NAD: Tonemaster Super Reverb - first impressions

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by AlbertoMilanese, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    270
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2020
    Location:
    Bavaria
    IMG-20210804-WA0000~2.jpeg

    So, if you followed my posts over the last one and a half years, you know that I would like to love those Fender Tonemasters. I tried a Twin in a store, loved it but was on the fence about buying one. Bought a Deluxe on a whim, but that one was too quiet for me.

    So naturally, after hearing the announcement for the Super, I immediately placed an order for one. Well, it just arrived today, so I'd like to share my first impressions and overall impressions with the likes of you.

    Right out of the box, this thing is VERY light. There's a real funny side to the expectation you have for a super regarding its weight and what this amp actually weights. It's going to take some getting used to for me for sure! And it's got the tilt-back legs - I'm in love with those.

    Now, once again, I find the amp to be very quiet. I'm playing it with the volume around 7 and 8 in my small practice area and don't find it overly loud. Upon comparison with my trusty Custom Vibrolux Reverb, they seem to be roughly the same volume-wise, even though the Super has double the amount of speakers. I'm kind of disappointed I can't get more volume out of it. I have no idea how people can play this with the attenuator set to 0.1 or 1W - first, it sounds pretty bad in these modes, second, why? This amp is pretty tame volume-wise as is.

    Now regarding the sound - this thing is a king of clean. Sounds great, no strings attached. Perfect, precise and also fat, but bright clean tone roughly up to 5 on the volume, where it starts thickening up quite a bit bordering into break-up territory. From there on until shortly before 8 on the volume, you go from break-up into overdriven territory. Anything after 8.5 I find unusable.

    Now listening to the overdriven and break-up sounds alone, this amp sounds just fine. No shrill overtones or hiss like my Deluxe had, it's a nice beefy overdrive that you can get from this amp. However, I find the dynamics to be a bit lacking. Of course, I'm spoiled by my Custom Vibrolux Reverb which I consider one of THE most responsive amps ever, but still - I can't help but feel dissatisfied with the dynamic response of the Super. It's still a joy to play though - don't get me wrong here.

    Regarding the trem - it's the choppy kind, but it works. Reverb sound full and surfy, but I find the tail a bit long - sounds kind of weird on lower settings.

    So what are my overall first impressions? Well, I'm thrilled by the weight, I'm mostly thrilled by the sound (my settings: B6 M10 T6) and I like the look. Is it a keeper? Well, I don't know yet - it's a little bit too quiet for what I expected. Stay tuned for more observations!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,675
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Location:
    Suburban PDX, OR
    Thanks for posting the review.

    Keep us updated -- if not too much trouble. :)
     
  3. randym

    randym Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    162
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Pewaukee, WI
    Mine is loud on 4 or 5 at the 45w setting. I can only run it at 7 when on 5w or lower.
     
    Jakedog and Boreas like this.
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,509
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    "Loud" is in the ear of the listener. Your loud could be someone else's not loud enough.....that's why they invented dB meters.

    I definitely would be curious to know specifically how loud it can get. My blackfaced '72 SR with CTS alnicos gets extremely loud. Instant physical pain to your ears loud if standing 10 feet away from it in an enclosed room, when the volume is only on 4. I don't have a dB meter but I suppose I should measure it so I could give y'all an actual number....

    In the videos I've seen it seemed like a) the Tonemaster SR doesn't break up as nicely or as early as a tube SR can-- just a lot cleaner overall; and b) it seemed thinner sounding. But it's hard to tell from a YouTube video. And my amp guy definitely poured some special sauce on my SR so maybe my benchmark is skewed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
    pugnax and Drew617 like this.
  5. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,338
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL, USA
    In a small room a super will tend to sound small, because they do throw sound a fair ways-it will sound MUCH bigger in a large room. As an aside, when I converted my super to a 2x10 cabinet I didn’t really lose any volume-some of the swirl, yes but not volume...

    Franc Robert
     
  6. horseman308

    horseman308 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Location:
    US
    What is the efficiency rating of those speakers? At the end of the day, watts are watts - whether they're coming out of a tube, SS, or digital amp. So, I'd wonder whether the speakers chosen bring down the volume a bit. I know vintage amps didn't use the most efficient speakers, either, but after measuring dB's to see if the difference is measurable or perceived, I'd want to know what effects the component parts have.

    But thanks for the review! I'm fascinated by these amps and still hope for a 5f6a Bassman tonemaster some day.
     
    PhredE likes this.
  7. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    1,245
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    In the meanwhile, there’s always the Roland Blues Cube Artist :twisted:
     
  8. PoorNoodle

    PoorNoodle Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    203
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2018
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks for the review!

    It has Jensen P10R 25 watt. Sensitivity at 94-95 dB depending on 8 or 16 ohm. Pretty quiet speakers..

    I think the custom Vibrolux reverb have the same speakers stock, but 2x10...
     
  9. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    270
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2020
    Location:
    Bavaria
    Actually, I have Blue Alnicos in my CVR.. which I tend not to consider as loud speakers as well.. maybe I'm just going deaf?
     
    PoorNoodle and Boreas like this.
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    6,247
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    Kidding aside, that was my first thought. But I also would suggest trying it in a big room. In a small room, you may even be getting some cancellization from the back of the speakers. Give it more air to breathe.
     
    PoorNoodle and AlbertoMilanese like this.
  11. horseman308

    horseman308 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Location:
    US
    But, but, but... it doesn't say Fender on it. It can't be as good!o_O
     
    PhredE likes this.
  12. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    473
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2018
    Location:
    Middle of Nowhere
    The Celestion Alnico Blues have a sensitivity rating of 100dB, so they aren't quiet. Same rating as the G12H30, and markedly louder than a Greenback and certaintly than those Jensen alnicos. Great speaker though!
     
  13. cbnutt

    cbnutt Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    1,335
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Lebanon Missouri
    I am with ya on the reverb part , on my deluxe the tail is too long for me ,i doubt the reverb mod would help on that , as it just gives more usable travel on the knob .
     
  14. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    104,978
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Thanks for your honest review.
    If I ever get a Tomemaster, it will be the Twin.
    I love clean headroom and power.
     
    pugnax and PhredE like this.
  15. Dacious

    Dacious Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,134
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Godzone
    I think he means the Eminence blue frame 1028s. They're a 95db speaker.
     
    scelestus and jsnwhite619 like this.
  16. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,275
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2019
    Location:
    07040
    cbnutt, Tim S and Boreas like this.
  17. Rufus

    Rufus Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,021
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    NW Atlanta
    Thanks for the review.
    Never even considered giving up my 1971 SFSR and good to know that hasn't changed.
     
  18. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,019
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Location:
    philly suburbs
    Watched a couple demos for your amp, I think it sounds great. My brother had a SF-era Super and this sounds very close. Nice score!
     
  19. rze99

    rze99 Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,137
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    South London UK
    I’ll stick with my original tube amps and use attenuators, thanks. While my back can still cope.

    When I use a non-tube amp, I want more options not just one tone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2021
    PhredE likes this.
  20. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,590
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Location:
    Four Corners USA
    I always ge a laugh out of this weight thing. WTH?

    I used to get a Twin Reverb with JBLs into the back seat of a VW Beetle and then carry it up the stairs of a club where the stage was over the bar. I think I weighed about 128 pounds then. A 30 pound Super Reverb? Geez...
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.