Other Amps

Super Reverb Old vs New

1

I have a ‘64 Super Reverb I bought in 1983 that has been my main amp ever since - except when it broke down a few times. I found a good amp guy here in Las Vegas and it’s been running great now. My backup is a reissue that I’ve used on stage for a couple years and it sounds fine, but when played side by side...quite a difference. The reissue is sterile in comparison, which may not be a bad thing when played live (cuts through all that stage noise) but for recording there’s no question the ‘64 would be the way to go.

Not sure why that is. Does it take over 50 years to break in an amp?

2

I think there are a lot of little things.

What does one sound like if you play it through the other's cabinet? Try swapping a few preamp tubes.

But it seems to come down to things that you think shouldn't make such a difference, like the type and placement of components.

I think the old components may have good noise, like a creek. I don't know if new components age or if they will never have that.

3

It’s everything. Pine vs plywood cab. Speakers. Tubes. Rectifier (5U4 vs 5AR4), leaky caps and carbon resistors that have drifted. Not sure if the voltages are the same. Like Hammerhands says, “good noise”.

4

One thing to have your amp guy check would be the bias for the RI amp. Sometimes factory bias settings are a bit on the cool side to err on the side of tube life and need to be brought up a bit. I have a 90's 63 vibroverb reissue which has this problem. Your amp guy will know how to check and adjust if need be. The other suggestions about trying some different preamp tubes is a good one - you can find lots of info by googling around.

5

One thing to have your amp guy check would be the bias for the RI amp. Sometimes factory bias settings are a bit on the cool side to err on the side of tube life and need to be brought up a bit. I have a 90's 63 vibroverb reissue which has this problem. Your amp guy will know how to check and adjust if need be. The other suggestions about trying some different preamp tubes is a good one - you can find lots of info by googling around.

– vibrotwang

Excellent idea

6

I have a ‘64 Super Reverb I bought in 1983 that has been my main amp ever since - except when it broke down a few times. I found a good amp guy here in Las Vegas and it’s been running great now. My backup is a reissue that I’ve used on stage for a couple years and it sounds fine, but when played side by side...quite a difference. The reissue is sterile in comparison, which may not be a bad thing when played live (cuts through all that stage noise) but for recording there’s no question the ‘64 would be the way to go.

Not sure why that is. Does it take over 50 years to break in an amp?

– DScott

What speakers are in the two amps? And In addition to the tubes are you able to switch the speakers?

7

It’s everything. Pine vs plywood cab. Speakers. Tubes. Rectifier (5U4 vs 5AR4), leaky caps and carbon resistors that have drifted. Not sure if the voltages are the same. Like Hammerhands says, “good noise”.

– Powdog

+1

And don't forget components in your reissue amp, having slightly different values, and higher ratings, to provide more amp durability/reliability when running with today's wall outlet voltages, which are typically about 10 volts higher (115-120v) than what you had in the 60s (105-110v). This can also affect sound to an extent.

Also, define "sterile" sounding. Things like that come under personal preference. One guitarist's sterile sound, could be considered nice, and tightly focused by another guitarist.

8

The re-issue will never sound like a real one because it isn't. Everything in the re-issues is as cheep as they can possibly make it, the components are all cheap tiny little PC mount parts mounted on a cheap PC board, which contains lots of layout & wiring mistakes. Take both of your amps out of the cabinets and look at the difference!

9

The re-issue will never sound like a real one because it isn't. Everything in the re-issues is as cheep as they can possibly make it, the components are all cheap tiny little PC mount parts mounted on a cheap PC board, which contains lots of layout & wiring mistakes. Take both of your amps out of the cabinets and look at the difference!

– Billy Zoom

They don't make 'em like they used to.

10

No, the don't make them like they used to, but don't make the mistake of equating vintage, with better quality. Caps made nowadays last a lot longer, than the old school caps (especially the paper electrolytics that were used in the 50s and 60s). Resistors with tighter tolerance specs, are cheaper (even with inflation taken into account), than the 10% tolerance resistors used on amps back in the day, because they were cheaper to source than 5% or less tolerance resistors (which BTW, are the norm nowadays).

There are good PCBs, and bad PCBs. Mil-spec PCBs kick butt for durabilty (even over point-to-point wiring - it's why military and aerospace electronics, migrated towards being made with PCBs in the 60s). Bad PCBs - well calling them junk is being polite, and unfortunately they are used all too often in consumer electronics.

11

When you let a computer program design a PC board for a tube amp, the results will not be optimum. Computer programers do not understand high impedance tube circuits! Some companies understand this. Maybe someday Fender will figure it out. I don't dislike PC boards...I dislike Fender PC boards. They also make a lot of dumb mistakes when transposing the original circuits.

12

When you let a computer program design a PC board for a tube amp, the results will not be optimum. Computer programers do not understand high impedance tube circuits! Some companies understand this. Maybe someday Fender will figure it out. I don't dislike PC boards...I dislike Fender PC boards. They also make a lot of dumb mistakes when transposing the original circuits.

– Billy Zoom

Good point - VERY true, but when it's done right, you can still have a killer amp. I know that it's kind of apples to oranges to compare them to Fenders, but Diezel amps uses PCBs, and they sound IMO absolutely killer. Ditto for Bad Cat Amps - which are actually a hybrid of PCBs and point to point wiring.

13

Just leaving here for anyone looking for Super Reverb sounding amps...

The Category 5 VOW 4x10 amp is not only a copy of Tab Benoit's old Super Reverb, but he said the catch was it had to SOUND like his OLD amp, because old amps sound different... and he said Cat5 nailed it.... so if you want a new, handwired SR that sounds like an old one...

https://www.premierguitar.c...

17

I just switched back and forth in a band practice at my house. Not stage volume, but pretty close. I still hear the difference, but it’s not as obvious as it is when playing solo. That old Super just sings.

I know the circuit boards are a whole different animal than the old point to point wiring, but you’d think Fender would do some homework to try and get the sound right. Oh well, it’s a fine backup amp I suppose (I really want to like my Deluxe reissue, but it just doesn’t do it. So handy to carry around).

Now if the clubs would ever open up again, we could actually play some shows. I almost forgot what that was like.

18

I bought a blackface super reverb from Jody Porter which was his dads. Josh rebuilt it and there’s nothing like it. Less headroom than my 65 Deluxe.

19

I bought a blackface super reverb from Jody Porter which was his dads. Josh rebuilt it and there’s nothing like it. Less headroom than my 65 Deluxe.

– Curt Wilson

Wow... less headroom?? I wouldn't have expected that.

20

Breaks up beautifully.

Jody a couple years back with it.

21

Wow... less headroom?? I wouldn't have expected that.

– ruger9

It’s true. My Deluxe is loud as hell by the time it gets that sweet sound

22

Damn, now I want a Super... I wish they made a 2x10 version, 4x10s weigh a bloody ton (I know from hauling a Bassman and a Peavey Classic 50 around years ago)

23

Damn, now I want a Super... I wish they made a 2x10 version, 4x10s weigh a bloody ton (I know from hauling a Bassman and a Peavey Classic 50 around years ago)

– ruger9

Isn't a Pro half a Super?

24

Loved my '68! I had it for 20 years, but It was just too much amp for my needs, so I let her go. Can't say I miss it, but it was a killer amp.

25

Isn't a Pro half a Super?

– AndyJ

Nope. Pro is 2x12. Vibrolux Reverb is 2x10.


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