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  1. #1

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    This comparison I found on youtube shows a considerable difference:

    (skip to 2:35 for comparison with similar volume levels)

    I've never played through an original deluxe reverb, but I have played through and briefly owned reissues. The reissues I played sounded exactly like the one in the video. They are fine but have a very scooped sound. Boomy bass and bright highs. Highs can sound harsh almost sometimes.
    The vintage one in the video sounds incredibly good. It's very balanced. The highs are smooth yet, very very clear. Very sweet amp that's reasonably neutral sounding and versatile at the same time. Not particularly colored like tweed amps but not hifi either. The perfect amp.
    For those who owned original deluxe reverbs:
    - Is this a typical original deluxe sound or the one in the video is a particularly good one?
    - Is the difference mainly the speaker? If you swapped the speakers between the two, would the mojo completely switch hands?
    - Speaker at least should be a factor, what modern speaker would you say would come close to that smooth, balanced tone like in the video?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-26-2019 at 02:38 PM.

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  3. #2

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    I have owned a reissue and a stock 1974 Deluxe Reverb. No comparison! The vintage P2P amp was FAR superior with the stock speaker (a Utah Speaker). I did not like the harsh sound of the reissue so much that I sold it after a few gigs and decided that money spent on a speaker swap would not get me to like the amp. I kept the vintage amp for many years (put a Tone Tubby speaker in) and sold it a couple of years ago when I decided it's weight had become an issue (With the upgraded alnico speaker, it weighed 45 pounds).

    I also tried a reissue Princeton and even tried a speaker swap with that one, but it was still too bright compared to the vintage Princeton that I still own.

    IMO, guys who dig the reissues have not had the real thing. The video you posted tells the truth.

  4. #3

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    I have reissue that started killing tubes at some point. After changing a couple, I decided to send it to technician. Honest old-school guy. He went through everything and had to fix the problems that came from the factory. He said he had never seen crappier solderjobs. Some wires were TIED, not soldered at all. The parts were ok. So the amp is fine now and I swear it sounded like reborn. Dunno how different it sounds vs old ones because those Youtube vid's don't actually tell too much to my ears.

  5. #4

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    While i agree with Stringswinger above and prefer the vintage ones, i think the Deluxe reverb is one of the most successful reissues sound wise.

  6. #5

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    I had an original ‘65 DR that I sold to buy me an L5

    the difference with the current model is so big that is just a different amp. Night and day

  7. #6

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    Now don't everybody go pro vintage that much, cause I'm shopping for a deluxe reverb and I've kind of convinced myself to go after a reissue..

  8. #7

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    Although guitar players can certainly be guilty of snobbery (plenty of cheap gear that sounds good), in that specific case snobbery is right - the reissues are in no way comparable to the vintage Fenders, even the silverface models blow away any reissue, imo.

  9. #8

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    I had a couple of BF Deluxe Reverbs at one time. One was original, the other had had a Celestion speaker upgrade. The two together made an ideal stereo rig for my ES-345. Both amps sounded great (note: I never used the tremolos, but the reverbs were glorious). I traded the pair in on my first Plexi. About 10 years ago I acquired a then-new lightly used DRRI, with which I gigged extensively. Also a mighty fine amp. In my opinion the Deluxe Reverb is just the right blend of performance and portability for the working guitarist. The inevitable variations in tone, volume, etc. that are going to manifest in side-by-side comparisons are what those knobs and switches are for. Your mileage, like the line voltage in a roadhouse when the coolers kick on about one A.M., may vary.

  10. #9
    Is there a boutique maker that comes close to the vintage deluxe reverbs?
    Fender had a special run hand wired DR's a couple of years ago. I tried one in store, it sounded really good, but I don't know how it compares to the originals.

  11. #10

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    You can find comparisons of vintage Fender Deluxe Reverbs to their Handwired '64 Deluxe Reverb reissues, plus comparisons to Alessandro Handwired Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissues and more.

    Most of the comparisons I've read online indicate the regular DR Reissue comes pretty close to vintage, but never quite as sweet. Plus there are way too many variables to draw any scientific conclusions. My only issue with the reissue amp is how cheaply they are made internally, and printed circuit board components.

    That said, I admire Fender for their attempts at resurrecting a great amp, AND offering a high end, hand wired alternative for those demanding a step up in quality build.

    I own a '77 Silverface DR that has been thoroughly gone through over the years, has a Weber Chicago speaker and sounds amazing. One never knows if a vintage amp is going to have an issue, or be trouble free. But at some point it will need attention. With a modern update of the mighty DR, that potentially expensive 'X factor' could be put off for many years.

    If I didn't own my '77 DR I'd probably look seriously at one of the available Fender or other boutique builder versions of the same circuit.

  12. #11

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    The video is a-typical in the way that the RI sounds more subdued in the highs while usually the complaint is that they are too shrill and too harsh compared to the vintage ones.

    The comparison in the video is impossible to judge and no conclusions can be drawn without knowing what has been done the amps: recaps, resistors replaced, what speakers, what tubes...etc.

    I am absolutely convinced you can make a RI sound great up to the point you can’t tell the difference between a vintage one or even make it sound better. A tube amp is a the sum of its components: tubes, caps, resistors, speakers, trafos.

    I claim to have some experience: I experimented extensively with my Japanese Guyatone Twin Reverb copy and gained a lot of insights by doing so. (It’s vintage but not valuable so I never hesitated to experiment with different components). The most crucial is the circuit: change the value of components and the sound will change. Same goes for the bias-setting. Brands and type of caps (PIO, polypropylene, ceramic, etc.) have a very minimal influence on the end result. Carbon composite resistors vs metal film makes a little difference, but for punchy clean sounds I definitely prefer metal film, contrary to the common opinion. Tubes and speaker can change the sound and feel dramatically. V1 and the PI being to most critical.

    This all being said: I preferred the sound of the vintage one in the vid.

  13. #12

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    I didn't notice a drastic difference in the Youtube vid. Just differences you can control with the controls the 2017 comes equipped with. If you listen to his commentary, he sets the bass and treble to 5 on both amps and does his comparison. Somehow, guitarists have it in their heads that this is some sort of "flat" setting and a good place to start. It may not be. Guys judge Mesa amps the same way. All the knobs at 12 o'oclock and wonder why the amp sounds off. With the Fenders, there are a lot of variables including speaker response, efficiency, and potentiometer curves. A better comparison would be to set the 67 up so it sounds its best, then try and set the 2017 controls to match the sound.

    I had a DRRI that came stock with an alnico Jensen P12Q. It sounded good. I swapped out the stock, cheap fender tubes for a mix of re-issue and NOS tubes ($70) and the amp sounded great. There was no harshness or treble. Of course a 52 year old speaker will not have the efficiency of a new speaker so no kidding the new amp is louder at the same knob setting. But that is why the knob turns. Even the stock re-issue speaker sounds better after a few years of use.

    I have seen a number of great players using ordinary Fender re-issue series amps that sounded great.

    But if you've got the vintage bug and are a tone hound, buy a vintage Deluxe Reverb for $2,500+ or the Hand wired fender for $2,500, or a Vintage Sound Vintage 22 for $1,900. You can get a used DRRI for $700, drop in a $70 speaker and a few carefully chosen tubes and have a good sounding amp and be off to your next gig.

  14. #13

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    I view the differences more in the context of the "throw it down a flight of stairs" test.
    The vintage Fender amp wins every time, because it can be fixed, whereas the RI becomes landfill.
    I have some experience in this regard, but do not recommend doing this test on purpose.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 04-23-2020 at 05:40 AM.

  15. #14

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    I own a 1968 silverface black line, drip edge DR which is actually the circuit they copied for the '67 DRRI. I replaced the original oxford speaker with a Jensen C12Q , and when it was broken in, sounded just like the oxford, IMO.

    I've owned it for 23 of it's 51 years and I could't ask for a more toneful amp, as I have played and gigged in most guitar music genres, where this amp has been a real asset and source of envy amongst other guitarists.

    Every now and then I get tempted to try and sell it for top dollar to help finance some other gear, but I come to my senses. However, if I ever found myself in need of a replacement, I would get a used 67DRRI for $600-700 and throw in a Jensen C12Q and some nice tubes and I think I'd be totally satisfied. The reissues are great sounding iconic amps. I know plenty of guys who use them and they sound sweet. However, it's 40+lbs of sweet.

  16. #15

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    I have a 66 Deluxe Reverb and I would have to say that the video is pretty accurate as to the sound of the vintage amp. Mine has an Altec speaker in it. I couldn't ask for a nicer sounding amp. I've not played through the reissue so can't help you there. If I had to guess the old transformers probably make the most difference.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Is there a boutique maker that comes close to the vintage deluxe reverbs?
    Fender had a special run hand wired DR's a couple of years ago. I tried one in store, it sounded really good, but I don't know how it compares to the originals.
    I'll bet quite a few do come close. The best one I know is the Pure 64 Mean Streets Classic. Mine is head plus cab. The ported cab is surely one reason why it sounds so good, but there are others. It's better in every way than the '67 BF deluxe reverb I had for years. Especially in EQ options. (Can do a sort of BF scooped sound, along with several other presets that revoice the amp pretty dramatically.)

    Speaking of that old DR ... I had it for quite awhile. When the RIs first came out, I got one. Now that was early on, so I'm sure Fender got wise. My DRRI had the crappiest tubes imaginable, a terrible speaker, and biased ice cold from the factory. It sounded like a thin, pale take on the real thing, but with promise. With much better tubes, a celestion ceramic of some sort and properly biased, it come to life. Still not the equal of the old one, but clearly a fine alternative for much cheaper.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog
    I'll bet quite a few do come close. The best one I know is the Pure 64 Mean Streets Classic.
    I just searched and read about Pure 64 Mean Streets Classic, it looks very promising. I like the mid control and ability to use different resistor load cabs.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-27-2019 at 10:29 AM.

  19. #18

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    Bias is also a good point. I rebiased my DRRI for warmth when I changed the tubes and it was a big difference.

  20. #19

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    It seems to me that for the price of making the reissue sound as good (or close to as good) as a vintage model, you need a new speaker, new tubes and some internal mods. And then you are still stuck with a PCB amp that could be un-repairable at some point. For the same money, a Silverface example ( like the 74 that I gigged with for several years) could be had. IIRC, the Blackface and Silverface circuits are almost the same. And with the Silverface, you get a P2P amp that is easily maintained for life. Sounds like a no brainer to me.

  21. #20

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    Does the circuit board amp sound as good? Will the pcb be repairable when it breaks?
    In todays market my real question is "why should I care"?
    I can easily find something like a couple years old minty Vintage Sound V22 for maybe like $1250ish.
    Problem solved.
    Is the Fender logo really that important?

  22. #21

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    Any tube gear from the 1960s will take more time and effort to make functional and reliable than a new amplifier. Many "vintage" amps I have seen or heard on the current market are trashed, modified or sound like crap.

  23. #22

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    Vintage original hands down. I've heard too many stories about the DRRI and PRRI having circuit board problems and breaking contacts. If you want the true vintage solidity at a slightly cheaper price find a '67-'70 that has been "Blackfaced". I've had 4 or 5 of the vintage originals in my lifetime and I regretted having to part with them every time I did. Save your shekels... buy the real deal.

    Big

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    Does the circuit board amp sound as good? Will the pcb be repairable when it breaks?
    In todays market my real question is "why should I care"?
    I really don't think the circuit board itself would make the amp sound any different. The components don't care how they are wired together. Given the exact same parts, the circuit board amp should sound the same as a turret board. The difference in my mind would be overall reliability. These tube amps were designed in days of old, and by design use high voltages. With that, and the tubes themselves, comes heat and that's where I would be most concerned. I think the circuit board design would be much less likely to survive.

  25. #24

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    There are a lot of differences between the RI and a vintage BFDR. Start with a solid pine vs. an MDF cabinet. Then you have a 40-or 50-year-old speaker vs a new one. Tubes on the RI are selected for robustness, as is the bias point.

    There is nothing wrong with PCB construction per se. Like everything, you can do it well, and you can do it cheaply. A high-quality PCB will be thick and robust, the holes will be through-plated and plated on the back side. Mesa does all this, for example. PCBs are also typically machine-stuffed and wave-soldered, so your QC is very important. Thin, single-sided, wave-soldered PCBs will cause problems though, especially if the sockets are mounted directly to the PCB and the tubes are generating a lot of heat. In addition, if the amp is designed to a price point (for example, the Hot Rod series), you are likely to have barely-good-enough spec'd components. Fender builds thousands of amps a year, and any component on which they can spare a couple of cents makes for a lot of money. The early generations of the Hot Rods had a lot of problems from these sorts of issues. If you buy a Diezel, on the other hand, you buy an amp that was hand-stuffed by Peter Diezel's wife. No idea how they do their soldering.

    But a cheaply done PCB is all about cheap production and has nothing to do with repairability. A vintage Fender is easy to repair; Leo designed them to be easily repaired. An alien concept these days. But a PCB amp can sound just as good as a hand-wired, and a hand-wired amp can sound like a piece of junk.

    As far as the DRRI goes, replace the tubes, rebias, clip the bright capacitor, replace the speaker. It will be fine. I like Jupiter speakers for BF/SF amps; they're just perfect, imho.

    steven

  26. #25

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    DRRIs have a plywood cab, not MDF.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRS

    But if you've got the vintage bug and are a tone hound, buy a vintage Deluxe Reverb for $2,500+ or the Hand wired fender for $2,500, or a Vintage Sound Vintage 22 for $1,900. You can get a used DRRI for $700, drop in a $70 speaker and a few carefully chosen tubes and have a good sounding amp and be off to your next gig.
    If a used drri is $700 plus a usable speaker and tubes, and a used recent boutique can be had for a couple hundred more, then it seems an obvious choice to me. If the speaker and tubes of a drri are of marginal quality, then why would we believe that the pcb and components that populate it are any different?
    Going with a Vintage Sound Vintage 22 for example gets you a real solid pine cab, and various upgrades like mid control, dwell control, possibly external bias points, etc.
    Imho, today to decide between a chintzy pcb, and an ancient wavy, possibly moisture absorbed turret board is unnecessary because the boutique is available.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRS
    DRRIs have a plywood cab, not MDF.
    My mistake. Still, ply is not solid.

  29. #28

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    Since we're living in the age of artificially aged guitar woods (aka roasted maple etc), I wonder if there are any pre-aged speakers that you can buy "new"?
    A very well broken in speaker can make all the difference IMHO.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    Any tube gear from the 1960s will take more time and effort to make functional and reliable than a new amplifier. Many "vintage" amps I have seen or heard on the current market are trashed, modified or sound like crap.
    In the 20+ years that I've owned my 1968 DR, everything has been replaced except the original pots, jacks, and transformers. Even the reverb tank is replaced, basically the amp has been totally rebuilt, lots of work, but it has retained it's original awesomeness for decades to come.

    Point is, a vintage amp can require lots of upkeep or work to bring it and keep it up to spec.

  31. #30

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    Even when a vintage amp is trashed, a good tech will revive it. As long as basic components like the transformers are in good condition, you're ok. And things like old pots, transformers, tubes, reverb tanks, etc, they just don't make them like they used to now days . All the boutique and clone stuff I've heard, owned or played, they were always very clearly high quality amps, but didn't sound like the real thing to me. Plus I know many players would disagree, but in my opinion a well serviced vintage amp is more reliable than a modern or even new one. Statistically from personal experience and many friends, less problems over time.

  32. #31

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    how can you make a comparison unless the same tubes were used in each, biased to the same point?

  33. #32

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    by the way, i wouldn't waste my time with either one. For the same or way less dough, buy a used fargen or allen or dr z.

    10x better construction and sounds amazing

  34. #33

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    so many wax poetic about the vintage amps but I have owned probably 2 dozen bf and sf fender amps. They were all headaches when you get them 40+ years later. 40 years of baked parts, parts going out of spec, cold solder joints, vibrations causing issues, parasitic oscillations, yada-yada. I had one super reverb turned into a head that I literally spent a year trying to fix. There was some ghost in there causing chittering. I finally removed every part and rebuilt the entire circuit board. Turns out, the problem was a teeny piece of solder sitting between the two waxed boards in there (horrible design decision) and it would move around whenever the amp was moved and inadvertently touch something. This is why I'd recommend a fargen. It's a new build using top quality parts and built the right way by an actual technician, not by someone making minimum wage and moonlighting...

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTT
    Since we're living in the age of artificially aged guitar woods (aka roasted maple etc), I wonder if there are any pre-aged speakers that you can buy "new"?
    A very well broken in speaker can make all the difference IMHO.
    play through the speaker a couple hours a day for a month and it'll be broken in.

  36. #35

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    I'm constantly surprised at what the guitar and amp industry puts out with the label of "reissue" while the design and construction of said items in no way matches or replicates the original item. It seems to be one of those things where "if you tell a lie often enough people will eventually believe it"
    We're reissuing our beloved 1959 "@#$%" model... with a different neck carve, super jumbo frets, super distortion pickups and a phase switch, poplar body and Katy Perry graphics! Premier Guitar magazine will give it a glowing review, while noting some purists will be offended by the carbon fiber jackplate that's not original.

  37. #36

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    My experience with the '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue was not good, it was a painfully bright sounding amp even with the treble on '1'. At the same time, the bass was flubby and overbearing. I really struggled with this amp.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by skiboyny
    I really don't think the circuit board itself would make the amp sound any different. The components don't care how they are wired together. Given the exact same parts, the circuit board amp should sound the same as a turret board. The difference in my mind would be overall reliability. These tube amps were designed in days of old, and by design use high voltages. With that, and the tubes themselves, comes heat and that's where I would be most concerned. I think the circuit board design would be much less likely to survive.

    I'd say turret board point to point construction gives a huge distinction past reliability. The components are further apart, less interference with other components.

    There is a much more rich harmonically full sound with superior note separation on hardwired amps - PCB could never compare. Furthermore, with the use of a variac or "the brown box" you can adjust the voltage down to 110 or so and "unlock" even more potential with a hardwired amp. Lets the amp breath more and lets the amp run not as hot - not possible with a PCB, the sag makes it sound like poo.

    BTW i made an account here just to put these ideas out there LOL

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by BiancoNeri6969
    There is a much more rich harmonically full sound with superior note separation on hardwired amps - PCB could never compare. Furthermore, with the use of a variac or "the brown box" you can adjust the voltage down to 110 or so and "unlock" even more potential with a hardwired amp. Lets the amp breath more and lets the amp run not as hot - not possible with a PCB, the sag makes it sound like poo.
    Sorry, but I just don’t buy that. And I sure don’t hear it. And furthermore, there is no theoretical evidence to support that.

    I prefer turret, eyelet or p-t-p over PCB but only it’s (usually) more reliable and easier to work on and mod.

    A good PCB amp can sound as good as any (boutique or not) handwired amp.

    There, I said it!

  40. #39

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    Vintage amps have some unique sound.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by BiancoNeri6969
    I'd say turret board point to point construction gives a huge distinction past reliability. The components are further apart, less interference with other components.

    There is a much more rich harmonically full sound with superior note separation on hardwired amps - PCB could never compare. Furthermore, with the use of a variac or "the brown box" you can adjust the voltage down to 110 or so and "unlock" even more potential with a hardwired amp. Lets the amp breath more and lets the amp run not as hot - not possible with a PCB, the sag makes it sound like poo.

    BTW i made an account here just to put these ideas out there LOL
    As to the pcb/hw debate:

  42. #41

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    I for one am thankful for the re-issue amps, especally the reissue Deluxe Reverb. If it wasn't for the reissues I probbly would not have been able to by my like new 1974 Deluxe reverb for the price I paid. Even though it's one of the crappy Silverface ones!
    thanks John

  43. #42

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    I've had duds and greats in both vintage and reissue. Since there are variations in each part used in the circuit, some of this is luck in how the sum total of the individual components turns out. I think you need to play an amp for a while and sometimes you win, sometimes not. Great comments above about repairability of the vintage models. I try not to be a snob, but I feel like my heart loves the old ones more.

  44. #43

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    A realistic comparison between vintage and reissue should take into account all factors.

    The vintage amp is unavailable, except for those who can find one and afford it. The new owner must also take the risk that the amp might need repair in the near future: people sell amps for a reason, and that is not necessarily because ‘it is not getting the use it deserves.’ Like Cosmic Gumbo’s DR, the vintage amp might need every part replaced, eventually. All this costs money and time.

    The reissue amp can be found in a music shop. It comes in a box, with a warranty. It is not the same thing, but it is close enough that most could not tell the difference.

  45. #44

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    I own a very clean '77 Silverface Deluxe Reverb that I bought about 13 years ago. I swapped out the original speaker and replaced it with a Weber California (Ted's take on the venerable JBL D120F) and it now sounds absolutely amazing.

    However...It only took 3 different amp techs working on it over a span of those 13 years and over $600 (not including the cost of the speaker) to get it there. The first amp tech did a full servicing plus 'blackfaced' the 30 year old amp and tried to fix an intermittent reverb issue. He never was able to fix the reverb issue, even after 5 visits to his shop. It did sound better, tone-wise, but I wanted reliable reverb. The second tech also tried to correct the issue, but after 2 visits, no success. In the process he also tweaked the amp, making it sound a bit better...but reverb was still an issue after a few weeks of use. The third tech took two visits, one to replace the original reverb driver (did not resolve the issue), and the second to replace the original pan with a new one (fixed the issue)! Along this journey I swapped tubes here and there, using NOS pre-amp tubes and new JJ 6V6 power tubes.

    As stated above, the amp now sounds stellar.

    My bad luck and long journey to a great sounding old DR had more to do with incompetent amp techs than the amp being old/vintage. The bottom line is to be aware of the potential rabbit hole you might go down attempting to get an old piece of electronics brought up to snuff. There are SO many bits and pieces that interrelate and work together (nicely or not) in an old amp. Tubes are the easy parts to sort out. Its all of the other crap that can lead to either a money pit, or maybe tonal nirvana. I still would take an old vintage amp over a new reissue. That's mainly due to the serviceability of the hand-wired rigs of the past...even if it takes a few so-called amp techs to get there. I was lucky. I eventually found a great guy to work on my amps.

    I'll never sell this 1977 Silverface rig. We have too much history together.


  46. #45

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    It can save you tons of money when you know how to work on tube amps! (And it’s fun!) You can solve most problems with just a multimeter, a chopstick, a soldering iron and the internet (I have acces to a great tech with an oscilloscope and tons of knowledge for the severe cases).

    I learned to fix problems myself out of necessity when I was a poor student and my Fender Blues Deluxe (PCB amp with a 16V op-amp circuit for the channel switching, ough.... steep learning curve!) started acting up. Vintage amps with eyelet/turret-boards, strip terminals or point-to-point construction are sooo much easier to work on!

  47. #46

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    You do have to have a solid electronics background/understanding though, as these things can easily be lethal if someone doesn't know what they are doing!

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    You do have to have a solid electronics background/understanding though, as these things can easily be lethal if someone doesn't know what they are doing!
    Yes it helps if you know what high voltage can do and how long capacitors can store a charge.....

    You are right of course, I should not advertise this too lightly, those voltages can be lethal indeed!

  49. #48

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    i don't need a video to tell you there is a difference, and remember there is a gigantic price difference too
    the reissues are still the best deal in amps out there imo... but i'll take an old one any day

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    i don't need a video to tell you there is a difference
    I bet you a crate of Corona beer I can make a RI sound better than a vintage one, or at least as good so you won’t be able to tell the differene!