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$1,000--Tone Master or Tube?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by IMadeYouReadThis, Oct 25, 2020.

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  1. Redraider66

    Redraider66 TDPRI Member

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    Helix LT. Tonemaster is a one trick pony.
     
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  2. PBO Blues

    PBO Blues Tele-Holic

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    Before someone else says it, yeah, but it's a pretty darn good trick.
     
  3. shokunin_84

    shokunin_84 TDPRI Member

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    I don't know why the instructions say to "unzip" the file when the file that is downloaded is not a compressed (zipped) file. I just dragged the downloaded firmware file into the "Fender_Amp" folder that popped up on the desktop when I connected it to my Mac and it worked just fine.
     
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  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think you are spot on here. Until I knew what “sounding good” meant for me, I kept cloaking myself in “approved” gear. BF/SF DRs and VRs. Expensive pedals.

    And I kept A/B-ing things and cycling through them. Never fully happy. But I didn’t really know what I wanted from an amp in terms of sound and dynamics, if I’m honest. And I played a LOT of shows that way in 3 different projects in different genres and settings (black tie cocktail fundraisers to barn shows to standard pubs to black tie ballroom dance parties to large outdoor festivals).

    Funny thing happened through all of that. I learned what I wanted from an amp. It was really simple. Good sustain. Good dynamics. Mids to keep it full. Master volume to breakup when I want. And when I heard recordings my tone was much better and sat really well. And I stopped cycling gear.

    But pretty much give me any non-broken, decent amp with a mid knob and MV and I can get there, though not as easily. . Give me a DR and the right room and I can get there. I no longer need to sit and A/B. And I’m no longer tied to particular gear. Cliche but I dial everything in to sound like me. Much happier that way.

    There is one small thing I’ve noticed on the fly. Feedback seems to come more easily from tune amps than SS or digital for me.

    Is there any “technical” reason for that? Or am I conflating correlation, causation and coincidence? Which is entirely possible.
     
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  5. Retired Schmuck

    Retired Schmuck TDPRI Member

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    I use both live. I plug my guitar into the Fender Tonemaster Deluxe. I use the Line Out to the input of the Blues Cube Hot (British EL-84 Modified) set to minimum gain, Master max. I use the new Boss OC-5 set to poly, range minimum. Both amps respond like tube amps. Both are great. Deluxe models 22 watt 6V6 tube. Blues Cube models 30 watt EL-84 tube. Don't have to worry about tubes.
     
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  6. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Holic

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    Long thread. I skipped ten pages. Sorry if I am late to the party.
    OP, if I understood correctly, you have a $1000 budget for a tone quest. My advice? Try them all. Get what sounds best to you. Period.
    My experience? Back in my travelling days I had a Twin and a Princeton for a while. We worked at a lot of places of widely varying sizes and there was nary a time, that I can recall, when some combination of the two wouldn't work. Princeton barefoot in small clubs; through the twin's speakers ( my favorite ) when needed, jumpered into the Twin for a little extra beef, or the Twin alone, when I could get away with turning it up a little. I prefer 12" speakers, usually, because 1-10" doesn't really do it justice. Just my opinion.
     
  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I hear what 11 Gauge and MilwMark are saying about avoiding gear insecurity and cork sniffing. I'm very much in that camp-- buy stuff that does the job, and use it until it breaks without falling victim to GAS. Focus more on practicing and performing, less on gear. If you hold on to gear long enough it might even become valuable (unless it's digital, LOL) -- I have a CE-2 and a Thomas Organ Crybaby from the late 70s/early 80s that are probably worth a surprising amount these days.

    The other guitar player in my band has played a Blues Junior for years. The sound he gets out of it is fine, but sometimes when he has to crank it up too much it definitely gets flubby and a bit crappy sounding. He recently bought a TMDR, but he has yet to bring it out and use it in a gig, still apparently preferring his trusty Blues Jr. I actually suspect the TMDR would sound better, and sometimes wonder if he has a little bit of insecurity about being seen playing out with a non tube amp. You know how when you play a gig and the guitar players come up to the front of the stage and check out your pedalboard, your guitar, and your amp, with a knowing, analytical expression, often with arms folded in front of them? I've gotten used to that over the years and don't have any gear shame when it comes to my bog-standard SD1, TU2, and other pedals. I admit that I'm secretly a little proud when they notice and raise their eyebrows in approval or give me a thumbs up for my vintage tube amps-- usually either my SR or Rivera SuperChamp.

    A long time ago I got used to being perfectly OK with having a mobile phone or a computer that is a number of years older than the latest and greatest upgrades. I just use them until they break or are too slow to handle the ever growing/increasing demands of operating systems and software. They're a tool, and I use them. I accept the fact that every so often I am forced to upgrade, and when I do I usually try to buy one or two versions older than the newest so I can save significant $$. Firmware upgrades of a TMDR or TMTR may help stave off obsolescence, but what really staves it off would be to just use it as long as it works for you and not to care if there's something supposedly new and better out there. Just like the car companies, Fender is going to try and convince you that you need the latest and greatest. That's how they sell stuff. But it's smarter to ignore all that marketing noise and just keep playing your gear as long as it works for you.
     
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  8. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Meister

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    OP asked a question that can really only be answered subjectively. A bunch of a people tried to give subjective answers, thoughtfully and in good faith.

    Why are we arguing with those responses, in some cases with straw men? Because they don't align with whatever thing we prefer to evangelize?

    Very few potential amp buyers considering cost are really concerned with development or material costs. They're concerned with price versus utility to them, value, and possibly durability.

    It should be pretty obvious that TDPRI includes some gigging pros and many more hobbyists. I've gigged and recorded sporadically, but am surely a hobbyist on average. What are the thresholds for those classes, and do we agree on them? Gatekeeping based on that distinction is not going to be fruitful.

    Poor guy asked about two Fender amps that are fairly visible and available new at a similar price point, not for another Tonemaster vs. (else) jerkaround.
     
  9. CVS54

    CVS54 TDPRI Member

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    Lot's of interesting opinions here. I am fortunate enough to have a number of Fender tube amps and solid state amps (Quilter and Roland Blues Cube Artist). I play primarily blues, smooth jazz and some classic rock. I have owned both my solid state amps for 5 years. One big positive for solid state amps is that at least for me they have been totally maintenance free. The same cannot be said of my tube amps (tube issues, heat issues etc.). For everyday use & gigs, I go solid state. There just is not enough of a difference in tone to make a difference IMHO. When I really want to top end tone (for recording or just for my own enjoyment) , I will use a tube amp. This keeps the maintenance down. I'd rather spend more time playing than repairing amps or driving around town to get amps repaired. I am thinking about selling on of my tube amps to get a ToneMaster....
     
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  10. Supereditor

    Supereditor TDPRI Member

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    Personally, if it was my only option, I would (and did) go for the Helix LT. Sounds great, endless flexibility, no need for pedals. But I admit there’s part of me that would love to have a Fender tube amp for day to day playing. If you’ll be hauling the amp around, those Tonemasters sure seem hard to beat in terms of weight, sound, etc. That said, you’re talking about two amps that people love, so it seems hard to go wrong if you get the one that best speaks to you.
     
  11. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    I can't say whether I agree or not since I still haven't gotten around to playing one, but dang, that was good. :lol:
     
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  12. flynv

    flynv TDPRI Member

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    I have a friend that has been thru 3 of these. The 3rd is holding up just fine. First two had solder joint issues cause by vibration.
     
  13. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Afflicted

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    PRRI w/ 10"Celestion gold and a spare cabinet,1x12 with a 12" Celestion gold. You have both world and not a 12" speaker in a way undersized prri which is tuned for a 10", not a 12". THE 12 definitely sound better in its own cabinet.
     
  14. Telocast

    Telocast TDPRI Member

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    I just got the Fender Deluxe reverb amp 65 re issue. The tone master has the Celestron speaker in it ,this one has the Jensen speaker It sounds beautiful! I have a 1966 fender Vibro Champ amp,for over 50 years its was time for the change !!! Selling it !!
     
  15. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    many consider this a plus
    no menus
    no tricks
    one (good) tone is enough?
     
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  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I can verify experiencing the same thing, and IMO it's (primarily) a dynamic interaction between the tube amp's output transformer and the speaker(s). IME, even SS amps that have been designed to mimic those characteristics (since a SS amp has no output transformer) are simply still different.

    Having said that, I've never tried amps like a Pritchard, Lab, or Pearce, which could have intentionally implemented the necessary equivalents. The power amp in particular needs to be intentionally handled differently than it otherwise would be. I think some Pritchard amps go as far as using some kind of internal porting/venting in the cabinet, maybe not unlike how Bose has used it, to get a bigger, more dynamic sound.

    As cool as the new Quilter amps are, I think they still have work to do, to get their power amps to behave more like tube amps do. They are certainly dynamic in their own respect, and that might be good enough for a lot of users. And they certainly aren't sterile or cold sounding. I only bring them up because I know they are consciously doing some very specific things at the power amp itself, but IDK what Fender/Roland/etc. are doing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  17. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    This. The amp it is based on is a "one trick pony" as well. And it adds attenuation and a really good DI out, two HUGE tricks imo.
    Plenty of great modelers out there, why try to make the TM one instead of appreciating what it is?
     
  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Lighter weight, especially for the Twin model, should count as another trick.

    I still think a simple "blackface/brown/tweed" knob in the back would take it to a whole nother level.
     
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  19. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    Its on the front of the twin model (mids knob) ;)
     
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  20. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    this is sound thinking. I think the real diff a player will be able to tell is in touch dynamics and dimension of sound and these are VERY subjective according to styles and teqnique of the player. The TM is a cool product and many oldtimers latch onto them because of the weight factor which is understandable. It has a place and fender did a great job. I also tthink alot of people, maybe rightly so, think modelers are throwaway because they change techwise so often where tube amps are old school tech and stay more the same and ALWAYS sound like tubes.
    For example- what happens when the tm 2 amps arrive and are even more closer to the tube version? Its tech right so you know it will. then you go try one and your tm 1.0 sounds not as good( and maybe you wont admit it..lol) so now you want to get the 2.0 version and so the 1.0 is worth 1/2 of what you paid if that.
    older tube amps are worth more then the new versions many times so its kind of opposite of digital. It would be like everyone dumping thier high tech smartphones for a razr flip phone.(which i think would be a good idea)
     
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