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Unhappy with new DRRI - what to do?
Old 13th March 2013
  #1
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 

Unhappy with new DRRI - what to do?

Just bought a new DRRI. I am unhappy. Ice picky, harsh, brittle. I'm looking for fender clean chime that is more buttery and rounded.

I had a Hot Rod Deluxe modded by Omega Amps which sounded freaking great. Thought I was upgrading but now I see not.

What 12" combo will give me what I want? AC15? Other?

I play blues, rock, Americana etc. I use the standard culprits - LP, strat, tele, gretsch.
Old 13th March 2013
  #2
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Ben Fargen does a nice mod to the DRRI....tightens the bass, eases the highs and increases sustain.

Still, make sure you break the amp in fully before making a final decision....plug in an iPod and let it play at moderate volume overnight, and see if the tone warms up any.
Old 13th March 2013
  #3
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You're comparing a modded amp to a stock one. Try swapping out some tubes or the speaker. There's lots of simple mods for DRRIs.
Old 13th March 2013
  #4
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Look into a speaker swap. Those OEM speakers are crap. Also, if you're using the reverb channel, you may want to look into clipping the bright cap. But personally, I like the first channel better on those DR's.

Also, are you judging this amp within a full band context, or just as a bedroom player? Reason being, in a full band, that brightness really cuts through and doesn't seem so bright. It just seems well defined. By itself, however, it does seem overly bright and thin, especially at low volume levels. It's the lack of definition and clarity that is the reason why I hate those Hot Rod amps. They sound pretty good on their own, but just don't cut it with a full band, in my opinion of course. Everyone has their own unique tastes, and this amp may not be yours.

And as for asking people on the internet what kind of amp you want... well I assume that that logic is what got you into this mess in the first place. So just try a bunch out and see for yourself what you like best. Because despite popular belief, there really is no best amp out there. Even if you put a bunch of qualifiers on there like what kind of music, what kind of effects, and what kind of guitars you use, there's still no best amp out there. The only scenario where asking people over the internet to help you find an amp would actually make sense is if you wanted to sound exactly like someone else.
Old 13th March 2013
  #5
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Agree. A DRRI is definitely a trade up from a HRD - you're getting a better built amp to start with, real Fender Reverb, and with a different speaker, it sounds great.
Old 13th March 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
Look into a speaker swap. Those OEM speakers are crap. Also, if you're using the reverb channel, you may want to look into clipping the bright cap. But personally, I like the first channel better on those DR's.

Also, are you judging this amp within a full band context, or just as a bedroom player? Reason being, in a full band, that brightness really cuts through and doesn't seem so bright. It just seems well defined. By itself, however, it does seem overly bright and thin, especially at low volume levels. It's the lack of definition and clarity that is the reason why I hate those Hot Rod amps. They sound pretty good on their own, but just don't cut it with a full band, in my opinion of course. Everyone has their own unique tastes, and this amp may not be yours.

And as for asking people on the internet what kind of amp you want... well I assume that that logic is what got you into this mess in the first place. So just try a bunch out and see for yourself what you like best. Because despite popular belief, there really is no best amp out there. Even if you put a bunch of qualifiers on there like what kind of music, what kind of effects, and what kind of guitars you use, there's still no best amp out there. The only scenario where asking people over the internet to help you find an amp would actually make sense is if you wanted to sound exactly like someone else.

That's fair enough advice. I have a Weber 12F150 in there now and it still sounds brittle. I will look into the mods as the modded HRDx was excellent. I would hope a modded DRRI would be even better.
Old 13th March 2013
  #7
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How long have you had the Weber in there, as it may not yet be broken in.

I'd suggest breaking in the speaker and changing out tubes and getting it biased correctly before you throw a bunch of mods at it. If you want Fender clean, this is it.

One change I found helps all Fender amps is a Mullard CV4024 in the Phase inverter slot - it's worth the $30.

Plenty of tube and speaker suggestions for the DRRI on the Fender forums, not so much on the mods.
Old 13th March 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
That's fair enough advice. I have a Weber 12F150 in there now and it still sounds brittle. I will look into the mods as the modded HRDx was excellent. I would hope a modded DRRI would be even better.
While that's not the original speaker, it is known as a pretty bright speaker. I've been told by some that it's the closest equivalent to the old Jensen C12N out there, and the old Jensen C12N is what I have in my SFDR, which I love by the way. But it is, as you noted, quite bright.

I'm aware of several different mods for that amp, and have invented a few of my own, but as for taming the brightness, I've only heard of the bright cap mod, which is one you can do yourself with a screwdriver and wire cutter. A speaker swap is the only other mod I can think of to tame the brightness. Basically, I'd suggest just playing channel one, and see if that is also too bright. If it is, the bright cap mod may not be worth your time. If you've got another speaker around, you could try replacing it temporarily, just to hear what the effects of the speaker have on the amp, but it sounds to me like you may just not want what that amp was made for. So I guess what I'm saying is I'd be careful about having the amp modded. You could wind up spending a bunch of money only to find out that all those mods didn't really make the amp sound any better to you, and instead discover you just paid a bunch of money to have someone decrease the resale value of the amp. No point in throwing good money after bad.

Lots of people love that amp, myself included, but it's definitely not for everyone. If it's just a hair off what you wanted, then maybe modding it would be a good choice, but if it's got a ways to go, you'll probably be better off selling it and putting that money towards and amp that you love right off the bat. I also wouldn't invest money on different tubes just yet. I've found different tubes can certainly change the sound of the amp, but they're not going to change the overall character. A tube swap would be more of a good idea, in my opinion, if the tone it had was "almost there".
Old 13th March 2013
  #9
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Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I will continue to mess with the amp before I go nuts with it.
Old 13th March 2013
  #10
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My DRRI isn't harsh, brittle, or ice-picky. The speaker is well broken-in, and I did mod it to add the reverb and tremolo to the normal channel, which eliminates the pesky bright cap issue without actually removing it. I should mention that it's the Limited Edition model, so it has the Jensen P-12Q speaker in it.
Old 14th March 2013
  #11
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I need to look into that mod. The normal channel sounds good. I'm not great soldering though. :(
Old 15th March 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
I need to look into that mod. The normal channel sounds good. I'm not great soldering though. :(

Do a search on "The Fritz Mod". I think I found it on ***** (Telecaster Discussion Page Reissue). It's actually quite simple to do, you just clip the leg off of one resistor and add a single 4" jumper wire. What it essentially does is route the output of the normal channel to the reverb/tremolo circuit.

If you're having good luck with the normal channel and aren't keen on soldering, you could easily just clip the bright cap on the vibrato channel, which will help out considerably-especially if you're using overdrive or distortion pedals. That's where most people run into problems (dirt pedals into the vibrato channel).

The bright cap allows high frequencies to bleed through when the volume control is on about four or lower, and becomes less effective above that point (which, unfortunately, is also where things start getting pretty loud). There is no bright cap on the normal channel.

Edit-just noticed that the initials for the website I mentioned were censored out. Hopefully I didn't cross any lines, as I'm not talking about another site here, just pointing out where I found the information that you are looking for.
Old 15th March 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodebro View Post
Do a search on "The Fritz Mod". I think I found it on ***** (Telecaster Discussion Page Reissue). It's actually quite simple to do, you just clip the leg off of one resistor and add a single 4" jumper wire. What it essentially does is route the output of the normal channel to the reverb/tremolo circuit.

If you're having good luck with the normal channel and aren't keen on soldering, you could easily just clip the bright cap on the vibrato channel, which will help out considerably-especially if you're using overdrive or distortion pedals. That's where most people run into problems (dirt pedals into the vibrato channel).

The bright cap allows high frequencies to bleed through when the volume control is on about four or lower, and becomes less effective above that point (which, unfortunately, is also where things start getting pretty loud). There is no bright cap on the normal channel.

Edit-just noticed that the initials for the website I mentioned were censored out. Hopefully I didn't cross any lines, as I'm not talking about another site here, just pointing out where I found the information that you are looking for.
Thanks very much! I'm going to really look into this. Might be all I need.
Old 16th March 2013
  #14
I spent like three months auditioning amps to replace my Fender Deville 2x12. I tested many amps including the Drri. The Deville I owned had an overall muddy tone.

My take on the Drri is that it sounds amazing when fully cranked into overdrive, but that it was a little brittle on clean settings , especially at low volumes. I would agree with the commenter that stated you may want to test the amp in the context of a band mix, which may change your opinion of things. It may blend perfectly in your band.

I ended up purchasing the Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special 1x12 combo and would highly recommend that you at least test one out if your budget permits. The reverb is on par or arguably better than any Fender Reverb ( i'm a reverb junkie) The strength of the amp is that the clean sounds absolutely amazing at low and high volumes.
Old 16th March 2013
  #15
Yeah, the DRRI changes tone a lot on 4 and up. I don't like it on low settings. It warms up on 6, but in certain circumstances its really loud.
Old 17th March 2013
  #16
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If you want to thicken up the clean sounds, you can bias the tubes a little hotter. They ship from the factory biased pretty cold. I think factory bias on mine was .16-.17mA. I would bias mine to .22mA per tube....definitely makes the amp sound better on the 2-3 volume setting. I wouldn't put it past 3 on the volume when playing on stage, using a Fulldrive II for overdrive.
Old 17th March 2013
  #17
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I don't have a bias probe so I experimented with turning up the bias slightly just to see what would happen. Made it sound much better. But of course I may have turned it up too high. I suppose that will mean shorter tube life? Or destruction of amp?
Old 17th March 2013
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
If you want to thicken up the clean sounds, you can bias the tubes a little hotter. They ship from the factory biased pretty cold. I think factory bias on mine was .16-.17mA. I would bias mine to .22mA per tube....definitely makes the amp sound better on the 2-3 volume setting. I wouldn't put it past 3 on the volume when playing on stage, using a Fulldrive II for overdrive.
The only problem with using a Fulldrive is it starts to compress your signal. You either like that or don't. I personally don't and prefer the amp to overdrive itself. A lot of people like compression though.
Old 17th March 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassidyGT View Post
I don't have a bias probe so I experimented with turning up the bias slightly just to see what would happen. Made it sound much better. But of course I may have turned it up too high. I suppose that will mean shorter tube life? Or destruction of amp?
Keep an eye on the tubes as you are playing loudly. So long as the plates don't begin to get red, you should be all right.

You can actually bias with only a multimeter that reads mA. You can take a reading by shunting the B+ to the plate pins of each tube. Of course, this requires opening the amp, and knowledge regarding the deadly hazards of the internals of a tube amplifier.
Old 18th March 2013
  #20
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Mine's like new, unmodded and not brittle at all...maybe the speaker is too new?

It's a crystal clear amp though, maybe you're not used to that kind of clarity, coming from a HRD?

Anyway, if you want a bigger, dirtier kind of clean, the Vibro King is your beast. It's awsome! And alot mellower than the DRRI.
It overdrives alot faster than the DRRI though. More balls, fatter, stronger.
Old 18th March 2013
  #21
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I put a Tung-Sol + JJ 6V6 set of tubes and a Cannabis Rex speaker in the DRRI I once had. After a good break-in period it was really sweet. Not quite shimmery Fender but better and beefier for what I was looking for. I eventually sold it and got a '78 Music Man HD130 and a Rivera Rock Crusher attenuator. No contest. Never playing new Fenders again, with maybe one exception.......I was messing around and put a pair of Yellow Jackets in my other guitar player's Hot Rod Deluxe and it was mindblowing. Went from terrible to this greasy, touch sensitive Class A old Vox kind of thing. It was much darker, not dull, but butterscotch-ey and dirty. Only amp I've ever liked Yellow Jackets in. No mud and no ice pick. Break-up was early but smooth. It was addictive.

-d
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