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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. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I spent a lot of time making excuses for not owning a DRRI. When I finally go to buy one the store had just gotten a supply of Tonemaster amps. I spent an afternoon playing a DRRI, a TMDR and a TMTR. I kept coming back to the DRRI. While I like the Princeton, I just think it’s a little underpowered for my needs. The best tones I got from the Tonemasters were the stock Fender tones. So I went with a stock Fender. Go with the Princeton.
     
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  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    One factor that hasn't been mentioned but is worth weighing is your proximity to a good tube amp tech. I have a great one, only about 10 miles from me, so I know I can bring him any of my vintage tube amps and he'll do amazing, reasonably priced work on them. Sure, I can replace tubes and re-bias myself. But if something is broken I'm not so great at troubleshooting and finding the problem.

    The day my tube amp guy retires or moves away is the day I seriously consider selling off my tube amps and going with whatever solid state analog or digital option sounds best to my ears. The next closest repairman I know of is over an hour away and isn't nearly as good. I guess I could do my best to keep the amps healthy and working on my own, but that's a significant time commitment-- learning how to diagnose and repair tube amps (without electrocution...).

    But a lot of guys would be taking their amp back to the store where they purchased it. In some cases the shops contract out to a local tube amp tech for tube amps. In some cases they probably send back to the factory or the distributor. In any of those situations you are probably looking at 6 weeks until you see your repaired or replaced amp. With my tube amp guy usually it's just a few days at most. If it's a "take it back to the store" scenario than high reliability with less maintenance is important.
     
  3. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    I actually really like the thought of a GB HRD. More headroom (12AY7v1, IIRC) and better speaker out of the box. I figured the Princeton cleans would be better though, right?
     
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  4. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    Never heard of this amp. I'll look into it.
     
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  5. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    I played a Princeton and thought it wasn't half the amp

    Given the grief I expect to get from this I am now going to fake my own death and enter a witness protection programme. Snowden called top bunk already though

    Fml
     
  6. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic

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    This was hysterical!
     
  7. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    I wonder how many people that post that a piece of equipment “sounds digital” listen to music using sources like CDs, YouTube videos, or streaming services?

    I wonder how many people that post that a piece of equipment “sounds digital” put digital delay pedals, a DigiTech Whammy, or a DigiTech Drop pedal in front of their tube amp?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist–Shannon_sampling_theorem
     
  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    A digital pedal in front of a tube amp can often sound better than an analog pedal in front of a digital amp-- YMMV of course.
    And why that is perhaps only the Toan Godz can answer. Something about the tubes at the end of the signal chain "warming up" the tone?
     
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  9. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    That can certainly happen. But I think - and YMMV - that what @darkwaters may have heard might have been careless gain-staging of the pedals involved. A D-to-A converter doesn’t react in the same way as an analog tube-based preamp to an overly-hot signal.
     
  10. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

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    100% tube!
     
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  11. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you sir.
     
  12. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    If I was given $1000 for a Fender amp - I'd go for the Roland Blues Cube Artist...
     
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  13. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    Had the 68 Custom VL. Bought a Tone Master Deluxe Reverb. Owned both for a while. Sold the Vibrolux, kept the TM.
     
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  14. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    TMTR can do everything the PR can do and even has a similar wattage setting. When you run out of headroom on the PR, you are stuck. Easy choice unless you have a very narrow window of what it will be used for and the PR happens to be better for that.
    Also, tilt legs, great DI out, bright switch and actually slightly lighter.
     
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  15. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    There are some ridiculous assertions and assumptions in this thread about the Tone Masters.

    I love tube amps. I’ve owned and gigged a lot of them, including some fairly expensive boutique builds. The TMs are an absolutely viable, useful, and great sounding tool.

    There’s no magic "mojo" that makes tube amps better. Nor should an amp cost more only because it has a tube circuit. And the TM's are no more "throwaway" than any other piece of music gear you own that doesn’t have tubes in it. I have to wonder if some of the people making these assertions are truly working/recording/performing musicians or if instead they are amateurs who spend too much time on forums like this one.

    To the OP - play both amps, pick the one that sounds best to you and also meets your criteria for being the right tool for the job.
     
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  16. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    How much volume do you need? The Princeton is great for most venues partly because it doesn't have a speaker array to throw volume everywhere. That can be a limitation in a big unmiked setting. What are you actually l,ooking to do with the amp? Also, I don't think Fender's SS amps are best in show yet.
     
  17. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    You can buy the tone master, and spend your time worrying if it sounds like a tube amp. Or you can buy a tube amp.

    If you go tm, and I think they're pretty darn good amps, do yourself a favor and accept that it's a digital modeler.

    I personally couldn't imagine not having at least one tube amp. I really think you should grab that Princeton man. Alnico gold? You will be making iconic sounds, at reasonable volume.

    One thing that bugs me about the tm.. at that price, they couldn't have included a headphone out? That said, I can see myself getting one at some point. They sound great... Although I haven't cranked one yet or run my dirt pedals into one.

    I have a Strymon Iridium and through monitors it sounds good, similar to my experience with the tmdr (although you'll get more thump with the real amp). When I can get a bit louder, I switch to my 68 CPR (some mods) with brake lite attenuator. It's no contest... Something "real" about those tubes. I think as good as digital is getting, it causes some kind of listener fatigue. It's subtle, but it's there. IME.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  18. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    There have been a lot of mentions of the TM amps not being easily serviceable, which I completely understand and agree with, but how serviceable is the PRRI really? The factory reissue is PCB, not handwired. I assume it can be worked on to a greater extent than the TM, but any damage to the board means a new PCB, as opposed to a new pot or cap. How much does it matter?
     
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  19. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Reissues have been around a long time. I have never read a post by anyone who had a damaged PCB. It's not like the pots or jacks are soldered into the circuit board (like they are on cheaper amps). Of the two, I expect the PRRI would be much more serviceable than the Tonemaster.
     
  20. ironsausage58

    ironsausage58 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I'm really digging my TM Deluxe.
     
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