Modern Preamps: VV, Avion, LA

Started by erleichda, December 09, 2019, 11:37:24 PM

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New to me 1972 Fender Rhodes Stage 73 just spent time installing a VV refurbish kit, and tune/voice with Ellison Wolf from Seattle Rhodes Repair and's time to talk turkey. 

Top contenders for preamps these days appear to be:

1. Avion Retroflyer
2. Vintage Vibes Stereo Vibe (Stage Vibe?)
3. Fender Rhodes LA by Nir Benjaminy

Each includes stereo tremolo.  I'd love input from users of any of the 3!!!!  The VV has been out of stock forever, but the stage model is listed at Reverb. The FRLA sounds great in the vids. 

Second, why a preamp on a Stage 73?

To spend $600-1400 on a Twin Reverb or JC120...none the less TWO of them and then mic each, with a stereo tremolo stomp box like the EHX Pulsar or Supa Trem 2 for that stereo pan ($1600 minimum) makes no sense...

...compared to $2-400 for a preamp with stereo pan into an effects chain and then a DI or otherwise.  What am I missing?

Thanks so much!!  Mike


I had one made by this guy:

Great option, great sound, real tubes, quite cheap!

Ben Bove

The stage piano with a guitar amp - a Twin Reverb, a JC 120 - they are already "preamped" and that's its own sound.  I personally don't recommend adding another preamp on top of those amplifiers because they would both add treble and bass EQ that collectively colors the sound.  It's also difficult to work with a stereo set up.

The best route in my opinion is to pair one of these preamps with 12" PA speakers / powered monitors for true stereo vibrato.  These will take the accurately developed EQ of these preamps and correctly amplify them.  Any good set of PA speakers / monitors are also cheaper than 2 guitar amps.  They can also be at ear level which is an incredible experience compared to a suitcase cabinet at your knees.

I personally own Nir's preamp and VV's.  They are exceptional. 
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear
(818) 806-9606

IG: @RetroRentalsNet


Can you compare Nir's to VV?

I was on gearslutz and Jim Williams replied the Avion would be the most similar to one he would build for the MK1.