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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. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    DRRI the real deal, mic it for volume.

    I'm partial to the super for non mic venues. We all have our preferences, follow your own path.

    Keep in mind the TM is a disposable amp that will last between 2 to six years of constant use.
     
  2. MoHump

    MoHump TDPRI Member

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    Because every other amp I've tried, including several Fender solid state amps, just doesn't do it for me.
     
  3. Fran1964

    Fran1964 TDPRI Member

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    Get yourself a vintage late 70s Pro Reverb. It's all you need. :)
     
  4. MarkSieber

    MarkSieber TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I have a PRRI, Added the gold 10”.
    I really like it; later I added a heavier transformer and it got even better.

    I have a larger Bassman clone but the Princeton isn’t going anywhere.
     
  5. mdpatsr

    mdpatsr TDPRI Member

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    Tonemaster. They are lightweight, they have a built in attenuator, and they sound like a Twin. had a lead player with one and was really impressed. princeton is good, but, heavy, higher maintenance, and doesn’t kick like a Twin.
     
  6. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    I once owned a 1977 Super Twin Reverb and a DRRI. I sold both and now I'm happy with my TMDR.

    It sounds great at low volumes, no hissing, no Tremolo ticking...
     
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  7. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    I don't get where the idea of a TM being a disposable amp comes from. Solid state amps have been around for decades, and pretty much every electronic device in the world is solid state. People around here are always praising their old Peaveys and Lab Series. My Roland BC60 was built in the last century, and still works fine and sounds great.

    We might see a situation where Fender stops supporting software updates, etc. That has certainly happened before. So, in the future, the TM series might become obsolete because of that. But I'd bet money that it will still work for as long as you want it to, just like the old computers I see at the thrift shop. Obsolete, not supported, but still going strong.

    Buy the amp that makes you feel the best -- the sound and the features. Both are perfectly good amps. The TM will likely get you the best bedroom/living room sound, and is more versatile. The Princeton is just about the perfect combination of great sound and reasonable weight.

    Good luck.
     
  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, I strongly advocate for playing the two side by side, yourself.

    I did it and concluded that I'm not interested in the current iteration of Tonemasters. Lacked the richness of actual tubes to my ears. It was like the difference between chalk and cheese to my ears. I had previously read up on all the hype on TDPRI and other sources on line. I was ready to plunk down the bucks to buy one, looking forward to all of its conveniences including lighter weight. Much to my dismay I was disappointed in its tone. I even tried a Boss Katana that was nearby in the same music store and felt it sounded just as good as the ToneMaster Twin. It was an earlier year's model and would have cost me about a quarter of what the Tonemaster Twin cost.

    But others have concluded that it sounds basically the same or close enough to the real thing. I'm not going to argue with them-- I believe they heard what they heard.

    Now, it might be possible that the tone would have improved with some speaker break-in. However, both the Twin Reissue and the Tonemaster Twin in the store were both brand new and had roughly the same amount of hours on them according to the store clerk, so they both would have suffered from having tight, new speakers. The Katana had been in the store for a year or so and likely had a more broken in speaker.

    Clearly, you have to let your own ears make the decision.
     
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  9. Layton_TeleMan24

    Layton_TeleMan24 NEW MEMBER!

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    Personally, I would go with the Tonemaster Twin Reverb route. I usually go with a Tube amp and amp head route but if I had to pick a combo I would pick the Tonemaster
     
  10. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    The idea of a Tone Master being disposable comes from it being essentially non-serviceable. The DSP section for the preamp is proprietary, and if it breaks out of warranty, no one will be able to reasonably repair it. The class-D power amp and switching supply are in the same boat. When the class-D amp fails out of warranty, who is going to repair it? Most electronics guys won't touch them. And would there even be a schematic available for anyone brave enough to take it on? And will the pcb quality even hold up to being repaired? And who repairs switching supplies? No one, really.

    And these amps are not like old computers. Computers have been built in a modular way according to industry standards for a long time. If the power supply fails, you buy a new power supply, and the same for all the other major parts. And computers are so common to the general public that many third party companies have produced parts for them. Which third companies are producing replacement parts for a Tone Master? None.
     
  11. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven't read all the comments....but how is the choice either a Princeton or a Twin?

    It's like asking should I get a Honda Accord or Chevy Silverado. The gap is huge.

    Split the difference and get a 2x10 Vibrolux. :)
     
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  12. macnylonguitar

    macnylonguitar TDPRI Member

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    I used to play into mid 60's Fender Vibrolux and Twin, and a 1980's Boogie .22, mid 80's.

    Great tones, and I never, ever brought the Twin or Vibrolux to a gig, so heavy, and the tubes...

    Got a Fender HRD III a few months back, a 2011 version that was mint.

    Sold it in a few weeks for what I paid. 40 pounds heavy, and fragile tubes, one preamp tube I had to replace.

    Played a Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb at a Guitar Center, shortly after selling the HRD.

    In two minutes, I was sold, and it was confirmed...

    The TM DR was 99.9999 % the sound of the tube Fenders, and ONLY 20 pounds.

    Paid for it, and walked out of the store with it, done deal.

    Why people are saying these TMs, (which are of course solid state, and "modeled"), are throwaways is odd to me...

    Is a Kemper a throw away. Of course a Kemper can model anything, and essentially the Kemper is a "computer", a digital device...

    I am not convinced these modeled TM amps will follow the same path as a computer as far as resale and obsolescence.

    I have been a systems engineer (Apple) for much of my professional life (since 1995), and of course that world is based on obsolescence, and as I tell people, basically, you are looking at replacing the Mac every 4-5 years: speed, processing power, ports, screen resolution, features, new tech, wear, you name it. But, even in that used Mac market, you still are going to pay some money, they hold their dollar value.

    Computer market compared to modeled Fender classic amp market?...we'll see how it plays out...

    10-20 years from now, a 2020 Fender Twin or DR is going to sound exactly the same as it did on day one of its birth.

    There is no worry about, will it boot?, run the current OS and apps, etc. It's only about the sound, which is: exactly the same.

    I no longer have any desire, nor "nostalgia" for "tubes" or any of its built in properties: heavy, fragile, etc.

    I could not sell the tube HRD III fast enough, and do my final sprint away from tube amp world....
     
  13. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Although, a Vibrolux for $1000 might be hard to come by.
     
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  14. johnnycnote

    johnnycnote Tele-Meister

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    I love my TMD to the point that I sold my tube amps, so...
     
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  15. Recalcitrant

    Recalcitrant Tele-Meister

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    Great discussion. My $.02 is that for home use, today's solid state stuff brings way more versatility and fun than tube, along with very competitive sound and fewer maintenance bothers. I also think two speakers sound more satisfying than one.

    Fender is tops in SS, imo, and Tonemaster looks awesome. Personally, I use a Quilter Tone Block and a 2x10" cab.

    As for assertions of short longevity in Fender SS amps, I can say in my family are two >25-year-old Princeton Choruses which still play great
     
  16. Dan Spiffy Neuman

    Dan Spiffy Neuman Tele-Holic

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    Can you tell me more about this speaker upgrade? I have one of the earliest ones.
     
  17. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    You of course realize the computer is made up of billions of analog components shrunk down to such small microscopic levels they require a non-visible light microscope to see?

    These ideas that stuff made out of 100 pieces of 1950s technology should cost more than something made out of billions of bits of 21st century technology is fall over funny when you start thinking about it.

    The only way Fender can even possibly built the tone master is cause the pieces in it are used in other stuff in such volume as to completely make the development costs disappear. It seems like the Tonemaster is likely an ARM processor.. same as in all the smartphones. Billions of these processors are pumped out every year, so you pay very little of the development cost. Fender gets to buy them out of a catalog. The Tonemaster would be 100% impossible if Fender had to design and manufacture the processor themselves. It would cost more to make than Fender's market Capitalization and the amps would probably cost 7 figures each based on how many Fender can sell.

    OP if you like the Tonemaster features but want tubes you need to remove the "Fender" qualification on the amp you're going to buy. Other manufacturers are happy to give you tubes + power levels and/or DI or cab sim options. If you want those features you need to de-prioritize the brand name on the badge.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
  18. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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  19. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    I am sceptical of any non-tube amp sounding as good as a vintage tube amp. I’ve had blackface and silver face Fenders ( Vibro Champ, Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Vibrolux, and Vibroverb) and all sounded great but some were pretty heavy. I am now down to a BF Vibro Champ and a silverface Princeton Reverb. Along with my Goodsell I use the PR for gigging. Simple, takes pedals well and gives me classic tones. I’ve had the PR for over ten years. Had it serviced when I bought it and haven’t needed to do anything to it since. Will probably hold its value should I ever want to sell but don’t see that happening anytime soon. The PR is my forever amp I guess. I did rehouse it in a custom cherry cab as well. 6B7B034D-42F3-41AC-9D2A-15CEE8154967.jpeg
     
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  20. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    If my TMDR would break I would sell the cabinet (which is much lighter than a regular DRRI cabinet, the Jensen speaker and the faceplate) for a few hundred € and buy again a used TMDR. This would cost much less than to repair a Tube amp. I once had problems with my DRRI and my 1977 Super Twin Reverb and every amp tech I called asked me hundreds of euros to fix them
     
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