To be honest: only few guitarists have the chance to use a 100 Watts amp set fully clockwise. Even for big concerts and festivals, the sound engineers prefer a rather quiet amp sound, for it will be miked anyway.
And in the rehearsal room or the studio as well, 100 Watts amps do not really make sense because you will have to use them quite loud to get a nice sound. A 100 Watts Marshall Fullstack does not sound sweet with a volume pot set to 0.5 or 1.
The tubes of a tube amp start to sound nice at a certain operating point. Of course, there are some possibilities to lower the volume of an amplifier by using powerbreaks, but at least it is more reasonable to use a small, nice-sounding amp at all.
Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb
In this category, the Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb still is one of the most striking. With its 12 Watts from two 6V6 tubes, it provides enough power to convince even live on stage (supported by a microphone). And it is one of the few amps, that also sound really nice at a bedroom-friendly level.
Additionally, the 10” speaker lowers the volume a bit (compared to a 12” speaker) and the sound is absolutely marvelous.
By the way, the Princeton Reverb is also offered as a Blackface 65 reissue. But this version sounds cold and somehow shrill.
Several times, I read that the Princeton Reverb has to little low-end. But actually, this sonic fault is a result of aged parts. A well-maintained Princeton Reverb has a lot of low-end and does not hum anyway.
I recommend to keep the old speakers. Especially, when you use the amp at home in your bedroom. New speakers are mostly a little tighter and therefore, the sound will be louder with more treble. The sound of old and worn-out speakers is a bit darker and they have a beautiful compression.
However, you should make sure, that you use fresh tubes. The JJ tubes are pretty recommendable because some old Silverface amps have a high quiescent current. The JJ tubes are robust enough to deal with it and are absolutely comparable to old 6V6 tubes.
The V1, means the first tube, is decisive for the sound of this amp. Concerning this matter, you can experiment a bit, if you like. But in this case also, I think, that it is somehow exaggerated to use a vintage NOS 12AX7. At present, there are numerous nice-sounding and well-priced tubes available. Actually, you can try out different brands and check out which one you like most.
Further striking arguments for a Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb
For sure, the price of a Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb might be higher than the prices for some current bedroom amp models. But these contemporary amps will never provide the three-dimensional sound of a Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb.
Besides, it is easy to service and, ultimately, can be modified quite easily.
I would recommend a bass mod, which will be the issue of one of my next articles.
Although the Princeton Reverb has not be designed to be used with effect pedals, it goes really well with them. Even overdrive pedals harmonize in a beautiful way with this little tube amp.
Reverb and tremolo are installed natively.
If you want, you can also rise the sonic volume by connecting an additional speaker.
The tone control, mainly treble and bass, is surprisingly effective and it is also worth it, to use the second input of the amp to reach new sonic spheres.
By keeping the Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb well-maintained, you will get a really nice- sounding tube amp that will stay at your side for a long time.
Apropos: the Princeton Reverb was the base for several amp-modders. Thus, the first Mesa Boogie is based on an extreme modified Princeton Reverb. While, at those days, musicians tried to get more power out of this small cutie, you should now become aware of the fact that this amplifier might be the perfect bedroom amp for you.