Fender Pro Tube Custom Vibrolux Reverb
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Fender Pro Tube Custom Vibrolux Reverb

Pro Tube Custom Vibrolux Reverb , Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Fender.

content in English
Eroachguitar 28/09/2012

Fender Pro Tube Custom Vibrolux Reverb : Recensione di Eroachguitar (content in English)

"Best Purchased Used"
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The Fender Custom Vibrolux Reverb, or CVR, is a 2x10, 40 Watt all-tube combo amplifier in the tradition of Fender's most famous blackface amps. It has two channels, Normal and Bright, both with a high and low input. It features two 5881 power tubes, a tube vibrato circuit, and tube-driven reverb. The blackface costmetics, adorned by classic Fender round creme knobs and framed by a black tolex cabinet make the CVR a handsome sight to behold. It comes loaded with two Jensen P10R speakers.



UTILIZATION

The first thing I noticed about the CVR when plugging in was that it is rather noisy. A background hiss could be heard at nearly all volumes, developing into an almost low feedback whistle at higher volumes.

Despite this, the Vibrolux sounds beautiful and responsive, with less headroom than one typically hears from a Fender amp. I noticed power tube breakup around 10 O'Clock on the volume control.

With a minimum amount of online research, I discovered the headroom and noise issues were common with the CVR, and it was due to a variety of contributing factors in the circuit.

First, there is no negative feedback in the CVR. For those unfamiliar, negative feedback in this case is when a small voltage is taken from the speaker side of the output transformer and fed back into the power section. This has a frequency damping effect (which contributes to a more compressed, smoother and less ratty tone), and helps stabilize an amplifier that is otherwise teetering on oscillation (which means the amp begins to generate its own signal, most commonly heard as a steady squeal or "motorboating" type sound).

That explained the faint whistling noise I was getting when I cranked the amp.
Another design point that introduces noise and a large portion of the hiss into the amp was the reverb shared by both channels. In traditional Fender designs, the Reverb, if any, exists only on the Bright or Vibrato channel, never on the Normal Channel. While attractive in concept to have reverb on both channels, I felt that this arrangement created a lot of noise and crosstalk.



SOUNDS

I used my Les Paul, as well as my Charvel So-Cal through this amp on tour, and was able to get a great sound out of it no matter the venue. My personal preference is for 4 10's instead of two, so I ended up selling the CVR in favor of another amplifier.

The EQ controls on both channels are very responsive and moderate, with both channels having only Bass and Treble control - no Mid. The Bias Tremolo (here known as Vibrato) produced a beautiful, powerful modulating sound, adjusted with Depth and Intensity controls. Leave it on, and look into the back of the amp and watch the blue glow fluctuate on your power tubes as the circuit modulates the power tubes' bias. Rest assured this is safe, and I should also note that the CVR is non-adjustable, fixed-bias, so biasing is not much of a concern.

The reverb is weak, due to a change in some reverb circuit values from what they were in earlier Fender 'verb circuits. This, as well as the hiss and headroom issues, are easily fixable via mods readily found on the internet, and for those with the expertise and the guts, this amp can become an excellent workhorse worthy of the Fender name and fanfare. Once I made the modifications to the reverb circuit, the reverb response was rich and intense.

OVERALL OPINION

The Custom Vibrolux Reverb is expensive given that it's a small amplifier, and it's not hand-wired, so it's best to purchase one on the used market where the price more aptly reflects what you're getting. It's also worthy to look into the modifications available for the amp.

Nevertheless, it's a piece of gear with great potential, and for as small as it is, packs one hell of a wollop through it's two 10-inch speakers.