Vibrolux Reverb vs Super Reverb? ( sort of )

Wallaby

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I've been on the fence for several months while pondering an Allen Encore amp, which is described as loosely-based on the Vibrolux reverb. Probably in a 2x10 open-backed combo format, Allen-built.

Lately though I've been reading about the Super Reverb, and it's really piqued my interest. Descriptions of its glorious tone and what-not.

Honestly I can't imagine having a 4x10 combo or dealing with its size and presence - I'm a home player so at least it wouldn't have to move around, much, but even so something that size would be pretty commanding wherever it is. I had a 4x10 Bassman about 25 years ago and ended up swapping it out for a Twin just so it would fit in the trunk of my car at the time. Plus I was single and living alone and my tonal interests were elsewhere.

But what I'm interested in is experienced thoughts about the relative sound of the Super Reverb vs. a Vibrolux Reverb. With a given that an Allen Encore would be an approximation of a VR and not exactly the real thing ( but possibly bringing something of its own to compensate ).

It's a lot to ask - but any thoughts?
 
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Dacious

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I had a 70 watt Pro Reverb, which isn't quite the same as the 40 watt. I did have a 40 watt 78 Vibrolux.

They're both way too much amp for home use unless you have a barn and no neighbours.

For home use I'd be looking at a Princeton Reverb or Tweed Deluxe type amp. Unless you're ever going to play in a band.
 

unixfish

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Tone Master Super? You could attenuate that puppy down to 1 watt, or whatever the lowest setting is. It's still big, but much lighter.

You would still be pushing 4 speakers, which is going to throw down some sound no matter what setting you are at.

I would love to see a TM VR. The 40-watt 2x10 with the TM attenuator seems like it would be ideal.
 

KW1977

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I had a 70 watt Pro Reverb, which isn't quite the same as the 40 watt. I did have a 40 watt 78 Vibrolux.

They're both way too much amp for home use unless you have a barn and no neighbours.

For home use I'd be looking at a Princeton Reverb or Tweed Deluxe type amp. Unless you're ever going to play in a band.

I agree with all of this. I had that same 70w Super Reverb and it was basically like owning a more compact half stack. I can’t speak for the 40w though. Being the Vibrolux is still two 6L6’s I’d be leaning toward Deluxe or Princeton myself. I once owned a Rivera era Champ II which was basically a Princeton in many senses(two 6V6’s instead one) and it was hellaciously loud for being so small. I used it once in a big jam at a friends bachelor party, like a dozen musicians at once, we recorded the whole thing and you could hear that little Champ II clear as day cutting through everything. I super regret selling that one.
 

Wallaby

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Thanks for the good thoughts so far! I appreciate the learnings here!

I can add - I have a Princeton-sized solution right now, I love it and intend to keep it, I'm not trying to trade up from it or solve a particular problem with it. I'm looking for a little variety and landed on the Encore. But then got distracted by what I'm reading about the Super Reverb.

I'm trying to get a sense of what the differences in sound are between a Vibrolux Reverb and a Super Reverb, experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. I won't have an opportunity to try an Encore in person, and since it seems to sort of approximate a VR I thought the VR vs. SR comparison might be something folks could comment on.
 

fasteddie42

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here's the deal.....


I own a PRRI and I love it. The internet convinced me anything larger would be unusable.


fast forward 3-4 years?


I just got a used SRRI and I'm finding that the internet was blowing things out of proportion.


Super reverbs are glorious and useable even lower on the dial.


Don't expect to saturate the power tubes at home, but dang the cleans are amazing.
 

red57strat

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I've made this decision! I have a 1966 Vibrolux Reverb that I've owned since 1990. I was gifted a 1967 Super Reverb that needed repair. I repaired the SR and it was great, but I ended up selling it and keeping the VR. The SR was a too big to be viable for me to use regularly.

50675585388_d94d7b2c80_b.jpg
 

Axis29

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I'm trying to get a sense of what the differences in sound are between a Vibrolux Reverb and a Super Reverb, experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. I won't have an opportunity to try an Encore in person, and since it seems to sort of approximate a VR I thought the VR vs. SR comparison might be something folks could comment on.

I think you're saying you are trying to decide between a 2x10 or 4x10 for the same amp, right?

A Super and a Vibrolux are a bit different in the amp department.... Aside from the cabinet differences. The transformers are different, the Super's being larger. This adds headroom, some stiffness, and tightens up the bass a bit. There are some circuit differences, too. But, I think the speaker and transformer differences are the biggest... And, they really do make a difference.


As for the differences between 2 and 4 tens? 2 tens is punchy and tight. 4 tens fills a room instantly, with swirly wonderful sound.


I owned a '69 Vibrolux Reverb for a few years. It was a great amp for bar stuff. I had a decent size practice space in the house, worked from home and had hours of time I could play unencumbered. But, I really couldn't play it too loudly when the rest of the family was home without disturbing them. It fit in in a bar and kept up with typical drummers nicely. But, I found it too loud ot play in a bedroom size room.

These days, I live in a bigger house. It's also just my wife and I (we both work at home these days as well). I don't own the Vibrolux anymore. I play through a high power tweed Twin and a '59 Bassman Reissue most. But, honestly, the only time I crank it at home is during band rehearsal. I don't have those hours during the day to crank an amp any more (my wife's on the phone for work all the time). But, even my 5e3 is probably too much for playing during her working hours.

The band is close to gigging (we've been woodshedding pretty hard) and I am looking forward to playing out again very soon. Chances are the Bassman will probably be the amp I grab most often (mostly due to wattage, well and value).

I think at home levels, 2 or 4 tens isn't that different... a little bit, but not like playing in a bigger space.

I did try out a Tonemaster Super Reverb. Iw as really quite impressed. But, Blackface tone is just not my thing these days. If they come out with a Tonemaster '59 Bassman? My credit card balance will be in trouble.
 

Wally

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I agree with all of this. I had that same 70w Super Reverb and it was basically like owning a more compact half stack. I can’t speak for the 40w though. Being the Vibrolux is still two 6L6’s I’d be leaning toward Deluxe or Princeton myself. I once owned a Rivera era Champ II which was basically a Princeton in many senses(two 6V6’s instead one) and it was hellaciously loud for being so small. I used it once in a big jam at a friends bachelor party, like a dozen musicians at once, we recorded the whole thing and you could hear that little Champ II clear as day cutting through everything. I super regret selling that one.

Quick sidetrack regarding the Champ II. It is not a Princeton/Princeton Reverb type of amp. It is essentially the Normal channel of the AB165 Bassman….gain stage/tone stack/2 gain stages into a long tail pair phase 8nverter. the BF/SF Princeton has a gain/tone stack/ gain format….clean machine. The Princeton Reverb has three gain stages, but the reverb eats some of that gain; and the Princeton/Princeton Reverb amps have a cathodyne phase inverter. The Super Champ from the River era is a Pr8nceton Reverb amp that has been hot-rodded. It will do what the .champ II does and so much more.

Thanks for the good thoughts so far! I appreciate the learnings here!

I can add - I have a Princeton-sized solution right now, I love it and intend to keep it, I'm not trying to trade up from it or solve a particular problem with it. I'm looking for a little variety and landed on the Encore. But then got distracted by what I'm reading about the Super Reverb.

I'm trying to get a sense of what the differences in sound are between a Vibrolux Reverb and a Super Reverb, experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. I won't have an opportunity to try an Encore in person, and since it seems to sort of approximate a VR I thought the VR vs. SR comparison might be something folks could comment on.

The BF/SF VR is my favorite Fender reverb amp of that era. As @Axis29 says, it will break up earlier than the SR and it compresses in a way that the SR won’t do….until maybe it is way loud. As for a ‘home’ amp??? It seems that all amps are too loud for the home IF one wants natural tube amp distortion/overdrive, right!??? Used sensibly, they are great amps at a clean low volume….but distortion will have to come from an external pedal. The same is true for the SR…or a TR….great low volume cleans if you know how to adjust the controls.
 
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LOSTVENTURE

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If it's strickly for home use, I would not think that head room would be a concern. And while I'm a big fan of the SR, for home use the Vibrolux is my preferrence, even though it's way overpowered for that.
That being said, at "home" volume you will never hear the difference between two 10's and four.
But, I also have to agree that the new Tone Master SR, and even the Delux, might be your solution, the benefit also being that you are dealing with considerably less weight.
Happy hunting !!
 

tubedude

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My favorite factory amp. I used one until my back said it couldn't handle the transition from the trunk of my '78 Nova any longer.
 

schmee

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Either amp into the Super's 4 x 10 speakers will be pretty similar. The Vibrolux wont be so loud, the Super will stay cleaner louder. But the main tone change at reasonable volumes is the speakers. 4 X 10 just adds a lot of low mids and big punchy sound. It's hard to beat and hard to carry!
I like Vibrolux's but have had a hard time getting the sound right with them for some reason. There's a thread or three on this site that's like 70 pages long with people trying to do the same thing with 2 x 10! They can be great in their niche though. Original speakers are part of the greatness.
I had a Vibrolux with the original Oxfords in it. They were well worn..... so me being a fidgeter, I had them reconed to 10F125's. The amp was never the same after that.

I once bought a custom pine cab for my BFDR that was 4 x 10. Sounded a lot like a Super but smoother with the 6V6's. Wish I had kept it, but bottom line; it's as big as a Super to carry!
 

JL_LI

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I have a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x10 at home and couldn’t be less interested in something larger. Each to his own, I guess.
 

nedorama

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Thanks for the good thoughts so far! I appreciate the learnings here!

I can add - I have a Princeton-sized solution right now, I love it and intend to keep it, I'm not trying to trade up from it or solve a particular problem with it. I'm looking for a little variety and landed on the Encore. But then got distracted by what I'm reading about the Super Reverb.

I'm trying to get a sense of what the differences in sound are between a Vibrolux Reverb and a Super Reverb, experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. I won't have an opportunity to try an Encore in person, and since it seems to sort of approximate a VR I thought the VR vs. SR comparison might be something folks could comment on.

Are you just playing at home, gigging, both? How loud do you normally play at home?

Both are great amps, but at low volumes, I don't think you're really going to see a big different between the two - just a clean Fender sound. At higher stage volumes, then I think the 4x10 vs. 2x10 comes into play.

At one time I had a Tremolux, Bandmaster, Showman as well as my Princeton and Princeton Reverb. Showman was too loud to play at home or anything but outdoor gigs. Tremolux was the perfect wattage for home for 6L6 cleans and is different from the Princetons.

Let us know, and good luck with whatever you choose.
 

KW1977

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Quick sidetrack regarding the Champ II. It is not a Princeton/Princeton Reverb type of amp. It is essentially the Normal channel of the AB165 Bassman….gain stage/tone stack/2 gain stages into a long tail pair phase 8nverter. the BF/SF Princeton has a gain/tone stack/ gain format….clean machine. The Princeton Reverb has three gain stages, but the reverb eats some of that gain; and the Princeton/Princeton Reverb amps have a cathodyne phase inverter. The Super Champ from the River era is a Pr8nceton Reverb amp that has been hot-rodded. It will do what the .champ II does and so much more.

I had no idea, thank you! I mostly just meant akin to Princeton re; two 6V6 but this is excellent. I regret selling it that much more now:lol:. No joke I got it for $100 in 2005! Just looked it up and can’t believe how they’ve skyrocketed.
 

adjason

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They are not all that different to my ears. I don't think it matters a whole lot - I would rather move a twin than a super though. I have never tried the Allen encore but they get lots of love here so I am sure you will be happy. Honestly even from amp to amp of the same type there is some variation in sound so I don't think a super is "better" than a vibrolux or a deluxe reverb for that matter. Heck I think my favorite might be a twin reverb that I don't have to move. If it appeases your mind, try and find a local super reverb and play through it...to me its usually "yep that's a good sounding Fender tube amp"
 

theprofessor

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I think you can get great tones from a Vibrolux reverb or from a Super Reverb at relatively lower volumes (not low, as in quiet, though). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Vibrolux Reverb clone I built, and I sure wouldn’t want to lug around a Super Reverb. But if i wanted the 4x10 sound and knew it wasn’t going to be moving, I’d go for a Super. Life’s too short, and all that.

Allen Amps look like great quality components and builds, but they do seem to be an engineer’s take on a Fender, with some nice added features like bias-vary tremolo and a mid control and the like. I believe they typically run at higher voltages, which will give you a more linear, stark Nashville clean (think BF Vibroverb-like). He did used to make a version of the Super Reverb that you may be able to find used, but I can’t remember what he called them.

For my two cents, I would stick with the Fender design, precisely because it is not so efficient. I would be looking to get the voltages on the lower side of acceptable rather than on the higher side.
 

gridlock

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I own both a SR and a VR. Mine are early black-line drip-edge amps that still have the BF circuit.

I also disagree about these amps being unusable at home. Both amps sound good at lower volumes. Like most amps, a SR and a VR need an OD pedal for low volume gain. Both amps take pedals well.

The SR is fuller sounding and has more bass. Speakers make a big difference in both amps.

595AAB56-76AD-4406-AFAA-068C0106259E.jpeg
 




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