Shiva vs K55

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 59model, Feb 4, 2006.


  1. 59model

    59model Member

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    Man this is a tough question, but I`ve had three Shiva`s over the past few years, both EL34 and 6L6, and one combo, and I`m noticing a big similiarity between those and my K55 (late 90`s model). Anyone here AB`d these? Same fat low mids, etc, but the K55 has a gain control on the clean channel which to me seems like a plus. Only problem, no verb on the Rivera, but the effects loop has a send and return level which makes it compatibale with any unit sold. BTW, I haven`t had a Shiva in almost two years, so my tonal memory may be off with all the amps I`ve bought. I`m hoping I don`t jones for another Shiva after Hurricane Rita, LOL, funds are low.
     
  2. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I've played a late '90s K-55 for almost 7 years. It is solid and I agree that the two amps are similar, but the Shiva's gain channel sounded bigger. I like the Rivera's clean channel better though.

    If you can't have both, I'd just keep the Rivera.
     
  3. 59model

    59model Member

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    Thanks Phil, I agree the clean channel on the Rivera is really good. When I gig (not much), I use my pedalboard through it. I use the lead channel when I`m at home and just practicing. I`m having Rob at Trutone build me a combo cab for it as I don`t play that loud and it makes for an easy setup. What amp did you get to replace the K55?
     
  4. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    59model, the K-55 is still my main amp. I haven't found anything to replace it; I recently picked up a Tophat Club Royale, but it is totally different and has not replaced the Rivera. I wish I could combine the two into one amp!

    You didn't really ask for advice, but here's how I look at it. No amp is perfect and some may work better for you than others, but you seem pretty happy with your Rivera. If you try to sell the K-55 to get another Shiva, you MIGHT get $600-$700 tops and the used Shiva will cost you $1300 or more. If you can find a way to hold on to the Rivera while you get the Shiva, you can A/B them in person.

    This has stopped me from selling my Rivera in the past because every time I want to sell it, the amp I want will cost 2 to 3 times what I'll get from my sale. The k-55 is a very good amp but does not command much money on the used market. You get your value by keeping it (if you like it enough to keep it, that is!). Plus, Rivera raised their dealer pricing substantially about 4 or 5 years ago and now the people that pay those high prices get smoked on the used marked. I bought my head brand new for $800 in '99 and bought a used but mint Jake for $850 in 2001. Their stuff now is through the roof and you can get other brands that will hold their value better for that kind of money.

    Hope your custom cab works out. I love my head (and all other amps) through a specific closed-back Soldano cab I got at the same time as the K-55. I had to try MANY cabinets to find one I liked. I have not cared nearly as much for the Rivera combos I've had when running through their stock cabinet/speakers.
     
  5. 59model

    59model Member

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    Excellent points! I didn`t care for the Rivera combo cabs either. Too boxy and no low end. I`m plaing the head with a Truetone 1X12 loaded with a Celestion Classic Lead 80, and it kicks ass, so Rob will build me a combo cab that will do the same. My post was to find out if there were any other happy K55 owners to talk me out of buying something else, LOL! I bought mine used for $550, and like you said, to spend a lot more wouldn`t justify the purchase. I have to agree.
     
  6. avenerjimmie

    avenerjimmie Member

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    I've played a K55 (old version) briefly, Knucklehead Reverb (3 Ch) twice, and a Rake exstensively. I tried all of them before I purchased my Shiva. I prefer the Shiva hands down, but it's just my style. You can see more about what I like about it in the Shiva vs. Lonestar thread. Suffice it to say, I like simplicity, and the Riveras were much more on the Mesa side of the amp world as far as dialing in good tones goes. It was *very* easy to dial in bad ones with it. The Shiva sounds good in every setting (even the worst settings are still alright). The Rivera clean channel was much more Fendery than the Shiva, but the Shiva is more like a JTM-45 (how I set it), and that is my favorite clean tone on Earth (with an AC-30 at noon being my second). The Riveras can very easily become harsh (and in my experience, the harshness in the drive is hard to dial out). They're similar, yes, but they're also very different.

    Think of the Rivera as a good Fender with a (potentially harsh) Marshall channel added (roughly). Then, think of the Shiva as a Marshall that's capable of a little Fender in the clean. They're still so different it's super subjective though.
     
  7. RSRD

    RSRD Member

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    I'd have to agree with avenerjimmie. I've a/b them and the Shiva has better tone in both cleans and OD. I tried to tweak the K55 for days and just couldn't get a clean I liked. I think the shiva is just a pure, thick, nicely compressed amp. Still the best in my book. I recorded this song with the shiva:

    shiva tone

    For me it exemplifies the great range this amp has: cleans to full on gain!

    In the end though it's what works best for you. If you've owned a Shiva before and sold it maybe your quest has not yet ended!

    Thomas
     
  8. 59model

    59model Member

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    Big Country, that clip was a great example of clean to newer style rock for sure. Sounds like an EL34 model. Nice playing too. I really liked it! Man I used to dial in a completely different sound with mine as I`m a 70`s rocker, so it also tells me how versatile the amp is. I was lookin for a way out of buying another as it would be my 4th, and you ain`t helpin, LOL! It`s kinda weird how some think the K55 harsh, as I always had to run the Shiva`s presence on zero and turn the treble down. I know it`s cause I like a smooth sound, but the Rivera I can run the tone up to 7, which I couldn`t tolerate on most amps. Any advise on what reverb to run through the loop? I already asked this on the effects page, but I`ve never run outboard reverbs before.
     
  9. RSRD

    RSRD Member

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    I keep the presence at 9 oclock. Keep in mind I play the 80 watt el34 head and run it thru a bogner 4X12 too. For the cleans I have the bass at noon and the treble at 1 oclock and have never had a problem of them being to harsh or brite. I always thought it sounded really smooth as you can hear in that clip. I don't know much about running reverbs thru the loop. I barely even use the one built in the shiva. If I'm recording I use the board for reverb.
     
  10. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I agree, 59model, mine doesn't sound harsh to me. I suck at describing things, but the Rivera does something that sounds a little more brash as opposed to what I felt the Shiva did. Kind of looser where the Shiva seemed really tight and smooth. Whatever floats your boat. One sound that I think is cool on the lead channel is to turn the treble all the way down, crank the mids almost all the way up, and adjust the bass and presence to where they need to be. Sits nice in a mix and cuts where you need it to.

    I don't think the Rivera is the best amp I've ever heard, but I certainly like it better than most of the current issue from the common brands I've heard (Marshall, Boogie, Fender, etc). Honestly, I could see owning both the K-55 and the Shiva if you can afford it. The clean and overdrive are in the same family, yet different enough to warrant both.

    I don't like using the loop on mine as I've had trouble with it in the past. The amp would start losing volume and eventually cut out. I had it fixed but it's done it since then. The problem goes away when I don't use the loop so I tend not to, though it used to work fine. Maybe I'm just scared of it. Anyway, I have something called a Peavey Valverb with tube reverb and tremolo that I used to run through the loop. I also have some delay pedals to run in the loop. I have yet to hear a reverb pedal that I like and I tend to shy away from digital multi-effect processors.
     
  11. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Yeah I'm the opposite. I have a bunch of Riveras and have played them a lot. One that I do not have is old style Knucklehead though.

    I have an EL-34 Shiva and I like all of my other Bogners and most all the Riveras that I have better than that Shiva. I just played the Shiva again yesterday to see what I'm missing, and no, that amp sounds like I remember. It is very nice, but I still don't get the hype. Yeah it has this dark and thick thing going on, it's a good amp. I still have it out and will try again with Strats and Teles. Maybe with a real thin trebly input it will bring out what that amp has to say.

    This definitely seems like a different strokes deal.
     
  12. mbutler

    mbutler Member

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    My main amp is a K55 and I've been through times where I hated it for all the reasons listed here (Harshness, boxiness, etc). But I finally found a cabinet that works well with it (a Mesa vertical recto 2 x 12) and it made all the difference. And it's very picky about tubes and bias. If I've got good tubes in it and it's properly biased, it sounds great. It's not the easiest amp in the world to dial in, but if you put your time in, it's definately worth it. I think channel switching amps are a always going to be a bit of a comprimise, and if it were up to me, I'd have 10 amps that each do one thing perfectly. But, since I can't do that, the K55 is the next best thing to it.
     
  13. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    mbutler, nice post regarding the K-55. And I thought I was the only guy playing one of these! I've owned mine for years and never hear mention of that specific model.

    You hit on something that I wanted to comment about, and I'm sure this is true of any amp. The cab is all important; way more important than I imagined. When I bought mine, the store wanted $500 for the matching Rivera 2x12. This cab sounded really good, but I didn't have enough $$$ and thought I could do better, so I went to a store with a big selection. I went through all the Peavey, Fender, Marshall and Boogie cabs I could find. 2x12 and 4x12. I figured I had bought a lemon because my new amp sounded like crap through everything except for one of the Marshall 4x12s. Then I saw a Soldano 2x12 that had sat there for a few years and tried that. It made the amp come alive and to this day, everything I run through it sounds great. I still can't believe what a huge difference the right speakers + cab makes.
     
  14. 59model

    59model Member

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    That`s the same way I used to run my Shiva, LOL! Man I thought I was one of the few who ran their tone stack against the norm. I got a Gibson Goldtone and a red knob Showman where the tone stack is almost completely down, even the mid pot is just slightly cracked. The only amps I run the tone stack up a bit are the K55 and my Fargen Blackbird.
    :BEER
     
  15. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    A lot of times those sounds aren't your ideal tone for playing by yourself, but they show their usefulness when mixed with bass, drums and other guitars/keyboards.
     
  16. mbutler

    mbutler Member

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    That's funny. I had a Marshall 4x12 and it sounded like crap, a Soldano 4x12 that was absolutely dreadful, and a Horizontal Mesa Recto 2x12 that was really harsh, but the vertical Recto 2x12 hit the mark. With so many different factors affecting the tone of these channel switching amps, it makes me want to go get the new Brian May AC-30 (with one knob!) and forget the whole thing:)
     
  17. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    Right, and it was just ONE of the 4x12s that sounded good. I want to say it was one of the basket weave reissues, but it was a long time ago.

    Simplicity can be bliss, I'll agree with you there.
     

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