy another one...but I reckon theyre easy to come by and cheap as chips, so I guess there would be no real loss. *shrug*
     
  19. mistermullens

    mistermullens Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know how much my input will make, but here you go. I've had my Blues Jr, oh, for about a year now, and its a good amp. It is my gigging amp, and I do like it. However, if you're looking for that "old sound", I'd go with a PRRI. I really like them, and I've had a chance to get down and dirty with them, just don't have the cash to spring right now. After four years, I'm finally starting to realize the errors of my ways, and I'm missing my DRRI. It was a really great amp, but wasn't the sound I was looking for at the time, plus I wasn't playing out and living in an apartment. Not the best fit at the time, but would work nicely now.
     
  20. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

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    My story mirrors Studio's. So +1 on that.
     
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