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Hot Rod Deluxe III -- Thoughts?

dnauhei

Member
Messages
2,288
Bought an HRD III last week. Thought I would start a thread and see what other's thought are on this amp. Here are my initial impressions:

Great sounding clean channel. Sounds great with my Les Paul and my Tele. Hard to find an amp that will do both.

Hate the reverb. Any ideas about fixing this? I know I can clip some capitor or something, but from what I understand, that just makes it easier to adjust, doesn't make it sound better.

Drive channel--doesn't do much for me.

Celestion Seventy 80 -- I am liking this speaker. I plugged the HRD into a cab with a Celestion Vintage 30 in it. It did not sound good. Kind of boxy, too middy, and muffled. The cleans were far better with the stock speaker. The drive channel on the other hand, sounded better with the V30, but what can you do? The clean is much more important to me, so the stock speaker stays. I know folks like to bash this speaker, but I think Fender deserves some credit here. It seems to be really well matched for the amp.

Mods--None yet, but I am curious to hear what folks will do. Curious to hear how this amp compares to the Omega modded HRDs. I did order a volume box on ebay to plug into the effects loop. I have heard that it will allow me to get turn the volume up more and get some tube amp saturation, but then back of the volume in the effects loop. Not sure how this works yet, but it was a cheap thing to try and does not void the warranty.

Aesthetics--comely at best. Growing on me a little bit. Not ugly, but you don't buy this amp for its looks.

I definitely wasn't looking for a Fender. I ruled them out a while ago because most of them seemed to scooped and they didn't sound good with an LP. I was ready to pay 3x the price of the HRD if I could find an amp I liked. This one had the best clean channel that sounded good with both my guitars, so I bought it. Pedestrian I know, but that's not the point.
 

aussiemeats

Member
Messages
645
Good Day,

I played thru one at the LA Amp show two weekends ago. I have a Gib 339 with

SD P-90 Phat Cat Pickups, It sounded great. Someone commented while I was

playing, that that amp (HRD3) liked "THAT" guitar. I liked the clean and the dirty channels with the 339.

I really didn't get a chance to demo the reverb.

I was seriously thinking about buying that amp. For the $700 price point

I think it could be hard to beat...you could spend a whole lot MORE for an amp, and not have it

sound as good, or have all the features, that the HRDLX3 did. I liked the 6L6's.

I'm saying it's the end all, be all...but I wouldn't kick it out the door!

Just my H.O.

Cheers
 

Unadan

Member
Messages
3,842
I just picked up a HRD III after trading a 2003 BJr. towards it. As Dnauhei said, great clean channel - great base for the many pedals that I have. I really wanted an amp with an effects loop so that was a big factor in my decision to go with the HRD III. I wanted a Fender with an effects loop so that ruled out the vintage reissues (nice as they are). The drive channel is decent but I still like the clean channel with dirt pedals vs. the drive channel. Maybe the drive channel will grow on me. So far I like the green drive setting more vs. the red (more drive).

I think this is a very high quality amp - tons of headroom! I find the reverb to be pretty nice up until about 5 - after that its too much. I'm not much of a reverb guy though.

I get a nice overdriven tone after getting the clean volume up to about 5 paired with a 85 RI Whiteface Rat or my Keeley DS-1 - both of those pedals sound very nice with the HRD III. I'm still within the grace period at GC so I could return it. I'm likely keeping this amp as I like the overall package.

I also very much like the stock speaker. I have an 8 ohm V30 sitting in a box right now unused but see no reason to swap it out at this point. I want to put some hours on the stock speaker and get it broken in before considering any changes.
 
Last edited:
Messages
2,517
I have one and really like it. I wanted a small combo amp for some gig's and this fit the bill. I never owned a Hot Rod before and when trying some small combo's out in the store I thought this sounded really good. The clean channel is great and it takes pedals really well. I can get some really great Strat tones out of it. The OD channel is ok, I find if I keep the drive around 5 or less and have it setup for a broken up Rock tone, in a band setting it sounds good, fits right in. I think for an amp that you can gig with, won't break your back or the bank, it's a good choice. With pedals you can cover a lot of ground.

I have mine setup like this video.

 

metropolis74

Member
Messages
830
I did order a volume box on ebay to plug into the effects loop. I have heard that it will allow me to get turn the volume up more and get some tube amp saturation, but then back of the volume in the effects loop. Not sure how this works yet, but it was a cheap thing to try and does not void the warranty.
That "volume box" on ebay works just like placing a volume pedal in the effects loop. It only allows for fizzy preamp tube saturation, NOT power tube saturation since an effects loops is located between the preamp and power amp. Two different sounding saturations. You might like it though if you prefer hi preamp gain sounds.

A "volume box" is not an attenuator as it is advertised on ebay!!! Attenuators are placed between the speaker out and the speaker(s) to allow for power tube distortion at lower levels. You can build a volume box yourself in a few minutes for $4 worth of a couple Radio Shack parts. It's so simple I even made one successfully. There are dozens of schematics out there. Here is one I found at random: http://www.regiscoyne.com/tech/VolumeBox/

However, the "volume box" was actually kind of helpful with the previous generation of HRDlx which had the wrong taper volume knob. The box let you dial in the right level between the amp's narrow volume control sweep that went from too quiet to deafening way too soon.

Thanks for the review of the new HRDlx. I might have to check one of these new ones out.
 

Phospheros

Member
Messages
162
My issue with the HRD was that it was too insanely treble for me, to where it just hurt me to be in the same room with it. Is the III less ice pick treble?
 
Messages
5,197
Seems to me this a pretty much a Mark II with a bit of cosmetic massaging and little else to merit the extra cost . I'd wait until they start blowing out the Mk II cheap and save some dough...
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,900
That "volume box" on ebay works just like placing a volume pedal in the effects loop. It only allows for fizzy preamp tube saturation, NOT power tube saturation since an effects loops is located between the preamp and power amp. Two different sounding saturations. You might like it though if you prefer hi preamp gain sounds....the "volume box" was actually kind of helpful with the previous generation of HRDlx which had the wrong taper volume knob. The box let you dial in the right level between the amp's narrow volume control sweep that went from too quiet to deafening way too soon.
They included one of those for free when I bought my original HRD but I never tried it.
 
Messages
17,994
I have the old HRDX...Ive read multiple reviews where the HRDX III is better because the volume taper was fixed (i dont really have a problem with the volume taper on mine)
Ive also read where the old one sounded better...
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,545
I spent about 30 minutes yesterday with an HRD III at GC. It's definitely an upgraded beast. The amp just sounds so much better overall. I was trying out LP's only equip'd with P90s. I spent several minutes working on tweaking the OD channel. The "yellow" drive channel is much more useable than it was before, but the "red" one still kinda blows... BUT I think a tube change in the preamp section will help both drive channels out.

The key to using the OD channels in this amp is to use them as a boost for solos and not an drive. Dial down the gain to just a touch of hair and up the volume and put your favorite drive pedal in front, then step on the amp footswitch and you've got a really good lead tone IMHO. I feel that TGP'ers have overlooked using the drive channels in this manner, making the amp much more user friendly.

Let me add this... this amp sounds better than it's $699 price tag IMHO. The LP with P90s in it sounded awesome through this amp. Even the manager of the store commented on how good it sounded.
 

Dezzy

Member
Messages
90
I have one and really like it. I wanted a small combo amp for some gig's and this fit the bill. I never owned a Hot Rod before and when trying some small combo's out in the store I thought this sounded really good. The clean channel is great and it takes pedals really well. I can get some really great Strat tones out of it. The OD channel is ok, I find if I keep the drive around 5 or less and have it setup for a broken up Rock tone, in a band setting it sounds good, fits right in. I think for an amp that you can gig with, won't break your back or the bank, it's a good choice. With pedals you can cover a lot of ground.

I have mine setup like this video.

Wont break your back lol mine is twice as heave as my crate flexwave half stack was, and that was twice the size
 

Dezzy

Member
Messages
90
Yes I own a brand new hot rod deluxe 3 as ov today, which cost me £800 because I live in the UK, but its worth it. It is superior to my crate 120 flexwave halfstack, that was £600 and is around the same ball park give or take shipping, but its no mate for the deluxe. I find you have to have the deluxe on at least 2 but better on 3 to get a really good tubee sound.
 

Dezzy

Member
Messages
90

Let me add this... this amp sounds better than it's $699 price tag IMHO. The LP with P90s in it sounded awesome through this amp. Even the manager of the store commented on how good it sounded.


He was using his persuading powers on you, but if they worked U would have bought into a good amp. I always here guys saying the overdrive channel sucks on HRD, but I have to say the new one is allot tighter and I am happy with it, my crate flexwave 120HS had better overdrive on it, but that amp was built for that, if you want clean HRD is the way to go, as twin reverbs are to loud,
 

Dezzy

Member
Messages
90
My issue with the HRD was that it was too insanely treble for me, to where it just hurt me to be in the same room with it. Is the III less ice pick treble?
sure is, it seems to have alot of bass though, even when you turn it to 0 it kind of thumps, but nothing bad just would like 0 to mean none lol
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
6,420
I had one of the first issue HRDs for many years and loved it - I'm sure these new ones are great.
 

Guitar55

Who was that masked man?
Messages
9,231
The key to using the OD channels in this amp is to use them as a boost for solos and not an drive. Dial down the gain to just a touch of hair and up the volume and put your favorite drive pedal in front, then step on the amp footswitch and you've got a really good lead tone IMHO. I feel that TGP'ers have overlooked using the drive channels in this manner, making the amp much more user friendly.

.
That's exactly how I used mine (before I sold it).
 

Slowlicks

Senior Member
Messages
968
That's a nice amp. The EQ settings affect sound in a big way. The reverb isn't bad at all. Set it around 1.5...... Back off on the mid range 4 Treble at 6 bass at 7-8.
The Speaker in there doesn't do much for me personally.. Put a WHG ET65 in it.
Use your delay, echo and chorus thru the loop.
Take your time figuring out the settings... Its a great amp for gigging to boot.
 




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