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Fender '65 PRRI / '68 Custom PRRI / NOS Blues Jr III / Carr Skylark Shootout

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
I stopped at my local shop today to compare some Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue amps and learned they also had Fender Tweed NOS Blues Jr w/Jensen C12N Speaker and a new Carr Skylark just arrived too. Since a friend was with me, I handed him my cell phone and we did an impromptu shootout.

Form your own conclusions. While we had preferences, they were all good in different ways. Fun day! Keep in the mind, the cell phone automatically compresses and squishes some of the signal to prevent distorting, so we hear more detail and tonal nuances than these video's are showing.

Ironically, I put money on the two-tone burst Princeton Reverb with Celestion G10 speaker. In the recording it sounds darkest, but in person, it was richer, fuller and sweeter where the '65 Blackface / Black Tolex PRRI was very mid scooped and sounded thinner in the highs.

'65 PRRI
'68 PRRI
'65 PRRI Limited Edition FSR with Celestion G10 Gold and Wood cabinet
Fender Tweed NOS Blues Jr III
Carr Skylark





 
Last edited:

bratch

Member
Messages
853
Cool videos.

I love my princeton, and now I want to try a gold in it. It's not what I thought the gold would sound like!
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
Cool videos.

I love my princeton, and now I want to try a gold in it. It's not what I thought the gold would sound like!
The Gold was fuller, yet clear and pure. It filled in the midrange and the highs had a little bit more 'substance' compared to the standard '65 PRRI. The Gold made the stock PRRI sound a bit thin and brittle in the highs (Only in comparison) I could be VERY happy with a stock '65 PRRI. But I do believe the G10 Celestion Gold took the amp to another level. And it still has a classic Fender voice. Just sweeter. That's what I heard.
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,769
Ironically, I put money on the two-tone burst Princeton Reverb with Celestion G10 speaker. In the recording it sounds darkest, but in person, it was richer, fuller and sweeter where the '65 Blackface / Black Tolex PRRI was very mid scooped and sounded thinner in the highs.
Yep, I would not have chosen the G10 based on the sounds from this video (not that it was bad). Nothing like being there!
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
Yep, I would not have chosen the G10 based on the sounds from this video (not that it was bad). Nothing like being there!
After listening back ....I feel like I should go compare the stock '65 PRRI again and play differently, try a different style of music. I deliberately kept playing the same things so I could better evaluate with most things being equal.

The recording made the Blues Jr sound a bit better than it did in the room too. In the room, the Tweed NOS Blues Jr III was more laser-focused, forward and in your face. It displayed EL84-ish edgy tones that were thinner. The recording didn't translate that either ...not to the full degree. The Blues Jr DID sound good however. But it was not as rich as the other amps. In the recording the Skylark was clearly a great amp .... and it is. But the cell phone mic seems to compress and level everything just a bit.

The Recording also made the '68 Custom PR sound pretty good. And it does. But it breaks up a lot sooner and wants to rock where I want an amp to stay clean a 'little' longer than the '68 custom PR stays clean before going into saturation.
 

TylerRex790

Member
Messages
445
I love hemp cones in Princeton Reverbs. I run two 65' PRRIs live, one with a 12" Eminence Canis Major, and the other with a 12" Eminence C-Rex. I also have an original 64' BFPR with a 10" Tone Tubby Alnico Red. I found much to be desired from the stock RI speakers.
 

TylerRex790

Member
Messages
445
But for the record, "scooped" isn't necessarily a bad thing. Fender amps are all scooped to a degree and it's part of the sound. They aren't scooped in the same way as a JCM800 with the mids turned off... The "Fender Scoop" is generally a very pleasant scoop that still cuts and sits very well in a mix... Your vids sound like the PRRI wasn't set to very good settings.
 

tenchijin2

Member
Messages
3,031
Nice! Your playing is good and makes them all sound good. Suggestion though, for next time: have the person hold the camera/phone SIDEWAYS, in landscape mode. It makes the frame the right way and is so much better.
 

FF71

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,537
I have owned most of these versions (except for the Carr). I have tried a few speakers with the PRRI. The Celestion Gold imo is the perfect speaker for the '65 RI. The only problem that you would encounter with the '65 is the cabinet rattle, a bigger problem if you have a 12" speaker.
 

monkmiles

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,120
I think the rattle problems of the PRRI were related to the baffle mostly. If you put in a 12" speaker you'll need to replace the baffle anyway and a good one won't rattle. I've had a 12" speaker in mine for years and it's been rattle free since the stock baffle was removed. But did have some rattle in its stock form...mjnes an older RI though, about 6yrs. Of course you can replace it with a 10" baffle too which I think there's an old thread saying a mojotone baffle cured their rattle IIRC.
 

Mike R.

Member
Messages
4,034
Do the latest versions of the PRRI still suffer from cab rattle like they did when first introduced?
I own the PRRI (Made in 2014) and have no rattle issues whatsoever.

I did own the '68 reissue before that and had to return it because of a terrible rattle.
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
I didn't hear any rattle from either of these. But I have seen some fixes that tighten the baffle / Cab area. The video was not planned, so I just handed the phone to my friend and asked him to capture the various amps.

As for the sound, the cell phone audio recording compresses to prevent distortion and I'm sure it disallows the best possible audio capture. The settings on the PRRI's were Vol/5-6, Treble-7, Bass, 4-5, Reverb-2 1/2. The '68 Custom however had to be dialed in differently since it is hotter and closer to overdriven tones at the same volume.

I was surprised how well the Limited Edition (Fender Special Run) Model with Celestion G10 sounded more like the fullness of a 12" Speaker. That was remarkable.
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,931
What was the price difference between the LE PRRI and the regular one?
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
What was the price difference between the LE PRRI and the regular one?
I think essentially the price difference between the speaker upgrade. The std '65 PRRI is around $999 I believe and the Ltd Fender Special Run model was $1275.00
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,931
The Jensen C10R speaker in the PRRI sounds so much better (warmer) after it has broken in. But I prefer to put a 12" speaker in a PR, or a Weber 10F150T speaker because it sounds like a 12" speaker.

I think a used PRRI or DRRI are the best amps you can buy for around $700.
 

ziehmrd

Member
Messages
243
I think essentially the price difference between the speaker upgrade. The std '65 PRRI is around $999 I believe and the Ltd Fender Special Run model was $1275.00
You think the Special Run is worth the $1275? I think I saw they're allotting only 79 units for the States.
 

Webfoot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,890
A couple years of ago had a PRRI with the C10R which was not bad for a $40 speaker. Eventually replaced with a eminence (cannot remember which one) for more rock stuff and higher volume but it was a bit bass heavy. Sold it and tried a bunch of high end boutique amps that seemed to be a lot of $ for what they offered (basically loud cleans that were not quite as good as the natural fender cleans). Sold all and picked up a special run PRRI with a Jensen P10Q (40 watt) as a hold over until I find the amp I really like.

Then I bought a Celestion G10 to try and also had a Petersen cab built with a Celestion V30. The P10Q has really come around to being a great speaker... open, full fender sound (natural and relaxed with the lows and the highs) and actually handles dirt pedals (bearfoot) pretty good at this point. I rotate between this and the G10 which handles dirt a bit better and is louder. But may prefer the P10Q for those more open lower volume cleans. If I need to be much louder, more aggressive, more fullness just connect the PRRI to my V30 cab.

Did try the custom DRRI and PRRIs and not my thing. They are voiced for more mids and less sparkle. The electronic mods are about $10 of part changes plus a more middy sounding speaker as you know. For me I would rather get an amp really designed and voiced for dirt with some muscle. I think now I am using JJs for 6V6s and tung sols for the preamp. Could not imagine a better sound for lower volume clean, small gigs or studio work. That special run unit you are looking at with the G10 could be a very nice purchase and you could always buy a second speaker to voice for either more rock or a more fender sound. I think the PRRI is a wonderful low cost high quality amp.
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,672
A couple years of ago had a PRRI with the C10R which was not bad for a $40 speaker. Eventually replaced with a eminence (cannot remember which one) for more rock stuff and higher volume but it was a bit bass heavy. Sold it and tried a bunch of high end boutique amps that seemed to be a lot of $ for what they offered (basically loud cleans that were not quite as good as the natural fender cleans). Sold all and picked up a special run PRRI with a Jensen P10Q (40 watt) as a hold over until I find the amp I really like.

Then I bought a Celestion G10 to try and also had a Petersen cab built with a Celestion V30. The P10Q has really come around to being a great speaker... open, full fender sound (natural and relaxed with the lows and the highs) and actually handles dirt pedals (bearfoot) pretty good at this point. I rotate between this and the G10 which handles dirt a bit better and is louder. But may prefer the P10Q for those more open lower volume cleans. If I need to be much louder, more aggressive, more fullness just connect the PRRI to my V30 cab.

Did try the custom DRRI and PRRIs and not my thing. They are voiced for more mids and less sparkle. The electronic mods are about $10 of part changes plus a more middy sounding speaker as you know. For me I would rather get an amp really designed and voiced for dirt with some muscle. I think now I am using JJs for 6V6s and tung sols for the preamp. Could not imagine a better sound for lower volume clean, small gigs or studio work. That special run unit you are looking at with the G10 could be a very nice purchase and you could always buy a second speaker to voice for either more rock or a more fender sound. I think the PRRI is a wonderful low cost high quality amp.
Great post! Thanks. I agree. Speakers can flavor the amp for different attributes. cleans, more or less headroom, better overdrive etc. I felt the Celestion G10 Gold was nicely balanced and had great cleans and nice sense of drive when I pushed the amp a bit. I have used Celestion golds in the past and they sound great when they are overdriven.
 

TylerRex790

Member
Messages
445
I know I keep randomly chiming in, but I loved the tones you got out of the 65' PRRI and the FSR 65' PRRI. Both of them sounded much more nuanced, open, and all around better than the Blues Jr (which I expected, not that the Blues Jr is a bad amp, quite the contrary, but it is a budget amp to a degree,) the 68' CPR (which always sound like they have a blanket over them to me,) and the Carr (which blew my mind.) I've never used a Gold in my PRs, but IMO, the stock speaker is the weak part of the standard PRRI. I've heard Golds, Blues, a Greenback, a Red Fang, and of course the Tone Tubby/Canis Major/C-Rex that I use in different PRRIs and have always found the tones a PR produces to be the tone that I chase.
 




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