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Fender Deluxe possible re-tubing Sparkle, Bass, HEADROOM

#1 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:54 PM

So...

My friend Caleb is recording an album and in the midst of it his amp died and was not worth fixing. So begins a voyage through various guitar shops, his combing through various forums for answers (without posting because he is THAT shy) in his quest for:

The Amplifier that will be with him through adulthood and which will be used for recording mostly!

He has a Fender Deluxe at the moment that sounds awesome (just enough sparkle with plenty of bass) and breaks up perfect at volume 3, so if he wasn't making a record it would be decided that he'd keep it, BUT when recording with the Deluxe, the microphone is up to the speaker and it picks up more breakup than is needed and at 2 there is not enough saturation. Need a bit more clean ...

The Fender Twin is...too much headroom unless you push it to ear-splitting levels (especially because he loves humbuckers).

He is thinking about re-tubing the Reverb as a solution to gain headroom, but is afraid the character of the amp (its Fenderness) will change. Sort of like a nose job changes a girl possibly for the worse!!!!

Is there an amp that is not vintage (still made) that he could try that has enough bass and not too much sparkle AND headroom? (VOX has too much sparkle and orange is lackluster for his taste)

Suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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#2 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:59 PM

He should try a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe or Deville. There are several models, 1 x 12 speaker, 4 x 10 speakers etc. They have the classic Fender tone, plenty of headroom for clean full sound, and then a drive channel for the distorted, overdriven tube sound. And if he can find a used one in good shape should not be too expensive. [thumbup]

Or if the Deluxe is the perfect sound - isolate the amp when recording (to avoid bleed in of other instruments) and move the microphone a little further away.
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#3 User is offline   Dub-T-123 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:36 PM

Fender has made several amps called "Deluxe", which version are you talking about?

If an amp has a 12AX7 for V1 (the first tube in the preamp circuit), you can usually get more headroom by swapping with a 12AU7, 12AT7, or 12AY7. The amp would not need to be modified at all to swap one of those in place of a 12AX7. These tubes also tend to be much cheaper than 12AX7, so you can get a nice NOS tube for about the same price as a new one if that floats your boat

As to which amp has the "sparkle", bass, and breakup that you're looking for, I can't imagine that we will know exactly what you want. Everyone will just recommend their favorite amp to you. If the Vox is too bright why not use the normal channel or turn the treble or tone knob down? Why is Orange lackluster? Just curious because I'd rather understand your question than list off my favorite amps
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#4 User is offline   Johnny 6 String 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:38 PM

He has a Fender Deluxe at the moment that sounds awesome (just enough sparkle with plenty of bass) and breaks up perfect at volume 3, so if he wasn't making a record it would be decided that he'd keep it, BUT when recording with the Deluxe, the microphone is up to the speaker and it picks up more breakup than is needed



OK, let's back up a sec.....the amp is perfect except the MIC is creating gain.

You don't state his recording set up, type of mic etc.
As Twang mentioned if possible first thing to try is backing off the mic a little so that its maybe not getting so over loaded.

Are other recordings exhibiting the same thing (higher gain than intended), could it be the line level is too high for the recording device?

Just seems to me that if the amp sounds good but the recordings don't then chasing the amp won't fix the issue.

Just my 2 cents

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#5 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 06:44 PM

Some people say that swapping in a solid state rectifier instead of the rectifier tube (GZ34 generally) can tighten them up - less sag and more clean punch. Haven't tried it but Weber sells them.

A retube can make a big difference if the tubes are old.

He can also swap in a lower gain tube in many of the 12AX7/7025 locations. Assuming he is using the Tremolo/Reverb channel, the second preamp tube (V2) can take a 5751 or 12AT7. Also the phase inverter (right next to the power tubes) can be subbed for these lower gain tubes. These will lower the front end gain a bit.
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#6 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:22 PM

Thanks for your input thus far.

To clarify a bit:

Fender Deluxe Reverb is the model and it is a new one from the store (stock fresh tubes).

The microphone he is using is a condenser, to my knowledge, run through a Focusrite Clarett interface.

@ Johnny 6 : Other recordings were fine, so I don't think it has to do with the line being hot and I did suggest a mic placement adjustment (a bit farther out) last night, but he seems stuck on it being the amp that's the issue. Also, I never see amps being mic-ed too far from the speaker. :-k

@ Dub-T : Right on! It is hard to give suggestions on an objective level. I love VOX, so when he said no to the AC15 I gasped. As for Orange being lackluster, he thinks they sound... "metal" I think it is how he put it and pedal-dependent. He said it, not me :-#

His musical style is mostly clean finger-picking with a slight breakup at the chords when pushed usually at choruses. So the desire for breakup is there, just on command, which is easy to do in terms of a room, but the mic is catching breakup we can't hear in the room (at close range).

So yeah, maybe the mic placement solution is best. Though the idea of switching specific tubes is something I will certainly pass along. [thumbup]

Thanks so much for the suggestions and insight. [biggrin]
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#7 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:30 PM

View PostIzzy, on 17 March 2017 - 07:22 PM, said:

Thanks for your input thus far.

To clarify a bit:

Fender Deluxe Reverb is the model and it is a new one from the store (stock fresh tubes).


The new models always sound splatty to me. It's all printed circuit boards now. For the same money you can buy an old one that sounds a lot warmer. Just my 2 cents.
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#8 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:19 AM

Update:

So...Caleb has been trying to register to the Gibson Forums so he can become part of our group but can't seem to get past the secret question bit.

He emailed me this update hoping to get some clarity. Thanks in advance for looking!

Caleb's email:

sorry i only send you this cus i cant register on gibson form but if you want to fill people in this is my conversation with tech friend

me: the fender deluxe reverb is doing well and is the tone i want. But i would like to get about 10% more head room. It breaks up the slightest bit at volume 3 with my ibanez artstar. Main reason for getting the amp is to record an album and when i record the breakup is more noticeable because my mic/recording set up is so clear. I was going to retube but am worried it wont improve heardroom enough. I could get the twin reverb but then i would have the opposite problem not being able to get a quality clean tone at decent volume(need to hear drums and metronome in my headphones) while recording.

Would you recommend getting the higher grade tubes in this amp? seems some people online have good results and others say the amp losses that sparkle the amp has with the originally tube set up. I can always return and get the twin but my ears will suffer haha
thanks Caleb
Him
Caleb You know what your power tubes are, I'm hoping. Looking at the back of the amp and to the left there should be three larger tubes. The one to the farthest left is the rectifier, the next two are the power tubes ok right next to those is the phase inverter tube. It looks like all the rest of the smaller tubes. That should be a 12 AT7 for the best headroom. If it is a 12AX7 (all members of the same family) that will make things break up earlier. Check that out. That would be a super simple fix. Best AT7s are on that web site I told you about Hoffman amps. el34 world Get back to me


My guess is he wants a consensus on your experience with doing this sort of swap and if you think it will actually increase headroom by enough to justify a mod...because once you mod, you can't return an amp.
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#9 User is offline   Kenny V 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:02 PM

You could always look at a Supro Royal Reverb. Lots of options with this amp. 35 watt class A, 45 watt class AB with tube rectifier. It also has a 60 watt class AB silicon rectifier. I own this amp as well as a Fender Twin and Deluxe Reverb. IMO all three are great amps. The Supro is just more versatile
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#10 User is offline   Dub-T-123 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:15 PM

 Izzy, on 20 March 2017 - 10:19 AM, said:

Update:

So...Caleb has been trying to register to the Gibson Forums so he can become part of our group but can't seem to get past the secret question bit.

He emailed me this update hoping to get some clarity. Thanks in advance for looking!

Caleb's email:

sorry i only send you this cus i cant register on gibson form but if you want to fill people in this is my conversation with tech friend

me: the fender deluxe reverb is doing well and is the tone i want. But i would like to get about 10% more head room. It breaks up the slightest bit at volume 3 with my ibanez artstar. Main reason for getting the amp is to record an album and when i record the breakup is more noticeable because my mic/recording set up is so clear. I was going to retube but am worried it wont improve heardroom enough. I could get the twin reverb but then i would have the opposite problem not being able to get a quality clean tone at decent volume(need to hear drums and metronome in my headphones) while recording.

Would you recommend getting the higher grade tubes in this amp? seems some people online have good results and others say the amp losses that sparkle the amp has with the originally tube set up. I can always return and get the twin but my ears will suffer haha
thanks Caleb
Him
Caleb You know what your power tubes are, I'm hoping. Looking at the back of the amp and to the left there should be three larger tubes. The one to the farthest left is the rectifier, the next two are the power tubes ok right next to those is the phase inverter tube. It looks like all the rest of the smaller tubes. That should be a 12 AT7 for the best headroom. If it is a 12AX7 (all members of the same family) that will make things break up earlier. Check that out. That would be a super simple fix. Best AT7s are on that web site I told you about Hoffman amps. el34 world Get back to me


My guess is he wants a consensus on your experience with doing this sort of swap and if you think it will actually increase headroom by enough to justify a mod...because once you mod, you can't return an amp.

That's what surfpup and I suggested

Also maybe this is too obvious but your friend could turn the volume on his guitar down slightly
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#11 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:42 PM

View PostIzzy, on 17 March 2017 - 04:54 PM, said:

So...

My friend Caleb is recording an album and in the midst of it his amp died and was not worth fixing. So begins a voyage through various guitar shops, his combing through various forums for answers (without posting because he is THAT shy) in his quest for:

The Amplifier that will be with him through adulthood and which will be used for recording mostly!

He has a Fender Deluxe at the moment that sounds awesome (just enough sparkle with plenty of bass) and breaks up perfect at volume 3, so if he wasn't making a record it would be decided that he'd keep it, BUT when recording with the Deluxe, the microphone is up to the speaker and it picks up more breakup than is needed and at 2 there is not enough saturation. Need a bit more clean ...

The Fender Twin is...too much headroom unless you push it to ear-splitting levels (especially because he loves humbuckers).

He is thinking about re-tubing the Reverb as a solution to gain headroom, but is afraid the character of the amp (its Fenderness) will change. Sort of like a nose job changes a girl possibly for the worse!!!!

Is there an amp that is not vintage (still made) that he could try that has enough bass and not too much sparkle AND headroom? (VOX has too much sparkle and orange is lackluster for his taste)

Suggestions? Thanks in advance.



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#12 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

View PostDub-T-123, on 20 March 2017 - 01:15 PM, said:

That's what surfpup and I suggested

Also maybe this is too obvious but your friend could turn the volume on his guitar down slightly


Lol, yeah. I think its a tone thing in terms of lowering the volume on the guitar.

He did go to the amp guy with you and surfpup's suggestion, which is why this conversation happened.

Does anyone have first person experience with this endeavor, though?

Supro....I am going to drag his skinny *** to the store and have him try one. Not 'cause I am interested or anything. I mean, I am not interested at all in the Supro after seeing that video of that Supro guitar that was posted here a couple days ago. Not for that reason.
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#13 User is offline   Dub-T-123 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

 Izzy, on 20 March 2017 - 01:51 PM, said:

Lol, yeah. I think its a tone thing in terms of lowering the volume on the guitar.

He did go to the amp guy with you and surfpup's suggestion, which is why this conversation happened.

Does anyone have first person experience with this endeavor, though?

Supro....I am going to drag his skinny *** to the store and have him try one. Not 'cause I am interested or anything. I mean, I am not interested at all in the Supro after seeing that video of that Supro guitar that was posted here a couple days ago. Not for that reason.

FWIW, and this is generalized, Fender is typically the best option for clean headroom and Supro really isn't particularly known for clean sounds. Not to say that a Supro can't do clean, but people generally aren't buying them looking for a clean amp.

Regardring the question about personal experience, I'm sure lots of us (myself included) have swapped around 12AX7 with 12AT7, 12AU7, etc

There's really nothing to it. Buy a couple tubes and try them out. It will give the amp more clean headroom, but I can't tell you if your friend will like it or not. IMO it seems like he's trippin out a little bit
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#14 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:28 PM

The tube swap is easy enough, inexpensive, and if he doesn't like it he can always swap back and is only out the cost of tube or two.

I still think if the Deluxe has the exact sound he is looking for there has to be a way to record it. Not sure if he is doing home recording or in a studio, but either way should be able to accurately record the sound coming out of the speaker.
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#15 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:45 PM

View PostDub-T-123, on 20 March 2017 - 02:02 PM, said:

Regardring the question about personal experience, I'm sure lots of us (myself included) have swapped around 12AX7 with 12AT7, 12AU7, etc

There's really nothing to it. Buy a couple tubes and try them out. It will give the amp more clean headroom, but I can't tell you if your friend will like it or not. IMO it seems like he's trippin out a little bit


Ditto. In fact I swapped out a 12AX7 for a 5751 in the V2 of my 75 Deluxe Reverb last night. I've been trying out a Tungsol 12AX7 in that spot and decided I liked the 5751 better.

Bottom line, preamp tubes are cheap. Buy a 5751 and a 12AT7 and try them out in V1, V2 and the phase inverter spot. Got nothing to lose but time.

Another thought... what speaker is in his Deluxe? A more efficient speaker can add a lot of volume. Some guitar speakers are very inefficient (lower than 90db) SPL while others measure in the into the low 100s SPL. In other words he can get a lot of added volume by putting the highest efficiency speaker available in there. An increase of 10db or 20 db at the speaker level could allow him to lower the amp's volume and therefore ahve a much cleaner sound at the same perceived volume. Make sense?

Here's an article if that helps
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#16 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:19 PM

Much very good advice in the posts above.

Try the small tube swap as Dub says 1st - inexpensive and may do the job.
Amp will not lose any sparkle.
If that doesn't work a new, more powerful speaker as Surf suggests is the next option and will work.
It is extraordinary how changing the speakers can affect an amp.
Weber speakers IMO are very good for the money.
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#17 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 04:25 PM

View Postjdgm, on 20 March 2017 - 03:19 PM, said:

It is extraordinary how changing the speakers can affect an amp.


[thumbup] Probably more than anything else. In fact I was just in my office trying a buncha different cabs with my own DR just out of curiousity. Amazingly different. Through a Marshall 4-10 the DR is a rock machine but it doesn't have that classic sparkle. You'd swear it was a different amp! Through a Weber alnico speaker it has less volume and treble but more smoothness than a Weber ceramic speaker. And a Celestion G12H30 added a lot of bottom end. The best combo was probably both the alnico and ceramic Weber at the same time. That would be a killer set up for something with two speakers like the Vibrolux. Since my DR only has one, I'm sticking with the ceramic magnet Weber 12".
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#18 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:04 AM

My suggestions -

1. Turn down. That may not work.

2. Try tube swapping. Maybe there's a bad tube or a wrong tube in there. Like somebody else said, make sure there's a 12at7 tube in V6, the phase inverter. This is the most important thing. Then do like Surfpup said and try a 5751 in V2 (assuming he's using the Vibrato channel - which uses the V2 tube.) The last option is to try different power tubes. The stock tubes aren't all that bad but there might very well be a problem with one of the power tubes. Or any of the tubes for that matter.

3. Have a tech just "recap" the amp. New Fender amps have cheap electrolytic capacitors and they can't possibly achieve the tight low end that they need to really kick butt without getting splatty, like Surfpup said. That's like maybe $100. to $150.00. A new Fender will never sound as clean and powerful as it can until you recap it.

4. There could just be "something wrong with the amp."

Does he have a clip of the offending distortion? That might help.
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