The Problem with Some Modern Re-Issues

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Waxhead, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    We've discussed before on G-T how many of the modern re-issue amps don't do justice to their vintage models. Not because the makers can't get approporiate parts but because they choose not to use them in an effort to make a cheaper version. Hand-wiring v PC board wiring is just a smalll part of the story.

    At the same time the makers think the name of the classic old amp will be enough to sell the re-issue and people won't notice it's a pale immitation of the vintage. Fender and Marshall do it often and Vox do it with their AC re-issues.

    Not all amp companies do this of course.
    Mesa Boogie have a history of doing the opposite.
    Every re-issue they've made is better than the original imo and they're all hand wired of course.

    So here's a good video on this issue with the Princeton.
    The difference between the 2 is so big you can even hear it on Youtube - and that takes some doing :rolleyes:

    The good news is if you spend a bit more $$ on changing speakers, tubes etc you can improve re-issues close to the quality of the vintage models :D

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020
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  2. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    I made the same experience with Marshall JTM45 reissues.
    Expensive crap. There are some other makers that are able to hit the nail on it`s head, though.
     
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  3. rake_ether

    rake_ether Gretschie

    180
    Aug 24, 2019
    Athens, GA USA
    Oh, thanks. A Princeton is on my list and I'm conflicted as to whether I should buy a re-issue, vintage, or boutique clone.
     
  4. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Another option is to buy the cheaper Princeton re-issue and spend another $300 installing the correct alnico speaker for it as suggested in the video :D
     
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  5. rake_ether

    rake_ether Gretschie

    180
    Aug 24, 2019
    Athens, GA USA
    That's an attractive solution particularly since one of the reasons Rhett and the guy from Righteous are excited about the hand wired one is that it just looks so cool, and of course no one sees that unless you take apart the amp.
     
  6. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    I wonder if either of those amps had the speakers broken in.
     
  7. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    Waxhead, I once had a Fender Ramparte, Pawn Shop series amp, which had a single tone control. I bought it because it was a 9w tube amp, so I could use it as a bedroom amp (a loud bedroom amp). Using it for a variety of music, I realized that I needed a bit more control over the tone, so I go a Fender GE-7 EQ pedal, and it really woke up that amp in all the good ways. Somewhere down the road, both the Ramparte and the GE-7 packed up and moved on.

    Flash forward to now, and I started thinking about getting a bit more midrange out out my Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, and maybe taming the treble just a touch, so I just picked up another GE-7. I'll let you know if it does what I hope it will do for that amp. If so, I got the job done cheaply.
     
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  8. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    So funny - I almost went up there today. Ben is a wonderful dude and a friend.
     
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  9. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    That's a great point. An EQ is a powerful tool. And cheaper than a $300 alnico speaker.
     
  10. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    True - I think the best option for one of these dodgy re-issues is both :D
     
  11. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    I'd like to hear them both with the speakers broken in, blind tested. As it was there was more than a little confirmation bias going on...Alnico+HW > Ceramic+PCB. So many variables ignored. Consider -
    1) the sensitivity of the circuit to resistor and capacitor specs. These components are manufactured to a +/- tolerance and drift up or down thereafter.
    2) manufacturing tolerances in the speakers
    3) manufacturing tolerances in the tubes
    4) variance in the bias as set on the assembly line

    odds are you could put five of the handwireds in this 'test' and none of them would sound the same.
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    True, but you can't hear any of these changes on Youtube.

    But I could hear a difference between the re-issue and the hand-wired amps in this case.
    Princeton re-issue was definitely brighter, ice-picky, less warm and disappointing for an exy tube amp imo.
    So difference in the room must have been massive.

    Re: broken in speakers - yes would have been better to use them but probly reasonable to assume both speakers will sound better when broken in and so the differential in tone quality will still mostly be there
     
  13. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Electromatic

    91
    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt
    was the PRRI biased or just out of the box and into the showroom?
     
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  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    no info in video but safe to assume both were showroom ready amps for sale
     
  15. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    It's safe to assume nothing :) Lots of stuff comes out of the store that needs a tweak shortly thereafter.
     
  16. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Gretschie

    383
    May 1, 2018
    Philadelphia
    I feel like these comparisons are only really noticeable if you’re in a room alone with the two amps side by side. In a live situation where it’s loud and a full band is there I almost guarantee nobody could tell the difference. That’s not a bad thing; I’d love to try a vintage Princeton myself, but I’m perfectly happy with my 68 custom, granted that’s not supposed to be a traditional Princeton but serves my wants perfectly!
     
  17. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    56
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    That's unfortunate, Frankie.

    This amp---in my humble estimation---has had a ridiculous number of incarnations over the decades. They seemed to have finally gotten the correct output tubes (KT66), cabinet size and speakers (Marshall/Celestion T652 alnico), with the latest hand-wired ($4,000 USD) model:

     
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  18. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    798
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    The video makes the point that the tubes are the same in both the '64 Custom and the PRRI.
    The reviewers also come to the conclusion that the speaker is the main tone changing ingredient in the 64 Custom.

    The original "vintage" model had a ceramic speaker not an alnico speaker. However if you like the sound of the 64 Custom, a P10R will set you back US$ 125 or less. By the time
    you sell the C 10 in the PRRI the change over will be a miniscule $60 - $70.

    All the hype about hand wired really amounts to dollars in FMIC pockets with little real return to the consumer.
     
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  19. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    That`s the price I sold my vintage JTM45 for (from 1965/1966) early this year!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
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  20. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    658
    Feb 16, 2013
    California
    For example: consider guitars.....
    Are any of them truly “ready to play” out the door?

    I hadn’t really considered it until now, but tube amps probably aren’t any more gig-ready than guitars are nowadays.
     
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