Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

The Achillies Princeton Reverb is an Australian made hand-wired amplifier built in Melbourne, Australia.  This is arguably the best sounding Princeton I have ever played. It sounds rich and warm and responds amazingly to your guitars volume control as well as with pedals.

I’ve had a chance to test a number of Achillies amplifiers over the last few years and some have sounded better than the PCB versions and some have not.  A clear example of one I didn’t like at all was the first Super-Reverb I tested with my friend Ric.  We both felt like the PCB amplifier ate it alive volume and tone wise.  I feel the opposite when it comes to this Princeton amplifier.  The Achillies one seemed to do everything right.

Is it better than a Fender Princeton?

In terms of tone, I don’t really hear any major differences between the hand-wired Achillies amplifier and any Fender Princeton I have ever played.  Guitar tone is a subjective thing anyway.  What one person likes, the next person doesn’t and vice versa.

Build quality wise if you’re into hand-wired amplifiers then you’ll no doubt want an Achillies amplifier over a PCB made Fender.  The Fender Princeton will give you very reliable and almost repeatable sounds from amp to amp, whereas hand-wired amps can vary.  I always suggest playing any hand-wired guitar amplifiers before buying one.

Price

Considering the Achillies amplifier is a handmade amp the price is surprisingly good.  In Australia, a regular PCB Fender Princeton would sell for around $1749 which is extremely expensive for what you’re getting (in my opinion).

The Achillies hand-wired version sells for around $2500 which is pretty reasonable considering the price of the Fender amplifiers.  Knowing that one guy (Labros) made the entire amplifier from start to end is pretty cool!  This is no production line amplifier at all.

Customize it

I love the fact you can ditch the 10″ speaker and ask for a 12″ speaker! This has to be one of the best upgrades of all time to a Princeton.  For the gigs I do, a 10″ speaker is never loud enough or full enough to fill the rooms I play in.  If you are specifications junkie and right into the tech side of things believe some information below:

Specifications and Features

  • Custom Wound U.S.A Transformers
  • Output Power 15 watts
  • Output Tubes: 2x 6V6
  • Preamp Tubes: 1x 12AT7, 3x 12AX7
  • Rectifier: 1x 5U4
  • Available as
  • Head (8? Speaker Output)
  • Combo 1x Jensen C10R Speaker
  • Combo 1x Jensen C12R Speaker
  • Unloaded (Please note baffle type at checkout)
  • Switchcraft Jacks and Plugs
  • Carling Switches
  • Achillies Caps (Made in Germany)
  • Sprague Orange Drop caps
  • Carbon Comp Resistors (Most Allen Bradley)
  • CTS Potentiometers
  • Aluminum Control Panels
  • Authentic Hand Wired Layout
  • Cloth Covered Solid Core Wire
  • Black Bronco Covering
  • Aged Black/White/Silver grill cloth
  • Pine Cabinet with Birch Ply Backs and Baffle
  • Traditional Dovetail Joinery
  • Proudly Hand Built in Australia

To be honest, I’ve had mixed experiences with Achillies amplifiers. Some of them I really thought was quite special and others I didn’t think any better than the actual fender PCB version.  Better is always a subjective term.  Are these build better than the fender amplifiers and will I last longer most probably? With that in mind, This isn’t always the case either things can go wrong with anything.  The main takeaway would be by what you like the sound of by what’s within your budget and if you’re interested in getting a hand wired Fender amplifier made in Australia this is a really great choice.

Is the Princeton Reverb loud enough to gig with?

Bother Princeton Reverb amplifier is only rated at 15 watts its quite definitely loud enough to get with.  This of course also comes down to the type of room you’re playing in Aswell as if your amplifier is mic’d up or not.  One key consideration is if you’re thinking of buying an Achillies Princeton amplifier my suggestion would be to go for the one with the 12-inch speaker.  While a 10-inch speaker can definitely feel certain rooms you get a have a little bit more luck with a 12-inch speaker. Looking at it objectively this so many more great 12 in speakers on the market that you could use in this amplifier that 10 in speaker counterparts.

The Sweet Spot

The sweet spot on this amplifier is with the volume up at about 5 1/2.  To have a am at that sweet spot is really something special.  Doing this at home though you might find it a little bit too loud (for some people).  This Princeton rebate has quite a bit ahead room for 15 W amplifier. It will stay clean up until about 4-4 1/2 on the actual volume control.  If you like a clean platform the pedals will deathly like this amplifier.  In my personal opinion, I really believe these am sound best with a pedal much like the Klon KTR.  You want an overdrive pedal that really pushes the amp over the edge of break up and there’s nothing better than the KTR.

In terms of my favourite amplifiers from the Achillies range my favourites by far other blackface fender style amplifiers

Here are five legitimate reasons why you might be interested in this Achilles Princeton reverb amplifier.

  1. An interest in handwired amplifiers made in Australia.
  2. You love how these type of amps handle pedals
  3. Portability.  Nothing beats a small amp that is easy to transport.
  4. You like a no-nonsense plug and play style amplifier
  5. You enjoy like the sound of it.  This is maybe the most important point.  Trust your own ears and buy what is right for you.