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Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb (And Twin) Review

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 61638
    brooom said:

    I find this kind of technology is put to much better use when it actually brings something new to the table... which is not the case with the tonemasters.
    I think it does - *accurate* valve amp sound and dynamics, in one simple package, with fully controllable volume, loud enough to keep up with a drummer, and light enough to lift with one hand.

    OK none of those are new concepts by themselves, but put together they are. A lot of people having been saying they would give up their valve amps only when this circle was squared... well, now it has been. Probably - I haven't tried one myself yet (and I'm wary, after my experience with the ridiculously-hyped Boss Katana, which just sounded awful to me) - but some of the people who have, and reported that they do sound like the valve equivalent, are probably as cautious as I am.

    If they really do then the only remaining question is over the long-term reliability.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • @ICBM had nailed it 
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 1060
    edited September 2020
    My point exactly there are no new concepts there, but I do agree that now they've been brought to the forefront by a big brand, under one package.  

    Like everything we shall wait and see how they fare in terms of reliability, also much like anything else, when the excitement period is over, they will eventually start popping up in the classifieds sections, as they do, and in the end people will still be keeping their favourite tube amps 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 15443
    tFB Trader
    It's much more about packaging a product that pushing the boundaries of technology.

    I'm sure you could have done the same thing to the same level of sound quality with an AxeFX, Matrix and 1x12, but it's too much fiddling and it doesn't look cool.
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  • These things cost the same as a mid-range iPhone, something most people treat as a disposable gadget with a lifespan of only a handful of years. In the very unlikely event that one of these amps is tip-fodder after about 5 years, it would still represent excellent value for money.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 61638
    brooom said:

    ... and in the end people will still be keeping their favourite tube amps 
    Well, I won't. I only own one valve amp, and I never really use it. I probably won't buy another one, I've already moved entirely to solid-state (analogue). These new Fenders are just a different type of solid-state.

    I always thought that with enough investment in R&D, analogue solid-state would end up sounding just as good as valve and would then replace it completely for the vast majority of users - in my opinion it nearly did, but was overtaken by digital at the last fence... which I think is something of a pity, as analogue is inherently more future-proof.

    But no-one really worries if their old analogue TV no longer works now...

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 1977
    edited September 2020
    The ‘nothing new here, just less than usual in a slightly tweaked format’ was the argument a lot of tech reviewers used to predict  that Apple were onto a loser with their pointless new iPad.

    Most potential buyers of the TMs will be people who think the more complex tech solutions are too much learning curve and faff. Their point of comparison will be ‘real’ amps. If they are convinced an alternative is cheaper, sounds as good, is as easy to use, and weighs half as much they will be interested. That only a nerd whose paying close attention will notice it looks any different from the real thing will be a big bonus for many.

    As for the idea that it’s going to cost you more in the long run because in 5 or 10 years it won’t be repairable I can’t see that being a big part of of the decision tree for many. However much a section of the guitar community might wish otherwise, it’s not 1965.
    “To a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”
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  • I love the idea of this. I can't use almost all the digital solutions because they have screens and loads of menus, and I'm completely blind. Carrying an amp with one hand is almost a necessity with me for the same reason (cane in other hand). I  recognise I'm an edge case but damn these things are up my street.
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 1060
    I'm not disputing the commercial viability of this as product... but than again I also don't own an apple IPhone. Thankfully nowadays there's great choices for all
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  • ICBM said:
    brooom said:

    I find this kind of technology is put to much better use when it actually brings something new to the table... which is not the case with the tonemasters.
    I think it does - *accurate* valve amp sound and dynamics, in one simple package, with fully controllable volume, loud enough to keep up with a drummer, and light enough to lift with one hand.

    AND quiet enough to use at home above 1 on the volume control - that combination is what makes it for me. To get those sounds from a valve version you have to spend 1400 on the DRRI plus another few hundred on a decent loadbox/attenuator which adds weight and removes portability as well.

    I've been on the verge of buying a "real" Deluxe Reverb for a couple of years but didn't because I couldn't use it on 4 at home. Instead I'm 100% sure this will be my next amp.
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  • ICBM said:
    brooom said:

    I find this kind of technology is put to much better use when it actually brings something new to the table... which is not the case with the tonemasters.
    I think it does - *accurate* valve amp sound and dynamics, in one simple package, with fully controllable volume, loud enough to keep up with a drummer, and light enough to lift with one hand.

    AND quiet enough to use at home above 1 on the volume control - that combination is what makes it for me. To get those sounds from a valve version you have to spend 1400 on the DRRI plus another few hundred on a decent loadbox/attenuator which adds weight and removes portability as well.

    I've been on the verge of buying a "real" Deluxe Reverb for a couple of years but didn't because I couldn't use it on 4 at home. Instead I'm 100% sure this will be my next amp.
    This was also me. I could not get on with deluxe reverbs clean with pedals. Didn't really get enough chance to crank one because of how loud it gets. The positive reviews of this persuaded me to give it a try as an easy buy, carefully demo and return if it was still no - it was happy days. I'd probably gig the TMDR over amps I prefer the sound of just because of the practicality considerations. It's got me really excited for the idea of an amp I really, really love getting similar treatment. 
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1837
    edited September 2020
    Lots of people are basing arguments around weight. Fair enough for the Twin but the valve DR isn’t a particularly heavy amp. 

    It already seems to be fairly well established that the TM clean tone verges on indistinguishable. What we need more evidence of is how it compares with all the standard pedals in front of it. Do they react the same to a TS808, OCD, KOT etc? Many of these classic pedals would have been designed with valve DRs in mind. For years, Andy used a valve DR for all his premier guitar pedal demos. If you lose the tone quality with pedals, it’s a big factor.

    All that said I agree with those saying the price is probably reasonable for the longevity predicted. We live in a digital, throwaway culture where we expect to replace our £2k MacBooks and £1k iPhones after a few years. If an £800 TM packs it in after 15-20 years I doubt many of us would bat an eyelid.

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  • The ‘nothing new here, just less than usual in a slightly tweaked format’ was the argument a lot of tech reviewers used to predict  that Apple were onto a loser with their pointless new iPad.

    Most potential buyers of the TMs will be people who think the more complex tech solutions are too much learning curve and faff. Their point of comparison will be ‘real’ amps. If they are convinced an alternative is cheaper, sounds as good, is as easy to use, and weighs half as much they will be interested. That only a nerd whose paying close attention will notice it looks any different from the real thing will be a big bonus for many.

    As for the idea that it’s going to cost you more in the long run because in 5 or 10 years it won’t be repairable I can’t see that being a big part of of the decision tree for many. However much a section of the guitar community might wish otherwise, it’s not 1965.
    This was a factor for me. The bit about faff. Spending too much time buggering around trying to get a better sound etc. I just want to plug in and play at a volume that doesn’t end in marital strife. 

    I love the THR for exactly this reason also. 

    I had the fortune to have a toneking grande falcon for a while. Prefer this any day. Seriously. Doesn’t make sense to me either, but there we are. 
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 862
    When my TM Twin arrived, I had a tuned DRRI alongside it in my soundproofed man-cave. I ABd them for quite a while at all volumes I could tolerate, and then further up with earplugs.
    The Twin beat the DRRI for tone. We already know it wins on weight. 

    No data for the TM yet on reliability, but I have had several valve amp failures over the years, including both a DRRI and TRRI. Some of those were gig-stoppers that required a backup to get me through. Some were less crucial things like reverb drivers going down etc. Yes, they were repairable but it wasn’t cheap and every time it happened I found myself cursing valve amps in general. 

    When my warranty expires on the Twin I’ll install a speaker jack so I can run a backup head through the cab if anything goes wrong. Even if the worst eventually happens and Twin’s long term future is as a lightweight and cool looking 2x12 cab, I’ll be happy. No such option for reusing a dead iPhone, is there?
    Some of the gear, some idea

    Trading feedback here
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  • TINMAN82 said:
    Lots of people are basing arguments around weight. Fair enough for the Twin but the valve DR isn’t a particularly heavy amp. My ‘64 DR weighs about 2kg less than a mini silver jubilee combo, which is a pretty compact amp.


    I have a Rivera Chubster, almost the same weight as the valve DR. 

    It's never left the house, because it doesn't do anything my Quilter doesn't at half the weight.  I'd consider a TM but not a DRRI for that reason.

    Not many guys are so strong they won't notice the difference between carrying 40lbs or 20lbs across a big car park and up a couple of flights of stairs.  The weight saving will matter to more people than you imply.
    “To a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”
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  • If it cost £399 I think it would be a good idea. But £700 is crazy money to me. This thing costs less to build than a Marshall 50 watt Valvestate combo
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 1060
    edited September 2020
    TINMAN82 said:
    Lots of people are basing arguments around weight. Fair enough for the Twin but the valve DR isn’t a particularly heavy amp. My ‘64 DR weighs about 2kg less than a mini silver jubilee combo, which is a pretty compact amp.

    It already seems to be fairly well established that the TM clean tone verges on indistinguishable. What we need more evidence of is how it compares with all the standard pedals in front of it. Do they react the same to a TS808, OCD, KOT etc? Many of these classic pedals would have been designed with valve DRs in mind. For years, Andy used a valve DR for all his premier guitar pedal demos. If you lose the tone quality with pedals, it’s a big factor.

    All that said I agree with those saying the price is probably reasonable for the longevity predicted. We live in a digital, throwaway culture where we expect to replace our £2k MacBooks and £1k iPhones after a few years. If an £800 TM packs it in after 15-20 years I doubt many of us would bat an eyelid.

    The weight argument is also a bit exacerbated by the fact the most regular DR have ceramic or alnico speakers, whereas the tonemaster comes with a neodymium, which is some amps can remove as much as half the weight.
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  • brooom said:
    TINMAN82 said:
    Lots of people are basing arguments around weight. Fair enough for the Twin but the valve DR isn’t a particularly heavy amp. My ‘64 DR weighs about 2kg less than a mini silver jubilee combo, which is a pretty compact amp.

    It already seems to be fairly well established that the TM clean tone verges on indistinguishable. What we need more evidence of is how it compares with all the standard pedals in front of it. Do they react the same to a TS808, OCD, KOT etc? Many of these classic pedals would have been designed with valve DRs in mind. For years, Andy used a valve DR for all his premier guitar pedal demos. If you lose the tone quality with pedals, it’s a big factor.

    All that said I agree with those saying the price is probably reasonable for the longevity predicted. We live in a digital, throwaway culture where we expect to replace our £2k MacBooks and £1k iPhones after a few years. If an £800 TM packs it in after 15-20 years I doubt many of us would bat an eyelid.

    The weight argument is also a bit exacerbated by the fact the most regular DR have ceramic or alnico speakers, whereas the tonemaster comes with a neodymium, which is some amps can remove as much as half the weight.
    I guess, in summary, you are just not the target audience...
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 1060
    I guess in summary, the tone master is the next best thing since sliced bread.
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 862
    I had a neo speaker in my DRRI. The TM Twin is still significantly lighter, despite being larger and a 2x12.

    It's not just the speakers, it's the lack of massive transformers, the solid pine cab etc.
    Some of the gear, some idea

    Trading feedback here
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