Talk to me about Rivera KR55 Knucklehead

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by yannis, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. yannis

    yannis Member

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    Hi all,

    While browsing around online i was examining Rivera's website. I saw there (for the 1st time) the Rivera KR55 Knucklehead Head amplifier.

    1. Three channels with different voicing (like having a good Fender/Marshall/Soldano in one amp).

    2. Power reduction switch 50-25-12.5W

    3. Pentode/Diode switch to go from vintage to modern operation

    4. Boutique level quality of construction.

    Correct me if i am wrong but this sounds like a dream amplifier to me, plus it costs 2000eu in Europe.

    Now there are 2 problems.

    1. The UK distributor doesnt import it unless a customer special orders it (i thought distributors had to have at least 1 of each model)

    2. The French/German shops have it in stock for 300$ less than what i was quoted by the UK dealers.

    Hence, i would like as much feedback/pictures and information on this amp.

    It sounds like THE tool for playing from home to Gig with the power switching + a hotplate. Build quality to last you a lifetime, and loads of high end tones.

    I am looking forward to see your views as i am totally ignorant on this amp (i ve only played a Chubster combo in the past briefly).

    It will be mostly used at home by the way with the potential of gig use.

    Yannis
     
  2. mcalo42

    mcalo42 Member

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    I have a Knucklehead Reverb 100 head and a Chubster 40 combo. :dude

    Both are great amps. The Knuckelhead has more features and is much more versitle. The clean channels are very similar but the distortion channels have different voicings from one another. The Chubster's British channel is a littler darker, deeper and raw (to my ears) but gets a little muddy quick as you turn up the gain. To me the Chubster sounds great with Mullard re-issue 12AX7's in V1 @ V2 and a v30. I like the amp with low to medium gain settings the best.

    The distortion channels on the KHR are very flexible between the tone, power and vintage/modern controls. Also, it has a very good effect loop. The fact that the 2nd and 3rd channel share the same EQ isn't really an issue since the texture is different.

    Rivera seems to be marketing the KHR as a high gain modern metal monster. While it can certainly do that, it can also do classic rock and blues great as well.

    The quality of Rivera amps is top notch.
     
  3. yannis

    yannis Member

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    So is it worth the hassle of going to another country to try out a KR55 and mail ordering it against my other options which are:

    Heritage Colonial
    H&K Puretone/Duotone
    Laney GH50L
    Laney TT50H
    Orange Rocker 30 Head

    ??? I am looking at an EL34 head that will sound really good with a hotplate for home practice, but will have the ability to go live on a gig should i need to.

    I play 60s and 70s rock (Zeppelin, Cream,Sabbath etc) GnR and Tool from modern stuff with the occasional slice of Metallica there and Blues.
     
  4. mcalo42

    mcalo42 Member

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    Yannis,

    I don't have any personal experience with those other amps to be able to compare. Maybe others can chime in on that aspect. However, I can say the Rivera can easily handle your requirements; as far as being better or worth a special trip to another country, I don't really know.

    If it will help I can try to record a few quick sound samples of 60s and 70s rock (Zeppelin, Cream, Sabbath) with my KHR 100 (EL34 version). I don't think there's going to be a lot of tone difference betweeen the 55 and 100 watt versions, although I would expect the 100 W to have more clean headroom.
     
  5. SAVAGE BEAST

    SAVAGE BEAST Member

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    I owned a KHR100 and while I found the clean tones to be great, the gain channels were not happening for me. It was a very well built amp, but even though it had EL34's, it still couldn't replicate good Marshall tones. It still sounded like a Fender. I suppose that this is splitting hairs a bit, but the high gain channel sounded too similar to the "plexi" type of channel. They also don't hold their resale value as much as other amps (if that matters to you).
     
  6. yannis

    yannis Member

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    mcalo i would dig some clips!

    Other amps i am considering are

    Rivera Chubster 40/55
    Orange Rocker 30 head
    Laney TT50H
    Laney GH50L
    ...please add your suggestion....

    My requirements are

    1. To be able to perform VERY well at home practice volume (with hotplate...el34 distortion)
    2. To have boutique quality (sort of) but not essential.
    3. Ultra reliable and user serviceable (no proprietary parts)
    4. To be able to buy it at a reasonable European price (ie several boutique US amps are rediculusly priced in Europe)
    5. To nail 60s and 70s blues/hard rock and the occasional slice of GnR/Tool type sounds. Bias towards Page, Slash, Iommi, Clapton.

    Thats about it.
     
  7. mcalo42

    mcalo42 Member

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    I will try to make some time this weekend to do it.
     
  8. blong

    blong Supporting Member

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    I own a precursor to the Knucklehead called a Rake. It is 55 watts, has the same pentode/triode (vintage/modern) switch, el34's, two channels (rather than 3 for the KR55), and midi footswitch with boost on both channels. I love this thing.

    My buddy owns a KR55 and if I didn't have the Rake, I would buy one. I don't really NEED the third channel, so I am spending money on guitars, but I love his amp, too. If you are in europe, I would certainly head over to France and check one out. In my opinion, the KR55 is one of the best bargains out there for everything that it does. The Rake does Fender/Marshall very well. The Knuckle head does also, with a higher gain third channel. It should fill all your needs and then some, except the things a woman can do for you. Also, a Rivera is more reliable than most people. They are built like a tank.

    I would certainly check one out and I bet you will end up bringing it home.

    You should not need an attenuator with the variable power switch.

    Bob
     
  9. mcalo42

    mcalo42 Member

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    Yannis,
    Here's a few quick clips of my Knucklehead Reverb 100 in the styles your looking for. The power switch was on low and the other one was on modern. I used my Guytron 2x12 closed back cabinet with one Vintage 30 and one Classic Lead 80 speaker. Close mic'd off-axis on the CL80 with a shure SM57. Guitar plugged straight into amp (77 Les Paul Standard).

    Channel 1:
    Middle position Les Paul Standard
    Neck position

    Channel 2:
    Neck Position med gain
    Neck Position Med gain
    Bridge and neck position switching

    Channel 3:
    LPS_bridge_pu_
    Lead example
     
  10. joolzriff

    joolzriff Member

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    marshall 2555.....made in uk and is the tone of the players you mentioned(within the marshall family tones u mentiond)
     
  11. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    I completely recommend the Rake/Jake Riveras.

    I'm a big fan of Riveras, and the Knucklehead Reverb has that great clean channel like almost any Rivera.

    The thing that I sort of don't go for in the Knucklehead Reverb is that the drive channel strikes me as scooped and a bit too modern. I don't mind the gain - it's not too much gain. (Although you can use the KHR as a car crusher). It's like there is a lower mid thing that I'm used to when I crank a Rivera drive channel and it is not part of the KHR package.

    I would say this - I like the EL-34 version of the KHR better than the 6L6 version. But not because I like EL-34s better than 6L6s in general. But in Riveras, the clean is usually good enough with EL-34s that what you might gain from 6L6s isn't what you can lose on the drive channel with the 6L6s.
     
  12. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    So you're thinking he gets one of those and then amp switches with something to get the Fender flavors? That could work.
     
  13. mcalo42

    mcalo42 Member

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    Are you referring to the KHR in general or specifically to my clips?

    Can you post any Rake/Jake sound samples in the styles we are exploring here? I would be very interested to hear them isolated and without any effects, other than reverb if possible.
     
  14. dom9098

    dom9098 Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but its the top hit on google about this amp. I have one for sale in the UK in Bristol, very good price, very good condition. It was imported from USA and runs on american power with a transformer.

    If you would like to try it out or are interested in photos/more information/general advice/queries about this model of amp feel free to email me / pm me etc....

    Thanks alot

    Dom

    Dom9098@googlemail.com
     
  15. ungarn

    ungarn Member

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    Sounds like you want a Marshall...are they more available in Greece?
    Rivera makes FANTASTIC amps but they are kinda pricey new, bargains used.
    Of the ones I have played they do not EXACTLY get that Marsahll grind...then again Orange does not either and they are WONDERFUL also.
    Try as many as you can before you buy!
     

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