NAD: Fender Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by NateD81, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    I bit the bullet and picked up the TMDR. Some background on my experience with Fender amps: I've had everything from a Super Champ X2 to a '65 DRRI, a 68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb and a '68 Custom Prince Reverb - so all modern amps, nothing vintage. I am by no means an expert and don't consider myself a tube-snob, but I certainly have preferred tubes over SS/Digital.

    I've mainly been through amps because I've tried to find the perfect amp for my home situation (I live in a condo and have been relegated to the garage). With all the amps I've had, even the Vibrolux, I've been able to make them usable at home in my garage, but it's been rare that I've been able to push any of my amps to the sweet spot. I considered attenuators, but alas, never went that route. I usually could only get to 2-3 on the volume dial.

    I just recently sold my 68 Custom Prince Reverb to be able to purchase the TMDR. I liked my CPR, but I still couldn't push that amp to where I wanted without irritating my wife and waking up my 4-year-old. The reason I chose the TMDR is for the attenuation and the fact that (from videos) it sounded like a DRRI. Having the XLR out with the IRs was a huge bonus, too.

    Keep in mind, I've had the amp all of 6 hours now but I love it -- I, like many other people writing about their experience with the amp, was listening for things to dislike. I was looking to be let down by the playing experience. I expected it to not "feel" like my tube amps, but this has not my experience. I can honestly say it feels totally natural to me. Again, I'm no expert--I don't own any vintage tube amps, but it really sounds fantastic.

    I'm a teacher, working on my masters and my wife teaches and is working on her masters as well so I have had very little time to go try out amps. I had to rely on videos and the feedback from folks on forums and I can say that if you go watch Andy from reverb's video () -- this video feels very accurate to me. I've seen some videos where the amp sounds dark, which I was expecting to be my experience, but I was happy to find it to be very versatile; I could get some heavy bass if I wanted, but I could also dial the amp in to be pretty bright if I wanted. The pots feel very responsive, more so than the fender tube amps I've had, to be honest. When I adjust the bass and treble, small changes seem to make a big difference.

    The reverb and vibrato sound great. I felt like the reverb dialed up to 10 seemed a bit much--didn't seem to sound great to me, but I never put reverb on 10, anyway so I'm ok with that. What I enjoyed was that the amp is dead silent no matter if the reverb was at 10 or 2 (my Princeton had terrible reverb hum above 3 on the dial). There was no ticking from the vibrato when engaged like on my old DRRI. The amp doesn't have loud hissing when turned up to 5 or 6, the only noise is from my single-coil pickups on my Classic Player 50s Telecaster. Unplug the guitar and the amp is dead quiet.

    I didn't play around too much with the IRs but I did quickly try it out and it was pretty awesome being able to load up a bunch of great effects in Logic X and play the amp muted through my headphones and studio monitors I have it sound solid. I'll report back on that as I start to do some recording, but was impressed with the IR on initial impressions.

    So, the too long; didn't read verdict is that it's an awesome amp! I mean really, to me, it sounds like my DRRI but with the added benefit of an attenuator and XLR out + IRs. I'm always reading about folks looking for a bedroom amp, deciding between a Princeton or a Deluxe Reverb is a common theme -- my money is on the TMDR. I played all the attenuator levels and was really impressed with how well they work. I may get flamed for a glowing review of the amp, but I'm just trying to give my honest feedback. I'm a work-a-day guy who likes to play at home and record, I don't gig and I have no delusions of making it big, I just want to be inspired by nice tone and this amp does that easily. It sounds like the 65 DRRI, to be honest - but now I can attenuate it down to marriage-saving levels and still love how it sounds. A big win for me and I would recommend giving it a shot.

    Finally, I got mine for $800 on Reverb, I literally messaged about 10 different retailers on Reverb asking what the best they could do is and got multiple shops offering 800 to 850, so definitely don't pay the 899 unless you have to.
     
  2. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Pretty much the same experience I have had with the TMTR over the last month. I have played mine out a couple of times with great success and lots of curiosity and complements (for the amp).
     
  3. pugnax

    pugnax TDPRI Member

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    Ultimate dad amp.
     
  4. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    I don't know if you meant it as a putdown, but, truer words have never been spoken.
     
  5. reckless toboggan

    reckless toboggan Tele-Meister

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    Watch out, next you'll be putting Seymour Duncan's in all your guitars.
     
  6. pugnax

    pugnax TDPRI Member

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    Not at all - just sold off two amps, an attenuator, and a cab sim and grabbed the Twin. Popped off the badge, couldn’t be happier. I can crank a Twin to 10 (!?) while my 2 and 5 year-olds are asleep in the next room! Do I miss the ribcage vibrating resonance of a tube amp at top volume? Sure. But the things are magic in the Arthur C. Clarke sense, plain and simple.
     
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  7. pugnax

    pugnax TDPRI Member

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    I do have a Reverb feed for cheap sets of the Pegasus/Sentient humbucker set...
     
  8. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    Amen!

    By the way, how does one remove the TM badge?
     
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  9. RedRock

    RedRock Tele-Holic

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    Father Knows Best
     
  10. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can see a time when amps will be transistorized and have attentenuators like Katana, Fender Tonemaster and Yamaha who led this situation. Katanas are Rolands actually. Roland cubes are pretty good and they've been around since the early 80s.
    I find my Princeton, a superb sounding amp to be a bit limited in what it can do. I din't use reverb so I only got it for it's clean sound, which is good.
     
  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for this detailed review!

    Did you try the TM twin too?
    The weight/power ratio is even more impressive than with the TMDR, but the level of attenuation may be not enough for home use?
     
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  12. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

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    The no hum and ticking...that was something I have wondered about. Arhhh my interest is growing each day
     
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  13. pugnax

    pugnax TDPRI Member

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    Just stick a flathead screwdriver or a crowbar under there and gently pry. They knew what was what and didn’t use any glue, just 4 little pins that slide right out. It’s a nice metal badge too, but your tone is guaranteed to be at least 10% better once it’s gone. :)

    My favorite thing at the moment is Twin overdrive! Just spent a little while noodling with volume at 8, tone at 5/10/4, reverb at 4, tremolo at 10/6. Playing a full scale mustang with both single coil pickups engaged. Using the ribbon mic IR, zero post processing.



    Tomorrow the house will be empty for a bit so I’m going to sandwich the amp in mattresses (it won’t catch on fire!), lay down a 20-30 minute loop, and let it play at full power around 5 for an hour or so to shake the speakers loose.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  14. skerwo

    skerwo Tele-Holic

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    Congrats to your amp!

    First time I heard abouth these amps I thought Fender what´s up? There are so many cool Fender tube amps on the market and they go with this modeling thing as one-channel-amp. A few days ago I listened to the review of John Bollinger and I have to admit it changed my opinion. It sounds like a real good amp with some advantages in weight, loudness abilities. I hope that they´re using good parts so the amp will work for a long time.

    Interesting product in the modeling scene.
     
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  15. Treynor

    Treynor Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Congrats!
     
  16. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Holic

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    Can the two sides be daisy-chained together?
     
  17. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    The Twin's lowest setting is .5 watt. It is not only not to loud for home use, in my opinion it's to quiet. The speakers are unable to move enough air to really give the sound you are after at normal volume settings on the dial. Turn it up to 10 and it improves with a satisfying Fender crunch but is still to quiet in my opinion. At home I run mine at the 5 watt setting and push about 100dB at one meter with the volume half way up. That is loud enough to be very satisfying without demoing the house.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    teleaddicted and EsquireBoy like this.
  18. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Why is a non-tube Class D ( right?) modeling amp $900?!?
    Because Fender can?
    I have no problem with the concept of the amp, would probably love to have one ( with its DR Tone, looks, light weight) but shouldn't this be more like $500 and not $900?
     
  19. dqami

    dqami Tele-Holic

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    Was wondering if the amp has the loud "pop" when you turn on the amp like other Fender SS amps I own? Thanks
     
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  20. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    The Twin doesn't.
     
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