Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Lake Charles Music
Features — 10
The Fender Mustang IV is a solid state amp that most certainly doesn't skimp on features. The amp has 100 tone presets, dozens of effects, comes with computer software to make your own presets, a pedal that allows you to swap between presets, 150 watts of power, a headphone jack, a mini-USB port, and two 12 inch Celestion speakers. I can't put this lightly enough; for 500 bucks, your getting around 500-700 dollars worth in pedals alone, not to mention the software, the versatility, the power this amp has... It seems like they made an amp and decided they were going to try to squeeze as many features into this tiny black box as they could. I'm giving it a 10 because they couldn't shove more features into this amp if they tried.
Sound — 8
Due to the FUSE software as well as all the built in presets, effects, ect., you can get just about any kind of tone. I play most metal (think Acid Bath, High on Fire, Mutoid Man) and I can get a pretty decent metal tone out of it. And because of the amp's raw power, it actually sounds pretty damn good once you turn up the volume knob. There's a lot of controversy surrounding this amp since it's solid state. I say that it sounds really damn good for it's price range, even if it is SS. Sure, it isn't a tube and it doesn't sound as good, but this amp is more or less a jack-of-all-trades and it does everything really good. Like I said, I can get a good metal tone out of it, but it also sounds really good with some cleans. Put on a bit of wah/fuzz and plug in your Strat and this thing can get a good Hendrix vibe to it. Overall, this amp sounds just as good as other amps on the market around the same price range and has much more versatility. I'm giving this an 8 because while it doesn't sound amazing, it plays so many tones right and it's so versatile that it makes up for it's weaknesses.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Being a solid state, this amp is obviously going to be pretty durable (unless you're gigging in an aquarium) since you don't have to worry about burnt up tubes. The amp is light but feels really solid. The only thing that worries me is the screen and the plastic knob next to it. The screen is obviously glass so it's rather fragile. However, it seems pretty thick so unless you're throwing your amp down a flight of stairs, it should be okay. The plastic knob next to it is pretty big and important, but is flimsy with it's thin plastic. all the other knobs are solid and strong. This one feels like it could snap off any second just as I'm trying to dial my tone. Of course it's one knob, but it controls almost everything on the screen. For such an important button, you would want it to be reliable. I'd feel fine without a backup when gigging, but it might be nice to have one just in case. It's got a lot of power and is pretty sturdy so it would be a solid choice for small gigs.
Overall Impression — 8
For 500 dollars, this amp is extremely good. It has tons of versatility, tons of power, is durable, and affordable. It's great for small gigs due to its 150 watts of power and since it's solid state, you can dial the volume back and it would be a great practice or studio amp. The amount of tones you can get is fantastic and is great for beginners who want to experiment with their sound without having to shovel hundreds of dollars in effects and pedals. The FUSE software gives added versatility to your sound, allowing you to edit your tone to the slightest detail. The amp is solid state, so you won't get as good of a tone as a tube amp, and the most important knob on the amp is cheap and flimsy. It's still a fantastic amp for the price and any beginner or intermediate guitarist who is looking for a new amp and is on a budget should pick this up.