Fender Tone Master Pro Review: The Classiest Modeling Amp

Mike Powers


While enthusiasts are still fussing over tube amps and drooling over effects pedal collections, gigging musicians are in the midst of a digital revolution. Offerings from brands like Kemper, Line 6, Fractal Audio, and Neural DSP all allow musicians to model tube amps digitally, with results that come astonishingly close to the real deal.

These new digital modeling amps are easy to set up, reliable, and much lighter and more compact than previous rigs. These days, the sounds are also remarkable. Unless they’re in the studio, many modern musicians are using digital options for their sounds, and many of those options are making their way onto hit tracks.

Fender has competed in the digital amp space for decades, but its new $1,700 Tone Master Pro, which launched late last year, is the first truly pro-tier option that we’ve seen from the brand in recent memory. It’s also one of the most intuitive I’ve ever laid eyes on. With classic models of iconic amps and effects, a touchscreen, excellent onboard controls, and a shocking amount of digital processing power, it’s essentially a portable guitar studio. It also has a four-channel audio interface and hundreds of microphone modeling and cabinet modeling options that easily compete with the real deal—even in the studio. It’s even pretty awesome for karaoke.

If I were shopping for an all-in-one guitar solution that works both in my bedroom and on stage, especially if I didn’t want to fuss around in menu screens forever, this is the one I’d pick.

Fender Tone Master Pro Review: The Classiest Modeling Amp

Photograph: Parker Hall

The New Black Box

The Tone Master Pro looks nearly identical to most of the other all-in-one amp/pedalboard solutions I’ve seen. Essentially, it’s a black slab that is supposed to sit in front of you while you play, either on the floor or on a desk. A 7-inch touchscreen sits between two silver knobs on the top of the device, flanked at the bottom by 10 pedal switches and associated LED screens. It’s all very clean and modern, easy to hide while you play on stage.

One quirky and familiar thing I love is that Fender included its classic red power light on the back of the device, so you can easily tell it is on like a “normal” Fender amp. The rest of the rear of the Tone Master is a smorgasbord of inputs and outputs the likes of which I’ve never seen on a guitar amp.

There are stereo outputs in both quarter inch and XLR; four separate effects sends and returns (two stereo) for using outboard pedals and effects with the device; two expression pedal outlets; a mic/line and instrument input; as well as a foot switch control, 3.5-mm aux in, headphone output, MIDI in and out, USB-C, and MicroSD. And also, Bluetooth. If you need more, you probably need a mixing board or a patch bay.

Backside of digital amp displaying the ports outlets and knobs

Photograph: Parker Hall



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