Reeves Custom 12 with Power Scaling Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by daddyo, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    My Reeves Custom 12 with Power Scaling arrived yesterday and I’ve had a few hours to play it.

    The amp is well built with perfect orange tolex and the typical Reeves build quality inside. The Tonkerlite speaker is incredibly light – the combo weighs about 26 lbs with the 12” Tonkerlite.

    My first learning curve was that the volume, power scaling (PS), and drive are very interactive. You can set the volume to max, PS off, and the drive is then the volume control that goes from chimey cleans to raunchy grind. This is the non-master volume mode and it responds like may other NMV EL84 amps. Or you can leave the PS off and play with the volume and drive like a master volume amp. Or you can dial in the PS to reduce volume. But the PS isn’t like an attenuator. It doesn’t automatically just cut the volume leaving the same tone. You need to ride the volume and drive down as you dial in PS. For instance, one nice setting is volume dimed, drive at 10 oclock, and PS off. This gives you a chimey edgy clean Hendrix tone with a strat. But it is a bit loud for my basement with the family home. But if you engage the PS so the volume is at a loud TV level, the tubes start to overdrive and the clean is lost. So you just ride the volume down to about 12 noon and the clean tone returns. Of course, you can use the distortion as a tone in itself.

    This amp has all the classic Marshall JTM/plexi tones at reasonable volumes. The chime is complex and the grind is great. I compared it to my Velocette which is also 2 x EL84 and my Weber MASS 50 attenuator. Without attenuator, the Velocette seems actually louder – but the Velocette is a very loud 15w amp. The Velocette, however, while having acceptable cleans, is really best when run at about 85% where it just sings. The Reeves is much more versatile with really nice Marshall style cleans and the crunch we love. I haven’t discovered quite that singing EL84 insanity the Velocette has but the Reeves is built with larger transformers and it is more reliable. The Velocette has a reputation for being biased extremely hot and really running on the edge (although I’ve been bagging on it at 85% through the MASS for 2 years). With the MASS, the Velocette still sounds great but at decent basement volumes. However, the amps still sees the tubes cooking away while PS on the Reeves is not cooking the tubes.

    The Reeves also has a very usable treble/mid/bass controls and 4-8-16 ohm speaker outs. Overall, I’m very happy and the speaker has yet to be broken in.
     
  2. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice review, very cool. What is the going rate of one of those? I'm thinking about the head version, but I may actually already have something very similar in my Winfield.
     
  3. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I figured that you'd be impressed.

    Glad to hear you're diggin it.

    Let us know what she sounds like through an extension cabinet
    if you have one handy.
     
  4. jivebaby

    jivebaby Member

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    Thanks for the review. I am buying either a custom 12 or 10 head very soon. I know they are completely different but both seem really useful.
    How is the custom 12 taking pedals?

    Mike
     
  5. pcutt

    pcutt Member

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    How are they different? Is one more like a Hiwatt?
     
  6. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    The Custom 10 High Gain is completely different.

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=364932

    "The Custom 10 HG differs from the 6 and 12 in a few different ways, the different type of power tubes and preamp section. Because of the way the preamp is configured, the amp developes more preamp distortion. Where as the 6 and 12 gets most of its distortion from overdriving the power tubes."
     
  7. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Congratulations. Good review. I have the Custom 12 w/o powerscaling. Sometimes I can't turn it past 9 o'clock. Fortunately the cleans are rich too. Wish I had the powerscaling. By the way, orange is a totally cool color for this amp (mine is orange).
     
  8. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Power scaling on the 12 adds a $120.00 upcharge.

    You might talk to Bill to see if an original can be retro-fitted without
    too much trouble.

    They are also working up a Custom 50 with power scaling in trial stage.
     
  9. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I've tried my AMZ MOSFET booster, Bad Monkey, Emma Discombobulater, and DIY 69 Fuzzface and Tychobrae. All sound excellant. The DIY 69 Fuzz sounds especially nasty though the Reeves.



    Mine was $899 + the Powerscale + shipping. A bargain for a hand wired turret board amp with a solid pine cab and naty orange tolex.
     
  10. sam30328

    sam30328 Member

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    My Reeves Custom 30 came with power scaling, but never use it--drive is around 2:00 and volume 12:00 for basement bandroom use.
    Of all the amps I've owned, this is in the top 2-great Marshall and Hiwatt tones.Just add an OCD for even more grind.
     
  11. jivebaby

    jivebaby Member

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    Seems to be one of the best values around for PTP amps.
    Good to hear that it takes pedals well but that is making my
    decision between the 10 and 12 harder.

    Leaning toward the 10 HG just cause my other amps are built around
    using pedals. Want to try something different.

    Mike

     
  12. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I too considered the 10 HG but I'd need a cab and I wanted to stick to the $1000 range. The HG seems to get those Robben/Carleton tones judging by the Clean to Mean clip. But my ultimate tone target was clean Jimi so I'm happy with my choice,
     
  13. 5E3

    5E3 Member

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    Thanks for the review :AOK

    I want one! (bumping Reeves to the top of my wish list :) )
     
  14. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    My only humbucker guitar is a sruce topped chambered ash tele with a minibucker in the neck. Sounds pretty sweet. Of course, it breaks up abit earlier than the strat. Maybe by the end of the year if I get my bathroom and kitchen finshed and pay for my oldest daughter's college and my yougest daughter's school trip ti Europe, I'll be able to scrape together enough for a Epi Elitist or Gibby LP studio and try for those Clapton tones.
     
  15. philbarnes

    philbarnes Member

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    When you get the PS option, does the amp come with both the PS control and a Drive control? The ones pictured on the site have no PS and just have Volume and the 3 tone controls.
     
  16. reeves amps

    reeves amps Member

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    Yes, the Custom 6 and 12's with power scaling have PS, Drive and Volume controls in addition to the tone knobs.

    Bill
     
  17. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    That's a really great price for that kind of upgrade.

    In 5 years 80% of tube amps will have PS or a PS option.
     
  18. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I agree, soldano16. Seems so obvious.
     
  19. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    Cool review. I like the looks of the Custom 18 myself.
     
  20. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    The 18, 30 and Lead are tempting. Gosh, so is the 50! Maybe in a few years.
     

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