Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb by djm525
The Fender Deluxe Reverb '65 reissue, first of all is what is stated in the title: a reissue of an amp that Fender produced starting in 1965. There were two different styles of the Deluxe Reverb that were produced, very similar internals, but the outside was different. The first was the "blackface" style, meaning the plate behind the knobs is black, and the model is written in a very stylish cursive. The other style of the Deluxe Reverb is the "silver face" meaning the plate is silver and the model is written in a rather blocky looking blue color. The reissued '65 Deluxe Reverb is the "blackface" model, which in my personal opinion looks a lot better. This tube amp is packed with tubes, having 4 12AX7s and 2 12AT7s in the pre-amp, 2 6V6s in the power amp, and a 5AR4 in the rectifier.
Lets start with the features of this amp. First of all, it has two channels, each of which have two inputs. Now, these inputs offer different impedance, and are not meant to be plugged into simultaneously, however, it is possible to do so if looking into this amplifier as a teacher or a student. The two channels are labeled as "Normal" and "Vibrato", and there is no option for any kind of built in distortion or overdrive. Here's where MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT lies with this amp. The normal channel has a volume control, a treble control, and a bass control. No mids, but thats not extremely important. The vibrato channel has all that the volume, treble, and bass, like the normal channel does, but also has a reverb control, an intensity control (for the vibrato/tremolo), and a speed control (For the vibrato/tremolo). Now, the vibrato channel seems like the channel you want to always use, right? To have access to that sweet, tube-driven spring reverb? Well, if you're hoping to use an overdrive or distortion pedal with the vibrato channel, you're (for the most part) out of luck. The vibrato channel has a brightness cap (essentially a boost in the high end) installed that cannot be switched off. So you make the choice of getting spring reverb with a brightness cap from the vibrato channel, or no spring reverb and no brightness cap from the normal channel. Once again, its my personal opinion that overdrive sounds terrible running through the vibrato channel. You may like it, and like all gear you should definitely try before you buy!
The tone of the amp is what sold me on it. The speaker is a 12 in. Jensen, which gives you a very nice, clean, and bassy tone. Playing a lot of jazz music, as well as getting the majority of rock tones from pedals, I welcome a very good sounding base amplifier that simply sounds good. The spring reverb is a very fender-esque reverb that can get gentle reverb to full on tube driven spring loaded crazy! However, the reverb unit in the amp can introduce a fair amount of noise into an otherwise quiet amp. After playing this amplifier in a church band a few nights, people began wondering what the "feedback" was. Turning the reverb off fixed the issue, but once again, its unfortunate that such a great sounding reverb can cause issues. The vibrato channel is something nice to have, but not something I use every day. It is very surf sounding, and it can get you some pretty sweet tremolo, however, don't expect full choppy on/off/on/off tremolo that you hear in some common rock songs today. The vibrato also introduces a fair amount of noise into the amplifier. It sounds a lot like a fan, even when the vibrato is turned all the way off. You have to literally engage the foot switch to turn off the extra noise. Other than that, however, the amp is a very good, very clean sounding amp that has a lot of headroom. I haven't gotten this thing to distort yet from volume, but I've heard it starts around 7-8. A big step from my older tube amp, the Marshall Class 5, that started to distort at 3. The amp does get loud, but not too loud. At 22 watts, it certainly is capable to play a decent show, but don't let the volume discourage you, as most places want to mic up the amp regardless.
The amp is super reliable! I've had mine bump around in the back of my car, fall over, be left on overnight, and I've even had a drunken flight attendant spill wine on the top and trip over it later in the night! (long story), but it still works fine! I haven't even needed to replace the tubes yet! This amp comes with a few extras, including a 2 button foot switch (Reverb and Vibrato), a dust cover (at least mine did), a sticker and a manual. This thing retails for $999.99, but I bought mine for around $850, so there is definitely wiggle room. Remember that this is the 2nd to lowest model of the '65 reissue line that they have. Below this there is the Princeton Reverb, then the Deluxe Reverb, then the Twin Reverb, and finally the Super Reverb. If you're looking for more speaker cones, then the twin and super might be worth taking a look at, but if you want an amp thats lighter than 42 lbs, the Princeton may be your best bet. If the brightness cap really is an issue, the twin and the super have switchable channels, and I believe the Princeton does not have a cap installed at all. If you don't want a clean amp, and are looking for something really bluesy and overdrive-ready, look at some of the hot-rod series, such as the hot-rod deluxe, Deville, or blues jr. However, if you're just looking for a solid, all around amp that is super reliable and simply gets the job done well, then check out the Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb!