Rivera Clubster 25 doce...any love??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by geonew, Feb 8, 2008.


  1. geonew

    geonew Member

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    I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that owns, or owned this amp...the Good, Bad and Ugly...what can it be closely compared to?
     
  2. Webfoot

    Webfoot Supporting Member

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    This would be interesting to hear about.

    - Are the cleans... big warm and remain intact and get loud without being strident and harsh?

    - Is the distortion useable and not ratty or fizzy?
     
  3. voojo

    voojo Gold Supporting Member

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    I would like to hear more about this too, as I almost bought one for a compact & well built combo to bring to jams & such. Some people scoff at them because I believe some of their overdrive tone is created using JFETs or some other type of solid state technique.

    Don't some Dumbles have a JFET channel? I have a Mojo Hand Copperhead pedal that is a dual JFET boost and the thing just sounds awesome in front of any of my amps, so that wouldn't scare me away from the Clubsters or Pubsters.
     
  4. geonew

    geonew Member

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    Anyone else?? Anyone tried them out? Opinions? I know some folks feel a speaker change is the first order of business with these...
     
  5. stratman0602

    stratman0602 Member

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    I dont own one but tried one out today ... very good clean sounds and excellent crunch. I would use a good transparent OD like a BB Preamp in front of the amp for solos. Bass response is pretty good for a little amp. I think the large cab may have something to do with it. The only problem is no level control for the effects loop. I would probably replace the existing Celestion with a 30 watt Celestion or a 'Greenback'.
     
  6. Daniel B.

    Daniel B. Member

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    I have one myself. I currently play a Les Paul, so I can't tell you how a single coil sounds through the amp. I've also only had the amp for about a month. It hasn't been modified.

    Clean Channel - the volume on this channel hardly ever goes above 2.5 in my office....can get very loud. The 'bright' knob can be nice when activated, but not so much for strumming. Great rounded tone when using the neck pickup. I would trade the bright option for mid control.

    Gain Channel - You will have fuzzy distortion until the master is near 2 - 2.5, if you have the volume at 6 or louder. The master has to be at 3 - 3.5 to COMPLETELY get rid of the fuzz, which is pretty loud. My sweet spot is volume at 6, master at 3.5. For a little less gain, volume at 4, but still enough grit. There is too much fizz for me with the volume at 8+, even with the master up. There is enough bass for playing at home, but in a larger room the bass sometimes lacks. However, the soundboard can fix that if it's mic'd. I always have the bass at 10. You can lower the mids to get that scooped sound and a little more low end.

    This is a tough price range. I don't think an affordable tube combo exists with around 25W that can do everything perfectly. I might switch out the speaker. I just don't need anything bigger than 25W. I guess I'm still trying to decide how I feel about the gain channel. I want an amp with good distortion at low volumes. I don't like fuzz much at all. Not sure if this is helpful. I would say all-in-all a solid combo amp for the price. I might try an MXR 10 Band EQ and see what that does for the tone. This is my first tube amp so I'm still figuring things out. I played mostly acoustic for years. I'm keeping the amp at this point. You might want to look at the Chubster 40 to get the effects loop level control and more tonal options on the clean channel.
     
  7. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Bumping this. Anyone tried it with a neck humbucker in an archtop or big hollowbody?

    I'm curious if this is a decent low-noise Fender type sound. I had read on the Les Paul board that the amp was noisy at idle which is a deal breaker for me.
     
  8. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, the 7 year zombie thread bump!

    I have a Rivera Clubster 25-110, the 10" version of this amp. It is virtually identical to the Clubster Doce, so I feel comfortable commenting on it. As far as I know, the only differences between the 25-112 and 25-110 are the speaker size and the fact that the Doce has a second, lower gain input as well as the standard high gain input.

    My impressions of the Clubster 25-110:

    The clean channel is quite good sounding and similar to a typical 2x6V6 silver face Fender. The clean channel only has volume, bass, and treble controls (with a pull-pot bright switch), but these are enough, and you can get a very nice and warm clean tone from it. The reverb is decent. I don't find it noisy at idle, but I am not generally cranking it super loud, either. I did try it briefly with a much more efficient speaker (an Eminence Red Fang alnico) and found that combination to be too harsh, so I have a Celestion Gold in mine now and find the Gold a better match for the amp. I had an EV 10M in it previously and found the EV to be a bit sterile. I've tried a few other speakers in it but the Celestion Gold seems like a great match for my purposes.

    One interesting thing is that the non-master volume clean channel is much more "direct" and loud than the lead channel, so to balance the output of the two channels I might have the clean channel on 3-4 and the lead channel on 6+.

    Another interesting thing: if you look at the amp's schematic, you will see that the gain on the lead channel is actually fed through a resistor to tame a lot of its "rawness". I'd say this effect is similar to a negative feedback circuit, but I say this as a layman so that may not be technically correct, but that's how it seems to function. If you look at the lead channel's pull-boost circuit in the schematic I linked to, you'll see that engaging the "boost" actually disengages an inline resistor. So in its normal, non-boosted state the lead channel has its gain held back, and when you engage the boost, you are restoring that missing gain rather than, say, engaging a separate boost circuit. The boost is non-adjustable; I have a mod in mind to make mine adjustable (post 42 in the linked thread), but I haven't tried it yet and that's probably something for another post. (Side note: some Rivera owners love the stock fixed boost(s), some hate them and never use them, and some of us like to tinker with the circuits and mod them to make them adjustable. Different strokes, etc.)

    One more thing about these amps: the preamp circuit is a bit unusual as the two preamp tubes don't exactly map to one channel or the other. It isn't like V1 = Channel 1 and V2 = Channel 2, it is much more complicated and intertwined than that. I also have a Rivera Chubster 40 1x12 (2xEL34, though I am running 2x6550A in mine), and it has a very different topology with five preamp tubes vs the Clubster's two, and the Chubster has dedicated tubes for reverb and phase inversion. These can often be found for similar prices to the Clubsters, and they are much more flexible, as the Chubster clean channel has a pull-pot midrange notch filter that allows it to cop a very convincing black face tone, as well as the less scooped silver face tone.

    Lastly, I actually run a pair of shorty 5881 tubes in my Clubster 25, and I like them a lot more than the 6V6 -- different headroom, different breakup, slightly different tone. I wrote to Rivera to ask if these would be within spec, and they said "sure, no problem as long as you rebias." Having done that, I can tell you that I like the amp a lot more with 5881s in it than 6V6, though "your mileage may vary", as they say.

    Hopefully some of that was helpful? The bottom line is that the Clubsters are good, versatile amps that are well made and capable of a range of tones, from Fender-like cleans to a Marshally-sort of crunch. Like all Riveras, they take some time to dial in! If you get one, do not expect to figure it out right away. In fact, you may even hate its tone out of the box. Do not despair, the controls on these amps are touchy, but they can be very sweet sounding amps once you figure them out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  9. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    I have one of the newer Pubster 25 heads in the Venus type cabinet. Similar amp I think, newer cosmetics..Full EQ channel and a boost channel.. Reverb. The fx loop works well with my cheap reverb and delay pedals from Joyo.. I tried it with a G12H30 and it sounded not to my liking at all. I never did get along with that speaker. Tried it with a V30 and it sounded much more balanced and less in your face. As others have said, you gotta run it up higher to get the overdrive to smooth out.. Any suggestions for a good speaker for this?
    Also, I'm going to try redeyejim's suggestion on using 5881's.. Thanks Jim.. I love those tubes.. The 6v6's sound kind of blatty and bloated with an LP.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  10. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Yes. I started a new thread and stopped because there weren't many about this am so I thought it would be better to combine the info.

    Thanks for the info. It was helpful. I am mainly looking for a small quiet (ie. no noise) clean amp for recording. The Rivera seems to have features focused on overdrive with a Fender type lineage.
     
  11. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    Owning both, I think the Rivera Chubster 40 is a quieter amp than the Clubster 25. It has a more sophisticated power section, and is more refined overall. Mine is very quiet, whereas the Clubster isn't as quiet at idle. You wouldn't notice it in a live setting, but for recording you might.

    The Rivera lineup begins with the Pubster, followed by the Clubster, and then the Chubster, so the Clubster is one of their cheaper amps. I think it's great for what it is, which is an affordable, USA-made multi channel tube amp w/spring reverb and an FX loop, but it's worth remembering that Rivera makes other models that cost more and are more sophisticated.

    Also, for the record the Pubster and Clubster are actually more different under the hood than it appears: the Pubster is really a single channel amp with a foot switchable solo boost function, and that single channel is based on the drive channel of the Clubster. The Clubster is a true two channel amp, although its clean channel is non-master volume and only has Bass and Treble (w/pull bright) tone controls, while its drive channel has a mid control (w/pull boost) and a master volume. The Chubster has more tone controls for both clean and drive channels, plus each channel gets its own dedicated master volume and separate, foot switchable boosts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  12. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Thanks Jim. That is awesome info. I always wondered what the breakdown (or really, difference) was with the *-ubster line. Thanks for the honest feedback. I really appreciate it.
     
  13. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    Glad I could help, spiral. I don't know if I necessarily "love" my Riveras, but I like 'em a lot and think they bring a lot of value to the table, especially the Clubster 25-110, which packs a TON of functionality and useful features in a 1x10 combo cab. You have to put in the time (and sometimes try a bunch of speakers and tubes) to get them dialed in, but they can sound great once you do that. Also, as others have said they seem to have one personality at low volumes and a different personality at gig levels. I think they are very undervalued and often overlooked amps, which is a shame. Their cleans can be right up there with Fender's, and their drive channel is also great. Anyway, good luck w/your amp search!
     

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