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starcri 02/09/2011

Fender Performer 650 : starcri's user review

« A good tool »
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65W solid-state amp made in USA with a preamp tube for the lead channel.
One spring reverb.
Clean channel: Volume, bass, mediums, high. The same for the lead channel, plus gain control.
Footswitch with 2 buttons for the reverb and to toggle channels.
Only one input. A line out (jack) and an effects loop input/output with 3-way level control.
One 12" Fender speaker.

UTILIZATION

It has everything you need, but nothing more. There's no need for a manual, it has only the basic controls and they are enough. Right away you have a nice, classic Fender clean sound, the reverb is all right. The preamp tube provides a nice distortion, which will certainly not be enough for metalheads, but it's quite bluesy.

SOUNDS

This amp is fine to play almost any music genre (except maybe metal).
Don't go too crazy on the highs, though, or they turn twangy. Don't expect more than what an amp of this category can do, but it's a good, unpretentious, solid, and reliable tool. My fabulous LesPaul Standard would surely deserve better, but it knows how to make the amp sound right.

OVERALL OPINION

I bought this amp in a fit of anger after I broke my back moving my Lab Series. I was certainly disappointed by the difference in sound quality. The Performer 650 can't compete with a Lab Series...But I got it, even if its 37 lbs (approximately) are still considerable. I've used it for 15 years, on stage, at home, for rehearsals, and it has always proven very practical. The cab is open, you can line up speakers, stands, grilles, etc. and it remains powerful under all circumstances, it sounds fine and you don't have to break your head over settings. I ended up buying a more "pro" amp but kept it as a second amp, because it's good in its genre. I don't remember what I paid for it (nor when, maybe '97) and can't say much about its value for money. That said, I recommend it secondhand to anyone looking for a good and unpretentious amp.