Will Fender "Tonemaster" the lineup in 2020...?

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

  1. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Put me in the non-ruptured spleen market!

    But do they want tubes or do they want sound?

    I think TM amps can pick off players from both ends of the spectrum: old guys tired of humping heavy amps and young guys who don't care about tubes. It's like kids today more interested in the touch screen in their car than what's under the hood.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  2. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    Richie Kotzen seems to like the Tone Master quite a bit ;)

     
  3. jgmouton

    jgmouton Tele-Meister

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    Richie Kotzen is just paid by Fender to appear in an ad. We're seeing that all the time for all sorts of gear.

    To give just one example, The Edge was doing the same thing in a Line6 video, explaining how wonderful the Helix is. But when you see him on stage there's no Helix...
     
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  4. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    The ‘65 TRRI is about $1450 new and has a baltic birch plywood cab. ~64 lbs.

    Fender makes a ‘65 Twin Reverb Neo Edition with a pine cab and (spoiler alert!), neo speakers. About $1650 new and 56 lbs.

    Big iron must be heavy

     
  5. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    I understand. The answer is that it isn't going to turn out as you might expect.

    As @Ironwolf said above, the power section is going to remain heavy. Let's say you start with a Twin Reverb, leave the chassis the same and hack out some weight by replacing the ferrite speaker with neodymium and the wood cabinet with one made of some lightweight composite. Electrically, it's the same amp, but physically (i.e., acoustically) the new speaker isn't going to behave exactly like the original, nor will the cabinet and it won't sound the same. It might still be a great amp, but it will be unacceptable to the cork sniffers whose gold standard is the exact amp that produced the music of their youth.

    Pleasing those people requires correcting for the differences. In a tube design, you'd have to stuff something into the circuit to make the corrections, and that's going to make it "different" and "not the real thing." You can try to do it with analog circuitry (tube or sold-state; it doesn't matter which), but it's impractical, if it's even possible, to do well. It's been tried and, well, spat upon.

    Software, on the other hand, can bend signals in precisely-controlled ways that analog circuitry wouldn't be able to pull off in its wildest dreams. It does have some limitations, but improvements in just about everything over the last 20 years are starting to pull some of those barriers down. This is a gross oversimplification, but making one cabinet sound like another isn't rocket science: characterize both cabinets, subtract the character of the one you have from of the signal to get flat behavior and then add the character of the one you want to make it sound that way. The better you get at characterizing the cabinets and doing the subtraction and addition, the closer the results are to perfect.

    The same applies to the electrical parts. Roland's (and I'm assuming Fender's) component-modeling approach isn't even anything new; electrical engineers have been simulating analog circuits in software on general-purpose computers for decades. What's new is that there's now enough compute horsepower available to do it all in a consumer product at an affordable price, which is where you get Blues Cubes and Tone Masters. There's enough horsepower that emulating the entire circuit and cabinet is better than trying to insert a digital component in the middle of a tube circuit to correct for the physical part's deficiencies.
     
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  6. jgmouton

    jgmouton Tele-Meister

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    Tube amps could obviouly be reduced in weight and that is what manufacturers should be doing. Look for instance at what Fender did to reduce the weight of the new Hot Rod Deluxe IV. That's the way to go...
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The facts are no obstacle, huh?

    Also, maybe accept that not everyone is wedded to da toobze and some are glad to have alternatives.
     
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  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Given birfl’s explanation it’s also no surprise that companies like Boss are making more and more digitally driven “cosm” effects pedals. Even for distortion and fuzz they feel they can digitally engineer better tones then via traditional analog circuitry— and the argument continues. I think it’s just a matter of time just as digital has pretty much killed film in photography, but it took at least 20 years of improvement before it prevailed.
     
  9. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

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    Evidently Fender didn't do much to market the NEO limited edition, but maybe it was a test leading up to the Tone Master series. Still seems like they could find other ways to trim the weight without going digital.
     
  10. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

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    Photography went digital thanks to being able to put cameras in cell phones. It's going to take a much bigger paradigm shift and technological innovation to replace tube amplifiers.
     
  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    I do not really understand why there should be any debate around this Tonemaster series.
    I love tube amps, and I am the kind of guy who loves to perpetuate some traditions. But at the same time I could not be happier to have a new option, and a very pleasing one.
    Do I want to see tube amps being replaced by modeling ones? No, and I do not think they will be in the near future.
    But when I need a light weight amp sounding and feeling good at lower volumes, I surely see these amps as a blessing.
    As with guitars and pedals, what a great time to be a guitar nerd with all these new amp options!
     
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  12. jgmouton

    jgmouton Tele-Meister

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    Where did I say the contrary? I was giving the instance of the weight reduction of the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.
     
  13. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    This discussion is goin' on down in Shock Bros:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/am-i-crazy-squeezed-twin-reverb-build.983278/

    I haven't schlepped a Boogie in decades. I've tripped over several of them lately, a Mk I and a Mk 3. Very similar amps, layout- wise. What Randall Smith did was stuff "Twin Reverb" guts into a Princeton Reverb size cabinet. And... drumroll please... the result is a 65 pound amp the size of a Princeton Reverb.

    I told the clerk at Guitarcenter where the Mk I lives that Boogie should have called the amp "Excalibur". Lifting it is like pulling King Arthur's sword out of a stone.

    Clerk asked, "What was Thor's hammer called?"

    "Mjolnir", I replied.

    For the Shock Bros bros there's no choke in a Boogie power supply. Still weighs like it's loaded with concrete.


    Once again we're up against perception vs. reality. When you tick off your criteria,

    "I need a Twin Reverb because nothing else plays clean enough."

    "I need (pick one) 40, 50, 60, 80, 100 watts to keep up with a loud drummer."

    "I need (pick one) two 12" speakers, four 10" speakers, four 12" speakers..."


    One watt does most of the work. The rest are just along for the ride.

    We can cut down to 5-15 efficient (tube!) watts.

    Once we establish a reasonable power level reasonable weight follows.

    Highly capable tube amps under 30 pounds are a reality.


    We could get into "tube vs. solid state watts". There's a reason the Tonemaster has a "100 watt" power amp to emulate a 20 watt tube amp.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes. To make sure all the clipping happens in the model (and maybe speaker?) and not in the SS power amp. While giving the same dynamic range and response as its tube brother. Good design.
     
  15. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    If the TM amps get the sound 95% right and offer a lighter package, for many that will be good enough.

    I find them to have that compression wall that non-tube amps can't seem to jump over yet. For pure playing aural happiness, I am in the 5% that says nope, that sound is not 'right' enough.

    From a 'will the audience be able to tell' and 'will I be happier with the lighter weight'--different story. I can see these as very viable options if you have to drag it around two or three times a week.

    A true sound litmus test would be--if you could put it in one place and leave it forever, playing it whenever you wanted at loud volume all the time--would you choose one of these or a real tube 59 Bassman or Super Reverb? The TM is an answer to a comprise we make for mobility and volume. But I'd say not a better offering than classic tube designs.
     
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  16. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Meister

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    i agree with backporchmusic's sentiment above. beyond that, i always a feel a perceptible difference in the the feel of the amp, how it "drives" so to speak. in my experience, a solid state amp has a less immediate sense of attack. in this instance, i am referring to the time it takes me to pick a note or a chord and then hear the amp reproduce that sound. when i am playing a tube amp, i always feel like the attack is much more immediate, and less forgiving overall.
     
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  17. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What I find interesting about the successive posts by @backporchmusic and @tamer_of_banthas is how perception colors reality. Or maybe the limits of language.

    Compression, limiting of dynamic range and lack of immediacy of attack are all tube amp characteristics. It takes a really big tube amp and special design in a tube amp (like a big Hiwatt) to mitigate that.

    Immediate response and lack of compression are characteristic of traditional SS amp designs.

    This is why I moved away from tube to SS.
     
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  18. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    You seem to be changing the long-used 'slam' against SS items that they lack 'dynamics' by just throwing that onto tube amps without regard to the historical use of them term dynamics in this context.
    You can't change the argument by redefining the word. The base issue remains. Whatever SS lacks as compared to tubes, it still lacks, no matter what words you use. If you prefer the sound of SS, fine. I prefer tubes. So here we sit, still, after 50 years of SS vs tube
    discussions.
     
  19. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Meister

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    a couple of hours later and now i'm thinking the difference in attack between SS and Tube amps (such as i described in relation to my own experiences, rightly or wrongly) might be more readily explained by the type of rectifier that a circuit uses.

    the old adage that guitar players shop with their eyes, not their ears probably holds true in my case. i cannot say that i haven't played through some gorgeous solid state amps. i think king crimson used all Roland JC120s to record Discipline. there is plenty of what would otherwise pass as tube gain / tube distortion on that record if i didn't already know the background information of how it was recorded.

    in a perfect world, every musician would immediately know and recognize the "perfect sound" that correlates with whatever they are hearing in their head, and be able to purchase it without scouring the globe for special vintage items, NOS tubes, or even cool modern rigs that are no longer actively distributed.

    in reality, our efforts are often circumscribed by the limits of price and reliability. i'm a sucker for a lifetime warranty and trouble free operation.

     
  20. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    Well said! It doesn’t have to be an either or decision right?
     
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