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  1. #1

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    Hi folks,

    I am trying to decide between the Carr Rambler and Rivera Jazz Suprema. Does anyone here have experience with both amps?

    The main goal is to achieve those clean, warm, fat Jazz tones.

    Which of these amps would be even marginally better than the other at achieving these tones?

    Also, which has better build quality and reliability?

    Thanks in advance for any helpful information!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Interesting choices -- both great amps (and quite different price ranges, if buying new). [TIP: buy either one "used!"]

    Curious (and I don't know you, so no offense intended): are you an experienced tube-amp player, and after lots of research, have landed on these two models as your choice? Since your budget is near the $3000 (USD) range, you have a world of options, so I'm interested how you decided between these two?

    Thanks, and happy hunting!

  4. #3

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    I've owned a Rambler for a couple of years and found it to be not so suitable for MY personal use : the sweet spot was a bit to loud, the amp is quite heavy and IMHO the designer steered this circuit more towards the Roots-Rock/Country type of sounds, with the fat bass/scooped midrange/brilliant treble etc. The build quality is beyond any critizism, just superb in every aspect.
    I guess you could make it work for you when you're willing to try out some different speakers and use a load-box etc. ...
    never played the Rivera amp, never even seen one on a stage or in a shop.

  5. #4

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    Clean, Warm, Fat Jazz Tones enough for you?

    Not what you are asking for but certainly worth considering.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky

    Clean, Warm, Fat Jazz Tones enough for you?

    Not what you are asking for but certainly worth considering.
    Wow -- Milkman "The Amp" and 6" Raezer's Edge cab?! Killer!

  7. #6

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    Brandon Bernstein gets a good sound here , it's just too bright for my taste ... YMMV

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky


    Clean, Warm, Fat Jazz Tones enough for you?

    Not what you are asking for but certainly worth considering.
    Thanks, Jabber! That’s a truckload of clean, warm, and fat tones alright! I’ll certainly look into this, but I prefer a combo unit and I see that there is a combo version of The Amp.

    Thanks also for a post you made back in 2016 explaining clearly the difference between the single-channel JS and the two-channel JS. I attached the link below for anyone interested.

    Rivera Jazz Suprema Single Channel 1x15.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    I've owned a Rambler for a couple of years and found it to be not so suitable for MY personal use : the sweet spot was a bit to loud, the amp is quite heavy and IMHO the designer steered this circuit more towards the Roots-Rock/Country type of sounds, with the fat bass/scooped midrange/brilliant treble etc. The build quality is beyond any critizism, just superb in every aspect.
    I guess you could make it work for you when you're willing to try out some different speakers and use a load-box etc. ...
    never played the Rivera amp, never even seen one on a stage or in a shop.
    Thank you for the info. Good to know.

    In contrast to what you’re saying about the Rambler circuit design, the Jazz Suprema is touted as being designed specifically for Jazz with archtops in mind. That might mean that the JS offers more of that warm, fat Jazz tone than the Rambler. Just guessing though...

  10. #9

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    Having owned and used many different amps over the past 40 + years I‘ve leared to like and dial in all kinds of models, depending on where and how they were going to be used. Getting that „warm and fat“ tone at home at low levels is not as tricky as getting it at stage volume levels while the guitar is still controllable re feedback. i‘ve had (and still have) much more luck in that respect with my modern solid state amps.... I get that wooly sound at home with a vintage movie-projector amp, pumping 15 watts into a 10“ cab, at living room level just below breakup.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    Hi folks,

    I am trying to decide between the Carr Rambler and Rivera Jazz Suprema. Does anyone here have experience with both amps?

    The main goal is to achieve those clean, warm, fat Jazz tones.

    Which of these amps would be even marginally better than the other at achieving these tones?

    Also, which has better build quality and reliability?

    Thanks in advance for any helpful information!
    I've owned both amps and they are both great sounding! I would say the Carr Rambler (6L6) is voiced more brightly, and a friend of mine felt it was his favorite. I sold both of them because I prefer the sound of EL84's, but that's just me. You can't go wrong with either one. The Rambler is point-to-point wired & has higher level components, but the Suprema also functioned flawlessly and it's 15" speaker was full sounding.

  12. #11

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    Scroll to the bottom of the Rivera Jazz Suprema webpage and there are several YouTube videos of various iterations of the amp being played by great jazz guitarists: http://www.rivera.com/product/combos...ingle-channel/. Maybe you have already seen them. What I find interesting is that you can see the amp settings and they are all over the place for each guitarist.

    I owned the 55 watt 1x12 version of the amp and enjoyed it. And, the warm, fat tone you're looking for can definitely be dialed in. It has many controls beyond the standard ones that offer a lot of tonal possibilities within the confines of a clean sound. Sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed with all the choices.

    I did finally sell it because I got tired of chasing down microphonic tubes which I guess is something you just put up with in a combo amp. It's not a criticism of the Jazz Suprema, but more an issue with the quality of tubes these days and the inherent problem associated with co-locating the electronics chassis with the loudspeaker. I also found that to get to that warm, fat tone "sweet spot" I had to push the gain to the point where it was just too loud in the room I used it in most of the time for practice. In retrospect, I probably should have just bought an attenuator. And, I do miss it.

  13. #12

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    Here's a one-off Rivera Jazz Suprema for sale on Reverb: https://reverb.com/item/36268451-riv...rec-2020-black. Seller is claiming it is new, although it probably should be described in mint condition. Looks like the 25 watt version with a 10" speaker, so a custom order. Not sure why the seller wants to turn it around after only having it for three days and is selling "as-described" with no returns allowed. For point of reference, I bought mine (2012 55 watt 1x12, not the newer Rec version) a couple years ago for around $925 on Reverb.

  14. #13

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    i owned a carr rambler and it was a great jazz amp though I found it underpowered on larger gigs (like big band or with a loud sax and organ). it also ran very hot - a problem which they've since corrected. It gets a jazz sound like the early '60s jazz records. Love that tone. If you're not playing loud gigs you could get a fender deluxe reissue and save some money.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by helios
    I've owned both amps and they are both great sounding! I would say the Carr Rambler (6L6) is voiced more brightly, and a friend of mine felt it was his favorite. I sold both of them because I prefer the sound of EL84's, but that's just me. You can't go wrong with either one. The Rambler is point-to-point wired & has higher level components, but the Suprema also functioned flawlessly and it's 15" speaker was full sounding.
    Thank you for the info.

    Do you remember whether it was more difficult to dial in the sweet spot on the Suprema compared to the Rambler?

    In your experience, since you owned both and found the Rambler to be voiced brightly, would it be safe to say the Suprema produced warmer, fatter tones compared to the tones produced by Rambler?

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Scroll to the bottom of the Rivera Jazz Suprema webpage and there are several YouTube videos of various iterations of the amp being played by great jazz guitarists: http://www.rivera.com/product/combos...ingle-channel/. Maybe you have already seen them. What I find interesting is that you can see the amp settings and they are all over the place for each guitarist.

    I owned the 55 watt 1x12 version of the amp and enjoyed it. And, the warm, fat tone you're looking for can definitely be dialed in. It has many controls beyond the standard ones that offer a lot of tonal possibilities within the confines of a clean sound. Sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed with all the choices.

    I did finally sell it because I got tired of chasing down microphonic tubes which I guess is something you just put up with in a combo amp. It's not a criticism of the Jazz Suprema, but more an issue with the quality of tubes these days and the inherent problem associated with co-locating the electronics chassis with the loudspeaker. I also found that to get to that warm, fat tone "sweet spot" I had to push the gain to the point where it was just too loud in the room I used it in most of the time for practice. In retrospect, I probably should have just bought an attenuator. And, I do miss it.
    Thank you for the post, Bill.

    Yes, I have seen those videos, but I hadn’t paid attention to the amp settings because I was busy trying to analyze the sound. I do like the tones I’m hearing in those videos. However, one reservation I have when listening to sound clips is the fact that what I’m hearing finally is what my own multimedia speakers is generating and I have no way of knowing how true to the source my speakers are. That’s one reason I prefer to ask folks here for their opinions in addition to listening to the videos.

    In terms of volume, was it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the sweet spot in, say, a typical living room? At minimum, how big of a room would you say is needed to achieve that sweet spot comfortably?

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    i owned a carr rambler and it was a great jazz amp though I found it underpowered on larger gigs (like big band or with a loud sax and organ). it also ran very hot - a problem which they've since corrected. It gets a jazz sound like the early '60s jazz records. Love that tone. If you're not playing loud gigs you could get a fender deluxe reissue and save some money.
    Thank you!

    Would you be able to point me to a clip where I can hear an approximate tone you love that the Rambler produced for you?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    Thank you for the post, Bill.

    Yes, I have seen those videos, but I hadn’t paid attention to the amp settings because I was busy trying to analyze the sound. I do like the tones I’m hearing in those videos. However, one reservation I have when listening to sound clips is the fact that what I’m hearing finally is what my own multimedia speakers is generating and I have no way of knowing how true to the source my speakers are. That’s one reason I prefer to ask folks here for their opinions in addition to listening to the videos.

    In terms of volume, was it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the sweet spot in, say, a typical living room? At minimum, how big of a room would you say is needed to achieve that sweet spot comfortably?
    You're welcome! I have to say that I typically use a good pair of headphones when I'm critically listening to music tracks, especially when I want to hear the nuances when comparing guitars, amps, etc. But, headphones have their own frequency response just like loudspeakers. But, you take the room reflections out of the equation when listening through headphones and you can isolate what you're trying to hear from ambient noise. Near field speaker arrangements work well too.

    I don't think you would have a problem reaching the sweet spot in a large living room (not sure what would be considered typical these days). I had the amp located in a large office and it was too much volume in that space when the gain was up where it needed to be for the sweet spot. I would occasionally move the amp into our great room when I had friends over to play for and it seemed fine there with the higher gain, but it's about 24' long by 18' wide by 13' high, and everyone reacts to volume levels differently. I never took it out of the house because it was just too heavy to move around at my age, so I didn't have the opportunity to play it in even larger spaces. And, keep in mind that this was the 55 watt version and a 25 watt version is also available. Also keep in mind that the Carr Rambler is 14 watts in triode mode, so much less power than either version of the Rivera. But in any case, an attenuator can be your friend regardless of the amp to get the gain you want without the volume increase. Rivera makes their own, but it's around $500 new, so an extra expense. And, of course, please keep in mind that this is my experience and opinion, and I hope others might weigh in as well.

  19. #18

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  20. #19

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    Owned both, sold both. Rambler was a bit too pristine sounding - almost clinical. Suprema's controls were a bit too Byzantine.

    Love my Headstrong Lil-King S. Warm and forgiving 25w version of a Princeton.

  21. #20

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    Opinions, videos, and ratings vary significantly. Therefore, the reality is you have to listen for yourself, under your specific conditions, to evaluate the amp. Consequntly, buying and selling/shipping amps has been common place for myself. At one time it scared the hell out of me to ship an amp. But it was a learning process. (None lost to shipping damage, yet)

    The choice of amps available is staggering as they can vary in configuration greatly. Therefore a discipline approach to evaluating amps is needed as they can vary in size, weight, features, circuits, tubes.... Note your needs may vary overtime also for various reasons.

    With the 2 you mentioned your at the semi-higher side with smaller "boutique" manufacturers.

    All I can say is many years ago I was in a similarly quest to find to a "goto" amp. 30-40 amps later, well I know a hell of lot more than I did from the start.

    Good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    Hi folks,

    I am trying to decide between the Carr Rambler and Rivera Jazz Suprema. Does anyone here have experience with both amps?

    The main goal is to achieve those clean, warm, fat Jazz tones.

    Which of these amps would be even marginally better than the other at achieving these tones?

    Also, which has better build quality and reliability?

    Thanks in advance for any helpful information!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    Thank you!

    Would you be able to point me to a clip where I can hear an approximate tone you love that the Rambler produced for you?
    Honestly, i'm not sure how you can say that this amp is designed for rock and country sounds. It's a beautiful sounding amp that sounds like the early fender blackface amps but sweeter due to it's class A configuration.






  23. #22

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    "In your experience, since you owned both and found the Rambler to be voiced brightly, would it be safe to say the Suprema produced warmer, fatter tones compared to the tones produced by Rambler?"

    I would say this statement is correct. My Suprema had two channels and was therefore more versatile, and a 15" speaker. If one were trying to duplicate a Kenny or Wes sound for example, it would have been easier to do (not by me mind you) with the Suprema.





  24. #23

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    I've used a Carr Rambler almost exclusively for the last 15 years. Played a zillion gigs, rock, country, R&B, funk, jazz. It's a great, versatile amp. It does not run hot. It is not unusually bright unless you set the controls that way. In fact, it has a really impressive amount of clean headroom and has a full, warm sound. Reliability? I have had zero problems. It's not heavy for a 1X12", 38 lbs.

    I like Fenders, but this is a much better sounding amp than a Deluxe. I would never make a decision on an amp (or guitar) based on a YouTube video.

  25. #24

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    I recommend checking out the Vintage 20 Jazz by Rick Hayes. They're handwired Fender Amp clones that are actually cheaper than the Fender branded handwired amps. They sound much better. I have a Vintage Sound 35sc and my only complaint is the weight. Make sure you get good tubes. IME JJs are the safest bet for 12AX7s although they lack the clarity of other tubes. These tubes are build very sturdy. I prefer Tung-Sols for the 12AX7s, they get a good balance of warmth and clarity. You might get a microphonic one here and there. I'd say TAD and any Chinese made 12AX7 will be more likely to be microphonic and noisy, although the Sino 12AT7s are great in the phase inverter position. For power tubes, I've found Tung-Sol to be the least rattly. With these combo amps, IME, it's necessary to have dampening rings on the tubes with the speaker and cabinet vibrating the tubes. I put two on the top and bottom of the preamp tubes, and four dampeners on the 6L6s, two at the bottom, and two at the top.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by skjazz
    (...) controls were a bit too Byzantine.
    (...)
    I love this expression!

    (Never used the amps, but I can imagine these controls!)

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie
    I love this expression!
    Makes two of us!

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie
    I love this expression!

    (Never used the amps, but I can imagine these controls!)
    Yes! I would have preferred fewer controls and was always fiddling with them when I had the amp.

  29. #28

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    I "figured out" (pros already knew this I'm sure) this about Carr Rambler: When you turn all the tone knobs down, you can turn the volume knob all the way up and there is no sound (I believe Fender Twins and others do this too). So with the volume all the way up, I start turning up the tone knobs in very tiny increments and get a very full, ever so slightly overdriven sound without bothering the neighbors and only a few feet away from the amp.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Yes! I would have preferred fewer controls and was always fiddling with them when I had the amp.
    I had to look up the definition - I now have an additional word to add to my vocabulary. You learn more here by accident then you do by design..