Price paid: $ 440
Purchased from: Music Center
Features — 10
- Manufactured in China in 2016
- 150 Watts
- 2x12 Celestion 80 speakers
- Single Channel
- Single Input
- Left and Right Effects Loops
- Stereo XLR Outputs
- 4 Button, 3 mode footswitch included
- Expression pedal (sold separately)
- 2 Button footswitch (sold separately)
- 3.5 mm Aux input
- 3.5 mm Headphone or Audio out
- USB connection
- LCD display with full system interface
- 100 User defined presets
- 17 different amp models
- 11 different stomp effects
- 14 different modulation effects
- 9 different delay effects
- 10 different reverb effects
Sound — 10
This amp is able to make even me sound great! The clean tones that this amp produces are extremely clean and bright just as you would expect from anything Fender. That said, it does a fine job of modeling other brands including Silvertone, Marshall, Peavey, Vox, Mesa Boogie, Orange...
I keep my master volume between 1 and 2 in my study and I am able to adjust the gain and volume as necessary to get that sweet overdrive sound, and not make my ears bleed.
The presets come preloaded with some nice useful tones as well as some weird sounding ones that I do not associate with music. I'm not as good at math as I used to be, but I believe the total number of combinations of amp/effects to be approximately 235,000.
That doesn't count the individual adjustments to each effect/amp etc.
The amp can only hold 100 presets, but when plugged into your computer, you can create and store all your favorite tones there using the Fender Fuse software, and recall them to your amp prior to leaving the house. That means you can have a setting for every song in your repertoire at your fingertips! What's more is that you do not need to be connected to your computer to modify and store the settings you already have in your amp memory.
Sounds like a lot of work, but it's a labor of love (not to mention a ton of fun). You can also sign in to the Fuse community and download other peoples settings if you like.
This isn't a tube amp. It is a solid state modeling amp. Make no mistake. But, it does do a fantastic job of mimicking some of the old style Fender Tweed and Blackface amps. Probably a 95% match. It sounds and feels very much like the real thing. Probably not close enough if you're a hard-core tube lover, but for the rest of us it'll do just fine.
Here's some more math... If you purchase 17 amps that cost $1,000 each, and 46 different pedals at $100 each you would be looking at over $20,000 in equipment, thousands of pounds of stuff filling up a large room, cords galore, tube replacements, etc. If you could purchase a single dependable high-quality amp to do all the same stuff, weigh less than 50 pounds, and sound almost exactly like the others, all for under $500, why the heck wouldn't you?
There are a lot of Tube guys who may tell you differently, but a good sound is a good sound no matter where it comes from. The days of crappy solid state amps is no more. You just have to give it a try with an open mind.
Below is a list of the amps modeled by this amp:
- Peavey 5150
- Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
- Fender Super-Sonic 22
- Orange Custom Shop
- Marshall JCM 800
- 1959 Marshall SLP
- HiWatt 100 DR103
- Vox AC30
- 1964 Silvertone 1482
- 1965 Fender Twin
- 1965 Fender Deluxe
- 1965 Fender Princeton
- 1959 Fender Bassman
- 1957 Fender Twin
- 1957 Fender Deluxe
- 1957 Fender Champ
- Studio Pre-amp
Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp seems very durable. I'm sure gigging is rough on equipment, but I believe the construction of this amp would be up to the task. The knobs are of a good-quality plastic and the soft keys have a rubbery texture instead of plastic. The buttons and LCD screen are backlit so you can see them in the dark. The aux, headphone and USB plugs feel a little wimpy, so I would use caution not to bump them when something is plugged into them.
The instrument input jack seems solid, as does the foot switch, effects loops and XLR outputs. The back is open and there are exposed speaker wires that could potentially get accidentally hooked on something. The lifting handle can certainly carry the weight of this amp. The 4-button foot pedal casing appears to be made from a high quality galvanized steel, and the buttons are stainless steel.
Overall Impression — 10
I am a hobbyist player. I normally play in my study without an audience. I enjoy playing country, blues, classic rock, soft rock. My favorite bands include Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eagles. I don't own any guitars over $500, so I can't see spending any more than that on an amp. I normally play my Epiphone Les Paul Plustop Pro and my Epiphone Dot and they both sound great on this amp, which was an upgrade from my Vox VT20X which I still have and enjoy.
I was torn between the Mustangs and the Champion amps. After months of testing, shopping, and research, I'm glad I chose the Mustang. Additionally, the Mustang III is a fine amp, but the stereo effects coming through the two speakers in a Mustang IV is very nice, and the size is quite imposing. The amp looks like a million dollars. The silver-thread grill cloth and script logo are reminiscent of the classic "Blackface" Fenders of old.
This is definitely more amp than I will ever need. But if you want a quality machine that gives you access to so many classic sounds, customizable to your personal liking that you could be replaced for the cost of a handful of tubes, this one is definitely worth a closer look!