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The optimism of the Sweetwater Sales Engineer


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He just sent a very special, personal email to me (and probably another 10,000 people, I'd guess), including his direct telephone extension, letting me in on the big secret that if I move fast I can reserve one of only 50 1979 EVH Bumblebees, which  Sweetwater has managed to get its hands on.

He's an optimistic chap, I think, this Sales Engineer - certainly if he glanced at my recent purchase history before sending me this private missive.

I'm half-tempted to reply, asking if there's any truth in the rumor that Squier will be releasing a Toronado this year, and, if so, whether can he give me the skinny on when Sweetwater will be taking delivery.

Edited by Lord Summerisle
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I've never had a bad experience with Sweetwater (knock on wood). Yesterday, I ordered a Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb amp from them, and called a sales engineer before placing the order. He was very helpful, tried to answer my questions as honestly as he could, and didn't try to sell me anything. The only problem I have with them is they do tend to go a little overboard after the sale to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase. I'd call that a good problem.

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On 5/29/2020 at 1:54 PM, zigzag said:

Yesterday, I ordered a Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb amp from them...

 

I got one of those this week.  It passed three days of gig tests, which amounts to having it on with everything on 10 for 6 hours or so and listening to it.  QUIET.  Consistently quiet from hour 1 to turn off.  No pops, sizzles, hisses, or snaps.

Today I did mostly clean sounds, Normal channel because I don't use the other one because I have no use for "Vibrato" and I have a great reverb pedal.  I'm only interested in full on throbbing power, so I won't dink with the attenuationizer much at all, not for a while.

Of course, straight in dry it's round cleans from god himself, they got that right for sure.  Compressor on all the time and some medium length, medium depth reverb is delicious.  Some modest chorus on top of that and it's just gorgeous.  No artifacts from the amp or the pedals, no distortion as the Reverb tails off.  Some moderate Delay is the same, no artifacts or distorted repeats.  Really REALLY nice cleans.

Some time today with my Thundering Gains of Doom.  heh.  It clanks well!  I use a Strymon Sunset and a JHS Haunting Mids for grind and man was I surprise at how happy I am with it.  I'll end up with that Mids pedal on all the time, it sparkles up cleans just as well as it fattens up the gains.

Did I mention it is quiet?  It's quiet.  I have a Strymon Zuma powering the pedals, that helps a lot, and the Keeley compressor is the noisiest thing on there but I have it always on so it is not overwhelming me with hiss or floor noise.

Did I say it's quiet?  It's quiet.  So far extremely useful, usable, great volume up to about halfway.  Tomorrow I'm going to take it downstairs and wind it out for some Fourth Set cavorting about with some gainalicious mashing of Grand Funk Railroad and stuff.  Volume lifts the volume, not the noise floor like most digital modelers. More than enough clean headroom so far, I can gig this thing handily.

Overall so far, it's a hit!  The Band is set to start rehearsing again this week.  If it goes over well with them and Bass Player hears Ron Sound I'll be happy.

Did I mention how quiet it is?  Volume at 5, every pedal on at the level it is used, both gains, Tele laying on couch volume all the way open for about an hour.  Nice.  And light!  lolz 22 pounds.

The only fail on it is the Mute switch which they position right next to the power switch, like a faux Standby.  I'll never use that as a Standby anyway because I have about a halfa dozen ways to mute down there at the pedals.  It's some kind of soft throw switch that feels like it will break any minute now.  I taped it up so I don't absent mindedly Standby it.  I guess whenever I get to recording it I'll use that Mute for direct.

Come back and let us know how you like it Zig.  I think you will.

rct

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26 minutes ago, rct said:

 

I got one of those this week.  It passed three days of gig tests, which amounts to having it on with everything on 10 for 6 hours or so and listening to it.  QUIET.  Consistently quiet from hour 1 to turn off.  No pops, sizzles, hisses, or snaps.

Today I did mostly clean sounds, Normal channel because I don't use the other one because I have no use for "Vibrato" and I have a great reverb pedal.  I'm only interested in full on throbbing power, so I won't dink with the attenuationizer much at all, not for a while.

Of course, straight in dry it's round cleans from god himself, they got that right for sure.  Compressor on all the time and some medium length, medium depth reverb is delicious.  Some modest chorus on top of that and it's just gorgeous.  No artifacts from the amp or the pedals, no distortion as the Reverb tails off.  Some moderate Delay is the same, no artifacts or distorted repeats.  Really REALLY nice cleans.

Some time today with my Thundering Gains of Doom.  heh.  It clanks well!  I use a Strymon Sunset and a JHS Haunting Mids for grind and man was I surprise at how happy I am with it.  I'll end up with that Mids pedal on all the time, it sparkles up cleans just as well as it fattens up the gains.

Did I mention it is quiet?  It's quiet.  I have a Strymon Zuma powering the pedals, that helps a lot, and the Keeley compressor is the noisiest thing on there but I have it always on so it is not overwhelming me with hiss or floor noise.

Did I say it's quiet?  It's quiet.  So far extremely useful, usable, great volume up to about halfway.  Tomorrow I'm going to take it downstairs and wind it out for some Fourth Set cavorting about with some gainalicious mashing of Grand Funk Railroad and stuff.  Volume lifts the volume, not the noise floor like most digital modelers. More than enough clean headroom so far, I can gig this thing handily.

Overall so far, it's a hit!  The Band is set to start rehearsing again this week.  If it goes over well with them and Bass Player hears Ron Sound I'll be happy.

Did I mention how quiet it is?  Volume at 5, every pedal on at the level it is used, both gains, Tele laying on couch volume all the way open for about an hour.  Nice.  And light!  lolz 22 pounds.

The only fail on it is the Mute switch which they position right next to the power switch, like a faux Standby.  I'll never use that as a Standby anyway because I have about a halfa dozen ways to mute down there at the pedals.  It's some kind of soft throw switch that feels like it will break any minute now.  I taped it up so I don't absent mindedly Standby it.  I guess whenever I get to recording it I'll use that Mute for direct.

Come back and let us know how you like it Zig.  I think you will.

rct

Ok , but what we really want to know is...

...is it quiet?  😄

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3 hours ago, rct said:

 

I got one of those this week.  It passed three days of gig tests, which amounts to having it on with everything on 10 for 6 hours or so and listening to it.  QUIET.  Consistently quiet from hour 1 to turn off.  No pops, sizzles, hisses, or snaps.

... [edited out for brevity]

Wow, great review! #FenderToneMaster
I never even look at "hissers" and random-noise generators. Music is about purity of expression. The only imperfection being tolerated is in the form of (rythmical, tonal, etc.) improvisation of the artist, not the paraphernalia. 🙂

Edited by OrdinaryNimda
typos
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I was umming and ahhing over whether to get one of those Tone Master amps. I guess the all important question is, does it sound like a 'genuine' tube amp even at lower volumes?

Might get one of the new Vox Cambridge50's - a similar concept to the Tone Master - has a faux vacuum tube in it and an AC30 emulation. Give the price of an actual AC30, it is a tempting alternative.

Edited by Filbert
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Thanks for the review, rct. There is no one I know I'd trust more for an honest review. Though I ordered it last Thursday, I requested it ship Saturday so I'd be home when it arrived prolly around Wednesday. I did not have a chance to listen to it in person since I live hours from anywhere that I could, but listened to side by side comparisons with the tubed Deluxe Reverb on youtube, and I know that you can't really hear well through that media, but side by side comparisons can reveal a lot. And I'm pretty familiar with Fender amps, having owned a few in the past.  Anyway, I also read literally hundreds of reviews, most by very experienced players without any reason for bias, and there are practically no bad ones for that amp. So I'm looking forward to getting it and playing with it.

"Some time today with my Thundering Gains of Doom.  heh.  It clanks well!  I use a Strymon Sunset and a JHS Haunting Mids for grind and man was I surprise at how happy I am with it.  I'll end up with that Mids pedal on all the time, it sparkles up cleans just as well as it fattens up the gains." -rct  This is the most relevant part of your review for me. In some reviews I read, there were comments that there should be a midrange control. The reliability and toughness of solid state is also important, and the nice clean tones characteristic of Fenders.

 

Edited by zigzag
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I need another amp like I need another hole in my head,  but still,  I've been circling around the ADD TO CART button for one of these for some time now..

 

anywho...  Sweetwater is the only place I go to these days,  unless it's something of zero relevance   like strings, picks, cleaning supplies, etc..

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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1 hour ago, kidblast said:

 Sweetwater is the only place I go to these days,  unless it's something of zero relevance   like strings, picks, cleaning supplies, etc..

 

ditto...( with exception of reverb every once in awhile).  I do find the sweet water sales engineers useful when I've got a litany of questions.

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Yeah, I like Sweetwater, too. In fact, the only online music companies I buy from are Sweetwater and AMS.

I was just a bit amused to be let in on the secret that I could, if I moved fast enough, reserve a $20,000 guitar, when I think the most expensive thing I have ever bought from Sweetwater in the 15 years or so I've bought from them was a US Standard Strat in 2009.

I know we're all used to junk mail, etc. But I'd have thought Sweetwater would have been a bit more invested in business analytics and targeting their sales pitches to specific customer profiles. As I said, it didn't bother me, I thought it was funny. I am very, very far from being the likely purchaser of a $20,000 guitar.

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Ron I think the mute switch is to mute the amp on stage while still sending the full signal out the DI to desk and FoH rig. Keen to hear how it goes with the band as I'd consider buying one for rehearsal and live instead of my aging little Princeton SS or the quad and head. The reviews I see suggest this might just be the 'getting right' of new tech in amps that sound like amps.

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Yes, I can see using it if you are not using the amp for a monitor.  Mine is always on for me, no matter how big or small the venue.  I can definitely see myself using it for recording, I prefer direct with the tracks out one of the jillion pairs of monitors I have laying around.  How did that happen?

It is definitely the 'getting right' of clean, QUIET power, enough to gig without driving the thing into full on Noise to Signal state.  Tomorrow at Noon The Band is back together, and I am looking forward to putting this thing to the real test.

I have a Princeton Recording Amp, I love that thing.

rct

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I don't have the sophisticated demands from an amp that you guys have, and my hearing is shot without digital aids, so my review of my new Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb will not be as detailed. The clean channel is everything you'd expect from a Fender amp- sparkly, bright, and pretty. I've only worked with a few pedals so I can't speak to how well it works with pedals. In one review I heard about this amp, the reviewer reported that a cranked distortion pedal seemed to make bass frequencies a little mushy typical of an SS amp, but I can't comment. The onboard reverb is typically beautiful, and the tremolo (vibrato) is beautiful, but neither are as deep or versatile as what you might get from good pedals. The only modeling this amp will do is for a Deluxe Reverb tube amp, and it seems to do that pretty well, though slightly brighter and punchier in cleans, and slightly warmer in reverb and vibrato uses based on reviews I've heard.  As, rct emphasized, the amp is dead quiet... and light. I had no trouble getting it up the stairs, and I could have probably thrown it half way.

The Tone Master has six power output settings, from 0.2 to 22 watts, that I expect could be very useful. I've only listened to the 5 and 12 watt settings so far, since these will likely be the only ones I'll ever use (my music room is a converted medium sized bedroom). Both settings are pretty loud and allow for plenty of headroom. There is also a Line Out option with a cab simulator that models mic placement, balance, and grounding (?). 

Let me say, at this point, that I bought this amp to replace a Roland Cube 80XL. The Roland has bunches of modeling imitations and effects, all good and useable, but none great. Plus, it has a layering, looping capacity of close to 80 seconds. Other than the JC Clean channel and the looping capability, there is nothing I will miss about this amp. 

The other possible issues I have with this amp are also inherent in the tubed DR target. As rct said, there is no midrange frequency control, and this is somewhat limiting. If you want to use the reverb and vibrato effects together, there is only one control for both, so each effect cannot be controlled separately.  Plugging in to the vibrato jack allows you to control unmodified, reverb, and tremolo effects with the footswitch. There is no FX loop, so pedals must be direct. The only pedals I've used so far have been a Dunlop Wah and a delay pedal. I plan to use distortion and looping pedals, but I like the onboard reverb and tremolo effects, and that might be the extent of the pedals I'll need with this amp. The only other issue I have with this amp is the price. I'd wait for it to come down before I spent the money, as it no doubt will, or buy it used.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this amp.

 

Edited by zigzag
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Nice!  

I've spent a lot of hours with it this past week or so, and I agree with all of your review.  I used the V channel a little to taste the reverb and the vibrato.  They were nice and useable for sure, but I don't need the Vibrato for anything at all.  My main beef with this kind of amp is that is boots to a state of everything on no matter how it was when it was turned off.  So if I wanted to use the Reverb and not the Vibrato I'd have to turn the amp on, plug in the footswitch, and turn off the V because I can't get it to boot with no Vibrato on.  With the two kn0bs all the way down there is still some artifact from that thing. Stuff.  The Reverb is nice on this amp and you don't need much of it, at least I don't.  But I prefer the Dumb channel and my own pedal JHS TANK AVAILABLE AT ROGUE GUITAR SHOP ALBANY OREGON  for my reverb needs.

Definitely need some competent EQ sitting on top, I'll remedy that shortly.  And a new wireless.

rct

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