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Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Tony65x55, Jul 5, 2021.
Congrats, Tony. Will look forward to your more detailed review. Hope you're keeping well!
Thanks, Drew, I'm well and I hope you are too.
Does anyone know if the the 68 Custom Pro is cathode or fixed bias? I think some of my issues with this may be due to cold biasing.
Not to derail here… although I couldn’t find out for sure, I would think it’s fixed bias. If it’s fixed bias, there should be what looks like an input jack on the bottom of the chassis. This is where a small screw driver would be inserted to adjust the bias pot inside the chassis.
Is this something you would do or a tech?
I'd take to a tech, don't have the means to measure it and be sure I am doing it right. I have a skilled tech locally.
I looked at the bottom of the chassis and didn't see an input jack hole, but can't see the whole thing. I emailed Fender, so hopefully someone will get back to me.
I like these new amps fender is putting out but that celestion neo is not my cup of tea. When I put a Tonetubby Purple haze (40 watt, thin hempcone, alnico) into my Tonemaster Deluxe, the amp sounded like the real deal while the neo gave it a weird zingy top that drove me nuts w single coils. It sucks because they make the amp sooooooo light, then you put in a real speaker and uggh.
Right you are Tavo, and that's what I thought from the beginning. I loved the Tone Master Deluxe concept but I detested the N12K Jensen they put in it. It is supposedly Jensen's neo take on the C12K which makes sense because I hate the sound of that speaker too.
My solution was the Jensen C12Q 35 watt speaker and after some break-in I am very happy with it and it's even a half-pound lighter than the N12K it replaced. It's just not an efficient speaker but close enough.
However, the Celestion Neo-Creamback on the first non-demanding listen, sounded really nice. Whether it withstands the acid test remains to be seen. But I'll let ya know soon but speakers are a critical component and I remain skeptical -but open-minded - regarding the neo!
I went to TrueTone and sat in a little room with the ‘68 Pro Reverb, ‘68 Deluxe Reverb, and Tonemaster DR, and my Gretsch, spent some quality time A-B-C-ing them, and concluded they all sound nice, but not sufficiently better than anything I already have, so I passed on all 3. But of those 3, the Pro was closest to being a contenda’.
We're all looking for different sounds I suppose. My Pro is headed back to the store. Too stiff and sterile and punchy for me, regardless of the speaker I put it through. For someone else though, that would be heaven.
By all means, swap the Groove Tubes (Sovtek) 12ax7 with a Tung Sol. It's an inexpensive first step that can cut the "sterile" sound.
So I played one at GC yesterday. I did not plan to go there, or even expect them to have one on the floor. They had one in the warehouse and unboxed it, so I didn’t have my guitar or favorite Mystery Brain pedal. Used a nearby Epiphone Les Paul (yeah, I know, deal with it).
It’s a good amp, but heavier than I expected, especially given the Neo speaker. I could gig with it tonight just fine. With a regular speaker, I would put wheels on it.
It’s somewhat darker than I thought it would be, but that may be the 68 circuit. I’m sure the Les Paul had something to do with it. Probably would be different with my Jet or Barden equipped Telecaster. More headroom than a Deluxe reverb, of course, since it has 2x6L6 and 40w power section. I didn’t want to mess with opening up the pedal, so I didn’t try out the tremolo circuit. Size is a little bit larger than a Princeton.
final takeaway - I liked it, but it wasn’t magic. Failed the old man’s weight test (as do most Fender Reverb amps anymore). Had it been lighter (cross between a 65 DRRI and a Tonemaster DR), it would be a strong contender. If someone else would move them, I could play with a pair of these in stereo.
I had a '68 Custom Pro Reverb all weekend for evaluation. I took it back on Monday. Below are my impressions.
First off, it's a very good guitar amplifier. I found it light enough for moving around without weight issues. It is quite small physically, only a couple of inches larger than a Princeton Reverb. At 35 lbs, it is only one pound heavier than the aforementioned 68 Custom Princeton Reverb but at 40 watts of 6L6 power, it's a lot more amplifier.
I was pleased with the sound. The Celestion neo-Creamback sounded much better than I expected as my experience with neodymium speakers has not been stellar. As well, I can only assume the speaker will improve with some break-in time. The amp did not feel stiff or boxy to me. That said, I thought it sounded very good.
The amp was a classic Fender layout - single channel - much like the Princeton Reverb with the addition of a Bright switch and a Midrange control. Both worked perfectly as intended.
The control layout is: INPUT 1, INPUT 2 (-6db), BRIGHT SWITCH, VOLUME, TREBLE, MID, BASS, REVERB, TREMOLO SPEED, TREMOLO INTENSITY
The Mid control does need a bit of further explanation. This is a very powerful control - capable of scooping out the mids on a dark guitar or fattening the thinner sound of a single-coil guitar like a Strat.
The reverb was classic Fender spring reverb. That means really good, and the tremolo was solid Fender, with an excellent sound but minus the visceral throb my 1961 Vibrolux produces.
The amp sounded good through its entire volume range. With little break-up at modest volume levels, it turned into a snarly bear over 5 on the volume dial. I tried it with several different guitars, ranging from a wonderful green Anni, Strat, Tele, SG, LP, ES335, EBMM Albert Lee, Casino, and a couple more. It was easy to get a good tone with any of them.
I tried a number of pedals through the amp and it played well with all of them, particularly Tavo Vega's masterpiece, the Atomic Brain.
The 40 watts the little beast produces puts it in the serious stage amp category and its compact size and weight mean it can go anywhere, anytime. Sadly, I returned the Pro Reverb to my amazing Long and McQuade location, not because it wasn't a good amp but because it offered little my other dozen Fenders weren't capable of. However, if I was someone looking for a quality amp that sounded great, took pedals like a champ, fit on any size stage and was easy to carry, I would be all over this amp.
The 68 Custom Pro Reverb is a very good amp. I'd give it a 4.3 / 5
Those Tone Tubbys are amazing. I took the Mesa branded Celestion out of my F50 and put in a TT GMC. Like a new and better amp.
I’ve had my 68 CPR for a month now. In the music room it sounds very good next to my pile of vintage amps. I bought it because my 74 Princeton Reverb just didn’t have the gas I need for my current project and I wanted to get a modern amp without the aggravation and expense of getting another cranky old vintage amp up to gigability. The CPR seems like the perfect solution as it is basically a PR on steroids. The weight, power and size of the amp are exactly what I need. The Celestion Neo sounds fine and I look forward to hearing it after some break in time.
One issue I had was the abrupt jump in gain at around 5.5 on the volume knob. I prefer a generous amount of clean headroom so I installed a 12at7 in the V1 slot. This tamed the gain tremendously. Volume now increases smoothly and it doesn’t start to break until 9-10.
The true test will be how it sounds on stage but we have no more gigs until September. I grabbed a pickup slot with another band next week and will try it out then. I’ll be at the end of the GC return time but I think it’s going to be a keeper.
Good call on the 12AT7. I’ve used 12AY7s on my Fender amps, for years to increase the clean headroom and make things a bit more predictable.
I’ll be curious to hear how it goes on the gig.
Nearly the same as me except I like a a NOS jan 5751.
with you on the low gain tubes. makes stacking them more fun.
12Ax7s are fairly hot tubes. The Fender Blackface amps were high gain amps; a real hot rod compared with what came before. There’s nothing wrong with this, IMO; they are great amps, but lower gain tubes make for a bit more clean headroom and, hopefully, a bit more granularity on the volume control.