FM 100 Head Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 07/26/2007 category: Guitar Amplifiers

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Fender: FM 100 Head
The 100-watt (at 4 ohms) FM 100H, with its versatile "drive/more drive" channel and "mid contour" switch, roars with fantastic distortion tones for rock, blues, punk and metal; the famous Fender clean channel rings loud and clear, especially when combined with our on-board spring reverb.
 Sound: 9.6
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 9.8
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) 28 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
FM 100 Head Reviewed by: uposb4, on december 09, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Portmans Music

Features: '06 Model. 3 Channels, clean, drive, more drive. Reverb and comes with a footswitch. FX loop, 100 watts @ 4 ohms. Mono solid state. I give it a 10 because it has all you need. FX pedals are optional but not really nedded with this head. The black tolex is nice and smooth and the fit and wood work seems pretty top notch. Not heavy at all. // 10

Sound: I went looking for another head and saw this. After playing the others I decided while I was there I might as well try it. I expected the clean channel to be real clean and crisp which it is but the Drive and especially more Drive is what floored me. After playing for several minutes I then realized I haven't even adjusted the tone knobs yet. The drive channels especially the more Drive function is exactly what I was trying to find. I left the store and several hours later came back to confirm what I had heard earlier and decided then I had to get it. The distortion is smooth and crunchy not like the fuzzy tones of todays amps. Sustain is forever. It has the mid punch of older marshalls but with the sustain and chunk to punch right through. I didn't have to fight it, it pretty much played itself. I didn't think a Fender could sound like this. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Made in china and appears to be well built. Only time will tell. I have a room and closet full of amps and haven't played out since 83 and wanted to avoid buying tubes every year or so. Solid State has indeed come a long way. didn't need a half stack but I like the 4-12 sound and what's great about this rig is it sounds great at low volume levels. I have an old Music Man tube amp that sounds amazing but you have to crank it to make it sing and by then your killing your neighbors. not with this head. // 10

Overall Impression: The clean channel was what I figured it would be but the Drive channels floored me. it's been awhile since I've played Solid State and this amp really impressed me. The Drive tone and sustain this amp produces is exactly what I have been looking for. Been a player for 28 years and haven't been this impressed in a long time. // 10

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overall: 9.8
FM 100 Head Reviewed by: guitaringsailor, on june 25, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 630

Purchased from: Local musicstore

Features: The amp has three channels, clean, drive and more drive. It also has a mid contour that can be switched on on either of the Drive channels, this makes a great distortion for more modern music. There is also a built in reverb. It's got two inputs, one more sensitive for passive pickups and one less sensitive for active pickups, this is a great feature! I play with either an Epiphone les paul with active pickuos or a Telecaster with passive pickups. It's really a big difference between using the right and the wrong input on each guitar (an experience I earned before I checked the manual). It comes with a Fender FM 100 speaker with four 12" speakers, which provides a great sound. If you want to use headphones you'll have to plug them in in the back of the head because it doesn't have any output for headphones in the front. It has en effects loop, which can also be used to plug in reinforcing speakers or plug into a recording device. It also has an input for a footswitch to change between the Drive and more Drive channels. This footswitch was according to the manual included but it was no where to be found! I asked at the store and obviusly Fender hadn't sent any with the amp to the store in the first place. Anyway I plugged in my old footswitch and it worked but a bad miss either way. It's also to bad that the Switch only changes between the Drive channels but it's very useful anyway changin between solo and rythm playing. The amp also has three knobs bass, treble and middle for the clean channel and three more for the two Drive channels. Pretty good features for my kind of playing I think. I play a lot of different stuff but mainly rock and blues, of course everything between classic rock and metal. This amp works great for all that. It can do everything from bluesy crunch to heavy riffs. So the features are great but the missing footswitch pulls it down. // 9

Sound: The sound is awesome and it was the biggest reason I bought theis amp. As I mentioned earlier I use two guitars one with active pickups and one with passive and due to it's to inputs it really works great with both guitars. This amp works great with my les paul because it otherwise has a pretty warm soft sound but with this amp I can really make it sound real sharp, as well as warm and smooth. In the clean and Drive channels it's makes almost no noise at all, with the more Drive channel it makes a little buzzing sound. With the mid contour activated the buzzing is less. The first song I played on it was 2-4-6-8 Motorway Tom Robinson Band and it's really awesome on that kind of rythm playing because it really has the bass sound that creates the rythm but it also has the treble so that the melody tones are heard above the rythm playing in that kind of riffs. You can really play real loud with this thing without any changes in the sound and that's great! If you anyway need to make more noise you can allways plug in a few more speakers as backup, I've tried that at home and I wont do it again because my ears kept ringing the rest of that day. It's really enough distortion in this baby for me but I guess if there's anyone out there Who want's a fat load of mega distortion you better go buy a pedal or maybe another amp? But when I play Maiden and Metallica it really does the job great. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's really a great amp I can't imagine that it would break down just like that, the guys at the store also told me that this one really was relieable and so far that's my impression to! In the manual it says that if any liquid is poured into the amp you should stop playing immidieatly and wait until it's dry, so keep your beers away guys. Otherwise it feels like this one handles the most and I would gig without a backup with it. Have owned it for a few months and so far not a single problem. // 10

Overall Impression: As I've said before it really matches my style great. Before I bought this amp I had been around looking for amps in the same price so I had tried quite a few before, mainly Marshall and Peavey. I found this one and it was outstanding. If it was stolen or lost I'd go straight to the store and buy another one. I really love the sound of it and it really can do everything between a classic rock rhythm to a mesmerising solo or an Iron Maiden kick ass riff. The thing that makes the features so special is the way the complement each other so it's really an enjoyable amp! So basicly I'm so glad I found this one and it was a real catch for the price! // 10

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overall: 8.8
FM 100 Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 26, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 207.9

Purchased from: used, from someone

Features: Solid state, one hundred watts, two channels with dedicated three-band EQs, mid contour and more Drive switches for Drive channel and a reverb unit. Also 'pre out' and 'power in' jacks, which effectively make an effects loop. Two guitar inputs with different amounts of gain. Metal footswitch included. One drawback though: 4ohm speaker output. I found out that while rehearsing with our band and playing through 8ohm cab the power amp was on edge of nasty solid state distortion (power amp won't give full wattage out when the ohm value of speakers are bigger than speaker out), so wire two 8ohm cabs in paraller or use an 4ohm cab(FM100H cab is recommended). However, we play loud. The cab I am using is Laney HCM-412. I found out that the front panel of head is attached with velcro and can be removed and reattached. Very useful for hiding various items inside the head, for example. // 8

Sound: With my band, I am playing pretty straight grindcore with some 'modern metal' influences in it, and tunings we are using are very low. The FM100Hs distortion is way too 'muddy' for this, in other words, it lacks air and clarity. Because of that I am using distortion pedals through the clean channel, mostly Boss DS-2 and some odd heavy-metal pedal. And I am loving it. Pretty good workhorse in this area. The EQ in the amp (well, I am speaking of clean channel EQ) is very efficient. I am almost always using settings that emphasize on midrange and lower the bass and treble sounds. When I feel like playing some lighter stuff, I take my strat copy (Yamaha pacifica) and tweak the amp a little. The amps distortion channel shines on this area, you can get very nice softer and lighter sounds for rock/prog/anything. Add a little reverb and voil. Sometimes I use a shitty Behringer od/ds pedal in front of the amp, and sometimes a wah pedal. Distortion channel is very responsible to different picking 'heaviness' and the vol pot on guitar. Cleans are excellent, in my opinion. I love them. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I can surely depend on it. Being solid state and very tough looking (and feeling) amp, I am pretty sure it won't break soon. No worrying on tubes either, because it doesn't have them. Weighs a lot too, so the overall feeling you get is pretty reliable. I definately would gig with it without backup. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp made up my expections quite well. The distortion channel (on extreme settings) could have some more clarity, but you can skip that with good distortion pedals. But when playing lighter music, the distortion channel is very good and has a good variety. Very versatile amp in my opinion, I can play anything from grindcore to reggae through it. // 8

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overall: 9.3
FM 100 Head Reviewed by: SG6578, on january 04, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Local Music Shop

Features: Fender has never really been known for loading their amps with a ton of features. This amp is very basic treble, mids, bass, and volume on the clean channel. Drive, more drive, treble, mids, bass, and volume on the dirty channel. It also has one reverb control for both (which I personally don't like). The only thing I actually hate about this head is that it only has one 4ohm output, so you can't power more than one cab. // 9

Sound: This is a Fender, so the clean channel is ungodly, this thing puts out a better clean sound than almost any tube amp I've ever played with. Very good sound coming from the clean channel. With that being said, the Drive channel is a different story. The Drive has a very unique sound, very close to that of Jack White. This thing does not work for hard rock or metal, but does very well for punk rock or classic rock. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Built like a rock, never had any problems with mine. Cab is very heavy though (heavier than most Marshall cabs) I think it weighs in around 80 pounds or so. It is a solid state amp so I wouldn't expect this thing to ever break down. Cab and head have all plywood constructon which makes them very durable. The seams to the Tolex seem a little loose though, which can be easly solved with 10 minutes and a little epoxy. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a great stack for the money, an incredible value. I'm using mine for the clean sounds and searching for a different stack for the dirty sounds. it's a very good match for any baby boomer and puts out some very good Vintage Drive. I play it out of a Gibson SG and a Epi Les Paul. It is very very loud, I never have the volume past a 3, if you intend to use the drive channel I suggest you buy a noise gate as there is a lot of feedback from this amp. // 9

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overall: 9
FM 100 Head Reviewed by: PumpkinPieces, on july 18, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Used-Elderly Music

Features: I bought this amp used so I don't know where it's made or what year. It has your standard knobs for volume, treble, middle, bass. I only use the clean channel with effects pedals but with that said the clean channel suits me quite well. However if I turn the treble up at high volumes it's makes an annoying squeaking sound, so I have to watch it when I turn it up, but I've played gigs with it and it's loud enough on 4 so it's all good. The Reverb is exceptional in my opinion. // 8

Sound: I use multiple guitars, but I mostly use my Epiphone SG with Zebra pick ups and a Tradition strat copy which has hot rails and coil tapping. the pedals I use are a DigiTech Bad Monkey and a Big Muff Pi. My band plays Grunge and Garage rock however I play anything and it suits all the styles well. I haven't used it much but the overdrive channel is good that's all I can say since I use pedals all the time. This amp works great with my pedals and I can get any sound with the deep EQ. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp is pretty tough I've gigged with it and I'm rather rough at the end of my sets I thrash my gear around and it took it like a manly amp should. Besides that the front grill falls off since it's attached by velcro so you can store stuff inside the amp, but it added to the effect when I threw my guitar at it. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said I play anything but mostly grunge/garage rock and Smashing Pumpkins and it works for anything I want to play. I bought this to replace my Marshall MG100 head and it has way better tone (obviously). If it were stolen I'd just get a tube amp or something different, but I would be sad none the less. // 9

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