Something is just not right with my Rivera - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-05-2003, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 520
Something is just not right with my Rivera

I have a Rivera TBR-1SL with a Rivera C212 cabinet. I've just retubed it and took it to a specialty shop to get it all tuned up and biased correctly.

I have never in my life been so happy with my clean tone. Problem is, I have also never in my life been so unhappy with my distorted tone.

It sounded like this before the retube, but I was sure new tubes would fix the problem (it had the original 10 year old tubes when I bought it). But the distortion channel is still insanely buzzy. With the treble on zero, it sounds like I plugged my guitar into a DS-1 and recorded with that plugged directly into my computer with all the treble knobs maxed out. What's wrong with this thing?? I've heard so many great things about this amp, and the clean channel is to die for, but I can't get anywhere close to a singing lead sound. It's more of a screaming-hamster lead sound.

Can anyone help? Until I read about this amp here I was saving up for a Soldano or a Bogner, but opted for the Rivera instead. Since spending all this money for the amp, a brand new cabinet, tubes, and rebiasing, I've blown my entire amp fund and the distortion sound is unusable.
Kremlin is offline  
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-05-2003, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 169
This is more common than you think.
It may be as simple as getting "GOOD" tubes, like new old stock chinese tubes. Avoid alot of the Sovtek, Boogie,GT, etc... tubes.
Another thing could be from a gradual burnout of resistors and components on the board.
This is a very common problem with Mesa Boogies too since they slap their amps together like pieces of junk since they came out with the Rectifier series. Thats why Rectifiers sound like dying chainsaws puking.
You should really have the amp overhauled by a boutique amp expert, and change any components that need it.
Gearjunky is offline  
post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-06-2003, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,687
What kind of speakers are you using? It is pretty common that excellent amps are ruined by cabs that pump out too much highs. With some speakers you can fix this by cranking the amp "to 11".
microdmitry is offline  
post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-06-2003, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: austin, texas
Posts: 691
Reviews: 3
I dont know what to tell you, I own one as well and the clean channel is absolutely amazing. My problem is it's not tight enough in the distorted definately sings though. Doing vai/satch sounds with it is easy, but getting a tight, petrucci tone is impossible without outboard eqs.

What kind of tubes did he use on it? I'd recommend putting some jj's or svetlanas in it. I've never tried EH's but I hear they're good tubes. I'd second the notion to take it to a botique amp guy who really knows what he's doing.

Also, what are your settings(pull gain knobs and such) and what do you have the amp output on the back turned to?

Im pretty sure its not the cab, Riveras are VERY picky about the speaker cabs they're with. So much so that sometimes they dont sound right w/out a Rivera cab. Unless your rivera cab is modified I wouldnt worry about that.
texshred777 is offline  
post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-06-2003, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: A Mile High (USA)
Posts: 2,990
It's been said many times before: if you have a problem with a Rivera, call Paul Rivera, Sr. I've had my TBR-2SL for over a year now and it began having a few assorted issues. (I also owned a TBR-1SL, but decided that I only needed one.) My 2SL is a 12-year-old amp that had been played quite a bit. I wasn't too surprised that it needed a "tune-up". So, I called Paul and ended up sending it in to him. They completely overhauled it and the thing is like brand new. Replaced some caps, replaced a few tube receptacles, some pots, rebiased it, etc. They basically did everything to bring it back to life and it ended up costing about $150. was worth every penny. For the ammount of work that was done, the price was VERY reasonable. Plus I know that it was done RIGHT, since the same guy who built my amp originally worked on it. Give Paul a call and see what he says.
vaijem777 is offline  
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-06-2003, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 520
The speaker cabinet is a Rivera C212 loaded with 2 Celestion G12T-75s. I know they're bright speakers, but I've used them before and I'm positive the sound I'm hearing is not the fault of the cabinet.

I used ElectroHarmonix tubes.

I've been keeping the amp on its lowest power mode in stereo (triode power, the lower power setting on the front switch). I tried the gain knobs pushed and pulled in all combinations, usually with bass around 6-7, mids 8, treble 4 (and tried it at 0 to no avail) and it gets the same sound. When I turn down the presence, the sound gets muddier but remains buzzy. I already took my amp to a guy who's supposed to be a "specialist" and all he could do was bias it and charge me $80 for that and inspecting/testing all the amp's functions.

Vai/Satch sound is what I want from the distortion channel, but that's just not what I'm getting I'm getting Squier plugged into a distortion pedal then into headphones kind of sound. Something has got to be wrong.

I phoned Paul Rivera Sr. and he said he didn't know what I was referring to exactly. He thought the cabinet might be voiced too brightly for my tastes (since my other amp is a Mesa Mark IV, mostly a dark sound) but I'm positive that isn't the problem. I get a near identical sound plugged into a Recto cab. Maybe I'll call back again later to see what else he might be able to do

Vaijem when Paul Rivera rebuilt your amp did it sound drastically different? I live in Canada so to send the amp to him would be very expensive. I'm thinking now I might just be better off selling the amp and trying to cut my losses.
Kremlin is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-06-2003, 10:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: A Mile High (USA)
Posts: 2,990
Well...there was nothing really "wrong" with how my amp sounded to begin with. It was simply having some of the issues that a well-loved amp can develop: some bad pots, weak caps, hums & buzzes, etc. When I got it back it was as good as new and all problems were solved.

If you do call back, ask for Eric- he's one of the main techs there. He may be able to pinpoint the issue(s) as well.

(I've been using a couple of Rivera vertical 2x12 cabs, as well as a Rivera single 12" cab and have had no issues at all. All are loaded with 75watt Celestions.)
vaijem777 is offline  

clean tone , distorted tone , distortion pedal , gain knob , mesa boogie , mesa mark , recto cab , rivera tbr , speaker cab , speaker cabs

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