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Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb (And Twin) Review

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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 15443
    tFB Trader
    Starting the video with "We are going to buy one"

    I haven't watched it, but the chances of them choosing the non valve amp seems like absolute nil.
    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.

    I think it's one of the worst episodes of TPS I've ever seen.

    They clearly set out to buy a 65 DRRI and were using the Tone Master angle to add a concept to the video. They both hate anything digital on principle so it was never going to come out any other way.

    The benchmark in everything was "does it sound exactly like the 65 DRRI?" so set it up for the optimal breakup on one amp and say "Hmm this amp isn't breaking up enough" etc.

    They also state they aren't interested in any of the advantages it offers and hate neo speakers so there was no point them getting it in the first place as it clearly was something they weren't interested in.

    If they had also had a 68 DRRI I'm sure there would have been more difference than the Tone Master and the 65 DRRI. 

    I do give them credit for using the same speaker as that was where most of the difference in sound was coming from.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 61638
    RandallFlagg said:

    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.
    I thought it was the other way round. The Tone Master was fuller, less boxy and just bigger sounding.

    Then again I've never really liked Deluxe Reverbs...

    "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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  • gubblegubble Frets: 1569
    I've just watched this - the chap who sits on the right (plays the tele) - i felt it was obvious from the first second he wasn't going to like the tonemaster because it wasn't the real deal / thing he's heard 1000's of times.

    They both sounded great and i'd be happy to own either
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  • DoctorXDoctorX Frets: 195
    edited October 2020
    It’s also worth bearing in mind that the 65 DRRI doesn’t sound the same as a 64 hand wired DRRI, and all three of them would sound different to any random original 60’s blackface Deluxe Reverb, so a direct comparison like this isn’t worth much. Saying that, I did think the 65 sounded better in this video though.
    Instagram: 77doctor_x
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  • adampeteradampeter Frets: 739
    ICBM said:
    RandallFlagg said:

    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.
    I thought it was the other way round. The Tone Master was fuller, less boxy and just bigger sounding.

    Then again I've never really liked Deluxe Reverbs...
    Agree totally, the TM was better in most ways that matter
    And i love a DR
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 5256
    The '65 sounded better in every way for me. Funny how we all want different things from a sound. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 7503
    I suggest folks simply pop into your local delete and AB them...

    You May be surprised ;)
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 7872
    Starting the video with "We are going to buy one"

    I haven't watched it, but the chances of them choosing the non valve amp seems like absolute nil.
    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.

    I think it's one of the worst episodes of TPS I've ever seen.

    They clearly set out to buy a 65 DRRI and were using the Tone Master angle to add a concept to the video. They both hate anything digital on principle so it was never going to come out any other way.

    The benchmark in everything was "does it sound exactly like the 65 DRRI?" so set it up for the optimal breakup on one amp and say "Hmm this amp isn't breaking up enough" etc.

    They also state they aren't interested in any of the advantages it offers and hate neo speakers so there was no point them getting it in the first place as it clearly was something they weren't interested in.

    If they had also had a 68 DRRI I'm sure there would have been more difference than the Tone Master and the 65 DRRI. 

    I do give them credit for using the same speaker as that was where most of the difference in sound was coming from.
    They’ve always been unapologetic for what tricks their boxes, both tonally and emotionally. 

    Also the first vid I’ve seen of the Tone Master which isn’t a paid ad or sales pitch.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 15443
    tFB Trader
    dindude said:
    Starting the video with "We are going to buy one"

    I haven't watched it, but the chances of them choosing the non valve amp seems like absolute nil.
    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.

    I think it's one of the worst episodes of TPS I've ever seen.

    They clearly set out to buy a 65 DRRI and were using the Tone Master angle to add a concept to the video. They both hate anything digital on principle so it was never going to come out any other way.

    The benchmark in everything was "does it sound exactly like the 65 DRRI?" so set it up for the optimal breakup on one amp and say "Hmm this amp isn't breaking up enough" etc.

    They also state they aren't interested in any of the advantages it offers and hate neo speakers so there was no point them getting it in the first place as it clearly was something they weren't interested in.

    If they had also had a 68 DRRI I'm sure there would have been more difference than the Tone Master and the 65 DRRI. 

    I do give them credit for using the same speaker as that was where most of the difference in sound was coming from.
    They’ve always been unapologetic for what tricks their boxes, both tonally and emotionally. 

    Also the first vid I’ve seen of the Tone Master which isn’t a paid ad or sales pitch.

    That's fair enough but it makes the video totally pointless and somewhat dishonest.

    At least when they did a solid state video previously it was themed on "We don't like solid state but can these win us over"
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 7503
    I haven’t watched it yet (well, I did the first few minutes) and I thought that they would be heading down that route....

    I like TPS but even in my eyes, they live in fantasy land. And they must be doing quite well - there gear increases and increases.
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 7872
    For what it’s worth I thought the Tonemaster sounded really good - but surprised how different to the Dlx reverb 
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1837
    edited October 2020
    Those hoping to stoke their confirmation bias will be disappointed with this video. The DRRI was a clear winner here IMO.

    Yes, when they piled on the MIAB/ chorus etc the gap closed.

    Interesting too how bright the tonemaster got without its neo speaker, although I agree the DRRI combos own speaker was most flattering.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 61638
    dindude said:
    For what it’s worth I thought the Tonemaster sounded really good - but surprised how different to the Dlx reverb 
    I was surprised that they couldn't seem to dial them in a lot more accurately and quickly given that they had an A/B box, and making obvious mistakes like the reverb being set a lot higher on the DRRI when they were comparing it. The Anderton's video (I think it was) had them a lot closer.

    I gave up on this one well before the end so I didn't hear the Tonemaster being run through the other speaker, but I still thought it sounded better with the neo anyway.

    "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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  • dindudedindude Frets: 7872
    ICBM said:
    dindude said:
    For what it’s worth I thought the Tonemaster sounded really good - but surprised how different to the Dlx reverb 
    I was surprised that they couldn't seem to dial them in a lot more accurately and quickly given that they had an A/B box, and making obvious mistakes like the reverb being set a lot higher on the DRRI when they were comparing it. The Anderton's video (I think it was) had them a lot closer.

    I gave up on this one well before the end so I didn't hear the Tonemaster being run through the other speaker, but I still thought it sounded better with the neo anyway.
    Yeah agree the Anderson’s was a lot closer. Something about the Tonemaster sounded just a little flat, just a hint of that flat response  sound when I used to plug my first ever electronic guitar into the input on my old hi Fi! (Pre owning an amp).
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 3618
    All the videos seem yo go down the same route of the TM vs the 65 and how close it can sound. That would make sense if the TM was a replacement but since you can still by either, focusing on what each offer that set them apart would seem to make more sense. 

    I’d like to see a video where a working guitarist uses each for a week or so and shows each handling live and studio work. I still think it seems like an intriguing idea, it doesn’t have to sound just a like a valve DR, it just needs to make a noise I really like. 
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  • RandallFlaggRandallFlagg Frets: 12792
    edited October 2020
    The difference I hear in the TPS video is the same difference I hear with all modellers of Fender blackface amps I have tried, it's that mid range thing that a valve Fender blackface does. It changes as you change the volume on the amp.

    It's the same on my Mesa Boogie Mark V 35, set the amp on clean channel and mode with the preamp volume at around 11 o clock, set the tone controls for a nice sparkly Fendery clean tone then sweep the preamp volume up to 3 o clock and you can hear the core tone changing in the mid range without any change to the tone controls.

    The best I've tried at replicating this is the Axe FX II which I really liked for direct recorded tones but didn't like to play through in the room as an “amp”. 

    I have now settled on using a valve amp for “in the room” playing and a HX Stomp for direct recording, that's where modelling really shines for me and is superior unless you a proper studio setup and can mic up cabs properly with the right gear.


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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1837
    The difference I hear in the TPS video is the same difference I hear with all modellers of Fender blackface amps I have tried, it's that mid range thing that a valve Fender blackface does. It changes as you change the volume on the amp.

    It's the same on my Mesa Boogie Mark V 35, set the amp on clean channel and mode with the preamp volume at around 11 o clock, set the tone controls for a nice sparkly Fendery clean tone then sweep the preamp volume up to 3 o clock and you can hear the core tone changing in the mid range without any change to the tone controls.

    The best I've tried at replicating this is the Axe FX II which I really liked for direct recorded tones but didn't like to play through in the room as an “amp”. 

    I have now settled on using a valve amp for “in the room” playing and a HX Stomp for direct recording, that's where modelling really shines for me and is superior unless you a proper studio setup and can mic up cabs properly with the right gear.
    I concur, certainly fits with my amp experiences to date.
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  • downbytheriverdownbytheriver Frets: 861
    edited October 2020
    Starting the video with "We are going to buy one"

    I haven't watched it, but the chances of them choosing the non valve amp seems like absolute nil.
    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.
    They haven’t tried the 68 - imo (never humble) a reissue is the right one for their purposes but they are going to buy the wrong one anyway.

    It’s quite clear that they aren’t open minded enough to realise that the advantages of the Tonemaster (weight, attenuator, IR output) outweigh the very small tonal difference that will not be heard by anybody in the average gig situation. That show (and yes I do watch every one) gets a bit too forensic too often. Maybe it’s a show for  bedroom players. 
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  • TINMAN82TINMAN82 Frets: 1837
    Starting the video with "We are going to buy one"

    I haven't watched it, but the chances of them choosing the non valve amp seems like absolute nil.
    Agreed, but when you watch the video, the valve amp just sound better.
    They haven’t tried the 68 - imo (never humble) they are going to buy the wrong one anyway. It’s quite clear that they aren’t open minded enough to realise that the advantages of the Tonemaster (weight, attenuator, IR output) outweigh the very small tonal difference that will not be heard by anybody in the average gig situation. That show (and yes I do watch every one) gets a bit too forensic too often. 
    Sorry, totally disagree. The DRRI just sounds better, more harmonically rich and a more pleasing EQ curve to my ears. It’s barely even close for most of the video. 

    They were very clear about mentioning the perceived advantages you mention (eg weight) but we’re also clear that they were judging purely based on tone preference in the room.

    There’s a fine line between being “open minded” and being so keen on the idea of cheaper digital technology that you turn a blind eye to the gap that still exists in tone and dynamics. Those preferring valve tone these days are all overly forensic cork sniffers of course.


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  • SeziertischSeziertisch Frets: 860
    edited October 2020

    It’s quite clear that they aren’t open minded enough to realise that the advantages of the Tonemaster (weight, attenuator, IR output) outweigh the very small tonal difference that will not be heard by anybody in the average gig situation. That show (and yes I do watch every one) gets a bit too forensic too often. 
    The whole point of the Tonemaster series is the advantages you mention. If any or all of those benefits were not relevant/applicable to your situation, it would be questionable why you would even bother looking at it in the first place.

    I have a friend who, when he was playing in bands, single handedly carried a Selmer Thunderbird on and off various forms of public transport around London as he made his way to rehearsals and gigs. He had youth on his side at the time, but said it was still pretty arduous. I imagine if you offered him the trade off of some loss of tonal accuracy against not having to cart around an amp weighing 30+ lbs* he would have taken your hand off.

    *correction - I believe it weighed 26 KG!
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