Fender Twin Reverb vs Deluxe Reverb: The Guitar Amp Shootout
History buffs know that Fender Deluxe Reverb and Twin Reverb have always been a force to reckon with. Both guitar amps dominated the stages, studios, and clubs in their heydays. They have been reissued and reinvented by Fender many times since, in hopes to keep the sales going.
The original guitar amps are history. In today’s market, you will find the reissued models i.e. Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 and the Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue ‘65. These are modernized versions of the classic combo amplifiers that try to recreate the original magic.
There are questions and curiosity about Fender Deluxe Reverb vs Twin Reverb. It’s a hot topic with very little reliable information. So, I’ve decided to pit them against each other. We are going to discuss it all to help you figure out which of the two is a better addition to your rig.
Volume, tone, breakup, projection, and response – I will chalk out the key differences and features of both amps. Your budget, needs, and genre will guide you to the right amp. So, let’s see who prevails in a Deluxe Reverb vs. Twin Reverb side-by-side comparison.
Table of Contents
Fender Twin Reverb: Overview:
- Power Handling: 85W
- 2 x 12-inch Jensen C-12K speakers
- 2 Channels – Normal and Vibrato
- Effects: Reverb and tremolo/vibrato
- Tilt-back legs
The Fender Twin Reverb ’65 Reissue has long been a darling of the guitar community. Its twin speakers and distinct tone are highly sought after. The Fender '65 Twin Reverb is the flagship guitar amplifier known for its clean all-tube tones and cranked-up crunch. The Reissue that is available now is a reproduction of the original model and a darn good one at that.
The Circuit boards are the only reason they are inferior to the flagship model. The original amps had hand-wired circuits as opposed to Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) on the current reissue models. Other than that, they have the same components (capacitors and resistors) including the Schumacher transformers and hand-wired tube sockets
The Twin Reverb sound is in a league of its own. The guitar amp is famous for its iconic glassy sound and classic styling. As you crank up the volume, the top-end sheen appears. It also displays how capable this amp is in terms of sheer volume. Of course, as you can imagine, all that comes in a 64 lbs package, which is pretty brutal on the back. . Here are the specs:
Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Overview:
- 22W Total Power
- 2 channels.
- 1 x 12" Jensen C12K Speaker
- Tubes - 4 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AT7 (Preamp), 2 x 6V6, 1 x 5AR4 (Power tubers)
- Tube Amp with Fender Reverb Effect
The ’65 Deluxe Reverb Combo amplifier is a distant cousin, if not a wholly different beast when compared to the Twin Reverb. It’s a 22-watt combo amplifier that features one 12-inch Jensen C12K speaker, a PCB, and other legacy tube components in a vintage-looking cabinet.
The Deluxe reverb is famous for its iconic Fat (Fender) tone, all-tube circuitry, dual-channel function (vibrato + normal), and tube-driven reverb. Like the Twin Reverb, the Deluxe is also styled in Blackface cosmetics with black vinyl and a silver grille cloth.
Fender Deluxe Reverb vs. Twin Reverb Shootout
As you can see, the two amps are very different. As we discuss them together, you must know right off the bat that DR itself is too much amp for home use. The Twin reverb is not for home or small venues. It is for blasting the roof off mid to large size venues. So, if you are not going to use it for that, you will never get past 2 or 3 on the volume knob.
Construction and Specs:
The Twin Reverb amps are made in California, USA. They sport two 12-inch Jensen speakers in a tilt-back, Blackface-style speaker cabinet. You get two channels and (tube) effects that can be activated or controlled via a two-button footswitch (sold separately).
Both amps have the black-panel vintage styling that embodies the 60s era when Blackface amps ruled the stage and studios. In terms of components, they both deliver quality and value.
The Twin Reverb offers 85W of output wattage, while the Deluxe taps out at 22W of tube power. They both offer 2 channels, but the Deluxe has one Jensen C-12K speaker and the Twin Reverb, as the name suggests, has a pair of C-12K speakers.
Weight is another big difference between the two. The Deluxe weighs 42 lbs. It's significantly lower than the Twin Reverb that weighs 72 lbs. It has a direct impact on portability, with the Deluxe being better suited for travel.
Tone: Twin Reverb vs. Deluxe
The Fender Twin Reverb has a distinct scooped sound with gracious piano-like lows, bottomed-out mids, and bright/glassy highs. It is what Fender calls the "Blackface" tone. It is good at two things, a) pristine super-clean tones and b) crunchy overdrive with the Fender tone coloration.
The Twin Reverb is built to handle the needs of a serious guitar player. It works for a wide range of genres from alt-rock to post-rock, from blues to country, and more. Much of the credit for this goes to the pair of Jensen Speakers and the four 6L6 power tubes.
The Twin Reverb is better if you need volume and headroom to spare. It’s a guitar amp that cannot be tamed. It sounds beautiful and is loud enough for every stage you take it to. Ironically, that’s its biggest flaw - it's highly likely to provoke the neighbors to call the cops on you!
The Fender Deluxe Reverb has a balanced response and beautiful breakup. It could very well be the logo for the Fender Blues Club. I'm not saying that the Twin Reverb breakup isn't great, but it comes when you crank it high enough to empty the venue.
As for the tone, it got good clean sounds and is plenty loud for any indoor venue or church. It's ideal for an early break-up, especially if you love pedal-based overdrive for sweet and thick bluesy tones. Volume-wise, the amp is perfect for noodling at home or recording your licks and riffs in the studio.
Many guitarists claim that nothing will get you closer to the SRV tone better than a Deluxe Reverb. I concur. Nothing can, especially at this price point. But as it lacks power handling, it doesn’t have as much headroom as the Twin Reverb amp.
Weight & Portability:
The Twin Reverb is rightfully called the “backbreaker”. At 64lbs, I will refrain from pretending that it is portable. It can get tedious to carry it around. The Deluxe is unquestionably the better option if you need a manageable-sized amp. So if other features aren’t forcing you to choose, the Fender Deluxe Reverb is the way to go in terms of portability.
Price and Value:
Many readers are keen to know a proclamation of which amp is better. In this case, I must say that the price and value are not easy to quantify. Both versions offer tremendous value in the correct context. Twin can stack tone as mid control and has two speakers with a bright switch. Deluxe has lovely break-up and a treble boost on the second channel too. There is a difference in the power and price. Personally, if you don’t need the “overkill wattage” the 65 Deluxe Reverb offers slightly more bang for the buck.
Twin Reverb vs. Deluxe Reverb – Final Verdict
The Twin Reverb is perfect for guitar players who want a loud amp. LOUD! It outperforms the Deluxe in clean tones at high levels. But it is way too boisterous and bulky for home use. It will break your back (72 lbs) if you need to move it around often.
Deluxe Reverb is the better choice for a compact, portable, and reasonably powerful guitar amp. It's perfect for rehearsals, small clubs, and mic'd recordings in the studio. It lacks the same power and projection but has a better breakup, which blues guitarists (and SRV fans) will appreciate.
Since the tone of these two amps is not identical, there is no clear winner. However, the difference in weight, features, and price will also play a big role in your purchase decision. My personal opinion is that the Twin Reverb is better for a gigging or touring musician. The Deluxe amp is ideal for smaller setups and club gigs.
Finally, the last year has brought about a Fender guitar model called Tone Master Twin Reverb. It is a digital recreation of the legendary tube amp. It may not appease tone hounds or audiophiles. But to my ears, the amp sounds very close to the original.
Plus, it's lightweight, which negates the back-breaker image of the Fender Twin Reverb. We will look at the pros and cons of the new series I get a chance to review it thoroughly. Until then, I hope this post has cleared your doubts about these legendary amps. As always, Happy Hunting!