Clean channel is classic Fender: Very good clean sound, which doesn't crunch even at high volumes
Drive channel: It distorts quite a bit right away, so you can't get a nice crunch
The EQ has a big effect on the sound.
Not bad, but not good either...Far from a tube amp (despite the presence of a tube)
Bought it secondhand to use it in my apartment and...you can forget about it: The sound level increases very fast, as is usually the case with Fender.
Another defect: You have either a very clean or a very distorted sound...so the sound palette is quite limited, IMHO.
It's a pity, because it certainly has some advantages: The clean sound, the reasonable weight, the apparent sturdiness.
It is probably very good coupled with a pedalboard, but it's somewhat delicate to use on its own.
Solid state amp with tube distortion channel.
Actually, different from what is stated here (and that the model name wrongfully suggests), the amp is 80W RMS.
12 inch Fender speaker kicks loudly and can easily be used as PA to play in a medium-sized bar (I've done that).
I wish it had a connection for earplugs and one for a second guitar. Only connections are for instrument and for the footswitch (and the effects loop connections in the back).
The clean channel sounds great, which adds good versatility showing the real sound of different guitars and pedals. If you don't want to change your sound on purpose, it'1s a very good choice (even though Fender does not produce it anymore).
My user manual was stolen when I had to send the amp to fix the reverb that was not working. Now I'm asking Fender for a PDF copy but still no response (if anyone could send me I'd appreciate).
The distortion channel is not ideal in my opinion, but maybe it's just the valves that are old (again, I need the manual to replace them). But it's not bad, either.
It's relatively easy to carry for the power it gets.
Only con is that it sounds best when played at volume 2 and above, which is already really loud for an apartment, for instance. So for practice at home it's a bit too much.
After 15 years of use it's still in perfect shape and sound (i'm not a pro musician, so not much carrying around).
I've used Fender Guitars and a Custom-made Luthier HB Strat. For effects I've used Digitech RP350 and also analog overdrive, wah and EQ.
I like the pure clean sound of the amp, with either strat or humbuckers. With volume above 4 it really provides a nice smooth sound when played quiet and a strong kick twang / attack when provocked. Strong bass and nice mids. Treble a little too loud for my taste, but that can be adjusted in the knobs.
Hasn't got the dynamics of a valve amp (such as it's cousin the Deluxe) but clean channel is the cleanest you will get.
I mostly like the sound of clean channel. I don't use much reverb but it sounds nice, too.
Its tone when played loud is great, not so great when trying to find a volume below number 1, seems to clip down or reduce the amount of effects.
At the time, long ago, I tried other amps and I chose this because of the mellower sounds than other solid state amps like Peavey or Crate.
This amp definitely influenced my sound, and I can get the twang I want for blues and rock.
If I had to buy another one, I'd probably spend more (much more) and get me a tube amp like a Mesa or something. BUT considering the money costrain, this amp would be a good choice if I could play it loud (in an isolated house or studio).
To play in an apartment, I would definitely choose an amp no higher than 50W.
I won't mention the features again, which have been detailed by some colleagues before.
Personally, I love its simplicity and effectiveness
Most renown amps (Vox, Marshall, Fender, etc.) always offer a simplicity that makes them effective.
The sound is all right, I have nothing to say in that respect.
A good EQ, a bit of reverb and you get the fender sound.
I've had it for more than 10 years and have played it with different guitar types (Gibson SG, Gibson LP studio, Fender Standard, Telecaster) and it always sounds good. Once you have tamed it and mastered the controls, it doesn't matter what style you play, it sounds good.
For me, it's a good compromise for rehearsals, small stages and even big ones, if you mic it with an Sm57 or similar.
+ Perfect clean sound
+ Light to transport
+ Easy to dial in when you know the sound you want
+ Powerful, rated at 65 watts but it delivers more, that's for sure
+ The hybrid tag suits the tube preamp very well (because for me it's better than a solid-state but lacks some of the warmth a tube provides current amps, at a higher price, though.)
+ Effects loop and line out.
- The distortion is not clean enough (if you crank it up it turns into noise), so, as someone already wrote before me, it's not the best for metal.
- It's too powerful (like many amps, the volume is graded from 0 to 10, at 2 it already makes the walls tremble, at 6-7 the house falls down, afterwards there's nothing left, even if you can go to 8 or 10). The solution is a volume pedal to fix the problem.
This is one of those amps that just gets pasted up because it is really no different sounding than many of Fender's famous amps that people actually do know.This amp is really nothing to write home about as the tone is clean and sparkly as you would think a Fender amp should sound like. The down side to this amp is that it a cheaper version of a deluxe amp with no tubes. Well it does have one 12ax7 but i think it is used as a phase inverter if I'm not mistake so that you will get a sense of tube interaction.
This amp has two channels essentially. One being he clean channel and the other of course is the distortion channel. Neither one of these channels has anything spectacular in any way. You get a sense that Fender just put this amp out to get some buyers on the solid state market that wanted to say they had an American made Fender amp.
That is the good thing about this amp is that it is made in good old USA. This is before they started shipping oversees and down to Mexico for their amp support needs.
The tone fro the clean isn't bad at all. I actually prefer the clean channel of a good solid state amp compared to a tube clean. In my opinion tube were best used to being pushed. When they are not pushed they come off as dull and uninspiring. You can always beef up a lousy clean from your amp with a little compressor pedals of some sort, but to me the cleans never need that in a solid state amp.
The distortion channel is a whole different ball game. The tone from this channel is so bad that you really can't even play it. Fender has really no idea how to produce a good distortion tone. They messed it up with the Hot Rod series and are just now getting that under control with the new installment of the Hot Rod series amps. Fender has nailed it on the EVH 5153, but again this is in recent years....and how long has Fender been around.
Anyway, this distortion channel is terrible and not usable at all. If you need a good clean then that is all that you are going to get with this amp.
Fender has now discontinued these amps and you can still find them on the used market from time to time. If you want a solid state Fender then I would go with the Frontman or the new G-Dec amps from this last NAMM show. They are more modern and will give you a better tone overall. If for some reason you really want this amp I think you can find them for under $200 in the classifieds or evilBay