Rivera Venus Recording Review – Best Guitar Amp for Recording?

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From top to bottom: Rivera RockCrusher Recording, Rivera Venus Recording, Rivera Venus 5

The Venus Recording is a tube guitar amplifier and analog 11-band EQ speaker emulator designed to be the ultimate all-in-one solution for recording real valve guitar amp tones. While countless amp makers have implemented “Direct Out” jacks onto some of their products, the Venus Recording combines the sounds of Rivera’s Venus line of amps with the speaker emulation and direct recording functionality of their proven RockCrusher Recording attenuator & direct recording interface. If ever there was a single piece of gear that could be the be-all and end-all tube amp recording solution, the Venus Recording is probably it.

Rivera has dubbed the Venus Recording an “analog profiler”, a contrasting nod to the newest wave of digital amp profiling/modeling products from the likes of Kemper, Fractal Audio, Line 6, and others. But while the digital modeling market is becoming a race to the bottom as there will always be faster processors and more efficient software algorithms, quality analog musical equipment still persists as the first choice among many discerning musicians and engineers.

But even if digital amp emulators still don’t seem to replicate their inspiration sources with 100% accuracy, to many guitarists the convenience of getting it “close enough” outweighs the slight imperfections. This has made the slight tonal compromises a worthwhile solution to avoid the hassle of miking an actual speaker cabinet, painstakingly finding the proper mic placement, and hoping you can achieve a similar tone next time if you have to track guitars in multiple recording sessions. Not to mention digital amp sims don’t require the loud volumes often needed to coax the best tones from many tube amps. (If you’re working in a home project studio, cranking up tube amps for recording probably isn’t the best way to stay on good terms with your neighbors.)

The Venus Recording aims to solve many issues of recording an actual tube amp while not compromising on the quality of results in any conceivable way. The amp side of the Venus Recording offers a potentially wider range of tones than previous models in the Venus series – and most other 2-channel amps for that matter. The RockCrusher Recording side features an all-analog EQ section designed to let you dial in the perfect speaker-like filter. This combo promises to let you nail the amp & cab tone you’re looking for.

Rivera have attempted to create a product that could be the last stage and studio tube guitar amp you need, allowing you to easily replicate the real valve tones on your recordings in a live situation much easier than ever before. Taking the 18lb unit on fly gigs, sending direct tones to front of house (FOH), and fitting the unit into a rack (with soon-to-be-released rack ear mounts) are all possibilities that widen the scope of potential uses for the “VRec” guitar amp and analog speaker simulator. Let’s find out if it lives up to the ambition of its undertaking.

Here’s an overview and review of the Venus Recording’s features.

Features:

  • 2-Channel 25-watt Tube Amp Head
  • RockCrusher 11-Band EQ “Speaker Emulator”
  • 5 12AX7 preamp tubes, 2 6V6GT power tubes
  • Channel 1: can go from super spanky clean to a hot blues overdrive or classic rock tone. Controls for Gain, Treble (w/ pull Bright), Middle (w/ pull Notch), & Bass
  • Channel 2: crunch/lead channel can be voiced for classic rock, hard rock, metal, or progressive shred. Controls for Gain, Bass, Middle, Voicing, Treble, & Master (w/ pull Boost)
  • Channel 2’s Voicing knob adjusts 3-band passive tone controls for a wide range of tone from Rivera’s Knucklehead amp series, tweed 2-knob Fender Champ, 60’s Marshall, JTM-45 combo, Vox AC-30, or classic blackface Fender
  • Presence control for attenuating upper frequencies at power amp
  • EQ On/OFF switch lets you bypass the 11-band EQ
  • Pad 3-position switch: selects between No pad (upper), 5dB pad (middle), and 10dB pad (lower)
  • Levels meter can be assigned to monitor 8 or 16ohm input power or Line out level.
  • Auxiliary Input with dedicated Aux Level control and Pre/Post switch for placing an audio signal before or after the EQ section.
  • Headphone Out w/ Level knob and Pre/Post routing is provided to monitor the signal from the Recording Output or from the signal feeding the power amplifier
  • Effects Loop 1 with individual Send/Return levels. Foot-switchable and assignable to either or both channels. Positioned between preamp and power-amp
  • Effects Loop 2 is positioned before Recording Outputs to allow end-of-chain placement of final touch effects such as delay or reverb to simulate application after a miked speaker cabinet.
  • 2 Recording Outputs: 1 ¼” unbalanced & 1 XLR balanced
  • 2 Speaker Outputs
  • Output Impedance: supports 4, 8, or 16ohm speaker loads
  • Selectable Internal Load when using direct output(s) without speaker cabinets
  • High/Lower Power switch: High (Modern) mode operates at 25-watts. Low (Vintage) mode operates at 7-watts.
  • Side-mounted carry handle for easy movement and transportation
  • Includes FS-7VR Venus Recording controller with foot-switches for Channel Select, Gain Boost Channel 2, & Effects Loop 1.
  • Compatible with optional Rivera FS7M MIDI Interface and (soon-to-be-released) Venus Recording Rack Ears.

At first glance you can’t help but notice that the Venus Recording looks more like a piece of rack gear than a typical guitar amp. There are clear visual nods to Rivera’s Venus series of amps, especially with the same familiar control knobs (and a few smaller knobs of the type seen on the Rivera Metal Shaman and Sustain Shaman pedals). But the VRec is more akin to the Rivera RockCrusher Recording with those distinctive Red LED-lit EQ faders and purple faceplate, the VRec’s purple being of a different shade and the faceplate sporting a more premium anodized aluminum finish.

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The Venus Recording is slightly wider than the RockCrusher Recording with the VRec being a full 17 inches wide compared to just under 15 inches for the RockRec. This is still sufficient enough to be rack-mounted when the Venus Recording Rack Ears are released. (The VRec should take up 4 rack spaces according to Rivera; good to know if you’re planning ahead.) Just be mindful of putting the unit in cramped spaces (or stacking gear on top as in our sample photo above) as the VRec requires adequate ventilation to avoid overheating. The unit warms up, but thanks to a massive heat-sink protruding from the back of the unit, I haven’t experienced any issues. I’d assume Rivera have taken the necessary precautions as with their RockCrusher Recording to assure dissipation of heat. The company has a long-standing reputation for “over-building” their products for years of reliable performance.

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Removing the VRec’s top-plate reveals the transformers and various PCB’s along with the 5 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 6V6GT power tubes. Rivera take great effort to ensure the power tubes are matched to the tightest tolerances. All the innards are hand-soldered and through-hole mounted with all construction taking place in Rivera’s factory in Burbank, California. While some notable US-based amp companies have moved production overseas and may later have some products only “assembled” in USA, it’s refreshing to see that Rivera still takes great pride in handcrafting all their products to the highest possible quality standard in their own factory.

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-04There’s a Headphone output on the front panel that lets you monitor the signal before the power-amp (Pre) or after the power-amp and speaker emulation (Post), particularly handy for silent jamming or dialing in your tone before sending it to front of house (FOH). While the order switch reads top to bottom “Pre/Post” you might think that the switch positions would be left to right in the same order. The order is actually reversed with the Post listening position on the left, so leave the switch to the left to monitor the signal as it sounds coming from the Recording Outputs.

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The Venus Recording also comes with an FS-7VR 3-button foot-switch with options for Channel Select, Gain Boost Ch. 2, and Effects Loop One. This is very practical in use, and the foot-switch has a nice rugged feel with enough cable length to reach to the front of a medium sized stage if the VRec is in your backline.

Visit Rivera Amplification for more info about the Venus Recording.

Sound & Performance:

Let’s first talk about using the Venus Recording as a traditional guitar amplifier. For this test I set the Output Load to “Speaker”, then plugged in an 8 Ohm 4×10 cab to Speaker 1 and an 8 Ohm 1×15 cab to Speaker 2. With my trusty Strat and Flying V close by, here’s what went down.

Channel 1: From Tweed to “Blackface” & Beyond

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Upon plugging into the Venus Recording’s Input and playing those first few notes through the clean channel (Gain 1), I immediately felt at home. Having primarily used the Rivera Venus 5 head for the past few years, the VRec produces clean tones in a similar ballpark. Think classic Fender with more modern-style clarity and definition. If you’re looking for classic clean tones with a modern level of clarity and low noise, you’ll enjoy the playing experience this channel offers.

The clean channel’s volume is controlled by simple Gain knob. Left of noon, especially around 10-11 o’clock or lower are where the cleanest tones are found. Somewhere around noon-ish or slightly above is where I like to keep it for those not-quite-clean, not-quite-dirty tones. You’ll get a little break-up when you dig in. These have become my favorite tones of the Venus series of amps, so it’s great to know that the VRec nails that sound. From were you can use an overdrive pedal to push the amp a little harder for more bark and bite or push the Gain up towards 3 o’clock for some mild classic rock saturation from the amp.

The excellent 3-band EQ section gives you a wide range of musical cut and boost, and there are a couple “Pull” options in the Treble and Middle knobs for a Bright mode and Notch function, respectively. Pulling the Treble out reminds me of plugging into the Bright input on a Fender Bassman, but the VRec gives you a sweepable range of brightness attenuation for more control over how bright your sound gets. The Middle’s Notch adjusts between 2 mid-EQ voicings. The standard “In” position lets the Middle knob boost or cut at about 550Hz for a 1950’s style tweed voicing. The pulled “Out” EQ voices the mid notch at 250Hz for a more “blackface” style mid control. I often find myself leaving the knob pushed “In” at the 550Hz setting for most general playing as the more tweed-like tones are where my ears feel most comfortable. But for recording it’s nice to have the extra “blackface” sounds instantly available for tones with chime or when I want to take some growl out of humbuckers for a fat Tele vibe. In any case the simplicity and extra Pull functions already conjure up more tonal options than you’ll find in a typical clean amp channel.

Channel 2: Classic Rivera, Cutting Edge

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The Venus Recording’s “crunch/lead” channel (Gain 2) really packs some welcome surprises. As much as I’ve praised the Venus 5 mainly for its clean channel, the dirtier side of the amp left a little something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great and has a nice warm vintage flavor. My issue was simply wanting more versatility in the sound and character of the channel to compete with the range of tones found in the clean channel. While the Venus series’ versatile cleans have always deserved great recognition, the Venus Recording has now respectably stepped up the crunch/lead channel’s game by essentially looking back to Rivera’s past.

Aside from being the first guitar amplifier company to use push/pull knobs in their amps (among their many innovations), Rivera also pioneered the use of a special voicing control to alter the mid-range frequency voicing of the amp. This can be seen as the “TMEQ” (Tunable Midrange Equalization) from the original Rivera TBR-1 rack units from the mid 80’s. The Venus Recording’s 6-position Voicing control has a similar function, shifting the mid-frequency notch from around 200Hz to the neighborhood of 800Hz. Rivera is tight-lipped about the specific frequency notches used as these specific voices are the key to the versatility and usability of the VRec’s Channel 2. But among the voices Rivera have sought to recreate is the particular mid-range character of a certain modded Marshall JCM800 that has been used on countless studio recordings around Los Angeles. The Voicing control essentially draws upon Paul Rivera’s decades of experience building and tweaking amps and offers a range of proven mid-frequency tones that are useful with guitar.

It’s hard to pick Voicing favorites, but I keep gravitating towards the 2nd, 4th, & 6th positions for higher gain tones with a standard tuned 6-string (with single-coils or humbuckers). Guitarists who favor super heavy distortion for drop-tuning and/or extended range playing will find that the earlier Voicing knob positions really let your low-mids and bottom end come through. Definition is tight and focused all around (especially on palm-muting) with a satisfying crunch, but there’s plenty of mid-range presence and woolliness to be found as well since there’s some British inspiration here. With your Voicing selected you can use the Middle knob to scoop your tone to death or get a nice full and present guitar tone. Despite being a 25-watt amp, the higher gain tones paired with various Voicing options compares favorably to my experience with Marshall & Orange flavors of higher gain grind. Quite frankly, the Voicing knob on the Crunch/Lead channel was just what the Venus amp’s distortion needed to make it more appealing and well-rounded.

Need a Boost?

There’s also a Boost function on Gain 2 that’ll take the saturation even further. It’s a preamp gain boost, not a power amp volume boost. On lower Gain settings it’ll turn a lighter overdrive tone into a hefty crunch sound. At moderate to higher Gain settings, activating the Boost will take your guitar tone into searing lead territory. This lets the tightness of the channel loosen up a bit for a spongier low-end, great for sludgier heavy rhythm tones as well. There’s a fuzzy aura added when boosting the sound at higher Gain levels of around 3 o’clock; it has an interesting velvet-like texture, sonically speaking. I really like it with neck pickups on my Strat or Flying V with the tone knob rolled back. Even if you keep the Gain restrained to the noon-2 o’clock area at most, you’ll still get a nice lead kick for solos when engaging the Boost. You’ll also notice the volume/gain increase is more dramatic at lower Gain knob settings, so experiment with your Gain setting and Master volume level to nail the difference and overall volume levels you’re looking for.

Amp + 11-Band EQ = Epic Tone Overload

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-08If you flip the EQ switch from Post-Power to Pre-Power, you can insert the VRec’s all-analog 11-band EQ in-between the preamp and power-amp sections. This takes the tonal flexibility to an almost over-the-top level of customization. The first incredibly useful aspect I noticed about this was being able to further sculpt the ultimate drive channel tone. As if the Voicing and Channel 2 EQ knobs weren’t enough, now you can get lost fine-tuning your ideal sound. I was able to tweak and round off certain middle and higher frequency bands to smooth out the vintage flavor for more modern gain sounds. For heavier tones, guitarists will appreciate the additional surgical precision of the 250Hz, 375Hz, 500Hz, and 750Hz mid-range bands. You can also tweak the 75Hz for massive low-end resonance; just leave some room for your bassist. The EQ applies to both channels, so it’s good to keep that in mind when shaping the overall sound of the EQ.

When playing the Venus Recording through guitar speaker cabinets, the EQ inserted before the power-amp also lets you tweak your sound to better match the VRec to the cab(s) you’re using. If you’re not feeling something about the resonance of certain speakers, a touch of boost or cut in certain bands will help. The 11-band EQ makes the Venus Recording incredibly flexible as a traditional guitar amp, and it would be ideal in a head or combo variation for a range of high-quality tones that exceed the offerings of many boutique amp rivals.

The Presence knob is your final EQ shaping tool. It’s located at the power amp section of the Venus Recording and lets you put the final sheen on your upper frequencies. Since this applies to both channels, you’ll want to pay special attention to dialing in your top-end on both channels first. Then if you’re getting a little more brightness on one side, just cut down the Presence a bit until any treble bite is gone. This is particularly suited to taming the edge of your distortion, hence the knob’s location next to the Master knob of Channel 2.

The Venus Recording delivers the most versatile range of crunch, overdrive, and high-gain tones from a Venus series product so far. Again, it would be killer if Rivera rolls out the Venus Recording in a combo or head. Fans of the Venus 3, Venus 5, or Venus 6 will surely dig the little improvements that have been made. The Focus knob from the Venus 5 that let you adjust how the amp interacts with the cabinet isn’t included, but the Venus Recording has a responsive feel with cabs (or going direct) that shouldn’t warrant need for it anyway. While its absence was most likely due to space considerations, the focus here is more on the integration of the RockCrusher Recording elements for direct recording purposes. We’ll get to those aspects in a moment.

There’s no integrated spring reverb in the Venus Recording which could be a put off for some people, especially if you’re a Twin Reverb fan. The Venus 5 amp head had an Accutronics spring reverb, but there just isn’t room for one in the Venus Recording. The good news is that you could always use a reverb pedal in one of the VRec’s effects loops, so there’s flexibility there to use your own reverb unit of choice if happen to have access to a real spring reverb tank in some form.

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-17The VRec also has an Output Power selection switch that reduces the amp’s wattage from 25 watts to about 7 watts. This also changes the character slightly from a more “Modern” sound to a “Vintage” flavor. The High wattage setting is brighter with more headroom and articulation. The Low wattage mode has a darker sound and may appeal to those of you who like warmer and more mellow tones. Not to mention the lower wattage mode is handy for lower volume bedroom jamming.

Auxiliary Input: Preamps & “Amp-in-a-Box” pedals

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-09One of the interesting uses of the Auxiliary Input is that you can use it to feed other audio sources into the Venus Recording. You could set the Aux Input to Post (as in post EQ) and maybe feed in some backing tracks to jam to. Or you could set it to Pre so that the Aux signal comes before the 1st Effects Loop and EQ. This allows you to route in other amplifier preamps (via their effects sends) directly into the Venus Recording. Doing so with my Venus 5 head’s preamp was easy. Or you can plug in an “amp-in-a-box” stompbox or other distortion pedal (like the Rivera Metal Shaman) to make the sound more amp-like with the VRec’s tube power-amp and analog EQ. Also, try splitting the signal into both the Venus Recording’s guitar Input and to another preamp or pedal into the Aux Input. You can use the Aux Level and Gain/Master knobs to blend the Venus Recording’s preamp with your Aux preamp to create awesome layered drive tones. The VRec just begs for you to experiment with pedals with way.

Recording Direct with Venus Recording

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Arguably the biggest draw of the Venus Recording is the direct out possibilities afforded by its 11-band Analog EQ “speaker emulator” and Recording Outputs. This lets you take the full tube amp tone from the VRec’s preamp & power-amp and apply an infinite range of analog filtering in a range of frequency bands that are suited to guitar. A speaker is a mechanical filter. A microphone also filters your tone. The 11-band EQ let’s you apply your own filter shape right at the source, allowing a more customizable tone and negating the frustrations of microphone placement.

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-11To start, you can plug one of the VRec’s Recording Outputs into and audio recording interface or directly into a powered studio monitor to hear the amp signal complete with speaker emulation. (If you’re not also using a traditional speaker cab be sure to set the Load switch to Internal before you do.) You can start will all the EQ faders in the middle at 0db; there are center detents on the faders, so you’ll know it’s set flat. This should already give you a solid neutral base tone. If you flip the EQ switch on the front to Off, you’ll hear the full range, unfiltered tone. While it may sound brash and scratchy, this option lets you record a full spectrum signal for “in-the-box” processing via Pro Tools, Ableton Live, or other DAW. You could also re-amp the signal with the Venus Recording by feeding it back into the front of the amp or into the dedicated Auxiliary Input for EQ “speaker emulation” processing.

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-12The Pad switch is a handy function that shouldn’t be overlooked. It lets you drop the volume by -5dB or -10dB before your signal hits the EQ section. One of the best things about the Venus’ clean channel is the slightly overdriven not-quite-clean/not-quite-dirty tones when you push the Gain up past noon. Doing so, however, results in loud volumes as there is no “Master” control on the clean channel. One option is to bump the Pad down to -5dB or -10dB as this helps with finding a manageable volume level when using a higher Gain 1 setting and matching it with the volume of Channel 2. It’ll keep the signal from being as hot when it hits the EQ. You can then use the Line Out slider to set your overall level being sent to the Recording Outputs. Even without the Pad you can still just use the Line Out slider if that works for you. It’s all about options.

Speaker Emulation Vs Real Speakers

A few years ago I was seeking a way to record at lower volume levels without compromising sound quality, and the Rivera Silent Sister isolated speaker cabinet caught my attention. Then, lo and behold, I discovered that Rivera made the RockCrusher Recording. The RockRec solved all my problems, and I’ve been using that primarily during my pedal reviews and demos on Best Guitar Effects ever since. But for this comparison let’s take a took at what the Venus Recording offers in comparison to the Silent Sister and discuss how using the VRec differs from using an actual speaker cabinet.

Anytime you’re miking a speaker cabinet, you place the mic, try to get the best sound you can, and hope you can capture the recordings you need before having to move the microphone for a different recording session. Typically, for general guitar applications a dynamic microphone close-miked to the cab gets the job done. This provides a direct tone that shouldn’t have any room ambience mixed in. The Silent Sister iso-cab also nails this. The Venus Recording can produce convincing speaker-like tones as well.

A point of note is that every single speaker will show minor variances in frequency response due to design inconsistencies or the factors of use and age. A new speaker and microphone will have differing characteristics than even the same model after years of use. In attempting to replicate the response of my new Shure SM57 and a new Celestion Vintage 30 with the Venus Recording, I couldn’t quite nail that sound even though I tried to emulate Rivera’s “Vintage 30” speaker graph shape. I tried moving the individual EQ sliders towards the sound I was hearing from the miked speaker but just couldn’t quite get as close as I wanted. The VRec’s 11-bands of analog EQ won’t always fill in all the frequency spaces you’ll hear on certain speakers if your goal is 100% perfect emulation of a given speaker; however the Venus Recording does create a range of tones that far surpasses any single speaker. While I couldn’t nail that exact “Vintage 30 w/ SM57” sound, I found countless tones in that range that I actually liked better than the real thing. If you want a 100% accurate sound of a particular miked speaker, just mike that speaker. If you want a similar tone that might even expand or improve on that sound, the Venus Recording is worth a shot. Seasoned engineers will appreciate the greater flexibility of tuning out or enhancing certain resonant speaker frequencies before recording instead of only being able to tune the sound by applying EQ later.

Rivera-Venus-Recording-Review-Best-Guitar-Amp-Recording-14Another thing to consider is that using the Venus Recording doesn’t have to be a trade-off with cab miking as you can record a direct signal from the unit and a miked speaker cab simultaneously. Since the Venus Recording has 2 speaker outputs, there aren’t really any limitations here. I’ve coaxed many great tones from a pair of cabs and the direct signal from the Venus Recording. But surprisingly, I haven’t felt compelled to use my cabinets much or even record the excellent speaker sounds of the V30 equipped Rivera Silent Sister. At this point I’m having a more enjoyable guitar playing experience with the Venus Recording and a pair of Tannoy Reveal 802 reference monitors than playing the VRec through actual guitar amp speaker cabinets.

When recording the VRec direct, you’ll get a close sound without room ambience, but if you want to capture some room feel, you can add it “in-the-box” later, use a cab and place a room mic, or re-amp the audio later to recreate a room feel in the same or different space.

Effects Loop 1 & 2

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Having 2 effects loops is something I was obviously excited about. Since our site focuses on guitar pedals, it’s obviously important to have some effects loops to work with. Effects Loop 1 is located between the preamp and power-amp, is foot-switchable, can be assigned to either or both channels, and has dedicated Send & Return level knobs. Effects Loop 2 is unique in that it’s just a static “always-on” loop that affects the signal right at the Recording Outputs. This lets you apply ambient effects like reverb and delay after the power-amp, speaker emulation – everything – on your direct out signal. The signal to your speaker cabs won’t be affected by Effects Loop 2. I sometimes insert a limiter or some mild compression into this loop to ensure that I don’t clip the audio interface when recording. You can also better simulate room ambience by using a room reverb effect on Effects Loop 2 than by using it before your amp or in Effects Loop 1. Lot’s of possibilities here for the effects using guitarist. Just saying.

If I had to find faults with the Venus Recording, I’d say that it can appear daunting at first with so many features and possibilities available. I adapted quickly mainly because of my experience with the Venus 5 and RockCrusher Recording, those units being the parental heritage of the VRec. Coming to grips with the sheer amount of options, versatility, and tone-shaping power of the VRec might take some adjustment, but once you’re rolling, there’s no turning back. The only workflow setback I’ve had is that I’d typically use the “Studio Level” knob on the RockRec when attenuating the Venus 5 to lower the speaker cabinet level to near inaudible levels while silently recording. With the VRec I have to put it in “Standby” and flip the speaker load to Internal to kill the signal to the speaker cabs. Reaching around to the back may not be a dig deal in some cases, but once you rack mount it or install it in some other semi-tight space, it might be even less convenient to do so.

The tube consideration could be an issue for some guitarists and engineers who appreciate the differences that replacing power amp tubes can make. Due to size constraints (and presumably being a low-wattage amp), the Venus Recording’s 6V6GT’s are what you get. But I’ve found that the tone controls and EQ offer more than enough flexibility to achieve the low and high frequency response from the amp that you could want.

A New Generation of Analog Tone?

Thanks to the convenience of digital amp sims that contain dozens of amp models and with the iconic tube amps they’re based on being out of reach for many modern musicians, something interesting has been happening in recent years. Many modern musicians have developed an ear for the tones of imperfect digital amp clones. The imitations have actually become the new standard for many and have defined many of the guitar tones in modern music.

But there is a uniqueness in the feel, sound, and response of valve amplifiers that will always be sought after among many musicians, especially guitarists who have experience with the sounds of real tube amps and didn’t grow up playing faux digital simulations. While the pro level features of the Venus Recording make it an obvious consideration for engineers in the studio, this product has potential to bring a range of classic and modern tube amp sounds to a new generation of guitar players who’d otherwise continue using digital imitations. The flexibility of the Rivera Venus Recording to craft traditional and original tube amp tones for the stage and studio is simply unparalleled. There’s a range of new sounds to be discovered by tweaking the EQ section for unique analog hybrid “speaker” tones. No other amp maker is doing anything like this to the degree at which the Venus Recording delivers, and the VRec is the boldest statement an amp-maker has made in recent years for the revival and reinvention of real tube amp tone.

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Overall-Rating-5.0

The Rivera Venus Recording is a new frontier in tube guitar amplifiers, giving you a wide range of real valve-based guitar tones and unparalleled options for recording those sounds in the studio and taking them to the stage. The amp side of the VRec is among the most diverse Rivera have created and the most robust and versatile amp in the Venus line. The 11-band EQ analog speaker emulation and direct recording options from the RockCrusher Recording offer the best “direct out” functionality integrated into an all-tube amp that you’ll find anywhere. Two speaker cab outputs and 4/8/16 ohm compatibility ensure that you can still play and record traditionally. Guitar pedal users will appreciate the dual effects loops. It’s really hard to find fault with the Venus Recording considering all that it’s capable of, and the success of Rivera’s latest vision could usher in a new era in tube amp recording technology.

That concludes our Rivera Venus Recording review. Thanks for reading.