Steps to enhance a DRRI?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by theroan, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. theroan

    theroan Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I want a good 6v6 low watt combo and I've settled on gettin the Deluxe Reverb Reissue. I've heard that it needs a few changes to really be great. So I'm wondering what things I need to do to get sounding great instead of just good.

    Thanks
     
  2. StratTone

    StratTone Member

    Messages:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    I got to say I see a lot of people needing to mess with these amps and I haven't had to do anything to mine. The only thing that IMHO the amps needs is a good high transconductance tube in V2 to bring it alive. The stock C12K sounds great to me. No nead to remove the bright cap. I even left the bias stock. I am a tinkerer for sure but if it isn't broke don't fix it. haha I will say that changing V2 to a nice high transconductance TungSol RI made a nice improvement for me though. Go through KCA or Dougs tubes and ask for a nice high GM tube.
     
  3. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    When I have my DRRI with the eminence speaker I found that the preamp tube change made the biggest difference, then the power amp tubes. I did change the eminence speaker to a Jensen P12R reissue, but overall the eminence was really a better choice.

    As for the bright cap, I wished I would have removed mine. (based on my experience with bright caps on other fender amps) If you use the normal channel or crank the vibrato channel, no need to worry about the bright cap. But if you are trying to use dirt boxes with the DRRI and keep the volume lower, then I would remove the bright cap. The bright cap is only on the vibrato channel and its effect decreases as you crank the amp.
     
  4. whaiyun

    whaiyun Member

    Messages:
    3,602
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Windsor/Detroit
    Nice thread. I am considering buying a DRRI and see what mods I can do to it to maximize its potential, but also considering the labour and part costs.
     
  5. Telepatio

    Telepatio Member

    Messages:
    157
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I went down this road. Speaker change, tube changes etc. Never clicked with it. I've played Silverface versions that kill, plus they're handwired. I'd go that route.

    Of course, once I got a Super Reverb it was all over but I can see the appeal of the smaller amp.
     
  6. whaiyun

    whaiyun Member

    Messages:
    3,602
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Windsor/Detroit
    Yeah, the whole point to point handwired thing really appeals to me since any problems would be easier to fix. I'm afraid I'll buy a DRRI with a bad component on the PCB and get screwed over.
     
  7. theroan

    theroan Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    The problem is price. I can't afford a SFDR. So I need to maximize the one I can afford. Unless I find an old one for under a grand. Does the reverb apply to the regular non-vib input?

    the other question is, is this amp only seen as needing improvement in comparison to the original? Does it hold it's own if werent called a deluxe reverb?
     
  8. StratTone

    StratTone Member

    Messages:
    959
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    The verb in on the vibrato channel. You nailed it on the head with your last statement. The amps more than holds its own by its self. Most people make changes to get it to sound like an old Deluxe. The thing screams like it is if you ask me. I like both the Vintage and RI amps though. ;)
     
  9. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,947
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    That (above), plus....

    I've played two DRRIs side by side in a store that sounded very, very different from each other. The good one was really good --- so I bought it (and I was not looking to buy an amp that day; I was just killing time). I took it home and found that the bias was very high -- so if the other one in the store was biased cold, that would probably have explained the difference between them -- but I can't be sure of that.

    I lowered the bias on mine to a more reasonable spot, and it still sounded great. No need for any mods, or a different speaker, though due to the bright cap, I was using the Normal channel with pedals.

    Unfortunately, after about a week, the amp just died. The tubes were all fine (I replaced them to be sure). The rectifier tube was lighting up, but all of others were out, as was the jewel light. Odd. So I returned the amp and ordered a Clark BFDR clone --- which after about a 10 week wait is coming today!!!

    Anyway, my message to you is that you should try a few DRRIs to make sure you get a good one. Or, if I was right, and the difference was just in the bias setting, bring a Weber Bias-Rite to the store to check the amp's bias, set it right, and then make sure you love it.
     
  10. whaiyun

    whaiyun Member

    Messages:
    3,602
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Windsor/Detroit
    Yeah. I am afraid of that happening if I buy one from CL. =/
     
  11. catalinbread

    catalinbread Member

    Messages:
    2,468
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    I've done a lot to my DRRI. There is another thread here where I was talking about Sozo Blues. The stock Illinois Capacitors seemed sterile, I swapped them... I will leave it at that, too controversial. I got rid of the ceramic caps in there and put in Polystyrene. This is the treble mixer cap and bumped up the 47pF bright to 100pF polystyrene. For along time there were no good 6V6 aside from NOS. But Tung Sol's have really brought this amp to life.
     
  12. mbratch

    mbratch Member

    Messages:
    2,390
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Webster, NY
    I would play with the amp awhile after you get it. It actually might be great as-is. So much depends upon what you like. If there's something you don't like and can be specific about describing it tonally, then there are things that can be done to adjust it. As mentioned above, speaker is a big influencer of the tone. Some like the C12K, some don't. I'm partial to Weber (12F150). Some like Eminence (e.g., Red White & Blues or Cannabis Rex).

    As far as bright cap, it depends upon what your sound is that you prefer. I like the bright cap in for my humbucker guitars and the treble is still set on 7. I modified my vintage DR so that the Normal channel goes through the reverb/tremolo. I use my strat through the Normal Channel and humbucker guitars through the Vibrato Channel (bright cap intact).

    I guess I'm saying don't assume that you'll have to change anything necessarily. Different people will have different opinions about what sounds good, so your taste is what matters after you've had a chance to try it out as is and go from there.
     
  13. RJLII

    RJLII Member

    Messages:
    9,008
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Michiana
    I agree with mbratch. Play it a while. I owned a DRRI for a little over 8 years. It was a really good amp in my opinion. A new set of Tung-Sol 6V6GTs and a re-bias made a huge difference in the sound. Mine had the Jensen speaker and I never felt the need to change it. I play humbucker guitars so the bright vibrato channel wasn't an issue for me either.
     
  14. theroan

    theroan Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    What does a bright cap do? If I don't know how to bias an amp, should I get a professional to?
     
  15. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,947
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    If you're trying the amp at a store that has an amp tech, have them check and properly set the bias before you try it (or at least before you buy it). If you search here on TGP, you'll find lots of info about setting the bias on a DR.

    To do it yourself, you're best bet is to buy a bias probe of some sort. The Weber bias-rite is very popular. Search for that. You need to adjust the bias every time you put in new power tubes in that amp -- so it might makes sense to buy your own bias probe. Doing the actual adjustment on that amp just requires turning a pot (access is external, on the bottom of the chassis), but measuring it (without amp tech skills and without opening the chassis) requires the probe. A tech will probably charge $40 - $50 to do it.
     
  16. RJLII

    RJLII Member

    Messages:
    9,008
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Michiana
    The bright cap that folks discuss "clipping" is a capacitor on the circuit board that bleeds high frequencies to the output with the Vibrato channel volume lower than about 4. I think the assumption was that the amp needed the extra bit of "bite" at low volumes. This isn't present on the Normal channel.

    Biasing power tubes on a DRRI is simple. There's a potentiometer in the chassis for adjusting current. You can buy a bias probe for a multimeter (like this) cheaper than some techs will charge you to bias the amp. One guy near me charges a 1 hour minimum bench charge ($45) to set bias. The DRRI takes 5 minutes. If you own the probe you can swap tubes out to your hearts content and set the bias current wherever you want.
     
  17. PedalFreak

    PedalFreak Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,165
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
    I did a lot to mine. One thing that I was the most shocked about was when I put a nice speaker cable on it. It was like a veil was lifted off of the amp! I put the Evidence Audio Siren on it.

    Tung Sol 6V6's worked great. NOS RCA 12AT7 for the Reverb. A nicer Reverb pan. Some other stuff too. But I'd highly suggest getting a new Speaker Cable for it :)
     
  18. theroan

    theroan Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    All of this is tremendously heplful. Obviously I couldn't do this all at once. But I like that overtime this pretty good amp can be a great amp with subtle changes.

    What I got:
    Tung Sol power tubes
    RCA pre amp tubes
    New Speaker
    New Speaker Cable
    Re-bias
    Removal of the bright cap

    What would be a good speaker replacement. G12 and Greenbacks come to mind.
     
  19. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,372
    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Location:
    Madison WI
    You can find Silver Face Deluxe Reverbs for $700-$900... much much better sounding amps in my experience and more durable, easier to repair etc
     
  20. theroan

    theroan Member

    Messages:
    5,742
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Hmmm, when I'm ready to buy I'll keep my eyes open for sure.
     

Share This Page