Fender Tonemaster Amps

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  • rlwrlw Frets: 3013
    edited July 22
    As a purely home user who has bought and sold
     
    • Cornford Harlequin
    • Princeton 65 RI
    • Supro Blues King 12
    • Tone King Falcon
    • Tone King Gremlin
    • Yamaha THR10c x 3
    I can safely say that the Tonemaster Deluxe sounds better at any home friendly volume and a million times better than any of the above attenuated right down.  It sounds like a real amp.

    Does it sound like a valve DRRI?  Don't know as I've never tried one very loud, or at home.  But I do know that it sounds great with a nice drive pedal - Great North Tweed Drive or a BD-2 Wazacraft - in front of it and I can see absolutely no reason why anyone would spend thousands on a loud and heavy valve amp purely to play at home.

    I simply cannot imagine what could be better for home use - if you are after a Fender sound - other than a TM Princeton which, despite so many saying they can play their valve Princeton at 4 or 5 at home, would be perfect with the low wattage and attenuated right down so you could play it on 10 all the time.


    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • rlw said:
    As a purely home user who has bought and sold
     
    • Cornford Harlequin
    • Princeton 65 RI
    • Supro Blues King 12
    • Tone King Falcon
    • Tone King Gremlin
    • Yamaha THR10c x 3
    I can safely say that the Tonemaster Deluxe sounds better at any home friendly volume and a million times better than any of the above attenuated right down.  It sounds like a real amp.

    Does it sound like a valve DRRI?  Don't know as I've never tried one very loud, or at home.  But I do know that it sounds great with a nice drive pedal - Great North Tweed Drive or a BD-2 Wazacraft - in front of it and I can see absolutely no reason why anyone would spend thousands on a loud and heavy valve amp purely to play at home.

    I simply cannot imagine what could be better for home use - if you are after a Fender sound - other than a TM Princeton which, despite so many saying they can play their valve Princeton at 4 or 5 at home, would be perfect with the low wattage and attenuated right down so you could play it on 10 all the time.



    Thousands on a big amp AND attenuator. Only works out really if you’re buying an amp to play out and want to get some mileage from it at home too. Otherwise for home if you’ve got anyone to be considerate of (family, adjoining neighbours) the reality is often that even a champ with an 8 inch speaker is too loud if you want any grit from the amp. My TMDR on 0.2w mode though is a decent sound. Dipping my toe into pedals and it’s a good sound. 0.5w getting into the be considerate level but sounds better.

    I’ll be straight up, I love my 1974X, love the Marshall sound and can just run straight into it no drama, feed it a treble booster if I’m getting crazy. It’s considered quieter than it would be with an inefficient speaker but it wants to be turned up and is still loud as piss. It’s hooked up to an attenuator and it’s a good enough sound that way, but 12 months of home play only and with the TMDR as competition it’s played less and less. Feels like a waste of tube life almost switching it on to be cranked right down. A bit like having a Ferrari just to nip to the shop down the road for bits and bobs but telling yourself you’ll give it a proper run at the weekend. As much as I love it, if you told me I had to sell some gear tomorrow the TMDR would be the last amp out.

    And I also would’ve said I’m not a Deluxe Reverb guy but there we go.
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  • chrisj1602chrisj1602 Frets: 2298
    26.2 said:
    I just watched the Pedal Show comparison. Hmmm, even allowing for not being in the room, YouTube sound qual etc the TM sounded OK and nothing more. 
    I’m not sure that’s the best comparison video, it’s been said on here before that they were never going to pick the TM, and I don’t think they even tried to get the same sound from both amps.

    They have a room of valve amps that they can crank up to their hearts content and people who can do that are surely not the target market.
    Chris.
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  • 26.226.2 Frets: 95
    26.2 said:
    I just watched the Pedal Show comparison. Hmmm, even allowing for not being in the room, YouTube sound qual etc the TM sounded OK and nothing more. 
    I’m not sure that’s the best comparison video, it’s been said on here before that they were never going to pick the TM, and I don’t think they even tried to get the same sound from both amps.

    They have a room of valve amps that they can crank up to their hearts content and people who can do that are surely not the target market.
    Yeah I agree with that. I wasn’t really bothered about the comparison element, or what they would pick, more ‘did the TM sound good’. 

    And it didn’t really. 
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 7141
    26.2 said:
    26.2 said:
    I just watched the Pedal Show comparison. Hmmm, even allowing for not being in the room, YouTube sound qual etc the TM sounded OK and nothing more. 
    I’m not sure that’s the best comparison video, it’s been said on here before that they were never going to pick the TM, and I don’t think they even tried to get the same sound from both amps.

    They have a room of valve amps that they can crank up to their hearts content and people who can do that are surely not the target market.
    Yeah I agree with that. I wasn’t really bothered about the comparison element, or what they would pick, more ‘did the TM sound good’. 

    And it didn’t really. 
    I simply recommend that people actually play one. =)
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  • 26.2 said:
    26.2 said:
    I just watched the Pedal Show comparison. Hmmm, even allowing for not being in the room, YouTube sound qual etc the TM sounded OK and nothing more. 
    I’m not sure that’s the best comparison video, it’s been said on here before that they were never going to pick the TM, and I don’t think they even tried to get the same sound from both amps.

    They have a room of valve amps that they can crank up to their hearts content and people who can do that are surely not the target market.
    Yeah I agree with that. I wasn’t really bothered about the comparison element, or what they would pick, more ‘did the TM sound good’. 

    And it didn’t really. 
    I simply recommend that people actually play one. =)
    This. At the end of the day if something makes you happy with the sound great, if it doesn't there's something else out there.

    No substitute for dialling it in yourself. But if you did want a video where someone does like it, has plenty of Deluxe Reverb experience etc. and is just giving their thoughts:
    The Revenge of the Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb Blonde - Ask Zac 70 - YouTube

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  • chrisj1602chrisj1602 Frets: 2298

    I simply recommend that people actually play one. =)
    Definitely this.  Sure there are some people who have moved them on but people also move on originals and hand wired reissues too. I’d say across many forums I read up on, the vast majority of owners are really happy with them.

    I’ve used it for home practice, recording and playing it up nice and loud with a full band, it’s great. It’s useful at home and fantastic loud. The light weight is a bonus though my drummer nearly threw it when he picked it up expecting something much heavier!

    Agree it didn’t sound that great on TPS but it does on several other videos, Andy Demos did a good one I recall and @chrisv for Guitar Magazine.
    Chris.
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 1777
    I’ve heard so many ‘boutique’ offerings on certain YouTube channels that simply sound generic and predictable. Unfortunately, we are a demographic that are notorious for not using our ears when playing -we are too busy ogling the logo, flame or rrp. 

    As stated above, the Tone master range won’t be for everyone, equally neither will be (insert specific brand and model here), it’s what works for you when you sit down and dial it in and hopefully use your ears. The same goes for arguments around pickups, pedals and whether there is another position on your guitar switch system beyond your favourite: bridge/neck/position 2-4 on a strat, etc.

    I for one have found my Tone Master Deluxe Reverb to be a fantastic purchase, but I haven’t played outside the home for 18 months, so that may all change in due course.
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  • GreatapeGreatape Frets: 858
    Would be keen to try one. 

    Generally prefer (good) valve amps at gig vol, but Blues Cube - while missing that last 10% of in the room 3D presence - is light, reliable, good-sounding/feeling, versatile...and thus does most of the gigs. Suspect TM will be similar. If the DI is good, it might even sound better than a mic'd valve amp that has been murdered by a crap soundman. 

    The feature set a looks good; my only concern would be reliability (too many horrors of broken down Blues Jr's, HRDLxes). 


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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 17273
    The TPS ep was a strange one, as they're normally very keen to stress that different instances of the same amp might have different pot tapers and so settings are indicative and you should use your ears. 

    But iirc in that video they just went "they're both set to XYZ and here's how they sound", whereas I would have taken more effort to get them sounding the same then mention the differences between their settings. 

    In any case, I'm with Waz - the only sensible recommendation is "don't discount one without trying it first" - assuming the feature set appeals, of course. If you never leave the house and can play at full chat whenever you like then by all means for the traditional all valve version.
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  • OnparOnpar Frets: 251
    I just played my tele through the Tonemaster DR in the lounge. 5 on the volume and 3 on the reverb. It was so much fun and I was grinning from ear to ear. Like many on this forum I have owned various boutique amps but for enjoyment in the house at low volume levels this is the best. 
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 5847
    I keep asking this though - the Fender Mustang GT series models this and a zillion others, plus it has wads of effects. Used, it's a fraction of the price. 

    What does the TM have to justify the fact you are paying much more for much less (in simplistic terms)? Other than the admittedly lovely looks...

    Or if we're honest, are we loving it because of its looks?
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 17273
    edited July 24
    Hattigol said:
    I keep asking this though - the Fender Mustang GT series models this and a zillion others, plus it has wads of effects. Used, it's a fraction of the price. 

    What does the TM have to justify the fact you are paying much more for much less (in simplistic terms)? Other than the admittedly lovely looks...

    Or if we're honest, are we loving it because of its looks?
    As already said, it sounds way better than a Mustang GT. Almost all modellers sound & feel like playing through an amp that’s miced up and played back at you. The TM sounds and feels like playing through a Deluxe Reverb in the room
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  • oldhorsemurphyoldhorsemurphy Frets: 313
    I love my Twin and it sounds great to my ears. It's also a one-handed lift which is a massive bonus. 

    The valve emulation is close enough for me to be a more than suitable replacement for my Hot Rod Deluxe and avoids the issues that you sometimes get with valve combos, especially when transporting them. 
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  • chrisj1602chrisj1602 Frets: 2298
    Hattigol said:
    I keep asking this though - the Fender Mustang GT series models this and a zillion others, plus it has wads of effects. Used, it's a fraction of the price. 

    What does the TM have to justify the fact you are paying much more for much less (in simplistic terms)? Other than the admittedly lovely looks...

    Or if we're honest, are we loving it because of its looks?
    The Tone Master amps were designed from the ground up to replicate the circuitry and performance of the “real” versions.  They haven’t just stuck the Mustang model in a Deluxe Reverb cab.
    Chris.
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  • stilwelstilwel Frets: 19
    Hattigol said:
    I keep asking this though - the Fender Mustang GT series models this and a zillion others, plus it has wads of effects. Used, it's a fraction of the price. 

    What does the TM have to justify the fact you are paying much more for much less (in simplistic terms)? Other than the admittedly lovely looks...

    Or if we're honest, are we loving it because of its looks?
    The amp algorithm in the TMDR is brand new and not based on what is in the GT/GTX amps. The algorithm was developed to be the most accurate model of the Deluxe Reverb available, without any concessions made in terms of processor usage. 

    A big part of the accuracy is the convolution spring reverb.  Not just the reverb itself, which sounds springy and drippy and all of those other adjectives we attribute to a great sounding spring reverb, but also where it's placed within the amp model. 

    Most Deluxe Reverb models (including the one in the GTX) doesn't include the reverb which sits between the virtual preamp and poweramps. It sums into the signal path exactly where it supposed to on the schematic. This is important because the poweramp is where the mojo happens. Driving the reverb into an overdriven poweramp sounds completely different than simply putting a reverb after the entire amp model. 

    But yeah, it does look really great too though, doesn't it?  
    FENDER - Scottsdale, AZ
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 22872
    edited July 25
    Hattigol said:
    I keep asking this though - the Fender Mustang GT series models this and a zillion others, plus it has wads of effects. Used, it's a fraction of the price. 

    What does the TM have to justify the fact you are paying much more for much less (in simplistic terms)? Other than the admittedly lovely looks...

    Or if we're honest, are we loving it because of its looks?
    It's simple, they've only had to model the amp circuitry, not the cab and speaker, because the latter are real. 

    So called "versatile" modellers pretend to model mic'ed up amps from a 1x8 Champ to an 8x12 Mesa stack, and anyone who's actually used those amps knows it's a laughable concept - those sounds are just so obviously impossible to achieve in the same combo. 

    I've never tried a Tonemaster, but to me the principle is a sound one as speaker, cab and mic modelling are where most combo-style modellers fall flat on their face, and the Tonemaster totally bypasses that problem by using real ones. 

    I'll probably snap one up when the used prices reflect their inherently disposable nature, I'm not really interested in things I can't repair unless they're a couple of hundred or less. 
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  • chotu495chotu495 Frets: 322
    I bought a blonde one last autumn when I was bored and had a bit of disposable income available. 

    I also have an early Deville. The Deville went in for a service and came home with new tubes and a volume pot modification. I decided to keep the valve amp because i’d had it for so long and it still sounds great.

    I just about have the space to keep both, but it seemed a waste. Sold via here.

    As already mentioned, Tonemasters make great home amps with the attenuator and genuinely sound lovely.

    If I didn’t have the Deville, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. I’d happily have another if circs changed.
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  • Those last two posts also skirt around another interesting point of repairability etc. There’s no right or wrong really, it can be cool to have something you can work on and keep going for decades etc. On the other hand consumable parts and service requirements are upkeep cost so it’s an argument over more economically viable to have something that costs £x per year but lasts forever vs something that has no upkeep but will need replacing at some point. The ethics of the landfill being another consideration.

    I also don’t buy digital meaning less reliable. But that could be me working in IT. We have some kit that has an uptime of years that has been in service for decades and some of it barely had faults register over that time. Depends on what the kit is asked to do and environment it’s in etc. But when kit does fail there’s no reason objectively why you can’t repair - there’s probably not a part in an industrial level server I haven’t been involved in replacement of - it’s just down to the economics of such a repair and the practicality (mainly I can’t imagine the actual software being easy to get if it needed to be reinstalled after components were replaced)
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  • koss59koss59 Frets: 661
    I still stand by it being the best professional tool I’ve bought in ages.
    I totally get that it doesn’t sound as good as a real deluxe for louder than TV volumes but it’s bloody close.

    I sit with mine on for maybe 6 hours a day doing my own practice and then teaching lessons using it and so having something that sounds great at low volumes but isn’t cooking valves for that long as ideal for me.

    If you switch your amp on for an hour at a time and it’s a bit of fun at reasonable volumes, then again the real one is probably better for you.

    I’ve also already used mine at a few gigs where carrying a valve one wouldn’t be possible, city centres where you can’t park close or festivals that don’t let you drive to the stage.
    Id take this any day over a pedal into a PA.

    That brings me to my last point, the DI out sounds REALLY good and is better at Fender tones than I’ve got out of Helix or Strymon Iridium.

    So I view the amp as a better tool for people who need all these things like I do than for someone who just wants to play for fun at home for an hour here or there.


    www.instagram.com/richjevonsguitar
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