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Where do I begin, Well the tone of an amp is so subjective, Each guitar adds its own personal, distinct sound which this amp captures.
This Fender is 40w Tube power, (3 X 12AX7, 2 X 6L6) 12" Eminence ceramic magnet speaker, dual inputs, 3 channels (clean, OD, more OD), a foot switch to choose the channel, preamp in/out, and an external speaker jack to allow you to add an 8ohm load to the existing 8ohm, 12" speaker for a total of 4 ohms. Fender states it weighs 45 Lbs but feels more like 60lbs to me.
I gotta say this is a loud amp overall, but on the lower volume settings, wow. Fender uses linear volume pots, this means that volume pots create the most volume between 1/2 to 4 with less and less difference in volume as you increase to 12.(a nice upgrade would be a audio taper pot) Rest assured you will have no problem cutting through the mix.
The clean channel is really where this amp shines, Very nice, warm and rich shimmering tone, and the reverb is your classic fender verb, you wont be disappointed. The overdrive channels.. Ok, I have heard that they should be called Noise and Much More Noise . Honestly You will not get Metallica type dirt out of this amp,(who would buy a Fender for metal anyway?) but I have found some great tones with a little tweaking think nice fuzzy lead tone with fair bottom and mids. Place a OD pedal in front on the clean side and OMG it's good.(most people still use tube amps and pedals don't they?)
The Deluxe is a WONDERFUL sounding amp, Great clean and brown tone, Deceiving louder than it's size and power rating indicate.


FZ1







 

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For a mass-produced amp the HRD is pretty ok sounding.After fixing a few of them I can say they are as good as any PC based amp out there.There are however a few things that can be improved upon to get even better tones.One is the bias settings from the factory.They are decidedly cold to prolong tube life.If you bump it up to about 40ma it gets sweeter.The speaker does indeed sound good at low volumes but falls far short of nirvana at gig levels.Changing it to something like a Vintage 30 or any number of the new speaker options out there gets you a lot closer.The linear pot thing is anoying but can be remedied by a couple of good methods.One,you can change the pot to an audio taper one or you can use a volume box that plugs into the effects loop.It is simply a 100k pot inside a box with an input an output jack wired up.It lets you control the volume easily without taking the amp apart.
One thing you need to very careful with are the input jacks.They have a cheap plastic bezel that is easily ruined if you are not careful.And whatever you do,never,ever play outdoors in the hot sun.The plastic jacks actually melt!Now the price obviously reflects it's shortcomings,and having has a few apart the transformers are rather small for a 40 watt amp.The overdrive while acceptable is not what is considered stellar.
There are quite a few of these out there and they have a pretty good service record overall.
Bottom line? Not bad for the price.Not many amps can compete at those price levels.

www.claramps.com
 

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Addicted to Tubes said...

"After fixing a few of them I can say they are as good as any PC based amp out there."

First off...

Please understand I'm not trying to be an ass here... It may be more accurate to say the above statement ending with... in it's price range.

My reason for butting in here is ( and believe me I mean well and sorry for butting in and being rude ) I would not want anyone to misunderstand a statement like that. For example Soldano make PCB amps and there is no comparrison between the Fender mentioned and a Soldano.

Now I know you know this becasue you have seen the inside of many amps and as I said I mean no insult to you at all... I just would not want someone to read this and lump the two in the same category. Obviously the Soldano is much more expensive but not everybody understands the differece.
There are many PCB made amps that are of Boutique quality however there are many many many more that are not.

Again pardon my intrusion and I hope that my intentions are seen for what they truely are.

Khingpynn
 

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I see that yours is a Made in USA model. I believe they are now MIM. People seem to think that makes a difference, but I've never A/Bd the US vs. the Mexi. Our lead guitar player has a new Mexi version. Sounds really good (when he plays it anyhow :smile:).

I agree that it is a lot of amp for the money, and a loud 40W.

Cheers,
Blair
 

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I'm not so sure Soldanos sound any better than Fenders.

In fact I think they fall a bit short in the clean tones department.


I've mixed a few guys with those little Fender amps and was very favourably impressed.
 

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Hrd

I have one, its okay, like any amp its how you yourself play it. I think its a good value for the money. There are a few things I dont like. It is very heavy, now the amp chassis itself is light, the speaker could be made lighter too but its that MDF case which is the cause of the back ache-If I keep mine Im changing it over to a Neodynium speaker like a Celestion Century and making a cab out of pine and tweed.
As far as working on them they are pretty easy, diagrams and schematics are easily obtained.
I like it. The overall sound is Fender good but it has to be turned up at least past 4 to be fully appreciated. Its a loud 40 watts. The HRD is really quite a sensitive thing and different guitars yeild startingly different results.
I found the best tone for me was acheived with pick-ups whose DCR was in the range of 7 to 8k. Vintage Dearmonds and lipsticks sounded suprisingly familiar while 90's overwound HB P/U's were a bit harsh when used in the clean mode.
For reliablity Judging by the age of the messed up ones Ive seen, Id say a steady giging musician running half to 3/4 could get 2-3 years out of it with out too much trouble, unless it was a lemon of which Ive heard exist on occasion.
 

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The initial post mentioned "linear pots". Cynical old me believes there's a "suit" reason for this!:mad:

First off, for those that might not know, there are mostly two types of pots (except for a few specialized exceptions). Linear pots are by far the most common. The change in resistance as you advance the control is linear, that is "10%,20%,30% of the total and so on. Think of it like a motor speed control, where "1" is 10% speed, "5" is 50%, "8" is 80% and all the way up to "10".

Human ears don't hear like that. As volume increases we need a logarithmic increase to notice the change. In general, we need a 4x increase in volume to sound twice as loud. This means 8 watts will sound twice as loud as 2 watts, 32 watts to be twice 8 watts and 128 watts will sound twice as loud as 32 watts!

Hard to believe I know but that's just the way Mother Nature made us.

So we need to have the resistance element in a pot to have a "taper", which means a non-linear rate of change as we crank it up. This means a slow change initially that rises faster when we get past 50%. If you graphed it instead of a straight 45 deg line you'd get a slow start that soon started to rise faster and faster.

If you use a linear pot for a volume control you get all your action between 0 and 4 and nuthin' much after that. Anybody who changed the volume pot in his guitar and used a linear pot 'cuz neither he nor the guys at the local electronics store knew the difference finds that out.

So why am I cynical about linear pots in guitar amps? Mostly I see 'em in lower powered amps, particularly solid state cheaper ones. Some newbie goes into a store looking for the most amp he can get for his money. He tries one of these amps and of course it starts off kinda loud! He'd like to turn it up more but in the store that's either frowned on or not allowed. Or maybe he's young and just shy.

Either way, he's likely to assume that if the amp is that loud on "3" then when he gets home and cranks it to "10" it'll be a real lease-breaker! Of course, after he's forked over his money and got it home he finds out the truth, that the amp has nuthin' after "4" or so.

Marketing "suits" would never do something like that, would they?:eek:

:food-smiley-004:
 

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Good review!

I have a US model. I chucked the stock tubes and replaced them with Mesa Boogies.....what a difference, for the better.
 

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Good review!

I have a US model. I chucked the stock tubes and replaced them with Mesa Boogies.....what a difference, for the better.
Interesting. You know, Mesa doesn't make their own tubes. They buy Russian and Chinese, whatever's cheaper.

I'd be curious as to which tubes you actually got. Their staple seems to be the Sovtek 12AX7WA.

Then again, I wonder what tubes Fender bought and re-branded as their own?

:food-smiley-004:
 

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Interesting. You know, Mesa doesn't make their own tubes. They buy Russian and Chinese, whatever's cheaper.

I'd be curious as to which tubes you actually got. Their staple seems to be the Sovtek 12AX7WA.

Then again, I wonder what tubes Fender bought and re-branded as their own?

:food-smiley-004:


I've heard that about the Mesa's, not making their own tubes. Came as a surprise to me.......What I was gonna do is get some tubes online, as I knew I had blown one. I had a set all figured out and all, but then I had a quick jam come up that weekend and coudn't wait. Had to go to L&M in Cambridge and buy some tubes. Mesa seemed a good choice. I got 6L6 GC STR 440 power tubes...in V1 I have an STR-SPAX7-A, and in V2&3 I have their 12AX&-A's. Chinese made. Not sure by who though.

:smile:
 

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Really. What a scam, lol.

So basically I replaced my tubes with the very same kind, kinda. Hmmm
It gets crazier! Groove Tubes is a re-brander as well!

They claim differently, but in a way that's more lawyer talk than what the average player would think making your own tubes means. They mostly buy and re-brand but there's a new custom with many electronic parts these past few years - time sharing!

This is where you "own" the factory for a few weeks or as long as it takes to produce your entire year's estimated necessary inventory. It's the same factory that makes other tubes but like a time share cottage you can claim its yours for the time it takes to make your product. You might have them make a tiny change or two with some tubes so you can even more properly call them unique, like marking the glass with green ink instead of black!:smile:

This doesn't mean the tubes are bad, of course. Just that they're not as "special" as may be claimed.

:food-smiley-004:
 

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It gets crazier! Groove Tubes is a re-brander as well!

They claim differently, but in a way that's more lawyer talk than what the average player would think making your own tubes means. They mostly buy and re-brand but there's a new custom with many electronic parts these past few years - time sharing!

This is where you "own" the factory for a few weeks or as long as it takes to produce your entire year's estimated necessary inventory. It's the same factory that makes other tubes but like a time share cottage you can claim its yours for the time it takes to make your product. You might have them make a tiny change or two with some tubes so you can even more properly call them unique, like marking the glass with green ink instead of black!:smile:

This doesn't mean the tubes are bad, of course. Just that they're not as "special" as may be claimed.

:food-smiley-004:
This is somewhat true. There are very few remaining tube factories. Much of what's being sold comes out of a handful of factories in Russia, Slovakia, or China. These tubes get sold under their company names like JJ (Slovakia) and Sovtek (Russia). Some tube companies get existing factories to run batches to their own specifications (like some TAD tubes made in Shugang, China).

Groove Tubes does the same with a few of their models from what i understand like the 12AX7M (which is a very good tube for the money BTW), but most of their stock is bought from existing brands from the three countries above (that's why Groove Tubes usually have an "R" "S" or "C" at the end of the model number. It's a means of letting you know where that tube was produced.

What Groove Tubes and other companies like that do is not a scam. They are very upfront about their service. They argue that a large percentage of what comes out of these factories is junk. They buy the tubes in bulk to get get a cheap price and thoroughly test the tubes and weed out the potential troublemakers. With power tubes they even assign ratings for distortion characteristics and to save you the hassle of rebiasing your amp once you find what number you like. They argue that the higher price saves you money in the long run by preventing you from getting tubes that test poorly and therefore not sound as good and/or die sooner.

Having said that, many people still get defective tubes from Groove Tubes (granted Groove Tubes has a WAY better warranty than most rebranders, so this isn't as bad as getting a defective Sovtek) and prefer to take their chances with untested tubes or get tubes that are tested by their seller.

Sorry to derail the thread, but I thought some of you guys would appreciate the explanation.
 

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RE: Groove Tubes

If you take a good look at most GT's you can read the original manufacturers name on them. I have quite a few GT's, having originally bought them because I though they were better tubes. You can see "Sovtek 12AX7WA" labelled underneath the fancy GT Logo.

GT might also want to let sales people know what they do. I've had more than one sales person tell me "well, this GT will sound like a chinese tube and this one will sound like a sovtek and this one will sound like....(you get the idea)".....duh....that's cause they are!

While I agree that what Groove Tubes does is not "illegal", throwing a thin veil over what they in fact do doesn't make it ok. Why is there a need to "time share" if they are forthright about re-branding other manufacturers tubes.

Technicalities is simply lawyer speak for how to legally deceive.

My 2 cents :rockon:
 

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Why do they seem to be made overseas? Why aren't they made in North America? Or am I missing something? Why do I never hear of American made tubes?
 

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I have a american pro junior, and i sent it to the shop and they gave me a blues junior made in mexico...i swear the made in usa pro junior sound better...may have been other factors such as speaker size....

the pro junior also seemed to be a bit better built, the nobes were shaking like the mexican, and they all see smooth to dial where as the blues junior had some that were easy and others that were difficult to turn.
 

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.i swear the made in usa pro junior sound better.
I've read a lot comments elsewhere that state the same in general - that the Pro Jr. sounds better than the Blues Junior. One Volume, One Tone. Design is simpler, less clutter in the signal path. Doesn't matter if it's US or Mex.
 
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