Fender Pro Reverb (Silverface)
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Fender Pro Reverb (Silverface)

Pro Reverb (Silverface), Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Fender.

content in English
sat4n 26/08/2008

Fender Pro Reverb (Silverface) : Recensione di sat4n (content in English)

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There are a couple of different amps that can be designated a "Silverface Pro Reverb," so let me be clear that I'm talking about a 1977 amp (judging by the codes on the transformers). This is a 70 watt model with solid state rectifier and master volume with pull-boost.

The front end of this thing looks identical to a Twin Reverb of the same era. The only difference between this and the Twin is that this has two 6L6 power tubes instead of four. This means that it is "only" 70 watts, though the amps is insanely loud.

Anyway, there are two channels, Normal and Vibrato. Both have Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass knobs. The eq is very nice and user friendly, covering the entire tonal spectrum (when all three knobs are at zero there's no sound). This gives you all the flexibility you need for guitar without a lot of extra knobs and faders or anything. Everything you need and nothing you don't.

The Vibrato channel also has knobs for Reverb, and the vibrato's Speed and Depth. Then there's the master volume, though for this amp to sound its best you need to keep that knob all the way up and use the preamp volume knobs to set loudness. The inclusion of the master volume and the pull-boost feature on this amp are both major design mistakes, but if you keep the knob pushed in and on 10 all the time you'll basically have bypassed these flaws and drawn out the famous Fender clean tone.

There's also the usual two-button footswitch for reberb and vibrato on/off.

Note, again, despite the existence of a master volume knob this is not a high-gain amp. If you're looking for distortion get a pedal or look elsewhere.

UTILIZATION

There are two things not to like about this amp. One is that it's really heavy, but mine has casters, so it's pretty easy to work with. The other is that it's way too loud for most aplications. Even with the preamp volume knob all the way up, there isn't much distortion; it's all clean headroom. You might think turning the master volume down is the way to go here, but the sound quality really suffers when you do this. With the master down below 8 the sound gets thin and dull, losing all the sparkle and heft that makes the Fender clean sound so magical. Normally I keep the master at 10 and the preamp volume at like 2 and a half. And, yes, it is still too loud for band practice.

SOUNDS

The reverb, it need hardly be said, is incredible. I also love the vibrato on this thing, and I actually think I prefer this vibrato to the one on older blackface Fenders. This one is just smoother and gives a fuller sweep (from full volume to absolute quiet) without sounding cold or mechanical. It's more musical than non-tube vibrato but less noisy and less quirky than 1960s tube vibrato.

This amp is clean all the way, as I've already said. It's too loud to use for guitar except in playing a mid-sized club, which I don't usually get to do (though the one time I used the amp in this situation it really sounded great!). In practice situations I've run a Fender Rhodes through it with great results.

I don't mean to say the amp isn't good on guitar, though. Sometimes you want an incredibly clean, yet still warm, sound. Like playing jazz or playing a big place. And, like I said, the reverb and vibrato are superior.

OVERALL OPINION

The late-seventies Fenders have a bad reputation, which I think is undeserved. This is a great amp. If you want a very loud, clean sound this is the amp. And when I say "clean" I don't mean that it sounds lifeless or solid-state like. It's a big warm sound that is exactly what you expect from a classic Fender. True, you don't get a lot of power tube saturation here, but with the master volume dimed you do get a sense of the heft of the output transformer. If you only play in basements (which is currently the case for me) you probably want something smaller, but if you play to more than fifty people regularly, or you play jazz, this is a great amp. And if you have needs other than guitar (like electric piano, especially) this amp is awesome! Again, I can't say enough about how great the reverb and vibrato both sound.