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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by NateD81, Oct 15, 2019.
Negative on the DR, as well. None of the ‘quirks’ that I wasn’t a fan of on my DRRI, to be honest.
Thanks! I figured I’d do as detailed a review as a could since there’s not tons out there at this time - maybe it’ll help someone make a decision.
I didn’t try the twin, I had to order online since no one near me carries them and with family and work obligations, I can’t just drive down to LA. I’ve never played a twin so I don’t know what I’m missing, but I loved my DRRI except that it was too loud for me at home and it did have a few quirks (Reverb hum, vibrato tucking) that irritated me a bit. Not issues on this amp at all.
You tell us. What does your analysis of the cost of bringing the product to market say?
I bet you couldn’t find the cabinet alone for less than $300, let alone speakers or the amp itself.
e: For the Twin, at least.
To me it is just as simple as acknowledging, that this amp, is NOT tube powered, and the circuit is a digital facsimile of the real thing- why should it cost as much as ( or so close ) the real thing?
Was maybe wrongly assuming that this Series would be marketed to those of us who are lower income. ( I'm not personally interested- I love my amps)
But maybe value has nothing to do with it, and Fender is thinking " This is new technology, and as good as or even better than our tube amps, ( no more tube issues) so we will retail where we want"
Just musing, nothing more, plus Fender has just raised their prices across the board from the early 2000's, when I was last buying gear (no longer, thankfully!) so maybe I just need to get with the times.
Did fender keep the channels out of phase with each others?
Ok thanks! That's good to know, I thought the lowest setting on the twin was 1W vs 0,2W on the deluxe. Anyway, for a daily use in my condo, I think my THR5 is still a better option
The DR model is about 25% less expensive than the tube model and the Twin about 30% less. Seems like a pretty good deal to me given I haven't had anyone I've played with ID it as a digital amp until they are told.
Yes! And it’s the amp this Dad is getting for Christmas.
Thank you OP for the very detailed review. I played this amp at my local guitar store while trying out a new guitar and it sounded good to me but I only spent 10 minutes with it.
I’m interested in the DR sound, 12” speaker, and attenuator. It’s also just a beautiful amp in my opinion.
Channels are not in phase, effects(and bright cap) on Vibrato channel only, just like a tube DR. No way to "clip" the bright cap, but you can turn the amp up past 4/5 so it has little effect(again, just like the tube version) and use the attenuator to keep the dBs down.
I've only auditioned the TMDR in a store but thought it sounded and felt awesome. Don't need one as I have a '68 CDR and '75 SFDR, but if I was still gigging regularly I'd definitely be in the market for one.
No problem - I’ve really been impressed with it. Never been a modeling guy, I liked the tube amps because, tubez, but also because they’re straight forward. The TMDR is so simple and honestly sounds like my DRRI to me — no regrets from me.
An aside - I know people complain about the cost but never having to retune the amp (whether out of need or out of desire) negates some of the cost in my opinion. It’s true that tubes can last a long time, but I know many of us like to tube roll and that can get pricey if you let it. I really appreciate this amp sounding great out of the box and doesn’t allow me to tinker and spend money. Apparently I’m a weak person!
Anyway, this was just my experience bit for those in a similar situation to me, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I am so happy with my Joyo American Sound into my Katana 50, gets me great Fender tones. The Tonemasters are tempting, but probably a lot more amp than I need. I do like the concept, maybe a Princeton version with a few less features??? Closer to $500??? That would get my attention.
Somebody answered already that yes, it’s identical to the original, but I just goofed around and there’s some crazy interactions when you jump the channels between the two volumes and tone stacks. Seemed like too much of a rabbit hole so I stepped away, but not before I played with an ABY that has a phase toggle and hoo boy, that’s fun. Heavy fuzz on normal, big delay/reverb on the vibrato channel, good times.
Yes, you can. No, it will not sound good.
Blackface Fender amps are different designs than Fender tweeds or Marshall four-input amps. The two channels (Normal and Vibrato) are out-of-phase with each other, for various electronic reasons. If you jumper the Normal and Vibrato channels on a stock Deluxe or Twin Reverb, and start to fiddle with the volume controls, there will be places on the dials where the sound seems to die out a bit. IOW, as you INCREASE the volume with the knob, the volume will actually DECREASE. This is the result of frequencies cancelling each other out. You CAN do this on the '68 Custom models, as their two channels are IN phase.
I can confirm that the two channels on my Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb are, indeed, out-of-phase, and the frequency cancelling does indeed occur when jumpering the channels.
Having spent a few hours A/B'ing the Tonemaster with my "real" DRRI, I can say I obtained nearly identical tones at very similar settings.
The volume controls were right on the money, with a gradual onset between "1" and "4", and a larger jump between "4" and "5", where it really started to breakup. I have older DRRI versions (before the tube cage), and they both break up sooner, starting at about "2". This can fool your eyes into thinking these early versions are louder, but as you get to 4 or 5 on the volume, both early and later versions are the same loudness and level of breakup. It's merely the new versions have a bit more play at the beginning of the knob travel.
I'm not interested in trying to convince anybody about anything. There's just no sense arguing about which amp, or strings, or beer, or toothpaste is the "best".
I'm not selling my carefully massaged DRRIs. I'll just say that this new amp is very nice and I'm not selling it, either.
I also spent time changing out the speaker in the Tonemaster, in order to have identical, broken-in speakers in the new Tonemaster and the DRRI.
This was a PITA.
The speaker in the Tonemaster is attached extremely firmly to its baffle board, so it's not coming out without "leaving a mark". The speaker is mounted with nice screws and T-nuts, but you can remove all eight of those and still lift the amp up by grabbing the speaker itself.
Fortunately, I have a spare baffle, so was able to perform the necessary minor surgery.
Tonemaster Baffle with (unremovable) stock Jensen Neo:
Spare DRRI baffle with Creamback Neo:
Of course, the four baffle-mounting screws on the sides didn't match up, but they self-tapped easily.
Also, note that the speaker cable on the Tonemaster is hard-wired into the chassis, and there is no provision for external speaker cabs. Just like the Mustangs.
Here's my question-for-today: What would happen if you put a 4-ohm (or 16-ohm) speaker in this thing? Many solid state amps typically increase power output with lower impedance loads. So will doing this let the smoke out?
Me too. It's a size issue as much as anything. I have a Blues Cube Hot in my man-cave and it's already bigger than I like. I also have a Blackstar HT1R, which is a great size (I use it for a REALLY small winter rental we go to each year), but just doesn't sound as good as the Blues Cube. If the Princeton is sized close to the Blues Cube and in a similar price range, I'd for sure check it out. I'd have to love it, though, because I've got ZERO complaints about the Blues Cube...
I keep seeing this come up. Why should tube amps cost more?
I buy an amp based on having the sound, feel, volume and features I want.
-$800 for an amp that I can gig, rehearse and record with easily is a bargain in my opinion.
Cost to produce is not the same as price, of course. But even thinking of cost, for a second, you asked why it doesn't cost $500. Can you tell me of a solid pine, finished 112 cab of the same size, with a branded neo speaker, that you can buy for less than $500? Now add 9 premium pots to that cab. Now add a jewel light. Now add 4 inputs. And a power cable. Oh yeah, and a really fancy digital spring reverb pedal. And a really fancy digital tremolo pedal. Whoops, and, you know, an amp. Even putting aside R&D, $500 is completely unreasonable, even based on cost.
All that aside, based on sound, feel, volume and features, the TMDR is a flat-out homerun for me. It's passed the home, rehearsal and show tests for me. Don't tell Fender, but I'd consider it a good value at $1500, to be honest.
Sorry I'm not going to argue, just tired:
I paid $ 200 for a 1967 Pro Reverb in 1989
I paid $400 in 1997 for a 1968 Deluxe Reverb
I paid $270 in 2000 for a 1999 Blues Junior ( the only one of these 3 I still own, hundreds if not close to 1000 gigs)
- just not used to today's prices
No way I would spend so much for a Solid State amp but that's just me.
As to .5W it's still loud for home use if the unit refers to tube power equivalent.
The .5 watt rating is based on tube amp power.
I don't want to play the amp cranked to full volume; that is not the sound I'm looking for, but, I find it the only way to get an acceptable sound level. I want my amps playing between 95 and 100 dB when at home, and to get the sound I want at the level I want requires the 5 watt setting.
I guess that depends on your definition of close. The DRRI is 22% more expensive than a TMDR and the TRRI is 45% more expensive than a TMTR.
The TM amps are Fender repeating what happened at Roland five years ago with the first of the current-generation Blues Cubes. The initial products were expensive because there was a lot of new new R&D that had to be done to make them happen. Some that work has filtered down into the slightly-less-expensive Nextone models and will probably continue to appear in other even cheaper models. I have no doubt Fender's digital products will follow the same path.
Everyone has raised their prices across the board since the early 2000s because of inflation. Based on the Consumer Price Index alone, a product that costs $1,000 today would have cost $671 in 2000. Probably more because the cost of the hardware required to do all of this digital stuff has come down a lot in the last 20 years.