Review: Rivera Sedona Lite 25-Watt 1x10

Rivera’s new Sedona Lite is an exciting two-in-one acoustic/electric proposition for the player and singer searching for true tube tone in a super-portable package that’s capable of filling venues of all sizes with sonic goodness.
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Rivera’s new Sedona Lite is an exciting two-in-one acoustic/electric proposition for the player and singer searching for true tube tone in a super-portable package that’s capable of filling venues of all sizes with sonic goodness. The 25-watt 1x10 combo comes about 15 years after the original Sedona spurred an entire line, and around seven years after the arrival of a big sister also named Sedona Lite. This little bundle of joy is the result of a personal challenge by Paul Rivera, Jr.

“Doyle Dykes called us and said, ‘I play acoustic and electric guitars and I need one amp to do it all,’” recalls Rivera. “So we created the world’s first all-tube acoustic and electric amp that was clean on one channel, and high-gain on the other. We called the next one Sedona Lite because both channels were clean, but it was the same 55 watts; pretty loud and also quite heavy. My dad always felt and we all agreed that an acoustic amp needed to be at least 50 watts to provide enough headroom. “On a whim, and because I was getting a ton of headroom from 6V6 power tubes in the 25-watt Venus Deux combo, I decided to try them in a 1x10 combo with a tweeter, just to hear for myself. It sounded way bigger than I could have ever imagined! Doyle approved, and he switched right over to the 25-watt version even though he plays 2,000-seat venues.”

Both channels are similarly voiced, but Channel 1 is lower gain and carries on the Sedona tradition of having a balanced/unbalanced input with a TRS jack as per the request of Taylor guitars. Many of their models have balanced outputs, so if you use one of those with a stereo cord, Channel 1 will bring out its full potential.

Applications abound. The most obvious is going acoustic into Channel 1 and electric into Channel 2. Tested with a variety of acoustics, those 6V6 tubes brought out more natural wooden sounds rich in mids, and delivered the three-dimensionality generally associated with tube amps. The Accutronics reverb added a much-appreciated analog spatial element that sounded fabulous on vocals too.

On the electric side, the Sedona sounded similar to a Fender Deluxe Reverb, but didn’t break up as easily when pushed. That’s all by design, according to Rivera.

“Eminence creates a custom-voiced speaker for us that sounds big and warm without having to push it hard, and won’t fall apart when you do. It works great with pedals. The tweeter was inspired by an old EV model, and since no one was currently producing a suitable high-powered dome tweeter with a magnet that size, we had it made exclusively for us. Everybody else uses piezo tweeters or they go to compression drivers.”

With its grille removed, you can see the 10" Eminence speaker and custom dome tweeter that give the Sedona Lite its big soundstage.

Plugging a Taylor 514ce equipped with an onboard Fishman Prefix system into Channel 1 and simultaneously sending a Fishman Black-stack passive magnetic sound-hole signal to channel Channel 2 yielded a powerful combination of percussiveness and body. I looped a rhythm part via a Pigtronix Infinity Looper just so I could sit back and soak in the tone. Adding a Blackstone Mosfet Overdrive on a low-gain setting in the second signal chain created a killer combination of acoustic openness and gritty glory. Going back to fully clean seemed like a letdown, so while that was looping, I unplugged the magnetic pickup, grabbed a Godin Summit Classic CT Convertible solid-body, and swapped it into the Channel 2 signal chain. Seamlessly, I had a creamy electric tone riding over the acoustic loop. Even when I kicked on the Blackstone’s high-gain overdrive, the Sedona sounded sweet—not squashed.

Players of hybrid guitars will revel in the ability to blend both signals in the same amp. I utilized an old Parker Fly to its full capabilities for the first time, and it sounded hip with the piezo acoustic tone primary, and a thick overdrive blended underneath. So why don’t more acoustic amp makers utilize tube designs? “Maybe it’s a matter of money,” proposes Rivera. Many companies seem more interested in making miniature P.A. systems than true-toned guitar amps.”

The Sedona’s direct output sounded killer through a P.A., and its level control makes for easy augmentation when the Sedona Lite can’t deliver enough volume without feedback, or when the stage volume needs to stay low—or if you simply want a small dose of the Sedona’s signal in your stage monitor.

Strictly acoustic or electric players have oodles of other options available, but this could be the desert island amp for a jack-of-all-trades. Get your hands on a Rivera Sedona Lite 25-watt 1x10 combo and tweak it a bit. Each of the controls makes a huge difference—especially the pull-notch Middle knobs, and particularly when used in conjunction with the two Anti Feedback controls. All considered, the Sedona Lite stands unique in the marketplace for tube tone aficionados who want to plug in and go “unplugged” with the same small amp.

Sedona Lite 1x10

PRICE $1,799 street
CONTROLS (Both channels) Volume, Treble (pull bright), Middle (pull notch,) Bass. Global Reverb, Presence, Anti-Feedback Level (pull on), and Frequency
POWER 25 watts
EXTRAS Tweeter On/Off switch. FX loop with Send Level and Return Level. Balanced Direct Out Level (-20dBV/+10dBV)
SPEAKER Eminence 10", custom high-frequency tweeter
WEIGHT 38 lbs
KUDOS Terrific tube tone. Flexible connectivity. Lush analog reverb.
CONCERNS A bit of low-end quack when pushing piezo acoustic tone. Noisy bypass switch.