Rivera R55-112 opinions wanted...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Deaj, May 19, 2005.


  1. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Hello again,

    The Rivera R55-112 combo is the amp I'm looking at most seriously for a backup amp and a grab-n-go 1x12 combo. My main amp is a Rivera Jake Studio 1x12 (the direct decendant of the R55-112). I'm familiar with the clean channel on the R-series amps but I never bothered to try the drive channel (Channel 1). Any opinions of channel 1 from the Rivera R-series users out there? Any and all input is appreciated. Thanks!!
     
  2. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    R55-12 is not a Jake. It's got that good clean channel and it's a fine amp. Clean rhythms off that thing just as good as any Rivera. But the drive channel can be a little dry compared to the Jake to my ear. Plus

    The Chubsters (which are more the direct descendants of the R series) might sound a little closer to Jake but they are still a little harsh; but they have the larger cab you might be hoping to avoid.

    I would put it down to personal preference whether you like the R55 or Chubster '55 drive channel better. Try 'em both.
     
  3. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    Since I use my Jake as a single channel amp (Channel 2) I suspect that any 2xEL34 based 55w Rivera will suit me well as this channel is very much the same from model to model. Channel 1 in the Jake is fantastic but I rarely use it (used Ch.1 to record a couple of tracks and I occasionally open it up on Ch.1 just to have some fun :)). A lackluster Channel 1 won't be a show-stopper for me. If I gig or jam with the amp it'll be set to Channel 2 all night.

    Something I have observed with the Jake: Channel 2 has a very useable master volume. Lush, swirling clean tones can be had, in varying degrees, as far down as 4 on Channel 2's MV (though it's best above 8). Channel 1's MV, however, isn't as flexible. I find I don't care for the sound of Channel 1 at settings any lower than 7.5-8 on this channel's MV. What's your take on this?

    I really like the Jake's enclosure and stock speaker. Bass response is wonderful - very balanced tone that cuts well and sits nicely in a live mix. The R55-112's enclosure size is very appealing for a grab-n-go amp but I'm afraid that it (or anything else for that matter) will get left at home if the Jake is ready to fly. Then again I was always very happy with my Super Champ in a jam or open mic context and it was just a tiny little 20w 1x10 combo. I've tried the Pubster and Clubster series amps and, while they sounded great, I'd rather have the headroom afforded by the 55w amps and I don't mind carrying a little more amp to have it.

    ...hmmm - just did some quick research and it appears as though the R55-112 is only 3" smaller in width and only 8lbs. lighter. No significant benefit in portability for the sacrifices made. It does make for a more affordable (and more readily available) backup amp. If a R55-112 becomes available at a sub-$500 price (shipping and all) I'll likely pull the trigger. I know I could get that and more should I decide to sell it.

    I've not played the Chubster 55 but I have played the Chubster 40. I've also played the Fandango 55w 1x12 and I much prefer it to the Chubster 40. If I am to spend more than $500 on a backup amp then I think I'm down to either the Fandango or another Jake. The Fandango that I played was easily as enjoyable to play as the Jake (again - Channel 2 only - didn't spend any time playing Channel 1). If another Jake becomes available for around $800 I'd very likely grab it but they're getting harder to find and the prices are going up. The Fandangos, on the other hand, are more readily available....

    I'd really like to have another Jake. I'll sort it out eventually :(
     
  4. hawkeyeinexile

    hawkeyeinexile Silver Supporting Member

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    i've owned an R55, played both, prefer the Chubster's deeper tones, prefer the R55 for backup & portability. weight's not a factor for me, but width is, for some of the places i play, so i'd go for the R55. in fact i'd like to sell my BM100 Duarte and get an R55 again.

    :cool:
     
  5. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Hey if you live on that clean channel then almost any Rivera will do a good job. You could look into the little Pubster.

    But If you want another Jake, I'd say get another Jake. I have more than one Rake myself.
     
  6. Terry Hayes

    Terry Hayes Member

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    I really loved my R55. I had it for many years and, as someone said, if portability is really important, it is the perfect amp.

    I liked channel 1 very much. However, I sadly decided to sell it as I had 3 Riveras and wanted to try something else. So, my Rivera's now consist of a Quiana 1x12 and a Knucklehead Reverb.

    Terry
     
  7. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, I had an opportunity to play a Rivera R55-112 yesterday. Like all Riveras I've played it was a great sounding amp but it's not what I'm looking for.

    I played alot of amps yesterday (Budda Superdrive, Anderson 2x12 combo, '64 Fender Pro, Bassman LTD, Speedster 40A, Rivera Suprema, Bluesbreaker Reissue). I had a great time. The '64 Pro was a real standout (BF Pro and Pro Reverb amps are amazing tone machines)!

    I went home afterwards and played through my Jake combo - this is definitely the amp for me. I always enjoy the experience of playing through a great sounding amp. I'd be happy to play a jam or a gig through any of the amps I mentioned above (and many others) but, given the choice, I want to play through my Jake.

    I think I've answered my question. I'll be looking for an amp from the Rivera Jake/Rake series as a backup.
     
  8. teefus

    teefus Supporting Member

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    i prefer the m series to the r series rivera but they are a little heavier and usually more $$$$.
     
  9. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    You are mostly right there (possible exception R100-212 vs M100 is a taste thing). But if he's going to carry that weight around and spend that cash, I'd bet he's going Jake again.
     
  10. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Yeah I thought this might be coming. Welcome to the "we drank the Jake kool-aid" club.
     
  11. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    ...I really enjoyed it! Here are some observations:

    Enclosure: This may be the fullest sound I've ever heard from a 1x12 combo. The bass response from the Jake's enclosure seems tigher than this box - neither seems better to my ears, just different.

    Speaker: I like the G12T-85 in the Jake better than the 80w Celestion in the Fandango. Speaker might get swapped for something more to my liking if I were to purchase this amp. I'd give the stock speaker some time before swapping though.

    Channel 1: I believe I'd make more use of the Fandango's Channel 1 than I do with the Jake. The Jake's Channel 1 is a blast for full-on old school Marshall grind but it doesn't do low gain as well (though it does produce nice cleans with the guitar volume rolled back). The Fandango offers more subtle shades at low gain settings. I thought it was voiced well. I didn't care for the mid-notch setting for this channel but I didn't really spend much time trying to dial the amp in with it pulled.

    Channel 2: This is why I play these amps - this is THE tone for me. The Fandango's Channel 2 is everything I love in the Jake. I'd feel right at home with the Fandango.

    Focus control: I used to own a Rake head (non-reverb) that had the Focus control but I never really messed with it much (the Rake was strictly a backup amp and I set it up to sound as close to the Jake as possible). I played around with the Focus control at a variety of settings and I really dig what it does to the feel of the amp. I'd have to spend more time messing with it but I believe this would be a useful feature for me.

    Reverb: I'd guess it's close to the same circuit/pan as is in the Jake. I do use the reverb in the Jake occasionally but always set below 2 (very subtle effect). The Fandango's reverb at this setting was identical to the Jake's.

    I think the Fandango may actually be a better choice as a backup for my Jake as it offers additional flexibility while maintaining my core tone. I'll be watching for a used one.
     
  12. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The deal with channel 1 on the Fandango is that it also sounds like more overall gain when you push it. The more shades is compensated for the less smoothness.

    Channel 2 is almost the same on Fandango and Jake. And that is great.

    Here's another interesting point. You can very easily find a 100 Watt Fandango compared to a 100 Watt Rake Reverb. The two are similar in having a really spectacular clean side - even better than the 55 Watt versions, but that isn't too surprising. The drive sides are also similar to the 55 Watt cousins, but there are more interesting in-between tones and the 100 Watt versions are a little more articulate.

    So you might look for a 100 Watt Fandango if that sounds interesting. Obviously, it is even louder than the 55 Watt version and it weighs more.
     
  13. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks again for the feedback Riveratoasters! I'll check around at the Rivera dealers in town and see if there's a 100w Fandango available for demo. If I went with a 100w amp I'd probably look for a head and cab rather than a combo. The 100w Fandango combo is 2x12 only and I'm not really into moving a 2x12 combo around. Clean headroom is gooooood!!!

    Another thought - Rivera's site gives the idea that the drive channel is like the Knucklehead's drive channel. Are they the same? More importantly does channel 2 sound the same? Is the Knucklehead worth a look or is it too much of a departure from the Jake or Fandango? Thanks again!
     
  14. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Head is correct. Rivera has no problem building combos that nobody can lift. I don't know why they do that. One rule of thumb with Rivera is: never lift an S120 combo.

    100 Watt Fandango has great clean headroom.

    OK the Knucklehead comes in three flavors. The old Knucklehead, the new "Knucklehead Reverb", and the Knuclehead II. Which one are we talking about?
     
  15. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    The new Knucklehead Reverb.
     
  16. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    OK that one I have a couple of. Here are the hints.

    1. Get the EL34 version unless you really don't use the drive channel at all. Which would be kind of weird since one reason to get the KR is the drive channels and channel switching.

    2. The drive channel(s) are a lot more flexible than older Riveras. Mainly because they have so much gain on tap and can "kill a Dual Recto" etc. etc. etc. Do you need to kill Dual Rectos on a regular basis? I don't. But it's there if you need it. On the other hand, I think the drive channels on the KR are a little scooped and I sometimes like more up front mids or a flatter response.

    For all it's flexibility and potential, the KR doesn't walk my dog very often. If I didn't have all the other Riveras, I would use it a lot. But I do have all the other Riveras. It's not a bad amp, and in your situation it might be a perfect choice - to get all that flexibility to back up your Jake.

    But you'll have to play it and see for yourself.
     
  17. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks again Riveratoasters! I had a brief opportunity to play a Knucklehead Reverb but, again, only sampled the clean channel. I'll look for one locally and give the other channels a shake.
     
  18. Lamont

    Lamont Member

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    The real bottom line on this is that bang for the buck ,its hard to beat .The clean ch sounds great ,full and warm ,and the lead channel can get VERY R.Ford sounding w/ EMG-SA or a hbucker.The size and weight is perfect for an all purpose grab and go rig .Celestion V-30 is a perfect speaker in these and the el-34s are cool.My only complaint is the footpedel sometimes being a problum.The Ninja boost is allmost too insain --Again ,bottom line is for $ 500 -$700 used its hard to beat.The Boogie Blue Angel is the only thing at that price that comes close (used)but it dosent have the lead stuff the 55 has.
     
  19. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The most common mod for Riveras is to put in a pot that makes the Ninja boost adjustable. Rivera does it for $75, or at least they used to. I wonder why they don't just always put that in there.
     
  20. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    My Jake has the adjustable boost mod for both channels. It should be standard on all Rivera amps.
     

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