Not getting along with my 68' Vibrolux RI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jklotz, May 25, 2015.

  1. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    I bought a 68' Vibrolux RI to leave at our rehearsal space so I wouldn't have to haul amps back and forth. I don't use it for gigs, so I'm not real picky about it. Just wanted something clean that could easily keep up with a sort of loud band. It's plenty loud, 3 is about as high as I can go with it, but it doesn't sound pleasing at all. It hurts my ears actually. It sounds sterile, and has a piercing midrange (like a 1 to 2KHz spike) that I can't seem to dial out. Also, there's not much low end, even with the bass on 8. The highs are piercing and brittle sounding. So I'm trying to figure out what to do about it.

    I know it needs to be biased hotter, probably wouldn't be so sterile sounding. I've done 4 or 5 rehearsals on it now (approx 3 hours ea, so I figure about 15 hours on the speakers), so the speakers should be at least somewhat broken in. So I think I'd need to replace the speakers. Any other suggestions? (I don't play with a lot of pedals, and I've tried it straight in, with no pedals, and the result is the same) I'm simply looking for a classic, scooped blackface type fender sound.

    I'd like to avoid dumping a lot of $$$ into this thing. Maybe I should sell it?

    On the bright side, I had a 20% off coupon when I bought it, with free shipping and no tax, it was a very good deal. That will help not taking such a big beating when I sell it.
     
  2. Figaro

    Figaro Supporting Member

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    I don't like those stock Celestion speakers and it would definitely sound better with different speakers. You're going to get a ton of different speaker opinions here but I like the WGS G10C or the Jensen Neo Tornado if you want to make the amp lighter.
     
  3. pbmw

    pbmw Member

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    I'll second the G10c's
     
  4. e???

    e??? Member

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    Just sell it man. Get some heavy old silverface if you're gonna just leave it there anyway. Might break close to even
     
  5. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    I would try Celestion Gold 10's or Eminence Cannibas Rex 10" speakers. The Golds may not help the highs but would tighten the bass. The Eminence 10" version of the Cannibas Rex would probably be the best bet and they are cheap. They will take the highs and get the bass prominent and tight.

    The I would replace the V1 and V2 with JJ's 12AX7's. They are warmer sounding tubes so that will help with the highs as well. Some people don't like JJ's. I think they're great and fairly robust. I like them in. six type Amps for exactly that reason. It's cheaper than dropping coin on NOS tubes (which is bound to be a suggestion) for an amp you're not sure you're going to keep.
     
  6. fuzzface71

    fuzzface71 Member

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    Sell or trade the amp for something else. You obviously don't like the amp. At this point minimize your loss.
     
  7. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Member

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    Can you try a boost in front, or do the old tube screamer pedal with the gain very low?
    Pushing the signal can warm it up, some guys swear by using the # 2 input.
     
  8. redchapterjubilee

    redchapterjubilee Supporting Member

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    I'm the world's worst about buying an amp or a guitar, not liking it and trying to turn it into something it's not. You could tube roll, change out speakers, find pedals that might help, etc. I'd sell it and find something else.
     
  9. 27sauce

    27sauce Supporting Member

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    are you playing with the bright switch on or off? I'm not familiar with the RI, but on my '74 I can't stand it with the bright switch on.
     
  10. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    Mostly on. I tried it both ways, just seems dead to me with it off.

    Thyanks for all the suggestions guys.
     
  11. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Even my real '68 can be a bit sterile. They are pretty loud amps. I'm currently trying Jupiter 10 SC speakers in mine. They are not expensive speakers. They could solve your problem. I went from playing with the treble on about 5 and the bright switch off, to having the bright switch on and treble on 7 with the Jupiters. They will definitely warm the amp up. Perfect? I don't think so but will take you out of spikey zone for sure. Big bottom end also.
    You should rebias too like you mentioned.
     
  12. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    Get it re biased and put in pair of WGS et10. ANOS RCA 12ax7a or a new Svetlana 12ax7 in v1/2 depending on which chan you use.
     
  13. la noise

    la noise Supporting Member

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    Dump it..... for real.

    I never get the suggestions about dumping more
    money into an amp that you are clearly not
    bonding with. Makes no sense to me to put
    good money after bad. Way too many cool
    options in the amp world to be struggling needlessly.

    And for the record, I felt exactly the same way as you
    about the '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb. I sold it. :aok
     
  14. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    Yeah, it's just not the amp for you. I love mine. My speakers are sufficiently broken in by now (about 60-80 hours of use).
    I use the Strymon Deco tape saturation side to boost and give a bit more body to the tone on the Custom channel. I back off the bridge tone on my Strat and I do the whole roll-up the volume for solos, back it off for a more 'rounder' sound.
    If the Vibrolux is too brittle sounding - especially with old skool fuzzes, flip down those Bright switches and notch up the treble a tad.
     
  15. TheAmpFactory

    TheAmpFactory Member

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    ..erm I Might like to ask firstly.. is it a new amp? - The speakers wont be broken into yet, so it will sound a bit displeasing to begun with. - Get through several sessions first. and the sound will come.

    If its already a used amp, then maybe its your position, is the amp on floor? or tilted... Fender amps never play nice if on floor.. always put them on a tilt stand else you will get most of the high freq as the angle it dispels at.
     
  16. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    10-15 on 3 isn't gonna break in speakers... Might take a bit more energy moving that paper around.

    I don't have any experience with the new '68 CVR. But, I just sold a '69 VR and own a '63 VVRI. I've also owned a few other Fender RI amps over the years. The biggest influence on tone, outside of the circuit itself, is speakers.

    I've really enjoyed a mix of Jensen alnico and ceramic speakers... Or similar flavors. I also have experienced some funky upper mid stuff with Celestion speakers. Although, I currently have an alnico Gold in a 5e3 that's a really nice sounding speaker without that kerrang thing going on.
     
  17. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

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    Try bass on 4 or less, brite switch off, less can be more with some amps. Also, having a good tech look at it is not a bad idea, many of the new Fender amps run the preamp section a bit hot=harsh, and a bias on the power section can make it sound more like a older amp.
     
  18. ajeffcote

    ajeffcote Member

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    If you want clean and warm it's a very good amp. But the stock speakers just suck. Again, WGS G10C speakers will bring out the tone. It's worth the small investment. And you can sell the stock ones to recoupe your money. If you have the stock tubes in it, you need to at least replace the power tubes, first pre-amp tube (for the channel you use most), the reverb driver and the phase inverter with some good tubes. Re-biasing the stock tubes may help a little but they are most likely the cheapest Fender could buy and the speaker change will get you the biggest change.
     
  19. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. The WGS G10C would be $130, tech will rebias for $40. Honestly, I'd rather not throw another $170 into this amp which may or may not end up being something I like afterwards. I'm selling it.

    Anybody in the market for an almost brand new 68' VR RI? PM me.
     
  20. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

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    Sell it. Acquire early 70's Super Reverb. Great value on those low priced big iron SF amps. You should be able to find one under $1,000. Good luck leaving it at rehearsal space tho. That was my initial plan too. It sounds too good to not to gig with.
     

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