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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by stantheman, Oct 15, 2019.
the big issue is how well will these stand up to heavy use in the real world.
Yeah, if fear of wifi crashing prevents you from buying any products that can use downloads then you're going to be extremely limited. But as it is there is nothing on the horizon that Fender suggests is imminent and in general there's little need to be fanatical about firmware updates on items like a Tone Master. A computer, a phone or other communications device for sure. But am amp? The worst case scenario is you go to a library near you, download the firmware update and then do it locally on your computer when you get home.
It won't. Unless Fender did something really stupid, the firmware isn't downloaded directly into the device from the Internet.
The industry term for the computer inside the TM amp is embedded system. The usual practice for embedded systems is to put a long line of fail-safes in place to avoid turning the product into a doorstop. One of those is for the application that installs the new firmware to not do anything until it's positive it has the complete file in one piece. Another is putting data into the new firmware that the embedded system can use to determine whether or not it's being given the right thing in an uncorrupted form. Yet another is having a permanent set of fallback firmware so that if the new firmware fails to boot, it can run the old version and still be upgraded to a good copy of the current version.
Let's see the Blues Cube Artist doesn't have a tuner available, and instead of a footswitch to change between different amp models you have to buy $200-$300 fake tube modules and change them out each time you want to use a different tone.
Yeah, I think I will pass.
Hell yes, this has been my thought. But the knobs and inputs need to match. So maybe just new platforms that are mods of the underlying circuit? I suppose the knobs could be remapped but that way lies dragons.
I mean sure? But it would be nothing like having a physically indistinguishable physical artifact in your hands. That’s where the magic is. It’s not for everyone. For me, an analog snob who has actively stayed away from anything digital (except for reverb and delay pedals) it’s life changing.
This is a seriously insane and brilliant idea.
The naked Emperor here is blatant inauthenticity.
For me the magic is what's under the hood.
For me the magic is hot tubes on the outside, blue caps and cloth insulated wire on the inside.
It's like a fiberglass Porsche. Or any of the neo- retro muscle cars such as the new Camaro, Mustang or Challenger.
Either it's real or it ain't. It ain't.
Of course "We're all entertainers." Part of that deal is "The Willing Suspension of disbelief." I'm not willing this time.
What’s real for me is the sound and dynamics.
I can assure you the music I make with this amp is very real.
Those neo-retro muscle cars will destroy the originals in a match up. Old fashioned isn't always better.
C'mon. I change the value of a couple resistors in a tweed Deluxe, y'all complain, "It's not a 5E3 anymore."
Stick a cell phone with a "Deluxe Reverb" app in a '65 Deluxe Reverb cabinet, y'all belly up to it like it's Golden Corral.
Original Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros destroy the new pretend versions at Barrett-Jackson, Mecum or anywhere else intangible cool translates into tangible dollars.
I was at Reno- Fernley Raceway a while ago for their sports car weekend. They were running open practice, Cobra replicas, West Coast Mustangs and Miatas with staggered starts on the road course. Coolest car out there was a real Shelby GT350 that had been racing since it was new. It was a bit of a vintage racer compared to the Fox bodies but still a contender.
It had had hand fabricated steel Porsche 944 style flares covering 14" wide track tires on what looked like original Halibrand wheels. It had a 383 stroker under the hood with Hillborn injection (stacks!) and a vintage Mallory dual point distributor. They had the hood off. They ran into town to NAPA to replace one of the fried Chrysler coils.
There was a Viper GTS in the pits that had been to every speed shop in SoCal and a few Cubic Money 'Vettes. Still, you need taste, class and cash to get into anything like that old Shelby.
Kinda the way minty original Deluxe Reverbs are trending.
How about Fender does a single rack space module called the "AB-763"? Essentially the Tonemaster Twin chassis, but without that pesky cab and speaker. They'd need to add speaker out jacks, including 2 ohms, for those that simply must have the Super Reverb experience. It'd be cool to add a switch for the different tube configurations: 2 x 6V6, 2 x 6L6, 4 x 6L6. Tube or solid state rectifier simulation as well.
.? Re firmware updates
If Fender have made a perfectly good deluxe reverb in a lightweight D class powered amp, why then would it need updating in future with new firmware?
I guess you don't work in software development.
For guys like muchxs, there are thousands of original, used tube amps available to the aficionados, just like people can buy classic cars. I think Fender
may realize that and therefore understands that they will always be challenged when trying to compete directly with the amps they already made and are still
out there in circulation. Plus they are also then are stuck competing with many wonderful new and used boutique tube amps at a similar price point.
For a whole lot of other people, these amps fill a serious niche. If I didn't already have 4 great tube amps I'd probably buy one of these right now.
As it is, I keep my tube amps because I already have them and because I have an excellent tube amp tech that lives in my town. The day he stops working
is the day I'm going to have to sell all my tube amps. As it is I'm already thinking about selling at least one of them now and using the proceeds to buy
one of these. The reports that they sound just like the real thing, come in much lighter, and require zero maintenance are all very attractive to me. I bet that
backline companies are also thinking how convenient these amps will be for their business.
As far as repairs go, it is possible that repairs are actually easier. Replace the traditional components-- chassis, power amp, speaker, pots, jack, or change the
"cell phone computer" that is inside the thing that actually creates all the sound.
In theory, as for modern cars, they could even have a jack you could plug a little
diagnostic device into to have the amp give itself a hardware and software test and tell you what's broken. I don't know if it has that capability, but it sure
would be smart to deploy something like that given that it would be easy enough for the amp's computer to handle and it is very hard get trained techs these days.
This really bugs me in the core too!
But it’s all trending doooooowwnn except for mint, rare , barnfind and bluechip stuff.
Stuff akin to a 1965 BFDlx Rev , like you said.
But Ive always watched Barrett Jackson and Mecum and lately I see a lot of unsold vehicles and people yanking reserves left and right.
The pool of Interested parties is draining - just like those interested in valuable specific-use tube amps.
Younger buyers (the giant millennial balloon) are not looking at the Tonemaster/standard BFDR matchup the same way change-averse older musicians are.
They got no skin in the game regarding their heroes.
For the most part, I agree with you - Barrett and Jackson's and Sotheby's are full of posseurs putting up prized possessions to get them revalued for their insecure ego's sake. Their reserves are often grossly unrealistic. But it's bragging rights and they get to grin and hobnob with movers and shakers. And if someone does cough up over the odds, then they pocket the cash and go looking for their next buy. There's still no cherry 69 Camaros or Stingrays going for $10k. Or prancing horse GTO's or 455s less than house prices.
If what you say is true about young guys not caring about old amps then Tonemasters are a big faux pas in Fender's part. No bells and whistles. No appeal compared to entry Katanas or upper end Kempers, Fractals and Helixes.
OTOH, my 62 yo bandmate with an eye for a bargain snagged a mint Katana 50 1 for half price.
He's 'strictly rythym, he doesn't want to make it cry or sing'. For him it's the perfect amp - he carried it and his Squire Deluxe (ditto 50% off mint second hand) into rehearsals. Usually for his Hotrod Deluxe he'd be using a handcart as he has a bad back.
It's got reverb and swirly sounds and crunch he can click in, lives OK with a drummer. He's a candidate for a TM Deluxe in a few years - s/h. He doesn't want to mix computers any more than he has to with amps so he's never likely to tweak it via USB.
I see plenty of guys with a pedal board who just want a pedal platform - TM's ideal. And - cheapish.
If TMs take off I can see Fender killing off entry tube amps like Hotrods and Blues Jnrs - these probably cost 1/3 to make and sell for 70-80% of retail. Why build warranty problems and 'customer engagement opportunities' when you don't have to? 99% of buyers apparently can't pick tubes from not.
It's a no-brainer the bean counters will kill off tube amps if they can.
As for building upgrade and diagnostic paths or a 'one size fits all' Tonemaster, why would they?
I bet like most modern things - cellphones, computers, Class D PA speakers - warranty will be returns and shipping out new ones. Returns will be sold open box if there's no real fault or cleared through selected dealers as repaired seconds.
What makes a SR is 4*10 speakers, or a Champ a ditzy 6" or a TR big cleans a 2*12s. The odds of being able to adapt any one cabinet to all those sounds....... Maybe, but they'd rather sell you a matching set of amps.
I think what you're actually proposing would be a Tonemaster (Dual) Showman, with either taps or selector switch for 8/4/2 ohms.
Not sure the average user would go for different power tube emulations, as much as they seem to simply have bonded with the power scaling in the existing TMs.
...It's kind of cool to think of just how light a TM Showman would be, and it would look bitchin' with blonde tolex, IMO.