Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

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Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby kvandekrol on Wed May 26, 2010 3:03 pm

I inherited an all-tube Cambridge Reverb. Pretty hard to find information on this since they made the Cambridges all the way up until a few years ago, and most of them are solid state and very different from mine. Anyway, I had a few questions about it.

First - the speaker code is 137-7308. Before I opened up the amp and saw the codes on the pots, I assumed this meant "CTS, 8th week of 1973" based on the standard coding scheme for OEM speakers. But the pots inside are all dated 1966 (137-6618 and 6623), and the all-tube Cambridge to my knowledge was only manufactured for a couple of years in the mid-60's before they started switching to solid state and hybrids. Certainly not as late as 1973. So what's the story on the speaker? It doesn't look like it was added aftermarket since it's an OEM CTS, but it could have just been pulled from another amp. Does the date code mean something else than 1973?

Second - the speaker is blown and I need to replace it. The original specification label is still inside the cabinet and it rates the amp at 80 watts. This seems really high for a tube amp, especially one from the 60's. Is that correct, or was Thomas Organ just pulling the classic American stunt of grossly exaggerating power ratings? Do I really need an 80-watt speaker?

Third - besides possibly getting a new speaker early in its life, this amp appears to be all-original. The tubes even look untouched. (It plays fine except for some crackle as it's warming up.) What maintenance needs to be done to a 44-year-old amp to make it reliable? Does it need a cap job? Are new tubes a requirement?
Last edited by kvandekrol on Thu May 27, 2010 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1966 Vox Cambridge Reverb, all tube

Postby 229someday on Wed May 26, 2010 9:04 pm

I believe these are 15-18 watts, and I know the speaker is 8 ohm if you are looking to replace it. I have a tube Pacemaker, which is pretty much the same without the reverb. Think they only made these from '66-'67. Very cool amps; I replaced my speaker with a Celestion Alnico Gold that I'm quite happy with.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby Grog on Thu May 27, 2010 12:26 pm

To answer your second question and I'm no expert on these but I'll gfuess that thatrating is its power comsumption and not output. The rating on the back of an ac30 is 110 watts on an AC15 100w so I guess these are 15 or so.

In fact here's some details from the vox showroom http://www.voxshowroom.com/us/amp/camb.html

So for speakers it would work with any 10" spaeker you care to choose, the Gold or the greenback or the vintage 10 choose your price range and take your pick.

And 3 yes, it may need a cap job, it would be worth having a tech look it over certainly, but the tubes could well be fine, if its not had a hard life and better than anything you can buy from the range of current production. My 63 AC30 Super Twin still has tubes that date to the 60's in it.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby Mr. dB on Thu May 27, 2010 4:46 pm

The Cambridge never came with a CTS speaker. The original speaker would have been an 8-ohm Oxford 10" with a gold-painted frame, and a large plastic cover over a small ferrite magnet. There would be a Vox Bulldog sticker on the back of the plastic cover.

The amp may draw 80W from the wall socket, but it only puts out about 10-15W.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby LangMurf on Thu May 27, 2010 5:21 pm

I have a 65 CR that I just got back from Bakos Amp Works here in the ATL. I bought my CR on ebay. Very similar circumstances to yours: mine came with a CTS 10" driver. That got replaced because Jeff Bakos said it "...sounds like crap." An inexpensive Eminence was thrown in and sounds a bazillion times better.

Jeff went through the amp and replaced a single cap. A new reverb pan was installed. A three prong pwr cord replaced the original two prong, possibly death dealing, plug. And lastly, the speaker cable was modded to come off the speaker to a 90 degree 1/4" jack that now gets plugged into the external speaker jack on the back of the amp or into my Swart Night Light attenuator.

Every single tube in the amp was original and all tested good and are doing their job, 45 years after first being stuck in there. lol

Total bill from Bakos was $270. Definitely worth it to bring the amp up to great working condition.

This amp absolutely KILLS!

I highly recommend you find a reputable amp tech locally and bring the amp in for service. The tech will check the innards to determine which, if any, caps need to be replaced and what state the tubes are in. If you're not hip to any local techs, ask around in online forums... here and The Gear Page are good places to start. Do not just bring it to any amp tech without getting references from others.

Good luck!

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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby voodoovox on Thu May 27, 2010 9:33 pm

The tube Cambridge Reverbs, Pacemakers & Super Berkeleys were equipped with either the 10" Oxfords or 10" Celestions. 8 ohm for the Cambridge & Pacemaker, 16 ohm for the super Berkeley.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby kvandekrol on Sat May 29, 2010 12:18 am

Thanks for all the info! I'll probably end up putting a Weber Blue Pup into the amp, and likely switching out the power cord as well. One of the corners was broken, as was one of the feet, so I ordered vintage-correct replacements for those from North Coast Music. I may replace the grille cloth as well at some point, since it's torn in a few places, but otherwise it's in really good cosmetic shape. Just needed some scrubbing with a toothbrush to take care of the stubborn 30-year-old dust.

One question: When I turn on the amp, there's a crackle for the first few minutes (whether I play or not), but then it goes away. I'm thinking this is an issue with a tube someplace, but is there anything else that might cause this?
Last edited by kvandekrol on Mon May 31, 2010 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby johnnysavant on Sun May 30, 2010 12:12 am

The Weber signature C12R clone is probably closer in sound to the Oxford that was in it...costs less, too.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby Mr. dB on Sun May 30, 2010 5:57 am

kvandekrol wrote:
One question: When I turn on the amp, there's a crackle for the first few minutes (whether I play or not), but then it goes away. I'm thinking this is an issue with a tube someplace, but is there anything else that might cause this?


Maybe a dirty or loose tube socket. Wouldn't hurt to douse them all with contact cleaner.
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby kvandekrol on Mon May 31, 2010 2:54 am

Never having owned a Vox amp before, I have a question about the speaker choice... Weber's Blue Pup and Blue Dog are supposed to be similar to the Alnico Celestion Blue, which I understand is the speaker for the classic Vox sound. If I put one of those in the Cambridge Reverb, would I get a sound that's at all similar to a British Vox? Or am I better off just going with the Ceramic Signature 10 (C12R clone) and not trying to make the amp into something it's not?

I'm a bit wary of putting in a $30 speaker if it's just going to get me an average or passable tone, but if it really is a good combination then I'm all for saving $50!
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby P-Dawg on Mon May 31, 2010 7:34 pm

kvandekrol wrote:Never having owned a Vox amp before, I have a question about the speaker choice... Weber's Blue Pup and Blue Dog are supposed to be similar to the Alnico Celestion Blue, which I understand is the speaker for the classic Vox sound. If I put one of those in the Cambridge Reverb, would I get a sound that's at all similar to a British Vox? Or am I better off just going with the Ceramic Signature 10 (C12R clone) and not trying to make the amp into something it's not?

I'm a bit wary of putting in a $30 speaker if it's just going to get me an average or passable tone, but if it really is a good combination then I'm all for saving $50!


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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby johnnysavant on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:07 am

The original speaker was a cheap low wattage Oxford 10 ceramic with 1" voice coil and ribbed cone. You can always up the ante. If you want more headroom get a higher wattage speaker with later breakup. If you want it as loud as possible, get the most efficient speaker possible for it. The best sounding vintage speaker for it is a Celestion 7724. Weber doesn't publish their sensitivity ratings for comparison. But you can go up the scale to their Vintage or Chicago Vintage or British series. I don't know enough about the difference. I tried a ceramic blue pup in one of my tube Cambridges, It was OK, but when I put the signature 10 in, it was also OK...and a couple pounds lighter.

I think the best overall speaker may be the Celestion Gold 10 if money is no object. It is 98 dB efficient...3-4 dB over most 10s, which, in a Cambridge theoretically should sound as loud as a 30-35 watt amp with a 95 dB speaker.

I have many Webers both ceramic and alnico. I also have many vintage Celestions and Jensens. Right now my overall favoritie speaker is the Celestion Gold 12. So, I may try a Gold 10 in one of my Cambridges. (I run my other in a modified cab with a Celestion blue alnico 12; the original cab and speaker are in storage).
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby kvandekrol on Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:04 am

P-Dawg wrote:I see you found my hangout. Welcome to the mob.


Hey Robert. Looks like I did :)

You'll probably be seeing this amp in a week or two once I get my gear priorities straightened out. There's always something...
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby takanocaca on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:34 pm

voodoovox wrote:The tube Cambridge Reverbs, Pacemakers & Super Berkeleys were equipped with either the 10" Oxfords or 10" Celestions. 8 ohm for the Cambridge & Pacemaker, 16 ohm for the super Berkeley.


Hello,

I have tube Berkeley II just got it fully restored. This thing sounds amazing with my 60's marshall 8X10 cab... When I bought the head it came with 4ohm Berkeley III cab(Silver frame gold bulldog label on it. It sounds just ok IMO). I just bought two 16ohm Blue Pups thinking about putting them in the vox cab. Does the tube Berkeley II have the output ohms set on 16ohms? If so I need to get 8ohms speakers... I connect the speaker cable under the control panel where the tubes are. I always thought that it has 8ohms output.

thanks,
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Re: Questions about a 1966 all-tube Vox Cambridge Reverb

Postby voodoovox on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:24 pm

takanocaca wrote:
voodoovox wrote:The tube Cambridge Reverbs, Pacemakers & Super Berkeleys were equipped with either the 10" Oxfords or 10" Celestions. 8 ohm for the Cambridge & Pacemaker, 16 ohm for the super Berkeley.


Hello,

I have tube Berkeley II just got it fully restored. This thing sounds amazing with my 60's marshall 8X10 cab... When I bought the head it came with 4ohm Berkeley III cab(Silver frame gold bulldog label on it. It sounds just ok IMO). I just bought two 16ohm Blue Pups thinking about putting them in the vox cab. Does the tube Berkeley II have the output ohms set on 16ohms? If so I need to get 8ohms speakers... I connect the speaker cable under the control panel where the tubes are. I always thought that it has 8ohms output.

thanks,


Just wire your 16 ohm blue pups in series for 8 ohms. The Cambridge Reverb and Pacemakers used a single 8 ohm speaker. The Berkeley is also 8 ohms, but used two 16 ohm speakers.
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