If Riveras are built like tanks, then why...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mlj_gear, Jan 24, 2008.


  1. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    ... does my Chubster 40:

    (1) Have an extremely thin speaker cable
    (2) Have a similarly cheesy reverb cable

    Seriously, I know that you don't need a heavy gauge of fancy wire to transmit a nice signal that far, but what about the plain-old mechanical durability of the connections and the feeling I have that I could easily snap the speaker cable in two by accident when changing tubes?

    Don't get me wrong... I have come a long way from not liking a lot of things about the amp to liking a lot of things about it. For an amp that costs as much as the Chubster 40 does new, though (I got mine used), these things just seem unacceptable. It would also seem reasonable to expect a better speaker and a long reverb tank for that price.

    I haven't looked under the hood. Are Riveras really put together that much better than Mesas as many Rivera fans have suggested? Mesa certainly seems to use more robust external parts.
     
  2. jcollins

    jcollins Member

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    Mesa's are well built and so are Rivera's.

    I've got an M60 that is the best built amp I've ever seen...and I see a bunch of amps.
     
  3. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    Hmm, my Quiana has pretty heavy duty speaker cable. I'm sure Paul designs them with the gauge they need.
     
  4. pula58

    pula58 Silver Supporting Member

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    My Chubster seems incredibly well built. I have looked inside and it is very well put together. The cabinet is rock solid, the chassis is connected to the cab by quite a bit more bolts than, say, a Fender.
     
  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    That speaker wire is far above average grade actually. Its outer coating is actually heat resistant and the wire inside is very dense. I first thought it was solid core because it was so stiff. I havent inspected the reverb wire quality though. I too have come a long way towards appreciating my Chubster since I fist got it. Some of my initial gripes were no level controls on the FX loop and no power tube retainers on the upsidedown tubes. Mine cost m,e 1300$ +....Bob
     
  6. cochese

    cochese Member

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    As for the speaker wire I believe 16 gauge is what many people use inside a cab. You are not talking about a PA speaker receiving 500 watts from a solid state amp. Also, have you ever tried to solder a really heavy gauge wire on the skimpy little tabs of a Celestion speaker?

    The reverb cable in most combos I've seen are pretty much like RCA cable you would use to hook up a stereo. I'm not sure how heavy that cable should be as it is usually secured to the side of the cabinet. In my 20+ year old Boogie cab there are just two single wires twisted together and soldered to the jack and speaker. I've changed speakers numerous times over the years and never had an issue. It's hard to say without seeing it.

    Just try not to get into the bad habit of putting unsecured pedals, cables etc in side the combo cab or you may puncture the speaker.

    If you're worried when changing tubes the speaker is usually hooked to a jack that plugs into the chassis. Just disconnect it and put it out of the way until your work is done.
     
  7. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    My Quianna is very well built and has heavy wire and quality connectors. I have had it open many times to replace tubes and rebias. It is definitely a cut above most mass produced amplifiers.

    My THD Flexi is another league build wise. The only other electronic devices I have seen that are close have been some controls systems built for very harsh industrial environments. Some military stuff and avionics we put in satellites were also well built.

    Shawn.
     
  8. teefus

    teefus Supporting Member

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    the 3 riveras i have owned all were very well built. the speaker cables were very heavy gauge wires. i thought they were solid core too at first but they are just very heavy gauge. the reverb cables were similar. did you buy it new? could the cables have been replaced by someone along the line? fwiw, i just tried the rivera venus (the small combo, "3", iirc) at the rivera namm booth. it was the first production amp i have been interested in some time. very full and thick sounding for such a small, low powered combo.
     
  9. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    Or at least the consensus among people that really like really Riveras. :) ...

    For the most part you guys have convinced me. I even went to check out the speaker cable some more. Looks terribly fragile. Feels not quite as fragile as it looks. I don't think I'd ever actually break it while changing a tube... just trying to convey how fragile it looks. The reverb cable is not horrible... it just seems like the type of RCA cable you'd pick up at a dollar store instead of like one you'd pick up at a pro-audio store is all.

    Well, when the day is done, I like the amp enough to invest in a better speaker for it, so that must be a good sign. Just seems like an amp that retails for $1,399 (or more) should definitely have a nicer speaker, etc. I mean, I personally don't like V30s, but at least they could throw one of those in there.
     
  10. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    What you're saying about the speaker doesn't even make sense to me. You want a speaker that you don't even like?

    That G12L-55 was made specifically for Rivera. My guess is that he chose the speaker that gave him the sound he was after - not the one that could be quickly flipped on eBay for something else.
     
  11. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    Mine actually has a 70/80. I have read that many Chubsters did and/or do come stock with a 70/80 contrary to the brochure, or at least the current version of it. My guess is that not that many people would claim that the 70/80 is a great speaker.

    That said:
    (A) I like a lot of speakers better than V30s
    (B) If the G12L-55 is anything like the G12L-85, I probably like V30s better than the G12L-55
    (C) Because of (A) and (B), I'd rather have a V30 than a G12L-55

    Seems to make sense to me.
     
  12. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    It could be that your amp has teflon coated wire for the speakers. Teflon coatings tend to be a lot thinner than regular PVC coatings on wire and therefore the wire seems to be flimsy. If you can see where the wire terminates check out how thick it is without the coating. IME teflon coated wire can actually be thicker while seeming quite thin! It is a good coating to have - very robust and difficult to melt!
     
  13. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    This may very well be the case, and certainly it may be more robust then what it looks like at first view. I will gladly plead ignorance about it and appreciate the info and opinions.
     
  14. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    Well if you bought it used, how do you know it is the original correct cable? Same goes with the reverb cable. Secondly, just change the wire if you don't like it.

    To me, the speaker is as expendable as the tubes are. To sell the amp, the vendor uses a speaker that will make as many people happy as they can. But you won't make everyone happy. So pull it out and use the speaker you like the most if it doesn't fit your needs. Only my early marshall combos still have the original speakers in it. I changed the rest out.
     
  15. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I guarantee the speaker wire is very strong. It probably is teflon coated as JimmyR stated since its highly resistant to heat(wont melt even under flame) and easily 18 gauge or better inside. Ive messed with mine too many times to count swapping speakers. High quality and absolutely not a concern! This is coming from some one without a real love for the amp. Want to pick something apart on it then go after the budget Celestion 70/80 speaker they stick in it! Now thats kind of poor for a 1300+ amp! Or perhaps the lack of tube retainers like I stated before. I actually bought some claw type for mine.Other than that its very well built. Eight screws hold the chassis in.Theres no wood screws holding anything together including the reap panel-all t-nuts and machine screws. At any rate the last thing I'd bother replacing is the speaker wire. Bob
     
  16. mlj_gear

    mlj_gear Member

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    I looked at photos of ones for sale on eBay much earlier today when people pointed out that it might be teflon coated. The speaker cable looks the same. It's pretty distinctive. People have corrected me on the likely durability, and I buy their explanations.

    I honestly don't see too many other companies selling combos for $1,399 that have 70/80s in them, do you? Also, couldn't you say that about any part of the amp? I mean if a company put out a nice amp with a cab you thought was a piece of junk, would you buy it and then have someone build a new cabinet for it? If it were a fairly pricey production-line amp, I probably wouldn't. I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect that more expensive amps have higher quality components than less expensive ones. The speaker is a major component.

    I guess I should have been more direct in my original post and just said that I think the Chubster 40 is overpriced, especially new. But I guess that's pretty obvious, as you'd be hard extremely pressed to sell a used one for $900 or maybe even $850, whereas a lot of similarly-priced amps go for over a grand used.

    So why do I have an amp that I think is overpriced? It's just really hard to find a channel switching combo under a grand that has (A) a nice clean channel (B) a nice drive channel, and (C) nice reverb. The Chubster 40 has all of this after some tweaking. The clean channel doesn't put out my favorite cleans, and the dirty channel doesn't put out my favorite overdriven tones, but both channels are quite respectable-sounding. There are a couple of Mesas that meet all the requirements, but they don't do much of a nice Plexi-to-JCM800-ish overdrive, which I use more often than the great huge chugga chugga gain that they do have.

    I'm left with the Chubster 40, and I guess maybe I'm actually frustrated by it because I like it. I just feel that if you're going to make a nice amp like that and put a hefty price tag on it, you shouldn't really skimp on much -- the speaker, the lack of tube retainers as rockon1 mentioned, etc. I mean, a Traynor YCV40 has a clean channel that's just about as nice, a nice JCM800-ish drive and a nice really higher-gain sound that the Chubster doesn't have. The reverb is really weak, though, and that really bugs me. But the amp can be had for $350 used, and with a V30 stock, to boot (which I subsequently changed to a Wizard when I had one). In comparison, the Chubster 40 seems awfully expensive. I guess I'm just frustrated by that fact and the lack of other options. Maybe I'm just looking for things to be wrong of it because of this frustration, and the cables played into that.

    This isn't my only amp, mind you. I've got much pricer ones and much cheaper ones. But I still get frustrated looking for a really nice grab-and-go combo.

    Man, I think about amps way too much... What a loser I am!!!
     
  17. RonnyLee

    RonnyLee Member

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    My Quiana 212 is built like a tank, and it's almost as heavey..........
    IT HAS 2 v30S, and the tones are magnificent. Don't worry too much about the speaker wire





     
  18. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    Rivera amps are extremely well built amps...as good or better than anything I own...see list below....his speaker cable and reverb cable are appropriate for the power of the amp....My M-60 is now 14 years old....my original S-120, now 17 years old is still going strong in New England, as are the Bluesman 75's that Paul Rivera made for me....Can't say enough great things about Pauls' amps....He and Randall Smith certainly are guitar amplifier visionaries.....without a doubt
     
  19. cochese

    cochese Member

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    I've owned a couple Rivera's over the years and can attest that they make a very well built amp. There are so many amps on the market at various price points and that makes me wonder why you would say you think this amp is overpriced. If you bought it used without trying it I can understand your dissapoinment as we've all been there. Still it doesn't make sense to me in that even if the speaker and reverb cables were more to your liking the fact that you seem luke warm about the tone of the amp had you purchased it for less would it sound any better?

    With the internet it's really easy to purchase just about anything these days. When it comes to items such as guitars and amps where sound is such a personal decision you really need to try before you buy. My suggestion would be to just sell it because it doesn't seem that you will be happy with it.

    I bought both of my Rivera's at reduced prices from dealers and played countless gigs with them and still was able to sell them for fair prices. I think they are great amps but I decided my tastes had changed and moved on to other amps. The only way you really get your money out of gear is to use it. To put some perspective on things I know someone who many years ago ordered two Dumbles that he had to wait forever for. He hated them and had nothing but bad things to say about them and subsequently sold them. Go figure.
     
  20. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    I'll give you the speaker argument. I didn't realize they were installing that speaker. Overpriced? I dunno about that. You're correct to say that used price is one way to gauge "value" of an amp and, to that end, I've always been confused why Rivera amps have such poor resale value.

    On a strict quality-of-components basis, however, I think you are dead wrong to say the amp is overpriced. You are lambasting a fantastic amp company over a single, easily replaceable component. The speaker wire issue is totally, utterly irrelevant. The wire is sized for the load. You're not going to break it. And, until you do, your argument is totally speculative.

    The amp has, among other things:

    1) A very nice PCB layout using double sided traces and mil-spec PCB. This is the same quality you see in companies like Bogner and CAA that sell for twice as much.

    2) Wires are thoughtfully organized and strain relieved. Sockets are chassis mounted. Transformers are big Mercury Magnetics. Same stuff you see in the $2000+ market.

    3) Chassis is high quality steel. Footswitches, faceplates, and other hardware all top notch.

    4) The cabinet is as high-end as it gets. Expertly executed tolex on 3/4" dadoed birch plywood. All the various panels are mounted with machine screws, finishing washers, and t-nuts - very nice. You simply can't make a higher quality cabinet.

    Paul designed the amp to last. I can't remember the last time I heard someone complain about a Rivera breaking down. Change the speaker, forget about these minor details, and play the thing. If it doesn't sound good to you, THAT would be a reason to lambast the amp.
     

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