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Rivera Venus 6 Guitar Amplifier Review
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Default Rivera Venus 6 Guitar Amplifier Review - 07-12-2011, 03:40 PM

MANY GUITAR PLAYERS consider Class A tube amplifiers the purest-sounding guitar amps available because they deliver rich even-order harmonic distortion, fast transient response and accurate signal reproduction with no crossover distortion. The problem with many Class A designs is that they require complex power supplies, operate inefficiently, generate excessive heat, wear out tubes more quickly and deliver lower output power compared to an identical tube array used in a Class AB circuit.

When Paul Rivera set out to design Rivera’s first entirely Class A amplifier, his goal was to conquer these reliability problems while he retained the tone and responsiveness for which Class A amps are loved. The result of his efforts is the Venus 6, featuring truly unique construction and characteristics such as 6V6 power tubes, oversized transformers and a massive heat sink. Available as a head, 1x12 combo or 2x12 combo (as tested), the Venus 6 pumps out 35 watts of pure Class A power from two distinctly voiced channels. With its heavy-duty construction and versatile tone circuit, the 212 makes a strong bid to achieve status as the ultimate gig-worthy Class A amp.

FEATURES
THE VENUS 6 DIFFERS from most high-powered Class A designs by using a quartet of Electro-Harmonix 6V6GT power tubes, which Rivera chose for their ruggedness and tone, instead of EL84s. Five 12AX7 tubes drive the preamp and reverb circuits, and components sensitive to extreme temperatures are kept cool by being mounted outside of the chassis on a massive, industrial-grade heat sink that looks like a prop from the set of Alien. A Vintage/Modern switch mounted on the back panel drops the output to 17 watts when Vintage mode is selected.

Rivera amps earn praise for their versatility, and the Venus 6 is no exception. Channel 1 is a high-gain, British-voiced channel featuring volume, bass, middle, treble and master volume/boost controls, while Channel 2 is an American-voiced channel with volume, treble/bright, middle/notch, bass and master volume/Ninja (boost) controls. Both channels share reverb, presence and Focus/Warm controls, and the included FS-4 footswitch lets you select channels, engage boost for each channel and control the effect loop, but there is no on/off switch for engaging or disengaging the sweet-sounding, long-pan Accutronics spring reverb.

The Venus 6 212 comes loaded with a pair of Celestion G12H 70th anniversary special-edition 30-watt 12-inch speakers,which deliver the chime-like highsthat Class A aficionados adore as well tight, focused bass and an assertive, vocallike midrange. A second speaker output and 16-/8-/4-ohm switch on the back panel lets you connect an additional speaker cabinet to the amp, and a line out jack lets you send the output signal to a mixing board or recorder. A three position switch determines whether the effect loop affects channel 1, 2 or both, and individual send and return level controls let you dial in optimum input and output levels for effect pedals or rack gear connected to the effect loop.

PERFORMANCE
IF YOU LOVE THE harmonically rich distortion, fast attack and exceptional clarity of classic Class A amps, the Venus 6 212 is a must have, especially if you need an amp with enough power to gig with. But the Venus 6 does much more than that, providing sweet tweed- and punchy blackface American–flavored tones as well as sounds similar to vintage Hiwatt and “Plexi” Marshall amps. The Focus/Warm control is the secret weapon here, allowing you to make the bottom end tight and focused or loose and unruly, but the 6V6 tubes also play a significant role in the Venus’s magic.

Whereas most spring reverbs on today’s amps seem like afterthoughts, the Venus 6’s reverb is an instrument unto itself, with a lush complexity rivaling that of a pristine vintage blackface Twin Reverb. Chords melt into infinity, and single notes remain fat and full without that metallic “water-drop” ping that lesser reverb units produce.

If you intend to gig with a Venus 6 212, be aware that it tips the scales at over 75 pounds. Two recessed handles make it easy for two people to carry, but the handles are somewhat small.

THE BOTTOM LINE
THE RIVERA VENUS 6 212 is like an aural encyclopedia of coveted vintage distortion tones. If you want harmonics that sparkle like diamonds, attack faster than a Bugatti Veyron and definition as crisp as pork rinds dipped in liquid nitrogen, the Venus 6 will take you to another solar system.

Source: GuitarWorld
  
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