I think I understand the tonemaster amp thing now

Dan_Pomykalski

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2019
Posts
405
Age
32
Location
Madison, WI
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.
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.
 

Brent Hutto

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Posts
983
Location
South Carolina
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.
They are bog simple to repair. You unplug the broken module and replace it.

Unless the problem is a bad pot or switch or wire, in which case you repair it like any other broken pot or switch or wire.

Of course, a Tonemaster is 10x less likely to need repair than a tube amp in the first place. And you sure as heck are never going to have to replace a dead or microphonic tube.
 

Mekhem

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Posts
1,022
Location
Minneapolis
IMHO - the issue with the TM and similar is just the transition of technology.

Assuming an equivalent manufacturing quality between, say, a hand wired 64 Custom Deluxe Reverb and a TM Deluxe Reverb:
-Things will fail
-Most things can be fixed
-There will be variance, although less so on the TM series i would expect due to modern automated manufacturing techniques

Its just the method of troubleshooting, support, and repair that is different.

-No sound? Replace a Tube/Replace a module. Trace a connection based on specs/trace a connection based on specs
-Spill a soda on the board? Dry it out and test/Dry it out and test
-Drop the amp? Check for loose connections and test/Check for loose connections and test
-Plug into an unguarded outlet and fry the amp? Replace burnt components/replace burnt components

I am really enjoying my TMDR. Its light, Sound good, attenuates, can be used with headphones (using XLR adaptors) and its about 98% of the DRRI i used to own and half the weight. For me as a player, not playing stadiums or as a session musician - I will never need that final 2% anyway
 

Dan_Pomykalski

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2019
Posts
405
Age
32
Location
Madison, WI
They are bog simple to repair. You unplug the broken module and replace it.

Unless the problem is a bad pot or switch or wire, in which case you repair it like any other broken pot or switch or wire.

Of course, a Tonemaster is 10x less likely to need repair than a tube amp in the first place. And you sure as heck are never going to have to replace a dead or microphonic tube.
Oh no. The dreaded tube replacement. I can’t even count the number of amps I’ve had to let go because switching out a tube is just TOO hard.

10x less likely to need repair? Can I get a source for that stat? Also, if a tube amp is wires, resistors, pots and caps, and a Tonemaster has the same plus a module, a Tonemaster would then be more complicated to repair, no?
 

LOSTVENTURE

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Posts
2,446
Location
Charlotte, NC
Hearing something like that review describes, was what led me to the TMTR, which has done everything that I've expected from it. I do have a use for both the power attenuater and the DO, so it was a win-win for me. And all at 35 pounds.
 

Brent Hutto

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Posts
983
Location
South Carolina
Oh no. The dreaded tube replacement. I can’t even count the number of amps I’ve had to let go because switching out a tube is just TOO hard.

10x less likely to need repair? Can I get a source for that stat? Also, if a tube amp is wires, resistors, pots and caps, and a Tonemaster has the same plus a module, a Tonemaster would then be more complicated to repair, no?
Believe what you will. Any other solid state consumer product is many, many times more reliable than the tube equivalent that it replaced. Nothing about guitar amps makes that less true.

Nobody with any sense dreads tube replacement. Because it happens quite frequently and routinely for tube amp owners.

And nobody with any sense dreads replacing an electronic module in a Tonemaster. Because it's just as easy to swap as a tube yet is unlikely to be needed during the working lifetime of the amp.

The difference is we know for an absolute fact that a tube will burn itself out after a few years of heavy use while the idea that the modules in Tonemasters have similarly limited lifetimes is pure FUD.

Wires, resistors, pots and caps are no harder or easier to replace in a Tonemaster than in a Fender tube amp. That's the same either way...except of course the wire, resistors, pots and caps in a Tonemaster aren't being cooked to death by hot tubes every single minute the amp is operating.

If you don't like the sound of a Tonemaster, by all means stick with the amps you like. But there is no way on earth a Tonemaster amp is going to need service more often than a tube equivalent or be dead and unrepairable a few years after you buy it.
 

cyclopean

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Posts
7,731
Location
innsmouth, MA
1st guess - most Fender players don't use effects loops. 3 cords to plug/unplug/trip over.

2nd guess - it's cheaper to omit the two (2) jacks and a level control.

If you'd like a SS Fender with an effects loop, check on the 90s "Red Knob" amps. The Power Chorus has mono AND stereo effects loops, the mono loop includes -16dBv, -7dBv, and +4dBv settings, as well as a +/-9dB gain offset.
Fenders are pretty popular with people who use a lot of effects. Leaving out an effects look seems like a mistake.
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,598
Location
Santa Barbara, California
Fenders are pretty popular with people who use a lot of effects. Leaving out an effects look seems like a mistake.
An effects loop noticeably improves tone when time-based effects go after high gain. But in a low gain amp like a classic Fender, time-based effects don’t need to go through an effects loop to sound fine. Listen to guys like EVH and Jimmy Page with their Echoplex units going into the front of their classic Orange and Marshall heads without effects loops. At classic rock gain levels it sounds great.
 

cyclopean

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Posts
7,731
Location
innsmouth, MA
An effects loop noticeably improves tone when time-based effects go after high gain. But in a low gain amp like a classic Fender, time-based effects don’t need to go through an effects loop to sound fine. Listen to guys like EVH and Jimmy Page with their Echoplex units going into the front of their classic Orange and Marshall heads without effects loops. At classic rock gain levels it sounds great.
The kind of people who are using bigger pedalboards probably don’t really care about classic rock, and you can still run your gain and dirt before the amp and your modulation and time based effects in a loop. Fenders are good, loud, clean amps and you’ll see a lot of them in goth/postpunk/shoegaze/indie rock shows.

I went to a goth fest and the back line was all fender amps and one boss katana.
 

cyclopean

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Posts
7,731
Location
innsmouth, MA
Did the sound suffer from the modulation effects not being inserted after the preamp?
Most of those bands weren’t playing very distorted, but a lot of them also weren’t very good. So, shrug?

I like silver face/blackface distortion but you really have to body slam the front end of those amps with gain to get it. Rowland S. Howard has great tone.
 

W.L.Weller

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 20, 2014
Posts
1,471
Location
Queens
I like silver face/blackface distortion but you really have to body slam the front end of those amps with gain to get it. Rowland S. Howard has great tone.
Absolutely!


I always thought this was cool, a Distortion+ and a Blue Box in one.
 

cyclopean

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Posts
7,731
Location
innsmouth, MA
Absolutely!


I always thought this was cool, a Distortion+ and a Blue Box in one.
That pedal is cool but i got both the blue box and the distortion plus for less than that.

The distortion plus fills in what the blue box leaves out, and they sound great together.

The hidden trick to getting his tone is having some trem running with a lot of gain. It’s smooshed and subtle but it makes all the difference in the world.

Getting his style is tricky. His phrasing is really unique. And a lot of his style has to do with letting two notes ring out at once that rub up against each other uncomfortably.
 

teletail

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 25, 2019
Posts
4,000
Age
72
Location
West By God Virginia
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.
Yea, taking it to an authorized Fender repair center. What a nightmare. It's much easier to take a tube amp back to the authorized Fender repair center.
 

Dan_Pomykalski

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2019
Posts
405
Age
32
Location
Madison, WI
Yea, taking it to an authorized Fender repair center. What a nightmare. It's much easier to take a tube amp back to the authorized Fender repair center.
And that’s my exact point… There are plenty of people out there who can repair a regular tube amp… you wouldn’t have to take it to an authorized dealer…
 

Dan_Pomykalski

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2019
Posts
405
Age
32
Location
Madison, WI
Believe what you will. Any other solid state consumer product is many, many times more reliable than the tube equivalent that it replaced. Nothing about guitar amps makes that less true.

Nobody with any sense dreads tube replacement. Because it happens quite frequently and routinely for tube amp owners.

And nobody with any sense dreads replacing an electronic module in a Tonemaster. Because it's just as easy to swap as a tube yet is unlikely to be needed during the working lifetime of the amp.

The difference is we know for an absolute fact that a tube will burn itself out after a few years of heavy use while the idea that the modules in Tonemasters have similarly limited lifetimes is pure FUD.

Wires, resistors, pots and caps are no harder or easier to replace in a Tonemaster than in a Fender tube amp. That's the same either way...except of course the wire, resistors, pots and caps in a Tonemaster aren't being cooked to death by hot tubes every single minute the amp is operating.

If you don't like the sound of a Tonemaster, by all means stick with the amps you like. But there is no way on earth a Tonemaster amp is going to need service more often than a tube equivalent or be dead and unrepairable a few years after you buy it.
Whoa whoa whoa. When did I ever say a Tonemaster amp is going to need to be repaired more often than a tube amp?

Actually, I’m pretty sure there were a whole bunch of conclusions you jumped to/assumptions you made in that last post, but I’m not reading that novel again.

All I said is I wouldn’t want to repair a Tonemaster. Then you got super triggered and went off on your rant…

Also, I’d love a source to one of these modules and a schematic.
 

teletail

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 25, 2019
Posts
4,000
Age
72
Location
West By God Virginia
And that’s my exact point… There are plenty of people out there who can repair a regular tube amp… you wouldn’t have to take it to an authorized dealer…
No, there aren’t. And less all the time. You see posts about trouble finding someone good, reliable and reasonable on here all the time. In the 70’s you were practically tripping over them, now not so much.
 

Brent Hutto

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Posts
983
Location
South Carolina
No, there aren’t. And less all the time. You see posts about trouble finding someone good, reliable and reasonable on here all the time. In the 70’s you were practically tripping over them, now not so much.
I’ve speculated in other discussions on this topic about the average age of experienced tube-amp technicians. I would not be surprised to find it somewhere north of 60 years old, at least for the really good ones. Those guys will not be available forever.
 

68goldtop

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Posts
240
Location
germany
Hi!
Fenders are pretty popular with people who use a lot of effects. Leaving out an effects look seems like a mistake.
I always wonder why this isn´t more popular/more appreciated - but all the "classic" 2-channel Fender-Amps (think brownface/bf/sf Deluxe, Vibrolux, Twin etc. ...) offer a very good/nice "fx-loop" - it´s the 2nd channel!

It´s even "tube-buffered" (not so much in the TM-series...) and has a volume-control, as well as tone-controls 👍

cheers - 68.
 




Top