View Full Version : Questions about Rivera Fandango
07-18-2007, 09:17 AM
I tried a 55-112 Fandango a while back and was impressed, so it might just be the perfect 112 combo for me - something with lots of tones, EL34s, and still portable for throwing in the car for a jam (or serious enuf for gigs and recording too!)
My questions... I see a few complaints on Harmony Central about microphonic tubes on these.
--Anyone here experience this (or other problems) with Riveras?
--Is this more the case of cheap tubes used by Rivera? What tubes do they use?
--Anyone get improvements (in tone and reliability) with using other tubes?
Also, I was considering looking for a used one. Are there any differences from the newest 2007 models to previous years - changes, improvements??
07-18-2007, 09:50 AM
Riveras are rock solid, I've owned 3 including a Fandango 2x12. There are no persistent tube issues that couldn't be rectified by simply retubing the amp. Maybe the buyers bought used amps, or even new ones that were shipped to them. Who knows what happened to the tubes...
I have noticed that these amps have gotten pretty expensive since they changed their pricing structure 5 or 6 years ago. People try to get big bucks out of them used, but they seem to sit for awhile. I see Jake's from time to time in the $900 range, and there was recently a guy selling a Quianna 2x12 for about that. I sold my Fandango 2x12 for $850 shipped a couple of years ago, so deals are out there if you're willing to look.
I preferred the Jake myself but the differences are pretty marginal really. They're all very similar.
Rivera designs their amps to be used with what's readily available, such as Sovtek WA and WBs. Those aren't typically known as "tone" tubes but there's nothing wrong and they sound fine in those amps. I've heard people say they noticed differences by retubing their Riveras but, IMO, there is less of a difference with these amps than any others I've owned. I put some Tung Sols in my Allen and I noticed a big difference; not so much in the Rivera.
07-18-2007, 02:29 PM
Thanks Phil! I do see some Fandangos around used, and you are correct in that the prices vary a lot on used ones. Do you know if they've changed anything on the newest Fandangos as compared to earlier ones?
I've seen many mentions of the "Jake" on this forum, but I've never heard or seen any info on one. What exactly is the Jake amp, and what is it you like better over the Fandango? Are the Jakes tough to find?
I've owned 3 different Rivera's and toured with them extensively, and I have nothing but great things to say about their build quality and high quality parts....Tubes can go South just in shipment, the way UPS throws things around these days...They're a fine amp....
07-18-2007, 03:16 PM
Lefty, it was so minor just go with what you can find. Jakes are out of production (replaced by Quianas and Fandangos) so they're harder to find; aside from thinking they looked cooler, I also thought the distortion sound was a little more open and in-yer-face. Like I said, the differences are somewhat marginal.
If anything's changed in the Fandango line, I'm sure it's just minor circuit tweaks. I think any experienced Rivera user would tell you that these amps are rock solid, are not flimsy in any way and are NOT prone to failure. That's not to say that it can't happen, but they're certainly not known as shoddy amps. I recently sold my beloved K-55 head after 8 years of near continual use and that amp didn't hiccup the entire time I owned it. A few minor tube changes is all.
07-18-2007, 03:23 PM
I can also vouch for the fact that Rivera has no persistent tube issues. My Quiana worked fine for a few years with the stock tubes whereas my Knuckelehead Reverb had a couple of noisy tubes a couple of months after I bought it new.
I also agree about there being no problem with Sovtek tubes in Riveras. One reason Rivera uses the particular combination that they do is because it provides the same tonal balance as the Chinese tubes Rivera used to use quite a few years ago. At that time, the Chinese tubes became either unavailable or unreliable (maybe both, I can't remember) so Rivera changed to the Sovtek lineup. I tend to like the Ruby or GT Chinese preamp tubes in my Riveras.
As to the Fandango, to my knowledge there have been no changes to this amp. I think the price increase was just bound to happen given the way so many things simply cost more. It seems that the any company who wished to have their products meet RoHS compliance for export to Europe faced some serious cost increases from their suppliers. This may play a part in Rivera raising their prices.
Jakes/Rakes are really close in design to the Fandango. The Fandango has more gain and a bit more of a modern voicing in channel 1 (in fact, channel 1 of the Fandango is the same as channel 2 of the Knucklehead Reverb). I find it to be quite similar to the distortion channel of most Rivera amps.
Feature-wise, both amps are really similar - both have a vintage/modern switch and 6-spring longpan reverb. The Fandango has a "pull warm function" on the Focus knob (The Rake Head had the focus knob but the Rake Reverb Head/Jake combo did not) and a mid scoop on the distortion channel. The Jake used a Celestion G12T85 while the Fandango uses a G12T-75. I am also pretty certain that the Fandango cabinet is slightly deeper than that of the Jake.
I know you want a combo but there is a guy on the Yahoo Rivera forum with a Rake head and 212 cabinet for $1150 which is a good deal. - http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/riveraheads/message/1173
my 95 r-55 came with chinese tubes with square getters which i now use in my two rock jet, 12 years old and still sounding great.
07-18-2007, 04:21 PM
Oh man, Terry, that IS a good deal.
07-18-2007, 04:26 PM
Thanks guys! All helpful info here. I have indeed heard mostly very good things about Riveras so I was surprised to see the few knocks in Harmony Central. Probably just some bad tubes. I used ot have one of the Rivera designed Twin II amps many years ago and that was a great amp! I see those Rivera Fenders are up in price a bit now if you find them. Wish I never sold that thing - it was even loaded with EVM 12Ls! Damn that thing was heavy though, which is why I think I unloaded it back then.
By the way, I recently came across Richard's Rivera Amp page (http://bellsouthpwp.net/r/i/ricjohns/Richard%27s%20Rivera%20Amplifier%20Page.htm) which has some great info. His descriptions of experimenting with tubes is very informative.
07-20-2007, 10:59 AM
Oh man, Terry, that IS a good deal.
Yeah. He should place that ad here! ...with all the Rake/Jake fans on this board, he should sell it fast.
07-20-2007, 11:06 AM
I owned a Quiana for years...no tube problems whatsoever.
But...be aware that you don't just "throw them in the car for a jam." The Quiana and Fandango are about 70lbs.
Also, as some have mentioned, resale value sucks.
Pros: best spring reverb ever on a combo, IMO. Very flexible. GREAT effects loop. Great clean tone.
Cons: I could never warm up to the lead channel. The "Ninja Boost" is way too loud to be usable unless you spend more money of the volume mod. I always felt it was a little flubby in the bass.
10-22-2007, 10:31 AM
Anyone know if Richard's Rivera site is out? I can't get there any longer.
10-22-2007, 10:58 AM
I don't know of any persistent tube problems. I had a few rattly preamp tubes when I first bought the amp, but new tubes solved that problem.
10-22-2007, 11:04 AM
I think Riveras boosts are pretty workable, since they seem to add alot less boost and volume at stage levels than at home levels.
Many of the Riveras are in fact pretty similar, like Terry said. Not the same, but definitely pretty close to eachother both in tone and specs. My TBR1 and my Knucklehead 55 can cover alot of the same ground if needed, but the K55 is a bit more aggressive and bass-heavy where the TBR1 is more seventies/eighties voiced... and also a bit more versatile with the Mid Notch control.
I havenīt experienced any trouble what so ever with my two. The TBR1 is from 1987 and still is like brand new internally... my tech gave it a check-up last year, and didnīt find anything worth adressing.
10-22-2007, 11:04 AM
Pros: best spring reverb ever on a combo, IMO.
I take it you've never played a Rockerverb 50? Hehehehe. Cheap shot, I know.
10-22-2007, 11:34 AM
As far as the boost in concerned, having a boost level pot would be a great standard option. However, I've noticed the boost is really only too big a jump when I'm playing the amp at really low volume. At stage volume, the jump is much smaller.
10-22-2007, 01:11 PM
He's probably talking about the 2x12. Yes, they are heavy.
10-22-2007, 02:31 PM
My Quianna 2x12 is really heavy. Every time I have to move it, I remind myself that the weight is the price you pay for the tone. Totally worth every pound once I get it in a big room and crank it. I have had it for many years and the only problems come from power tubes wearing out. This happens to all tube amps.
10-22-2007, 03:08 PM
Yeah, it seems the guys at Rivera arenīt into cutting weight... I used to haul around my TBR1 in a lightweight four-space rack case, so it ended up basically as an unimaginably cumbersome head. It sits comfortably in a sturdy 12-space with wheels now, and itīs alot easier rolling it around in that than it was carrying it around before. I guess thatīs what you get when you want some serious iron inside, and I donīt complain!
10-22-2007, 03:28 PM
I've been gigging with Riveras for quite a few years now.. I've not had any tube issues with mine (I have 4 of them.. an R55, a Suprema, a older K55 and a Rake Head).. I also run them pretty much cranked using an attenuator and always leave both boosts on. The "marshall" channel needs to be cranked to sound best I think. I'm not really a high gain player, I prefer power amp distortion. I've not blown anything up in a few hundred gigs with them, although preamp tubes do go microphonic with road use and power tubes do eventually die.
In terms of new production tubes, I've had good luck with the TungSols reissues, EH's and the 9th gen Chinese.. JJ's are ok as well. NOS Tungsrams, RFT's and Mullards sound really wonderful in V1 and V2 in these amps as well, but they cost a bit more. I would replace the Sovteks when you're up to it.
I don't care about the weight of the amps, as I also have to drag around a full PA system.. My guitar stuff seems small and light in comparison.
Hope this helps
10-23-2007, 11:19 AM
but have been there.
He posts instructions to mod the boost in both channels...putting a pot in. Simple to do, I've done them both, and they fix the only real gripe I've had with Pauls amps. I still have three... a Knucklehead Reverb 55, a Rake Reverb head (with a Jake Studio combo 1-12" box to use with the chassis on occassion), and an almost new R 55/12 with matching Sub 1 subwoofer. I use these as much as anything else I own (Matchless DC-30, Bogner Shiva, VHT PB 45 w/ 4-10" cab, Fender Pro Reverb and Princeton Reverb II, both w/ JBL D120Fs, Carvin Legacy (also a great amp), etc...I have around 20 amps).
vBulletin® v3.8.5, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.