I wanted to love the new ToneMasters

teletail

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I've been waiting for my local music store to get the new Super Reverb Tone Master so I could try it out. I wound up trying the Deluxe, the Twin Reverb and the Super Reverb Tone Masters. My usual amp (haven't used anything else live in a couple of years) is a '95 DRRI that I've used for almost all of my gigs. My practice amp, which I use every day is a PRRI. Anyway, I grabbed my check book, went to the store, pulled a tele off the wall and tried all three of them out with full intentions of buying one. I have to say that I was really underwhelmed with all three. I had the Super up to 8 and had to check to make sure it was at full power, but even though I don't play that loud, I'm not sure it would keep up with my band. As a comparison, I've never had my Deluxe Reverb over 3, usually at 2. As much as I cranked the treble and lowered the bass, I couldn't really get a good, bright sound. I had a similar experience with all three. Maybe home, with my pedal board, I could get a sound that I love, but in the store with just me and a tele, I couldn't.

Anyway, I urge everyone to try one out, because this is just one man's opinion. My guitar hero/teacher has all three and swears by them. I was so sure I was going to fall in love with them, but it was not to be. Guess I'll be sticking with the DRRI.
 

'64 Tele

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I've tried out the DR when they first hit the stores.
It was "close", but not quite.
Maybe in a live situation/band mix, I'd have a different outlook.
I've owned two blackface vintage DRs (1964 and 1966) and currently have a 68 Custom DR.
I love the idea of power attenuation and xlr out to negate need for mic'ing with the Tonemasters, along with the low weight.
The Tonemaster I tried out was the initial black tolex model, not the updated blond tolex with a different speaker. I'd like to try one of those sometime.
 

Telekarster

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I hear you man. I had a similar exp when I tried a new, custom shop, tweed champ amp a couple years ago. I just wasn't impressed with it. Maybe it was just a dud or something, or more likely it was just me, but either way I put my $ back into my wallet and went home to my modded Champ XD, which I love dearly ;)
 

MilwMark

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I owned a TMDR and in a band mix it was easily as loud as the loudest DRRI or SFDR or BFDR I owned. It also seemed to have more mids. If I wanted scooped amps with no mid knob I'd still have it. But I don't.

I will say, other than the TMDR I owned (I haven't tried others) I feel like they voiced the TM series very clean. Whenever I plug into a TMTR or TMSR at a shop, lower the attenuator and crank the volume, the tone is still pretty clean. Not my bag, baby. But maybe they found especially clean old tube versions of each one and based the corresponding TM on that?
 

darkwaters

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Yep. Had a similarly underwhelming experience with the Deluxe. I won’t be parting with my money or my tube amps any time soon.
 

Blue Bill

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I had a similar experience; went to a music store, tried a TMDR and a 68CDR side by side. The TM sounded fine, it didn't suck, but side by side with the tube one, lacked punch and dynamics. It was different enough so that my mind has been made up. I also tried the TMTR, same feeling.

I also realize and respect that people are loving their TMs, and with the right pedals, on a live stage, they sound virtually identical. Plus, I could literally lift the TMDR with my pinky. Not figuratively-literally, but literally-literally. 🤪
 
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Boreas

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I've been waiting for my local music store to get the new Super Reverb Tone Master so I could try it out. I wound up trying the Deluxe, the Twin Reverb and the Super Reverb Tone Masters. My usual amp (haven't used anything else live in a couple of years) is a '95 DRRI that I've used for almost all of my gigs. My practice amp, which I use every day is a PRRI. Anyway, I grabbed my check book, went to the store, pulled a tele off the wall and tried all three of them out with full intentions of buying one. I have to say that I was really underwhelmed with all three. I had the Super up to 8 and had to check to make sure it was at full power, but even though I don't play that loud, I'm not sure it would keep up with my band. As a comparison, I've never had my Deluxe Reverb over 3, usually at 2. As much as I cranked the treble and lowered the bass, I couldn't really get a good, bright sound. I had a similar experience with all three. Maybe home, with my pedal board, I could get a sound that I love, but in the store with just me and a tele, I couldn't.

Anyway, I urge everyone to try one out, because this is just one man's opinion. My guitar hero/teacher has all three and swears by them. I was so sure I was going to fall in love with them, but it was not to be. Guess I'll be sticking with the DRRI.
Odd. I wouldn't have thought volume would be an issue at their output power rating. It could be the speakers were all a little tight. It would have been good if you tried a DRRI at the same time in the same room and the amps at the same height. Many stores make it difficult to get an amp off of the floor and pointed at your feet.
 

AxemanVR

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`
Part of me is really jones'n to try one of the Fender Tone Master amps, yet another part of me knows I'd probably still end up sticking with what I got, since they do everything I want and need them to do (all tube amps).

I like the output power choices on the Tone Masters and I suppose the lower overall weight is a popular feature, otherwise I can't imagine a "copy" of a tube amp sounding better than the real thing - and to me "how it sounds" is the most important feature...


`
 
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chris m.

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As with most digital amps, I think where you can hear the most difference is when you're at edge of breakup. You just don't get quite the same richness of overtones. It sounds more 2D rather than 3D. That said, the other guitar player in my band has a TMDR and it sounds fine in our gigs, so it absolutely gets the job done.
 

Boreas

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Part of me is really jones'n to try one of the Fender Tone Master amps, yet another part of me knows I'd probably still end up sticking with what I got, since they do everything I want and need them to do (all tube amps).

I like the output power choices on the Tone Masters and I suppose the lower overall weight is a popular feature, otherwise I can't imagine a "copy" of a tube amp sounding better than the real thing - and to me "how it sounds" is the most important feature...


`
Won't cost you anything to try one! But no, I don't believe they were designed to compete with their own tube amps soundwise, but were intended as an alternative with added features.
 

Chicago Slim

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I used Tone Masters to demo a few guitars that I bought. I decided to go back and get one. I decided on a TMDR. When I got it home, I figured out that I wasn't comparing amps, set at the same power level. The other thing that I found, is that I didn't like the sound of the speaker, before it was broken in.

It is harder to dial-in a modeling amp, than it is to dial-in a tube amp. I now set my digital amps, next to one of my tube amps, to dial it in. I'm happy with my TMDR, running an Eminence speaker. I also really like my Boss NexTone Stage, also with a different speaker.

The Tone Master amps are becoming very popular in Nashville. YMMV!
 

Chud

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I’ve had my Deluxe Blonde for a little over a year now, and don’t have any complaints about it. That said, I don’t plug it in and turn it on much either. That’s not necessarily a bag on the Tone Master, I’ve just been getting into playing my heads and cabs more than my combos the last 6 months or so (see my latest toy review here https://www.tdpri.com/threads/khe-audio-4x4-amp-cab-switcher-demo.1090873/#post-11154600).

I am starting to think about moving it along in favor of maybe a Supersonic head, or something similar, as other than the TM I don’t have anything else that does Fender cleans.
 

beyer160

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I've heard they sound "like a very well-recorded Fender amp."

Is that the consensus?

Not to me.

I A/Bd a TMTR with a brand new '65 Twin Reissue, and the TM sounded dull like a late '70s Ultralinear, with a lack of that classic Fender top end sparkle that the reissue had all day long. It's probably the closest Fender model I've ever heard, but it ain't all the way there yet.

The drunks at the corner bar will never know the difference, but I don't buy my gear to impress those guys.
 

dcupright

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I have had a TM Twin since May of 20 and have used it most days since then. I don’t know if it sounds like a tube twin or not since I don’t own one. I do know it sounds great to my ear and with the xlr out and the different watt settings it is perfect for my needs.

I view the TM as a different amp for different needs.
 

39martind18

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I've been gigging a TMDR for over a year now, and have been pretty happy with the sound, and I love the portability factor. Since I play clean most all the time, breakup sounds are not a real factor for me. When compared to my 1969 DR, and more recently to the 1979 VR I obtained, the primary difference I've noted is that the tube amps tend to sound further "up" in the mix, while the TMDR seems to be a bit more recessed in the mix, but tends to blend better, making my listeners (residents in senior living centers) like it better, because the TMDR doesn't seem as loud. In my gigging bag there is room and use for both types.
 




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