I can’t even imagine the nightmare it’d be to repair one of these amps. Even if I didn’t strongly prefer the “actual thing,” that alone would be enough to make me steer clear.The honeymoon is over for me and my Deluxe Reverb TM, not ready for divorce, but we are going through counseling.
I purchased the Black tolex version with the Neo Jensen, played it now for a few months, and it makes sense now to me what this amp is and where it is going. It is a modern interpretation of the Deluxe Reverb in solid state. It is not a clone, it is not a digital version of the tube amp, it is really it's own thing....a modern amp that looks like a duck, walks like a duck, but chirps instead of quacks.
We all tend to hear with our eyes and having the cabinet be a well crafted dead ringer for the BF Fender Deluxe Reverb only helps plant those tones in our mind before we hit the first note. We will hear a tone much closer than it likely is for a few months. Something was a little off, it sounded good, but something was a little different. I (like many) started to conclude that it must be the speaker to blame.
Enough people ended the honeymoon with the same conclusion so out rolls the blond tolex version with the neo creamback speaker and people decided that it was too early to give up on this amp. People with the first gen started swapping speakers and the blond tolex players walked around seemingly happy....until the next problem which gives pause.
With that in mind, I will share what is bugging me right now. I did the reverb update and removed the bright cap, still have the neo Jensen though as a disclaimer. What I finally realized after playing this amp for months is that the mids are not all that scooped like a vintage Blackface amp would be. It seems like a flatter EQ to me and is just enough that it bothered me without really knowing why. Maybe that is the result of the neo magnet or more likely the result of the amp simulation itself? It really does sound like a more modern tone than a vintage one...still pleasing, but different and those same eyes are now betraying my expecations for the tone from acceptence to wondering what is wrong here?
I have no real need for the line out and mic simulations for my usage, but I really do like the power scaling feature which I find really handy, but is it enough to keep the amp?
I think it is a great amp for people who want the modern sound with the vintage looks...sort of like all those car clubs featuring cars from the 1950's with modern motors and internet stereos. Not everyone wants to tune carbs every 4 months and not everyone wants to deal with vacuum tubes either. That is what the Tonemaster is...it really is.