Price paid: $ 99.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
I mainly use my Ibanez GART that I reviewed early in the summer and my Strat from the pack I reviewed last summer (yes, I still use that "piece of sh-t" Strat). The Ibanez is loaded with 2 powersound humbuckers, both ceramic magnets, the bridge is overwound. The Strat is loaded with typical 3 single coil pups in the iconic Strat positions. When using the Strat, I typically play classic rock, stuff like Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, and the likes. It definitely was made for this genre(not just because it's a Fender). It gives some of the best tones I've heard on a 20 watt amp. With the Ibanez I play mainly heavy metal, stuff like Lamb Of God, Metallica, Trivium, and lots of drop tuned and extreme low tuned metal. The massive distortion made my house feel like it was going to collapse. It is perfect for any kind of metal, with tweaking, and the Fender fuse software only makes your millions of possibilities of tones infinite. Best amp I've ever heard. It is noisy, to some degree, however, the grounds on my guitars are faulty and I need to fix them, so that's half the problem. With Fender fuse, there is a basic amp and an advanced amp, in the advanced amp you can add a noise gate, thus eliminating all(practically) noise from the system. No matter the settings, if you put the noise gate one in the Fender fuse software you will have no problems with noise. I have not tried the amp very loud, I only put the volume on the presets at around 7 and turn the master up to around 2 and it's almost too loud for me to think. I do not think it will get distorted at high volumes as it is a full DSP amp and therefore not a normal solid state or tube amp. As for raw distortion, don't count out Fender, the fuse software really delivers. The American 90s and Metal 2000 amps, paired with an overdrive pedal and either a 2X12C cab or no cab give the heaviest sounds ever, definitely up there with Mesa Boogie and Diesel.
Overall Impression — 9
Again, I play a variety of music. Mostly different genres of metal. The amp, paired with the fuse software, makes the perfect metal amp. It is the perfect match for me. I have only been playing for about 2 years. I only own a Fender Starcaster Straocaster Beginner's Pack and an Ibanez GART. The only thing I wish I had asked was, why didn't I know about this years ago. If it was stolen I would probably either kill myself, lock myself in my bedroom and cry, or move on and upgrade to the Mustang II or III. I love the fuse software, it gives me any sound I wish. I also love that amazing chunk and chug the speaker can make. I hate... Well... I don't hate anything, I love it all. My favorite feature is the fuse software which can make all the sounds I want, from Hendrix fuzz to Machine Head crush and everything in between. Before I bought this I did some playing on other modeling amps (Line 6), some Marshalls, and other Fender amps. The Line 6 amps I played either had too much noise, too little distortion and crunch, or too much chunky fuzz and no definition. The Fender amps just didn't do metal, except for this one. The Marshalls just didn't scream metal or even rock, they just kinda went... Blah on distortion and sounded either country or blues. This one was the most metal to me and was the most versatile I could find, and the price wasn't that bad either. I only wish it had a footswitch and a wah wah pedal, I do like me some wah wah.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have only had the amp for a week or so now and I have been very careful with it, as I am with everything. It has a very sturdy look to it, nothing like a Roland Cube, but it is designed to be very rigid. If I was to gig, I would probably buy a Mustang II to use instead, only for its more adequate power output and larger speaker. If I was in a bind and could not buy a Mustang II I would use the Mustang I with no backup(not because I don't have another good amp, which I don't, but because it doesn't seem to require a backup, it's built very well). As I have said, I have only had it for a week or so. I cannot comment on it breaking down or not or why it would breakdown. I can only say that I highly doubt it would ever breakdown unless the user neglected it and smashed it up.
Features — 9
The amp debuted in 2010, however, I do not know the exact year of my amp's manufacture. I can only assume that it was late 2010 to early 2011. The amp is very versatile right out of the box. The Vintage tones, the first 3 or 4 presets in each color bank, sound dead on and give a nice, crisp clean and slight bluesy overdrive. The last 4 presets in each bank give a very distorted, heavy, chunky sound. It suits my playing very well. I play a metalcore kinda thrashy death metal and I can get all kinda of chunk and chug out of the small amp. Right out of the box, the factory settings do have a little too much bass, however, cranking the treble to 10 and the dropping the bass to around 5 or 6 relieves that. It has 5 "programmable" knobs which only affect the tone when turned, the presets on the preset knob come with their own, independent settings and switching between presets is as easy as turning the volume knob up. It does have a headphone jack, and I was surprised to see that it wasn't a 1/4 inch jack, just a standard one. There are 2 separate effects knobs, one for modulation, like flanger, phaser, and chorus, and another for delay and reverb. I love that features, especially the Fender fuse software that comes with it. I only wish it had a built in knob for the mids, I don; t like having to plug it into my computer when ever I want to scoop my sound on another preset, however, I do have it plugged in a lot, so I shouldn't complain. I mainly use this amp at home and for small band practices. It definitely has enough power to be heard over everyone else without breaking a sweat.