New amp, back to Rivera

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Baba, May 31, 2005.


  1. Baba

    Baba Member

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    Only used it on one gig, so, totally in the honeymoon period, and I've been changing my rig once every 3-4 months for the last two years, so who knows how long this will be around!

    My setup: PRS IRW Custom 24, Sennheiser G2 wireless, Dunlop crybaby wah modded by Area 51 tube audio designs, Korg DT-10 tuner, into amp, into Avatar 4x12 with V30's on top and G12H30's on the bottom.

    I picked up an EL-34 Rivera Knucklehead reverb from a TGP/BaM member, complete with Headmaster. I had already had a 6L6 Knucklehead II last year around this time, but that was before I found the PEDALSNAKE , and I grew very tired of all the cables I needed for my setup, and it was only the 2-channel version, so I sold the Rivera and went to a Line 6 HD-147 that I used for about 5 months.

    My biggest problem with any gear is this: I've used midi rack gear from 1989-2002, so, I'm used to stepping on one switch and going from, say, clean with chorus to a solo tone with delay, and having multiple tones on tap. Doing that with tube amps is much more complicated. First, I haven't found (until now) 1 tube amp that did everything tone-wise that I wanted it to do, much less that was midi-capable and came with it's own powered midi controller. I simply need more than 2-3 different tones (in a cover band), and I hate tap dancing to get them. The other problem I've discovered is that I love tubes. None of my other past gear has sounded/felt like tube amps, they've all been simulations, but not the real thing.

    First, I haven't heard every amp made, but I definitely haven't heard many channel-switching amps that can beat a Rivera clean. I had been using a Dual Rec for the last few months, and it's like night and day. I was actually trying NOT to use the clean on the Dual Rec. The Rivera is a thing of beauty, and while the band does Godsmack, we also do some dance and funk, and I like a nice, pristine, bold clean sound for funk and dance music. The clean has a bass/mid/treble setup, with pull options for each knob. I found my clean tone within about a minute, but I'm familiar with Riveras' EQ and tone controls at this point.

    Second, I like the sound of an old Marshall for the classic rock stuff we do, think Angus Young with a tad bit more gain available. The Rivera's second channel is pretty good at this sort of thing, and also has a push-pot for additional gain. So I've got the hot-rodded Marshall thing going and use the volume knob to taste on certain songs. I also use this tone with the gain boost on for my leads, it's perfect.

    Third, the scooped, dropped-D tones. With my old Knucklehead II, I had to set a "tweener" tone, that is, a tone that was inbetween that classic rock tone and nu-metal tone, and live with it. While this can be done, I like the luxury of having the 3rd channel, I set that for the nu-metal stuff, lots of gain (too much actually!) and real aggressive. One thing I thought would be limiting is the dirty channels share an EQ, which I usually hate, but when you switch around the different channels and boosts, the EQ shape changes, and it seems I have it set so there's not a bad tone to be had, I like them all.

    Put on top of that the ability to switch most of the amp's functions via it's included midi controller (the Headmaster), and I may just have found the perfect amp for me. You can set a patch with the FX loop activated, or not, or with a boost on, or off, or with reverb on or off, it's great. The only thing you cannot do is switch the push/pulls in and out, once a pull switch is pulled out, it stays that way. I used a delay pedal on the last gig, and I kind of like hearing that in my in-ears, I don't think the audience hears it, and at this point, I could just leave it home and probably not care, but it's nice to be able to footswitch the FX in and out.

    There are companies like axxess-electronics that make it possible to control amps via midi, so I could have been doing this in the past, but the problem was, I never found an amp that was flexible enough for me to do what I want to do with no compromises, in time, we will see if this is it. I don't have time on stage to fiddle with knobs to get different tones, if it isn't available by footswitch, it's useless to me. If this amp isn't "the one" in a few months, the only other amps with this much flexibility I could see using in my current band would be either Engl stuff or a Hughes and Kettner Triamp MKII, but my Knucklehead costs much less.
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Cool man, we chase the same things in almost all aspects, but do it via different avenues.... though not *that* different.

    Cool on you and enjoy that bad boy of an amp!!
     
  3. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I will stick my neck out here and take a bet that you'll have that amp longer than your previous rigs. Just a feeling :).
     
  4. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome back to the Rivera family :dude

    Enjoy!
     
  5. Roy Boltz

    Roy Boltz Guest

    Me likes Rivera amps!:D
     
  6. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    By far the simplest solution to this problem is Knucklehead Reverb. But it appears that you have figured that out. Happy Motoring...
     
  7. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Congrats! Though the KHR and KH2 aren't my cup o' tea, for what you're doing they're definitely the shizzle.

    If there's one thing that Rivera is freaky good at, it's getting excellent cleans out of EL34s. The cleans on every EL34 Rivera I've played went from very good to downright phenomenal.
     
  8. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Agreed!
     
  9. Baba

    Baba Member

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    Thanks guys, again, I know me, I'll come up with some excuse in 4 months to get a Road King or Triamp MKII or something, but I think John Phillips is right, this one may stay around for a while.

    For all you non-Rivera users, you guys really need to check out Rivera's cleans, some of the best channel switchers I've ever heard.

    I haven't mated it with my boogie 2x12 recto cab yet, I'm kind of curious to do that.
     
  10. saxophonist56

    saxophonist56 Supporting Member

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    what you all think of a knucklehead 1 55 watter? no pedal with rust on the metal bits for 525? should i go for it? seems like the 100 watt knucklehead i had before was the s**t!
     
  11. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    You can always find a pedal to go with it. Is the 525 a dollar amount? A good price in that case.
     
  12. ButchR

    ButchR Komet Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Rivera's are cool amps!:)
     
  13. pablomago

    pablomago Guest

    I've had a Rivera S120-210 for over ten years now. It replaced a slew of rack gear. I got it for the clean tones. I don't use the "Marshall" channel much, but I know it's there if I need it. I run either a delay or multi effects unit in the loop and use the foot switch to turn it on and off. A little delay and a Gretsch or Telecaster and you have a rich full rhythm tone.
     

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