Just joined the TMDR club. Whoa!

birv2

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Posts
1,309
Location
Charleston, SC
I did a fair bit of research before going to GC to actually try amps. And tbh, I was thinking I'd go with the GTX-100. I've had a Mustang III v2 for several years and did like it. I also have a Pro Jr, so I've got the tube thing covered.

So I got out the GTX, the DR, and the Catalyst on the floor and tried them all out. The DR simply blew me out of the water. I'm a big fan of Fender cleans and play mostly old-school Chicago blues, and the TMDR just nailed those cleans. The others were ok, and there's no disputing the wide array of options on the GTX. But at the end of the day, I really only use 1 or 2 sounds. The line out and the attenuator, plus the WEIGHT of the DR, were also huge deciding factors. But without that tone, it wouldn't have been enough, since you can get much of that with other amps.

Anyway, I am totally LOVING playing through this amp. I've tried all 3 of my teles, and each one's special character comes through loud and clear. Haven't played out yet, but everything I've heard says that won't be a problem.

Also, I'm pretty sure it has updated firmware, since I can put the reverb on 6! I briefly thought about going with the creamback DR, but for now I've loving what I'm hearing from blackface. Hats off to Fender for keeping what's great about this amp and upgrading it for the 21st century.
 

fender4life

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Posts
4,517
Location
los angeles
One thing to note is the Catalyst is (for me at least) by far the worse amp when u initially try it compared to how u will feel about it later on for 2 reasons. I bought one and had it shipped from GC and if not for the fact i live 50 miles from a brick and mortar GC i woulda returned it after 10 minutes. But i was going to a friends in a couple week a couple hours away so i figured with a 45 day rturn window i'd wait till then. (if u return it yourself there are no shipping fees, not even the initial one to your home) So i threw it back in the box. But the next day out of boredom and whatever else i pulled it out and tried it again.

I said there were 2 reasons....the first is speaker break in. I have never experienced speaker break in like this. The amp changed dramatically to where certain tonal aspects i hated about it actually disappeared. It was actually a shocker. I have seen a few others cite the same thing so it's not just me. No other amp has ever changed like that, and it didn't take long like most nor did it take loud to get there. I really believe that's going to be the downfall of this model. Second reason is dialing it in is not like other amps. How many amps have you owned where there are sound you can set the treble and presence on 10 and actually be usable? On some of the models and depending how the mids are set (the controls are crazy interactive) thats actually doable and w/o sounding thin or bright/harsh. The tone controls are designed so the entire range from 1 to 10 is usable unlike other amps where the tone controls have a small usable range on the knobs.

Anyways, that trip to a friends was to be a jam and instead of returning the amp on the way i brought it with me because by that time i was starting to really like it. I also have a GTX100 and i was starting to dial in sounds that made the GTX sound tinny and weak by comparison. The speaker break in was the main thing but learning how to work the interactive controls is too.

Long story short, i brought both amps to the jam and the GTX that i really loved till then just could not come close to the catalyst as far as girth and many other tonal details. By the end of the nite i was over the moon with my tone. Trust me, this amp will fool you till you get that speaker broken in and learn the controls including the bias and sag only available in the app. But once you do the catalyst is a amazing live amp. I haven't had such a great usable tone that allowed me to just play instead of struggling to play in years. Only the best tube amps i've had were like that. I would have told you you're full of it had to told me i'd be loving this amp at first. And i honestly believe the catalyst will fail because of this. In any case, i think u likely made a good choice with the tonemaster because it likely has better cleans even when the catalyst speaker is broken in. It wasn't designed for cleans to be it's strength where as the TMDR is. The cleans i use are the over driven amp sounds that are very dynamic and clean up really well by riding the guitar volume and the cat does that very well, probsably better then most every tube amp i have owned. But the clean channel sounds good to me but not as good as a good fender, either the TM series OR tube. But if you want great live tone, especially if play old school volume riding style, the catalyst is great. Best live modeler i've had to date.
 

Fret Wilkes

Friend of Leo's
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Posts
3,263
Location
Harmony, R.I.
Glad you are enjoying your TMDR! I've got the Blonde TMTR and I'm simly LOVING it, and it just shines at gigs. Agree that Fender nalied this one! Others will disagree, but that doesn't mean much to ME. ;0)
 




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