Fender '68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb vs. Hot Rod Deville ML 212 for pedal platform

Fender '68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb vs. Hot Rod Deville ML 212

  • Fender '68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb

    Votes: 12 46.2%
  • Hot Rod Deville ML 212

    Votes: 13 50.0%
  • Other (around or lower than the price of the two, share below)

    Votes: 1 3.8%

  • Total voters
    26

AD1982

Member
Messages
906
The background story: I absolutely love my Friedman Runt 20, but I hate it's efx loop (and I love reverb). I ordered one in December. Played a bunch at home, but I had a little noise when using the efx loop (which I hear is an issue). In and of itself, it wasn't a deal breaker. However, I play at church as well, and the noise thru the efx loop tripled there. It had to be at least 5 to 10 dbs. of noise. So I requested that Sweetwater send me a replacement, and they graciously did. However, the new one is even worse. I had the two sitting next to one another and the new one was obviously noisier. Which leads me to my question...

I think I'm going to move to one of these two amps (Fender '68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb vs. Hot Rod Deville ML 212), plus a Friedman BE-OD pedal. I wonder which will be the better platform. I assume the ML 212 would be due to the speaker choice, but I thought I'd poll the group for opinions. I've played thru both and I enjoyed both of them.

Whatcha think?
 

p.snail

Member
Messages
785
I think the ML. I love the Vibrolux clean, but not so much with pedals. Just me.

As another option, you could probably find a used Deville 2x12 for 400 or less, upgrade the speakers and be in the ballpark of the ML. To my ear the ML wasn't a drastic update to the platform. He basically replaced the drive channel with another clean channel to use as a solo boost and put celestions in it.

The ML was intentionally configured as a pedal platform.
 

AD1982

Member
Messages
906
I think the ML. I love the Vibrolux clean, but not so much with pedals. Just me.

As another option, you could probably find a used Deville 2x12 for 400 or less, upgrade the speakers and be in the ballpark of the ML. To my ear the ML wasn't a drastic update to the platform. He basically replaced the drive channel with another clean channel to use as a solo boost and put celestions in it.

The ML was intentionally configured as a pedal platform.
Those Devilles sure do have quite the resale drop don't they...
 

p.snail

Member
Messages
785
Those Devilles sure do have quite the resale drop don't they...
Yeah, but I think it's because they are a dime a dozen. That hot rod line is one of the most produced/sold amps in history. They are solid for the most part. They are just common, which makes them very affordable. Win if you ask me...lol.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Supporting Member
Messages
26,467
I found the ML version of the HR amp to be a bit sterile sounding, not special. The only '68 CVR I played was not working properly so it sounded weak.

Have you considered the Blues Deville/Deluxe? I find the Blues series to have a slightly warmer sound and more pleasing to the ears.
 

AD1982

Member
Messages
906
I found the ML version of the HR amp to be a bit sterile sounding, not special. The only '68 CVR I played was not working properly so it sounded weak.

Have you considered the Blues Deville/Deluxe? I find the Blues series to have a slightly warmer sound and more pleasing to the ears.
They break up a bit too soon for me, plus the stock speaker is harsh and rather shrill.
 

p.snail

Member
Messages
785
I found the ML version of the HR amp to be a bit sterile sounding, not special. The only '68 CVR I played was not working properly so it sounded weak.

Have you considered the Blues Deville/Deluxe? I find the Blues series to have a slightly warmer sound and more pleasing to the ears.
I don't disagree with this, but I think it's that characteristic that makes it a fairly pedal "friendly" amp. They aren't overly picky about what drives you put in front of them. They're just sort of vanilla. The pedals are the toppings....lol.
 
Messages
832
Haven't played the ML model, but I can tell you that the Custom Vibrolux is a fantastic pedal platform. Truly my idea of robust Fender clean which wouldn't "color" pedals and let them naturally shine. I never really valued this dynamic - I figured any amp with good cleans would be a good pedal platform, how would one be better than another? It wasn't until I played through other Fender amps that paled in comparison when I realized just how wonderfully the VL dealt with distortion and delay pedals.
 

deeval

Silver Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Messages
2,110
I have owned and played my 68 custom Vibroluxe for over 2 yrs and it has not given me any problems, I changed one speaker to a G10 and it sounds great with the stock speaker left in, All pedals are all good in this amp.
 

elicxirmixer

Member
Messages
233
I used a Hot Rod Deluxe as a pedal platform for a few years before moving to a Deluxe Reverb. I have to say that I couldn't be happier now. The Hot Rod was a clean machine that played nicely with every overdrive pedal I put in front of it, but at the end of the day I always found myself wrestling with the EQ knobs. Mind you, this is strictly at band volumes, where bass and treble are tricky the louder you get.
When I switched to the Deluxe Reverb, I stopped having the bass/treble battle with my volume changes. The amp compresses so nicely at the band volume range that I barely touch the knobs anymore. Granted it's a little bit pickier about the pedals I put in front of it, but I've found enough that work.
 

PCalugaru

Member
Messages
1,244
I found the ML version of the HR amp to be a bit sterile sounding, not special. The only '68 CVR I played was not working properly so it sounded weak.

Have you considered the Blues Deville/Deluxe? I find the Blues series to have a slightly warmer sound and more pleasing to the ears.
I think a lot of you guys are getting a ML HRDeville confused with a Standard Deville...

You guys are aware its a totally different amp than a Deville minus the drive right?

I don't know anyone who has played this amp and called it sterile, everyone I know who has played one says it's what a HRD should have been. This amp retired my 1972 Twin Reverb because it sounded that much better. Premer Guitar in their review put it up against a 1966 Black Face Twin Reverb (Yea,,, a black face!) and said it was it's equal. Sterile? then I'll play sterile any day.....

To the OP....... The 68 Custom Vibrolux is a solid amp with its own merits... but if your choosing which one based on "it" being the best pedal platform, the ML HRDeville is a cut above... The ML HRD has a higher head room and volume than a standard Deville (Different Transformer and phase inverter schematics) and a different tone stack (yes still in the HRD family but much brighter than a deville) & with the heavier trans, comes with a pretty good touch sensitivity not usually found in a PCB off the shelf amp. It has a simple design i.e super gig friendly one channel, two volumes (no need for a boost pedal!)

IMO... probably one of Fenders best amps made in years. Oh yea It melds with pedals like super glue to hair....

You do know what Michael Landau is known for right? (being an incredible studio muscian and recording artist ) not to mention having Fabled tones while using a pedal rig... usually playing Fenders, and much of the time live he would use two HRDs set on clean ( one set at a lower volume and would a/b them for solos and accents....) Kinda of designed this amp to do the work of two amps...
 
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PCalugaru

Member
Messages
1,244
^^^ I am a Fender fan boy... trust me when I say to my ears it was not special. Ymmv :dunno
Now you're changing it up... "Special" and "Sterile" are two different things...

The amp certainly isn't "sterile" It trumps my 72 twin and Premier Guitar's review...& countless other reviews in print and on the internet... none using the description "sterile" IMO... Being one of the best amp designs by Fender in the last few years yea I'd call it "special"...

but is it "your" special...? Obviously not...
 
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