Vintage Sound Vintage 5 - Brown Ostrich
- OPTIONAL BIAS POINTS
The Vintage Sound Vintage 5 is a new design we have really been looking forward to. It essentially starts out as an all hand-wired, all USA made, super-modified Fender Princeton Reverb. It's based on the "blackface" Fender Princeton Reverb (AA1164) used from 1964-1967, but with several major and significant upgrades (read more below). BUT, the output transformer has been modified to reduce the output wattage down to 5 watts. As well, the preamp has been voiced a bit differently to react with the lower wattage in a more desirable way.
So other than the output wattage, how does this amp differ from a vintage mid sixties Princeton Reverb?
1) The most obvious difference is the 12" speaker upgrade. The Princeton Reverb came with a 10" stock speaker, and many people modded them to replace the 10" baffle with a 12" so they could get a standard sized speaker in there. (more on the speaker we chose below)
2) The reverb circuit is vastly upgraded. The stock reverb on a Princeton was a small 9" pan spring reverb. The Vintage 5 uses a large 17" spring reverb pan that's the same size as the one used in the Twin Reverb! The reverb circuit also includes a very nifty reverb dwell control on the rear of the chassis for varying the decay time.
3) A "MIDDLE" tone control has been added that Princeton Reverb amps did not have. This addition does absolutely nothing to hurt the integrity of the circuit or tone. The original Fender circuit actually had a fixed mid tone was set permanently at 6.8k. Vintage Sound removed this resistor from the circuit and replaced it with a much more versatile 10k potentiometer. The result is you now have the ability to adjust this frequency range without compromising the original tone. If you want it to sound precisely like a blackface Princeton Reverb, just turn the port to around one o'clock on the dial and you're there. You want to scoop the mids a touch, pull back. Warn the tone a bit, turn up.
4) The addition of a Standby Switch. The original Princeton Reverb didn't have one. This one does.
5) External Bias Points have been added so as to more easily bias the amp when you swap out tubes.
So, as you can see, the Vintage 5 has lots of upgrades to the original Princeton Reverb circuit without adversely affecting the vintage tone. As well, all Vintage Sound amps are point-to-point hand-wired using top quality filter caps and electrolytics, carbon comp resistors, Orange Drop tone caps, solid core push back wire, and custom transformers that are hand wound in the USA.
A note about the original Princeton Reverb
A very good question we get asked from time to time is why all the upgrades? Didn't Leo Fender get it right back then? The answer to that is, "well, yes and no." We'll elaborate...
So, while the PR circuit is a fabulous one, let's not forget what was going on with Fender back then. The company had already been around a number of years and in 1964 it was being prepped to sell to CBS (which happened January of 1965). The Princeton Reverb was a student amp, and never was meant to be a major player among gigging or recording musicians. It was a practice amp with reverb. In order to make it a successful model financially, it had to be mass produced as cheaply as possible. Now, with that said, everything was built better back then. We didn't have printed circuit boards or cheap foreign labor to construct amps from, so even the "cheap stuff" was actually pretty darn decent. Still, it was mass produced to hit a price point. That meant leaving bells and whistles out of the design as much as possible. As luck would have it, the amp sounded great, and it has stood the test of time all these years. Because of this, it's very appealing to have a "decked out" version with all these great bells and whistles. Enter the Vintage 5!
Vintage 5 Specifications:
Wattage: 5 watts
Preamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7, 1 X 12AT7
Power Tubes: 2 x 6V6
Rectifier: 1 x 5Y3
Front Controls: Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Reverb, Speed, & Intensity.
Rear Controls: Dwell (for controlling the reverb decay time)
Effects: Large Pan, Tube Driven Spring Reverb, Tube Vibrato
Speaker: WGS Veteran 30 - 1 x 12" (read more about this speaker below)
Inputs: 2 Inputs
Auxiliary Input: RCA Footswitch Jack
Extension Speaker Jack: External Speaker Jack
Circuit Construction: All Point-to-Point, Hand-wired
Cabinet Construction: Dove-tail jointed solid pine w/Baltic Birch Plywood baffle and back panels
Pilot Light: Blue Amp Jewel
Combo Dimensions: 16" High x 19 7/8" Wide x 9 1/2" Deep (30 lbs)
Head Dimensions: 9 1/2" High x 19 7/8" Wide x 8 5/8" Deep (23 lbs)
Cab Dimensions: 18.5" High x 24" Wide x 10 1/2" Deep (30 lbs)
Why are we using the 12" WGS Veteran 30 speaker?
Very good question!
First, we'll address the size... You would be VERY hard pressed to find someone who prefers a 10" speaker in a Princeton Reverb over a 12". If Fender could go back, you could just about bet the farm they would have used a 12" speaker. It provides everything the 10 gives you, but with more mid and bottom end. We have never known anyone who went back to a 10" after modding their Fender Princeton Reverb.
This speaker also works great with lower wattage amps in allowing a bit more clean headroom. When driven hard, the breakup you'll get with the Vintage Sound 5 will be all tube saturated overdrive and not distortion from the speaker.
It's certainly a worthy upgrade if you plan on swapping out power tubes much.