Other Amps

Reverb Andy’s Tube-DR vs ToneMaster Demo

1

Andy Martin has for years consistently used a Deluxe Reverb for his pedal demos - which means we've heard it dozens of times.

In this demo, he shoots that amp out against the new digital ToneMaster version. I can't imagine a fairer demo: Andy's bare fingers, guitar (Tele, Strat, Lester), cord, amps at same settings. We get volume at 3, 5, and 7 - he details the tone settings as well - AND reverb and trem examples.

I'll give nothing away, but I had a clear and distinct preference for one of the amps, which started from the very first round as an impression hemmed round with self-doubt, but grew consistently through each succeeding round. In every example, I preferred the same amp.

And given the supposed sonic limitations of ütoobery, I was shocked - shocked! I tell you - that the difference was so clear.

See what your ears think.

Maybe it can be a game, if no one gives it away here. Listen, and report back:
• if you were right about which amp was which, and
• whether you preferred Amp 1 or Amp 2.

Don't tell the thread which is which! (And I'm not giving my preference away yet.)

Obviously we'll each know after watching the clip - but don't give it away in the thread yet. After the thread loses traction (assuming it gets any action), we can reconvene here and discuss our reactions.

2

I liked Amp 1 pretty much all the way through, seemed like there was more articulation, Amp 2 seemed a little muddy/compressed. edit I was pretty sure I was right about my guess, and at the tail end of the video (high volume) I was 80% sure I was right.

I've watched a bunch of these Tonemaster shootout videos and they are endlessly fascinating to watch. Through most of them they just sound like two different amps, some recordings are different enough that it seems like you can tell the difference - but as one guy put it, "Sounds like an amplifier!"

3

I consistently liked a particular amp but incorrectly guessed which one it was.

4

I loved Amp#1 more, but the difference to my ear was clear once it was cranked... I'm not gonna give anything away but I kind of wanna get Amp#1!

5

Hmmm. Is there an elephant in the room? Does something smell funny or is it me? Of course the Tone Master sounds better. DSP amps are voiced to sound great, just like the guitars on your favourite records. All the work has been done to tailor the sound. A tube amp is pretty raw. They get recorded and treated to be well dressed when we hear them.

Was the settings the same for both amps? I fear the tube version was deliberately presented as underwhelming in comparison...so we all go 'oh my God, the Tone Master sounds great!'

Does the tube version sound that way on other demos from Andy???

6

I wonder how much the different speakers and relative efficiency had to do with the outcome.

7

Amp 1 sounded more like an open back while amp 2 sounded more like a closed back but with more Mid turned up.

I could live with either but I feel like they were dialed in differently. I'm still a tube guy.

8

I was surprised to find that I guessed correctly. The UK store Andertons has posted a similar comparison on Youtube covering both the DRs and the Twins. My old ears thought the difference between the two DR amps was actually very close and, considering my age and the state of my bank account I'd buy the new digital version, given the lower price and lighter weight. Being an old tube git I never expected to hear me say that. But in the Andertons comparison demo between the two Twins I thought the tube version sounded way way better -- maybe they didn't have the same eq settings -- but there's no way I can schlep a tube Twin around to gigs these days.

9

I liked Amp 1 better but feel like Amp 2 was dulled down and could be tweaked to sound just as good. Interesting.

10

I've been watching some of these ToneMaster videos and I came here to see if anyone was talking about them.

Throughout this video I thought Amp #1 sounded brighter, clearer and better. I started thinking, if amp #1 is the ToneMaster, that's incredible. Then, as I watched and listened more, I started thinking, if amp #2 is the ToneMaster, it still sounds pretty darned good.

I'm really interested in these amps. Being an apartment dweller, I love the attenuation feature and the line out.

12

I have watched a bunch of these shootouts. And what I find interesting is, the overall consensus of those people in the room is, "they sound the same. One doesn't sound any more different than another TUBE amp would sound. Put 2 TUBE Twins next to each other, and they won't sound the same. That's the difference we are talking about." Could be tube brand, tube bias, age of the power tubes, how well the speaker has been flogged, component drift or cap leakage due to age, etc....

Yet, on some of these shootouts, maybe it's the EXACT location of the mics used or something, I hear some pretty big differences, to my ear. But that's not what the guys in the room are hearing, apparently, which is why I suspect exact mic placement for the differences being heard in these videos.

A buddy/pro of mine tried them at the store, and said the TM Deluxe sounded better. Hmm...

Well, apparently Fender got it right! You can still prefer one or the other, but apparently if they are THAT close- as close as 2 different TUBE amps would be to one another- they've gotten as close as mechanically possible, sounds like to me...

...and, having a couple hours to sit and A/B between my Supersonic 22 and Blues Cube Artist yesterday... I DID prefer one over the other, but it was SO close.... if I had been blindfolded.... (and those aren't even the same model or brand! The code HAS been cracked...)

13

I liked both amps, it depended on what riff Andy was playing. That's how I found them. My preference bounced back and forth between the 2 amps throughout the shootout. My guess as to which amp was the digital one did NOT. So I did have a clear guess.

I also thought the reverb part of the demo gave it away.

I guessed wrong.

Fender has indeed cracked the code. And perhaps made an even... gulp... better sounding Deluxe Reverb.

14

I was absolutely sure the valve DR was 1. It sounded great with trem and verb

However, I wonder how they sit in a mix.

I played an old Acetone organ in a band . It was analog oscillator octave divider technology trying to sound like a Hammond tone wheel. And it did a decent job of it.

When Roland launched their VK7 ,virtual organ, a music shop let me take one to rehearsal. When I was demoing it everyone agreed it sounded much more like a Hammond than the analog Acetone. However, it did not sit in with the band as well. Was either too loud or too soft. Was like a block of sound. The VK7 went back to the shop and we kept lugging and maintaining the Acetone

15

Hmmm. Is there an elephant in the room? Does something smell funny or is it me? Of course the Tone Master sounds better. DSP amps are voiced to sound great, just like the guitars on your favourite records. All the work has been done to tailor the sound. A tube amp is pretty raw. They get recorded and treated to be well dressed when we hear them.

Was the settings the same for both amps? I fear the tube version was deliberately presented as underwhelming in comparison...so we all go 'oh my God, the Tone Master sounds great!'

Does the tube version sound that way on other demos from Andy???

– Vince_Ray

Like that then

16

I have the Tone Master Twin and have had it at 4 gig's so far. It sounds great. I have used the 6120-55VS and it was never lost in the mix and I used the 6122-59 and it never sounded better. If you didn't look at the TM badge in the lower right you would never know it wasn't a tube Twin.

JIm

17

Yes, I was surprised the one I consistently liked in Andy's video, even the reverb, was the ToneMaster.

18

Its no surprise everyone likes it best, The video is designed to make the Tone Master sound better. That's what they're selling

19

When do we get a Tonemaster 63 Bassman? Just wonderin'.

20

Its no surprise everyone likes it best, The video is designed to make the Tone Master sound better. That's what they're selling

– Vince_Ray

Most of the other comparison videos are shot in a similar way, I don't think this one is the exception.

I am interested (to your point) about how his amp sounds in other videos, and how long he's had his amp (like how many hours his speaker and tubes have on them).

For all the demos - to me personally - I start watching them thinking "okay, THIS time I'll know which one is the Digital amp" and then by the end I usually end up at "they both sound good, so what does it really matter"?

21

I don't feel like watching the video, you have to experience an amp and be in the room with it I think. For amps in particular, that youtube audio compression doesn't really help..erm..."the experience".

That said, I wish Fender would put something like this in a head half the size of a DR chassis, and have it not care about the speaker load ohmage. I'd buy one for backup for my proper amps if they could make it small enough and price it right. I like the idea of it not trying to be five amps at once, and having 'verb and trem on board.

22

Its no surprise everyone likes it best, The video is designed to make the Tone Master sound better. That's what they're selling

– Vince_Ray

Actually, they sell both amps. The tube versions aren't discontinued lol

23

Yep, one's half the price of the other. And ooooh, everyone thinks it sounds better. Just trying to suggest that there's a reason for that and no one wonders why

24

Yep, one's half the price of the other. And ooooh, everyone thinks it sounds better. Just trying to suggest that there's a reason for that and no one wonders why

– Vince_Ray

Maybe the reason is it sounds better.

25

When I watched that video, I thought tonally they were almost identical, the only thing that stood out to me was that the tube version seemed to have more presence, like a record vs a CD. Maybe not the best analogy... I thought the tonemaster overdrive sounded better though


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