Frontman 25R review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 7 (127 votes)
Fender: Frontman 25R
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Price paid: £ 110

Purchased from: Local music shop

Sound — 8
I use this with a variety of pickups, single-coil, humbuckers, and one active guitar. I use it "clean" with a GT-10 FX unit to provide the tone variations I need for different styles. Now, IMHO, an amp should not have a "sound" or a "tone", particulary a practice amp. If it does, it's broken. What's the point of developing a tone in rehearsal/studio using a small amp like this only to turn up at a gig with a half-stack only to sound totally different because the two rigs have different "tones"? This amp uses a Philips TDA1514A power amplifier chip, which has respectable performance and has been used in a lot of mid-power hifi applications, home cinema, etc, so the clean is good, low noise, low THD. Somebody commented that it "distorts over 5" - so don't turn it up over 5, then! The perennial problem for amplifier designers is that they don't know what the input signal level is going to be, so they don't know how much gain is needed to get full power. So an amp that gets to "10" with single-coils may well distort like crazy at "5" with humbuckers. Vice-versa, if it gets to "10" without distorting when driven by a humbucker, then it would lack power with single coils. Cake, have, eat, can't, your, it, and, - arrange in the order of your choice. The distortion is, er, distorted. And the reverb definitely... reverberates quite a lot. However, bear in mind that this amp costs less than a Tubescreamer, so don't expect it to sound like one. If you want quality FX, go buy some.

Overall Impression — 7
I've been playing for over 30 years, (long enough to be able to remember having to lug around huge tube amps and wishing we could afford to buy nice compact SS ones like this!). I've played a wide variety of music including folk/rock, rock, blues and metal. I'd replace this one with another used one - it's very good value for a cheapie practice amp.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This amp is solidly built and the casework is robust enough for the job it is meant to do. Fender could have thrown a little more chrome at the metalwork, which seems to corrode easily. After 2 years the pots are still quiet, and so far I've never had to take the Servisol to them.

Features — 7
This is a basic practice amp with enough power for small gigs, and I've owned it for a couple of years. It has reverb and a dirty channel with adjustable Drive level, headphone jack and provison for a footswitch (not supplied). EQ is basic treble, mid and bass. Stereo line level input for playing backing tracks, etc (but obviously mono output!) As discussed below, I'd be very happy if Fender took all this cr@p off and just left the volume control.

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