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1982 Rivera Super Champ VS Princeton Reverb Reissue

Jaketone

Member
Messages
307
Hi Folks,

I am in the market for a small fender combo ideally 12-20 watts. I keep thinking I need more watts but it is time to get to grips with reality

I've owned and played the PRRI many times but an 82 Rivera Super Champ has come up for sale interstate that I won't be able to play before purchasing. A PRRI has come up locally for a cheaper price.

I can get a used PRRI for the equivalent of $850 USD
I can get the Super Champ for the equivalent of $1350 USD

Australia sucks for gear prices.

Looking for nice bold cleans, nice reverb and an amp that can take a pedalboard well.

Leaning towards the princeton at 15w but a hand wired Rivera fender is tempting!
 

caballero59

Member
Messages
914
Doesn't the Super Champ use a weird tube that is hard to find? Also, if the Super uses the same type of preamp gain as its single channel cousin (Champ II), then the cleans are good but the OD just plain sucks.
 

Jaketone

Member
Messages
307
Doesn't the Super Champ use a weird tube that is hard to find? Also, if the Super uses the same type of preamp gain as its single channel cousin (Champ II), then the cleans are good but the OD just plain sucks.
Yeah it has a 6C10 which sounds expensive. I reckon it will probably set me back $80 AUD for one.. I would be using pedals for gain..
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,204
Hi Folks,

I am in the market for a small fender combo ideally 12-20 watts. I keep thinking I need more watts but it is time to get to grips with reality

I've owned and played the PRRI many times but an 82 Rivera Super Champ has come up for sale interstate that I won't be able to play before purchasing. A PRRI has come up locally for a cheaper price.

I can get a used PRRI for the equivalent of $850 USD
I can get the Super Champ for the equivalent of $1350 USD

Australia sucks for gear prices.

Looking for nice bold cleans, nice reverb and an amp that can take a pedalboard well.

Leaning towards the princeton at 15w but a hand wired Rivera fender is tempting!
not sure why all the negatives on the rivera fender overdrive. i’ve always found it useful. or better. currently own a twin ll, absolute beast. david gilmour likes ‘em.
 

Jaketone

Member
Messages
307
If price isn't an object, the Super Champ is going to be better in basically every possible way to the PRRI. They're really special amps after you swap the speaker, or when used with a cab.
I would be happy to swap the speaker but trying to keep the size of the rig down.. Although I heard a guy run one through a 1x12 and it sounded huge!

Ok.. good to know..
 

Jaketone

Member
Messages
307
The Super Champ runs about 18 watts right? Is the master volume control any good?

I like the idea of a 12-15 watt Princeton but I guess what is 3 watts between friends..
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
10,870
Back in the day the Superchamp was considered the best sounding of the Rivera amps. Make sure that the footswitch comes with it.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,206
The foot switch thing is over-rated, it's not hard to build and there are schematics out there. That said, the only thing those two amps have in common is the name... I exaggerate, but only a little:
1. PRRI-typical Fender sparkle, nice transition to overdrive due to the unbalanced PI, tremolo is bias and sounds great, reverb is lovely, takes pedals REALLY well. OTOH, it's a disposable amp-when it dies it's not really repairable, so eventually you or your heirs will have something worth nothing.

2. Superchamp-more in the Mesa camp, a warmer clean. I think the distortion is useful, it's very unlike the larger amps designed by Jsahn (Rivera didn't actually design the SuperChamp). No trem, very useable but short tank reverb. The foot switch adds functionality (when you change channels without the FS, it sounds different from the same settings with the FS). Hand-wired and easy to repair, but yeah, you have to find the 6C10 eventually. Boxy with the original speaker, but a 12" extension cab with an EV? Killer!

For me, I'd definitely get the SuperChamp (unless I could find a Princeton Reverb II which I consider a better amp in every way).
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,884
Fwiw, the footswitch neuters the SC in its stock form. A member over on TDPRI analyzed the circuit and came up with a simple cure for what is essentially some poor design in how the footswitch works.
The same situation occurs in the PRII, which is the amp I was working on when I discovered this.
Both of these amps do their gain mode in the same manner...and witch in the same manner.
Go here to post #13 for the cure....
http://www.tdpri.com/threads/super-champ-1983-optimizing.473956/#post-5824446

While the Super Champ is essentially a hot-rodded BF/SF Princeton Reverb without the trem, the Prin Rev II is more akin to the BF/SF DR....LTP phase inverter versus the cathodyne PI in the Super Champ...adn the vintage Princeton/Princeton Reverbs.
Speakers, imho and ime, there is no reason to wish one had a 12' speaker. One simply needs to get a good 10" speaker. I used Emi ALK1028's in mine two SC's for over 20 years until I got hold of some EV Force speakers, which are the aftermarket version of the EVI....the upgrade speaker from the factory. The sound is big and rich with either of these.....and I am sure there are other speakers that can improve upon the two OEM speakers....a thin and harsh EMi ceramic or a richer sounding but inarticulate Pyle.
 

ljholland

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,713
I have had an original blackface Princeton reverb (sold) but still have my 80's Superchamp. I did try a couple of different 10"s in the SC but didn't like it much. Plugged into my 1965 BFDR's cabinet, it was great so the conclusion that I drew was that the small cabinet hindered the tone. So - I had a new cabinet made for it to house a 12" speaker and have a C-Rex in there. The speaker choice is critical on the SCs as they can be pretty bright. The Rex matches the tone stack perfectly.

While others may disagree, I didn't like the PR as a gigging amp. Great tone...just not powerful enough nor different enough from my DR or SC to keep. Sooooo...off it went.

I think of the SC like my BFDR but with a cool master volume. Between the master and the mid boost, the amp has a ton of versatility. The mid boost is great with single coils. The SC is also a better amp for home practice than the PR/DR because it has the master. While I have an aftermarket footswitch, I never actually used it since I never use the drive channel or turn off the reverb. (IMHO the drive channel is pretty crappy). The best tone from the amp is setting the master on 10 and adjust the level using the volume control.

Regarding the 6C10, it's no biggie. I had no problem finding one. I've never had to replace mine but have 2 extra in the drawer just in case. These are pre-amp tubes....they last a long time.

Here's an older pic....(still have that guitar but the little board is different these days)

View media item 109343
 

Jaketone

Member
Messages
307
Thanks everyone for your input. It sounds pretty unanimous that despite the PRRI being a great sounding amp that the super champ would be the choice.

What are your thoughts on price?

It feels expensive at ~$1350 USD / ~$1750 AUD ..?

But we don’t have much of this stuff here...
 

Geetarpicker

Member
Messages
2,851
I don't have a Super Champ but here is something that some might find interesting. During the same time frame as the Rivera Super Champs were made, there was also the Champ II in the same 1x10 combo box as the Super Champ, and the Bassman 20 in an odd tall 1x12 sealed (but open up top) cabinet. That said, I have a Champ II that is currently in a Mather build head box, and my Bassman 20 lives in my Champ II cab. It's worth mentioning that all three of these amps share the same basic chassis, though the Super Champ also has the Compactron tube, more features and reverb. I've done some extensive mods to my Champ II and Bassman 20, and I use a reverb pedal so these lesser known amps works out fine for me.

Another cool thing is I discovered is that the 1535 Pelican case that I use for my pedal board and cords doubles as a tilt back stand for my Bassman 20. I do however run a small fan in the amp to help cool. I'm running a Ragin Cajun 10" speaker, and the low end is actually noticeably improved on stage when the amp is in the Pelican case tilted as shown. I originally tried this just to help hear the amp on a very small stage where it's down at your ankles, but it was a surprising to discover the extra baffling created by the case improved the low end noticeably!

 
Last edited:

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,206
While the Champ II is basically the clean channel of the SC, they still sound somewhat different to my ears. Not sure why...
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,579
The foot switch thing is over-rated, it's not hard to build and there are schematics out there. That said, the only thing those two amps have in common is the name... I exaggerate, but only a little:
1. PRRI-typical Fender sparkle, nice transition to overdrive due to the unbalanced PI, tremolo is bias and sounds great, reverb is lovely, takes pedals REALLY well. OTOH, it's a disposable amp-when it dies it's not really repairable, so eventually you or your heirs will have something worth nothing.

2. Superchamp-more in the Mesa camp, a warmer clean. I think the distortion is useful, it's very unlike the larger amps designed by Hahn (Rivera didn't actually design the SuperChamp). No trem, very useable but short tank reverb. The foot switch adds functionality (when you change channels without the FS, it sounds different from the same settings with the FS). Hand-wired and easy to repair, but yeah, you have to find the 6C10 eventually. Boxy with the original speaker, but a 12" extension cab with an EV? Killer!

For me, I'd definitely get the SuperChamp (unless I could find a Princeton Reverb II which I consider a better amp in every way).
Actually the Super Champ is the only one of the “Rivera-era” that Rivera did design, it was a concept he’d had kicking around for years and finally had an outlet for it. The others were all conceived by Rivera, but actually designed by Jahns.
 




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