Fender: Future of Amps

RCinMempho

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This and the fact that it's in the same box with the same styling is what seems to have really moved the needle. Other than the badge, which is tiny-ish, I would have to look twice to spot one...
That's true. When it looks the same it will make you think it sounds the same. That's probably some psychological effect going on as well. All the nuances of the shape, wood, baffles, and God knows what else and how that effects the sound are eliminated. Just stick it in the same box and turn it on. Genius.
 

beyer160

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I completely understand Fender embracing the digital future, I'm sure they'll be successful at it. My only Fender amp is 40 years old, maybe one day their digital offerings will catch up to it and then maybe I'll buy one.

Fender clearly knows their market, and although the TM doesn't fit my paradigm it is awfully close to the real thing. At some point in the not-too-distant future there will be an entire generation of players who've never played a tube Fender amp, so they won't know or care about the difference.

This model of an amp simply produces this waveform sent to the output jack. Match that. A hard target. All the signal processing power that other makers use to model various models and to emulate speakers and cabinets is now brought directly to bear on the signal modeling. You have more computing power available
Processing power isn't an issue, even though they want you to think so. The quad core CPU they put in the TMs could run several amp models simultaneously. How many plugins can you run simultaneously in a DAW that is playing back 36 tracks of .wav audio running on top on an OS with your email running in the background? Processing is cheap, and has been for years. Heck, the TM already has speaker emulation on board for the XLR out.
 

Blrfl

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Can anyone here say anything positive about tubes? I can’t.

I like the glow. But I can get that from another obsolete gadget, the Nixie clock on my desk.

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In Fender’s defense, it’s 100% a failing strategy to go all-in on tubes. Make solid state better is a more sustainable model.

I've said this in other threads, but it bears repeating: If tube enthusiasts sincerely believe the sounds their amps make are special and worth preserving, they should be getting behind efforts to produce and improve digital models instead of dumping on them. That means buying, or at least evaluating, existing products and providing meaningful feedback on their deficiencies.

We're at a point in history where the people who built and understand the amps people regard as the classics are starting to die off. Capturing their expertise and refining it while they're still alive will help preserve it for future generations. There will be another point in the distant future when tube amps will be relegated to being museum curiosities. Good digital models will make them accessible to anyone with a computer to run them. That means some kid a hundred or two years from now might well say, "I totally get what those people from the mid-20th century were on about. This rawks."

Being against that reeks of "I got mine, to heck with everybody else." And you know somebody's going to respond to that with "okay, boomer." :rolleyes:
 

Lawdawg

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Pretty much agree with all of the pro-digital sentiments above. All of my amps are tube amps, and I love them to death, but digital technology has come a long way in the last 10-15 years. If I was playing gigs, I would be all over some of the newer digital amps like the Tone Masters.

In terms of tone, I've played some Tone Masters and playing them back to back with tube amps I could definitely tell the difference, but the Tone Masters still sounded very good. Played back to back, I can also usually tell the difference between a Fender reissue tube amp and a vintage amp. Honestly, to my ears the difference between a Tone Master and any given Fender tube amp is about the same as between any two Fender tube amps. That's all just a long way of saying that in a live mix or on record I'd never know the difference.
 

Jasonpatrick

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Yeah the fender tone master deluxe side by side sounds nothing like a true 1960s deluxe and the OD tones from the digital sound bad… I’ll keep my tubes. 🤷‍♂️
 

trandy9850

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A TM Blues Deluxe would be a welcome edition. If I had to guess/predict what TM amp is next in the line? A TM Deluxe, Bassman, or Blues Deluxe in tweed. Tweed tone is not anything that the current lineup does. And if that's the case, they already have the box built for the TM Super, which means its super easy to just cover that box in tweed and stick the Bassman TM amp inside it. Same wattage, same speakers at the TM Super, just a Bassman tweed tone from it. In fact, this even solves the "terrible" reverb problem by eliminating it altogether. Oh man, I was gonna buy a TM Super, but I would definitely buy a TM Bassman instead. I have pedals for reverb and trem that sound better than the reverb and trem on the current TM Super, so eliminating that part of the circuit but keeping the power and the speaker configuration and the other features would be a dream come true.
I think it will be either the Bassman or, as someone else mentioned, a Tweed Deluxe.
 

ReverendRevolver

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Getting back on my soapbox...

The TONEMASTERS are innovative because they eliminate the modeling of speakers, cabinets, and soundwaves. They aren't designed to SOUND like the model they are. They are designed to produce the same signal as their parent amp. That enables Fender to use all the available computing power to simply replicate an electric signal accurately.

The signal produced by an amp is not a matter of emulation, physics calculations, estimations, interpolations, acoustics - all the the modeling mathematics are simply eliminated. The guesswork is gone. POOF!

This model of an amp simply produces this waveform sent to the output jack. Match that. A hard target. All the signal processing power that other makers use to model various models and to emulate speakers and cabinets is now brought directly to bear on the signal modeling. You have more computing power available, and the problem is much more narrowly defined. You have a single simple electrical signal to copy.

Notice the TONEMASTERs use regular guitar speakers - not flat response speakers like most modelers. If you swap out the speakers in a Tonemaster, it will behave essentially like you swapped out a speaker in its parent amp.

They modeled the amplification section of the amp and put that in the same cabinet with the same kind of speakers as the target. Guess what, it sounds a whole lot like the target. They simplified the problem, and in doing so came up with a better solution. That's an essential element of mathematics, engineering, and design. They did it, and it works.
I can't argue with the product. It's fantastic for what it is, cab is great, speakers are light without sounding alien with the actual sound of a Fender amp. And that sound? Unless you're playing it, used to the original, don't use a pick, and/or push it in specific ways, there's not going to be much difference, sonically. At least, the ones I tried locally sounded so close that if you're doing youtube videos, nobody would notice.
But......
The guy in the article from Fender is acting like they're the first people who made a great sounding digital amplifier. As though they're this avant garde cutting edge part of it.
They just finally pursued a great idea to great results. My complaint isn't with the amp, although (speaking as a tube snob) Fender should pay YOU to get interviewed about these things, because you absolutely nailed it with what's actually better about the series than the better digital options, and didn't even have to mention that only Fender can legally make them.
I'd imagine sales of Fender Pro Jr. amps probably exceed the combined sales history of the Epi Valve Jr. and Orange Tiny Terror.
There's 0% chance you're wrong about an amp that's been around since 1993 selling more than 2 amps that came out later with a 7 year (valve jr) and 10 year (tt) production runs.
I'm just saying those 2 amps had a bigger impact on the amp landscape when they launched. The Tiny Terror sold over 10,000 units the first year. The epi didn't even get that popular until the head came out a year after launch, but small amps got really popular around then. Bjr and Projrs were always more versatile, but didn't make the splash of the other 2.
 

ReverendRevolver

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I think it will be either the Bassman or, as someone else mentioned, a Tweed Deluxe.
Why not both? The 5e3 would be more practical, but a TM 4×10 neo speakered combo, possibly with a toggle for 5f6/"reissue" mode?

I'm still waiting to catch a TM badge for sale for like $10. Imagine seeing it on an Excelsior, Bantam Bass, AC30, or most hilariously, a large SS Peavey.
 

old wrench

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I'd imagine sales of Fender Pro Jr. amps probably exceed the combined sales history of the Epi Valve Jr. and Orange Tiny Terror.

Good point - and it can be taken a step further -

My semi-educated guess is that the Fender "Champ" probably out sold any of the three that you mention, and very possibly all three of them combined

Over the course of my life I've owned one Epi Valve Jr., none of the Pro Jr. or Orange Tiny Terror, but three different Fender Champs



No doubt there are some folks who will be just as happy when their "amplifier" becomes something that can't be seen or touched, but instead resides somewhere in the "cloud"

I probably won't see it in person since I'm approaching the end of my current tour, but I can see it coming ;)

.
 

mixmkr 2023

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I use Presonus...kicks Pro Tools to the street...but like tube sniffers, Pro Tool users don't know that. Fender bought Presonus

My Helix kicks all tube amps...and I've never heard a toobie giving that or a Fractal or Quad Core a HEALTHY try.....just maybe heard a preset. If they knew how deep you can tweak on a Helix, I'd bet they'd be surprised. Those that aren't ....usually won't like 4k flat screen TVs either. My statements come from 60 years of buying amps and being blown away what we have at our disposal nowadays as musicians. And yes ...I like old fashioned apple pie and homemade ice cream too.
 

Doutorfunga

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Good point - and it can be taken a step further -

My semi-educated guess is that the Fender "Champ" probably out sold any of the three that you mention, and very possibly all three of them combined

Over the course of my life I've owned one Epi Valve Jr., none of the Pro Jr. or Orange Tiny Terror, but three different Fender Champs



No doubt there are some folks who will be just as happy when their "amplifier" becomes something that can't be seen or touched, but instead resides somewhere in the "cloud"

I probably won't see it in person since I'm approaching the end of my current tour, but I can see it coming ;)

.
If we're talking about all models using the Champ name, it is a long shot. If it's only the vintage ones, it's a reeeeally long shot
 

fretknot

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I have yet to try out or hear any of the Tone Master line in person, but if they can emulate the cleans, as well as the edge of breakup with the same harmonic overtones as their valve predecessors, then I might be swayed.

The lighter weight, pine cabinet, and the attenuator are the main selling points for me. I prefer 10" over 12" speakers. That said, a Vibrolux Reverb version would be an interesting prospect. The Princeton Reverb TM, maybe?
 

ChicknPickn

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This reminds me of the server room I managed in the nineties. Redundant filtered HVAC system, massive UPS, diesel generator, raised floor, a couple hundred physical servers, huge cabinet arrays, etc. One day, a consultant comes in, looks around, and says "you'll see the day when all of your operation will fit in a room the size of your janitor's closet." I laughed at him. Ha ha. It happened pretty much the way he said it would. Virtualization, cloud services, the whole thing.

No more tube amps? Ah, they'll be around. Like big V-Twin Harleys. The young folk will ask, why do these things get so hot?
 

johnnyASAT

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Getting back on my soapbox...

The TONEMASTERS are innovative because they eliminate the modeling of speakers, cabinets, and soundwaves. They aren't designed to SOUND like the model they are. They are designed to produce the same signal as their parent amp. That enables Fender to use all the available computing power to simply replicate an electric signal accurately.

The signal produced by an amp is not a matter of emulation, physics calculations, estimations, interpolations, acoustics - all the the modeling mathematics are simply eliminated. The guesswork is gone. POOF!

This model of an amp simply produces this waveform sent to the output jack. Match that. A hard target. All the signal processing power that other makers use to model various models and to emulate speakers and cabinets is now brought directly to bear on the signal modeling. You have more computing power available, and the problem is much more narrowly defined. You have a single simple electrical signal to copy.

Notice the TONEMASTERs use regular guitar speakers - not flat response speakers like most modelers. If you swap out the speakers in a Tonemaster, it will behave essentially like you swapped out a speaker in its parent amp.

They modeled the amplification section of the amp and put that in the same cabinet with the same kind of speakers as the target. Guess what, it sounds a whole lot like the target. They simplified the problem, and in doing so came up with a better solution. That's an essential element of mathematics, engineering, and design. They did it, and it works.

To be fair, this is essentially how the Blues Cube works, it’s just “inspired by” stuff instead of just trying to be the thing which has its own pluses and minuses. In a way the Blues Cube Artist and Stage with the Tone Capsules represent a similar sort of line, but they’re freer to do different stuff. Those little things are too expensive but I hope they don’t stop with them. The Sparkle Clean one isn’t my vibe but I do think it’s a very creative use of that technology.
 

ASATKat

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Me? Katana bliss for the last three years. Fender has never had such success with a single model, they're still trying to get it right.

What Katana excels at are dialing in artist sounds not amp sounds. That's a totally different approach.

The Kat can come close to some classic amps, but nails the tone of say, SRV or Gary Moore, Peter Green, Santana, Jimi. I have yet to hear Fender nail these tones in their digital amps.

Plus it seems Fender and Line6 change their tones every year, always hunting for the better, more authentic amp tone where Katana has had the same tone engine since their Mk1. Whatever Boss did, they did it right, for my ears that is.
 

bobio

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I have had Fender Amps for a very long time. Just sold my last one, a Tone Master Deluxe Reverb a few months ago.
Loved the TMDR, but I made the decision to move away from pedals and all the hoopla that goes along with them.
Since the TMDR was my pedal platform, I really didn't have any reason to keep it.

I am all in with BOSS/Roland. Love the Katana, the Nextone and my recently aquired GT-1000. 👍
They give me access to all the tones I was getting from the large collection of BOSS pedals I had.

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Trenchant63

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A statement like this coming from a VP in Fender should prompt anyone in the tube amp division to either move to the digital side of the house, or find a new gig ASAP. That’d be my reaction but probably even before that once I saw the Tonemaster line take off after helping the TM digital team needing to understand tube amp characteristics in the R&D process (Fender described that process). Writing on the wall, etc. That aside, of course Fender needs to go this way in the mass market of amps. That’s where the growth will be and they need to innovate there.
 

Trenchant63

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Does this sound like the Harley Davidson CEO saying in the future all bikes will be electric? Well, that's probably much more radical, since a lot of people have been playing digital for several years.

I fully expect tube amps to be a smaller niche, and they'll stay niche. Just like v-twin gas-powered cruiser bikes.
Good analogy
 

middy

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Probably had the product engineers and designers do a SWOT chart on tubes lol

Can anyone here say anything positive about tubes? I can’t.

I love the way tube amps sound and I love the way tube preamps sound. But they are fragile, heavy, hot, inefficient, unreliable and expensive to maintain. The skinny second I find that exact same response in solid state I could easily see ditching the old stuff. It’s only that edge of real breakup and maybe nostalgia that has a hold on me.

In Fender’s defense, it’s 100% a failing strategy to go all-in on tubes. Make solid state better is a more sustainable model. Tube suppliers can turn off any day all over again. And prices and availability will only continue to hit the manufacturers.

I love tube amps but tube amps are really dumb. They will never go away but they will cost more and SS will sound equivalent soon.

I’ll enjoy what I have but I’m not going to buy another tube amp again. When it dies I’ll buy something else.
I’ve never heard solid state anything sound like a real tube amp in the very top end. It’s always clipped off somehow. Luckily, that is normally hidden by cymbals, singers, etc when heard in the mix.
 




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