Bogner Shiva EL34 older or newer?

Chronicler 2

Member
Messages
3
Hi,

I recently played an older Bogner Shiva with el34 tubes and loved it! I've read that most people like the older ones better than the newer ones, but I haven't discerned what the difference is. Does the older model have better cleans or better OD or just better all around tone? What is the difference in tone between the two? I'm just trying to make a decision if I want to pay a little more for an older model that is available or pay a less for one of the newer ones. Any info you have would be greatly appreciated!
 

Gnarlly

Member
Messages
2,863
I've owned both EL34 w/reverb versions: a 2003 "silver" chasis, and a 2007 "traffic green" chassis with the bright switches, and "updated" features. I owned them both at the same time for several months and compared them extensively, even swapping in the same exact tubes in both (not just the same brand/type), biased the same, running through the same cab(s), same guitar(s), etc. (FWIW, I also owned a late 90's/early 2000 version years ago; the 2003 sounds the same as that one did, both "silver" chassis, but the oldest version had a plastic handle instead of leather).

I really, really wanted to like the updated version more because of the great extra features ("fixed" FX loop, switchable impedence, bright switches, clean channel boost, adjustable crunch channel boost, ability to switch channels without the footswitch), but in the end I decided to sell the newer model; the older versions do have better overall tones (at least to my ears), and it was a noticable difference.

The clean channels were similar, but the older version seemed to have more "punch." The crunch channel is where I noticed the most difference. The older version has more of a vintage Marshall vibe to it, and I could cop plexi/800 tones a lot more easily with the older version. The newer version seemed to lack some punch, and had a more "modern" edge to its sound. I'm not an amp design expert, but my theory is that the "fix" for the FX loop affected the overall tones, and maybe the adjustable boost on the crunch channel also (my 2003 does not have that mod). The bright switches, impedence switch, and clean boost (just removing the tone stack) really shouldn't have any effect on the tones. I almost never use the FX loop in my Shiva, but when I have, I've noticed a bit of "tone sucking." My theory is that the updated FX loop on the newer models has a similar "tone sucking" effect.

Maybe this was all in my head, but like I said, I A/B'd them like crazy and really wanted to like the newer version more. If it sounded just like my older version, but with the extra features, I would have kept it (even lacking the cooling fan that the older versions had). I have not tried a 20th, but from what I have read on this board (including people modding/swapping in EL34s), it is basically the newer version with KT88s and some additional tone shifting options.
 

Chronicler 2

Member
Messages
3
Thanks For the info! I feel I'm in the boat where I've played the older one and really liked it, but it was at guitar center and I feel like I get could it cheaper elsewhere. I see some used newer ones for a good price and I want to believe they'll be the same, but I just keep reading from guys who've experienced both that the older just sound better. I don't want to buy a newer one and then be disappointed, which it sounds like I probably will. I'm sure the new one sounds good too, but I just want to get it right the first time.

We'll see.... At the same time I don't want to wait forever for a used older one if the newer is still very usable. Ahhh gear dilemmas!
 

se7en

Senior Member
Messages
366
Get a new with 34's if you want versatility and a more open Shiva. Get an older one if you like more of a compressed and darker tone.
 

Chronicler 2

Member
Messages
3
I appreciate all the input! I just ordered a Shiva 20th anniversary that should be here Saturday! I like the idea of having the extra gain. I really liked the older EL34 I played and I know the 20th anniversary will sound different, but hopefully just as inspiring.
 

Stormin

Tele's and Plexis
Staff member
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,123
I have an older (silver panel) EL-34 NR head. I think its a 2004. I paid $1500 used for it here about 2 years ago. I've got over 100 gigs on it now, and it's been my primary amp ever since. As I see it, the ONLY downside to the older Shiva is the need for the special effects loop cable. Once you have one, its not an issue - just something you have to plan for. I run a TC Nova Reverb in my loop and it sounds great - much better than the factory equipped reverb does, since I dont get the tone suck and volume drop. I also use an overdrive pedal with both channels (currently a Klon). I set the gain on the overdrive channel at noon and add in the Klon to get to 80's metal levels of gain. Mine actually has a factory variable boost mod, so I use that for solo volume boosting on the overdrive channel.

I have played the newer (green panel) Shiva at Fat Sound a few times, and it sounds fine, but I never really paid a whole lot of attention to the difference in sound versus the older models. I've heard a lot of folks say that they are colder and more modern sounding than the older ones, which are more hot-rod JCM800 and warmer.

I did spend a bunch of time with the 20th Anniversary Shiva when Fat Sound first got one. My critical impressions were that the extra gain and voicing options, as well as the excursion control were just awesome. They really added everything you could ask for to the Shiva. I was just floored as to how good this amp is.

If I had to buy one for the first time, I would definately hunt down and get a 20th Anniversary. That being said, I am not at all unhappy with my silver panel model. As good as the 20th is, I do feel like I can get any tones I need with my Shiva and the Klon. Maybe I've just spent enough time with my rig and I can make it do what I need.

I guess in summary, if you're buying your first Shiva, go for the 20th. If you find a used silver panel, I'd definately get that over a new or used green panel one.

YMMV,

Stormin!

 
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FireBottle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
907
I came upon a used el34 w/ verb and it's one of the first 100 made...apparently it's referred to as a 'Cosma'? Like many, I just figured that the newer ones were preferred due to the updated/improved (?) features...
 

voodoosound

Funk & Grooven member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,044
Buy a Shiva 20th Anniversary and it's all covered, period.

If the older ones were better Bogner would still build them.

It's extremely comical to me that everytime a subject like this concerning Bogner comes into play you chime in with this.

For one. I know a mutlitude of tremendous players that don't agree with your philospophy. Not only have they been through more Bogner gear than anyone one of them owns some of the best amps Bogner has ever produced including the XTC100B proto that Reinhold brought from Germany when he cam here in 88.

Second, without trying to be Captain Obvious there would be NO vintage market, NO reissues (like the XTC Classic trying to recapture ALL the people that liked the 100B better than the 101) and of course NO boutique builders building reliable clones and copies of that great old vintage gear.

So realistically, your point is really pointless don't ya think?

With all this said and after playing and owning ALL of these amps mentioned in this post. I prefer the Silver Chassis Shivaa to the Green one but Prefer the 20th shiva overall because of the kt88s. Take the 88s out and were back to the silver chassis.

Second, I prefer the 100B proto over any other Bogner ever produced second would be the 100b, 3rd the 20th.
 

suparsonic

Member
Messages
2,806
My preference in the 20th Shiva FWIW. More aggression and bigger sounding, but that's just my taste. Oh and I prefer the 100B of all the XTC models.
 

Red_Label

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,199
I've got a newer EL34 version with reverb. But I've played both the older EL34 version w/o verb, and the older 6L6 version w/o verb. I prefer mine.

I don't care about the effects loop issue, because I rarely use mine -- prefering my effects before the amp. But what I really like about the newer version is the adjustable boost. I like being able to taylor it to my mood, room, etc. And I really like the extra bit of "hair" and girth that it adds to my tone. In fact, I usually just leave the boost on all the time for the OD channel.

But I will admit that I have drooled over the 20th Anniversary model. I like the white covering, as well as the fact that that chasis is upside-down. Dunno about the sounds cause I haven't played one. But I'm more into vintage plexi-JCM800 tones anyways and don't try to use mine for metal.
 

Leftyman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,607
I agree with "Man With Gas" just get the 20th anniversary. If you want a similar sound to the EL34 version then install the 20th with EL34's. I am personally not a fan of KT88's but I have heard some clips of the 20th with EL34's and it was awesome.
 

sparkman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
641
I've got a newer EL34 version with reverb. But I've played both the older EL34 version w/o verb, and the older 6L6 version w/o verb. I prefer mine.

I don't care about the effects loop issue, because I rarely use mine -- prefering my effects before the amp. But what I really like about the newer version is the adjustable boost. I like being able to taylor it to my mood, room, etc. And I really like the extra bit of "hair" and girth that it adds to my tone. In fact, I usually just leave the boost on all the time for the OD channel.

But I will admit that I have drooled over the 20th Anniversary model. I like the white covering, as well as the fact that that chasis is upside-down. Dunno about the sounds cause I haven't played one. But I'm more into vintage plexi-JCM800 tones anyways and don't try to use mine for metal.
Completely agree with this post. I also have a newer Shiva (EL-34 non-reverb) and it's fantastic. The one thing I can say about this amp is that it cuts through like a knife. I also love the adjustable boost. Again, I have drooled over the latest Shiva, because it sounds like a great amp taken to the next level. Ultimately, though, I'm a Bogner fanboy--I think they make great amps, and the voicing is what I admire so much about all their amps.
 

thiscalltoarms

more gadgets than Batman.
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,920
I've recorded with both versions, tried out a 20th as well. Overall I prefer the thicker tones of the older Shiva, that extra compression is a part of the sound I like. I own a silver chassis version right and its a keeper. Love love love all Shivas (actually no 6L6 for me).
 

Smokin

Active Member
Messages
82
I also prefer the 20th Shiva to the old versions and I've played just about all of them. I also prefer the 20th Ecstasy to the 101b, 100b, Classic, etc. I think Reinhold keeps finding ways to squeeze more tone and versatility out of his designs. There will always be people that proclaim that their old '100b', or 'Uber', or 'Shiva' is the best of the lot...I think a lot of it has to do with trying to keep the allure and value of the old models up. If they were so great, Reinhold would still be building them, because the demand would be there. It's not.
 

FireBottle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
907
I'm actually torn between a newer/used 20th Ann. Shiva w/ 2x12 OS cab (white tolex) and a Cosma head in minty condition. They both sound fantastic to me...the Cosma did give me chills though. It sort of reminded me of when I made the full transition to CD's and then a year later broke out the vinyl...the 3D warmth, depth, texture, blah, blah was obvious. It was almost like you could see the notes. Having said that, the 20th rig also blew my mind. And I do like the features. Both were priced very favorably, IMO. (What is a decent price on a 20th head & OS cab? This one would probaby be 2300+ w/ shipping.)
 

se7en

Senior Member
Messages
366
I'm actually torn between a newer/used 20th Ann. Shiva w/ 2x12 OS cab (white tolex) and a Cosma head in minty condition. They both sound fantastic to me...the Cosma did give me chills though. It sort of reminded me of when I made the full transition to CD's and then a year later broke out the vinyl...the 3D warmth, depth, texture, blah, blah was obvious. It was almost like you could see the notes. Having said that, the 20th rig also blew my mind. And I do like the features. Both were priced very favorably, IMO. (What is a decent price on a 20th head & OS cab? This one would probaby be 2300+ w/ shipping.)
The 20th Shiva is a killer amp. I wanna get one eventually and I have the 20th XTC and Twin Jet. $2300 with the cab is a great price.
 

Shelbyman

Member
Messages
11
I just bought a spectacuar Bogner SHiva...silver back...with 4x12 Bogner cab.

If god has a voice...it's the Bogner Shiva. Nuff said.
 




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