Brown Princeton 6g2 vs. Tweed Vibrolux 5f11

jim lavender

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Ive read that these two circuits are very similar and was hoping you fine folks could enlighten me as to how they are different. I'm mainly into clean tones and clean headroom (so I might be barking up the wrong tree here). But Which amp has the better clean tones and stays cleaner as you turn up the volume? I currently own the following. Thanks


Lil DawgWonderdawg and 5e3 Deluxe
Vintage Sound 15 Princeton clone
 

HotBluePlates

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9,409
Ive read that these two circuits are very similar and was hoping you fine folks could enlighten me as to how they are different. ...
The 5F11 Vibrolux has a little higher supply voltage (according to the schematic; real-world examples maybe not so much), and the schematic indicates a slightly warner idle bias. The tremolo oscillator is set up slightly different than in the 6G2 Princeton. And the 5F11 Vibrolux's cabinet is slightly larger.

That's it for differences. If you are buying vintage examples, the original speakers would be different between the two; a modern clone of either might have any speaker.

... Which amp has the better clean tones and stays cleaner as you turn up the volume? ...
Trick Question: they would both break up at about the same volume, though that might be a touch louder than with your 5E3 Deluxe clone, and earlier than your Wonderdawg.
 

HotBluePlates

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... I will probably buy a Lil Dawg if I end up getting one. I'd go for the 25 wAtt version with an efficient speaker.
If you want the ChocoPrince at 25w and have the WonderDawg, you could save yourself a lot of money... Ask a tech to give you a tonestack-defeat (or tonestack-lift) switch. Any competent tech should know what you're talking about.

With the tonestack lifted, you will instantly get more midrange & signal level. You won't have the single tone control to make the sound muddy/icepick at will, but you will have 95% of the 5F11/6G2 sound for about $40 (or less) rather than paying ~$1,000 for another whole amp.

If you can drill a hole, read a schematic & solder, you could install the switch yourself for ~$5.
 

jim lavender

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877
Thanks man. I'm not very up on the tech stuff but I thought the Wonderdawg was a Deluxe reverb circuit and was different from the brown/tweed circuit. The WDawg does have a mid control which adds a lot of variety in tone.
 

e???

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2,932
Both insanely cool amps. I might go with the brown Princeton right now because I already have a tweed. But if i already had brownface... I also like cleans all the way. Hard decision, but I really loved some p90 cleans thru the brownface Princeton. But when I played the vibrolux it smoked this Harvard that was next to it. And Harvard's are amazing cleans as well! Tough decision, you really can't go wrong here, but you're definitely on the right path imo
 

Pedro58

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5,783
Some good ideas here on newer stuff, but I've heard and played both originals. The Vibrolux is the better amp. I did not like the 10" speaker in the brown Princeton. Odd, because I like the brown-labeled Oxfords from that period, both 10" and 12". Just not in the Princeton. It just sounded thin to me. There are a lot of variables, though. YMMV.
 

HotBluePlates

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... I thought the Wonderdawg was a Deluxe reverb circuit and was different from the brown/tweed circuit. The WDawg does have a mid control which adds a lot of variety in tone.
A tweed amp with a single Tone control can only shave bass (get brighter) or shave treble (get darker); mids are left alone.

The Deluxe Reverb tone stack uses a circuit that very much cuts midrange to enable adjustable bass, treble & mids. At the stock setting with no Mid control (or with your amp's Mid control on 7), mids are cut about 22dB. Even at maximum, mids are still cut around 15dB (exact amount depends on the settings of other controls).

The above is why a blackface amp sounds mid-scooped compared to many tweed amps, and why it stays cleaner longer (most of your guitar signal is in that midrange). A switch that defeats the blackface tone stack mid-scoop gives you an immediate gain & mid boost of 15-25dB.
 
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jim lavender

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877
A tweed amp with a single Tone control can only shave bass (get brighter) or shave treble (get darker); mids are left alone.

The Deluxe Reverb tone stack uses a circuit that very much cuts midrange to enable adjustable bass, treble & mids. At the stock setting with no Mid control (or with your amp's Mid control on 7), mids are cut about 22dB. Even at maximum, mids are still cut around 15dB (exact amount depends on the settings of other controls).

The above is why a blackface amp sounds mid-scooped compare to many tweed amps, and why it stays cleaner longer (most of your guitar signal is in that midrange). A switch that defeats the blackface tone stack mid-scoop gives you an immediate gain & mid boost of 15-25dB.
Thanks man. In your opinion, does a brown amp fit tone wise between the tweed and blackface.
 

HotBluePlates

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... In your opinion, does a brown amp fit tone wise between the tweed and blackface.
Often yes, but for a lot of different reasons depending on the model.

The brown Princeton would sound different than the tweed Deluxe because of the fixed bias, and in the original amps because the speaker is different. It also has a feedback loop.

I have a couple of brown Deluxes, a Deluxe Reverb, and a tweed Deluxe clone (plus have owned a tweed Tremolux in the past). The brown Deluxe does sonically sit between the tweed & blackface, but in addition to bias & different speaker the preamp circuit values are different enough to have a significant impact (and the phase inverter type changed, plus feedback is added).

The brown Princeton doesn't have all those same circuit changes, and the sound is perhaps not as far afield of the tweed sound (depending on speaker used).
 

erksin

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If you want more cleans from a 6G2, a more efficient speaker and a 5751 in v1 goes a LONG way to getting you there.
 

GenoBluzGtr

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If you opt for the Vibrolux, don't count out L'il Dawg. Jim built me a 5F10 Circuit (essentially a 5F11 without the Tremolo), and it's amazing. He also used a larger 20 Watt OT that extended the headroom and volume just a bit. I had it put into a Head Cab and i use various Speaker Cabs with it, depending on the room and what I need from it. a good open back 1X12 when I want to push it but not get too loud, and a nice closed-back 2X12 for more focus, cutting tones in large venues. Different speakers, obviously, with different results on volume, efficiency, etc. The OT he used in mine is also multi-ohm outs, so I have a switch for 4/8/16 ohm for any cab I need.

I firmly believe the 5F10/5F11 circuits are the UNSUNG gems among the tweed lineup. Even in totally stock form, more headroom, tighter low-end, but the same growl and drive that 5E3 devotees love so much. amazing little gig machines.
 

monkmiles

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Often yes, but for a lot of different reasons depending on the model.

The brown Princeton would sound different than the tweed Deluxe because of the fixed bias, and in the original amps because the speaker is different. It also has a feedback loop.

I have a couple of brown Deluxes, a Deluxe Reverb, and a tweed Deluxe clone (plus have owned a tweed Tremolux in the past). The brown Deluxe does sonically sit between the tweed & blackface, but in addition to bias & different speaker the preamp circuit values are different enough to have a significant impact (and the phase inverter type changed, plus feedback is added).

The brown Princeton doesn't have all those same circuit changes, and the sound is perhaps not as far afield of the tweed sound (depending on speaker used).
Good info. Isn't that what the Allen Amps raw control does? I have an Allen Model LF I use for playing at home and cranking the raw starts to defeat the bass and treble knobs and totally gets more gain and brownface-like flavor. I also have an Allen Hot Fudge w/Nuts which I adore.
 

silver surfer

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Thanks man. In your opinion, does a brown amp fit tone wise between the tweed and blackface.
I have a brown Princeton clone (Cutthroat Audio Penguin) and several BF Fenders. Compared to my 66 Princeton Reverb and with the exact same speaker (Eminence GA10-SC64), the Penguin (hard to get past that name LOL) has a richer tone all the way around. The mids are a little more pronounced but still a bit scooped with that speaker. The highs on the Penguin are still sparkly but a little thicker, richer than the PR. Bass is about the same. In general, the cleans are warmer than the PR. When pushed however, things become very different. The Penguin has an awesome overdriven tone that is very inspiring. Just to give you some added perspective.
 

jim lavender

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877
If you opt for the Vibrolux, don't count out L'il Dawg. Jim built me a 5F10 Circuit (essentially a 5F11 without the Tremolo), and it's amazing. He also used a larger 20 Watt OT that extended the headroom and volume just a bit. I had it put into a Head Cab and i use various Speaker Cabs with it, depending on the room and what I need from it. a good open back 1X12 when I want to push it but not get too loud, and a nice closed-back 2X12 for more focus, cutting tones in large venues. Different speakers, obviously, with different results on volume, efficiency, etc. The OT he used in mine is also multi-ohm outs, so I have a switch for 4/8/16 ohm for any cab I need.

I firmly believe the 5F10/5F11 circuits are the UNSUNG gems among the tweed lineup. Even in totally stock form, more headroom, tighter low-end, but the same growl and drive that 5E3 devotees love so much. amazing little gig machines.
I appreciate all the help everyone. I actually own a WonderDawg and Dawg Deluxe. Jim is a phenomenal builder and even better person IMHO. I guess at the end of the day Knopfleresque most accurately describe the clean I'm looking for. Never ice picky but never dull. Now I realize most of that's in his hands but some amps yield those tones for us mortals.
 

GenoBluzGtr

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3,185
THIS X 1000%.

I own a Bassman and a Harvard (it's a custom L'il Dawg build of the 5F10 circuit in a head cab), and they are both "desert island" amp, however, for what the OP is looking for, the 5F10 (or 5F11 Vibrolux) would the ticket. 12 Watts, 3 different input attenuations for almost any volume requirement, it still gets that "growl" at reasonable volumes that everyone loves from the Deluxe, but until it gets there, it's MUCH cleaner and more 3D sounding than the 5E3. Biggest drawback to an original Harvard was the fact that it came in a 10" combo. The Vibrolux added tremolo and a 12" speaker, so its a bit better in original form, but until you've plugged a 5F10 Circuit into a good open-back 2X12 with Ceramic speakers, you haven't heard the best live-gig amp ever made. It takes pedals MUCH better than the 5E3, as well.

The big differences between the 5E3 and the 5F10 are a different preamp tube, a different phase inverter and a negative feedback loop.

Listen to a few clips of some. I have one here I did a few years back when I first got my Lil Dawg 5F10... it's a SSS Rocketfire Strat. It's a backing track and I laid down two tracks... a nice clean rhythm (played through the #3 input (the least attenuated) and backed off on the guitar volume a touch. nice, pristine, clean strat tones. The dominant track, however is the strat straight into the # 2 position and the amp volume pushed up to where it started to break up and the tone rolled down a good bit on the guitar. Lots of boring Pentatonic Minor runs, but you can hear the amp really well. Somewhere in the middle (about 2:55) I hit a EP3 Boost pedal that dulled things a bit, but the amp by itself sounds fantastic. Also there is NO reverb or delay on this cut and it was played through an oversize 1X12 Cab with a Celestion A-Type speaker.


Also, this was the amp of choice for a lot of session guys in the 60s, most notably Steve Cropper - a lot of those early Booker T and the MG's cuts, as well as his work on Otis Redding's albums featured this amp.
Posted this in another thread where someone was looking for the "right" tweed amp. This is with the amp pushed to break up but the tone was rolled back a bit ... with the tone turned up and on Pos 2 or 4, this can get close to the "Knopfler-esque" thing with a good set of single coils (this is a Rocketfire with Nick's "Total 60s" pickups).
 

HotBluePlates

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... Isn't that what the Allen Amps raw control does? ...
Yes, exactly. What the Raw control offers is a range of settings between off & on, so some extra control over how much extra midrange & boost you get.

Letting the cat out of the bag, use a 250kΩ pot between the Mid control & ground and you have put a Raw control in your amp. Or if you only need to switch from the brown/tweed to blackface voices, use a switch instead of the pot (consider adding a 250kΩ to 1MΩ resistor between switch lugs).
 

HotBluePlates

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9,409
... Compared to my 66 Princeton Reverb and with the exact same speaker (Eminence GA10-SC64), the Penguin (hard to get past that name LOL) has a richer tone all the way around. The mids are a little more pronounced but still a bit scooped with that speaker. The highs on the Penguin are still sparkly but a little thicker, richer than the PR. ...
Think of the mid-scoop for the Penguin as being provided by the speaker. And the "thicker highs" are harmonics of the midrange notes (that would otherwise be scooped in the blackface amp) layering on top of the treble fundamental tones.
 




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