Back in my day (puts on old man glasses) digital amp modelers were a bunch of hooey. They sounded like mold groaning. Things have come a long way and in 2023 you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a digital recreation and the real thing. Fender’s new continues this relatively recent tradition, allowing access to over 100 effects and amp models right out of the box.
The Tone Master Pro is a standalone device that connects to your guitar to process incoming audio. Once you dial in a cool sound by combining amp models, impulse responses and effects, send it to your favorite amp, DAW, loudspeaker or just about anywhere else. The 8-core processor ensures a latency-free experience and seamless transitions between presets. The CPU also lets you load up large multi-amp and effects signal chains to go beyond classic retro sounds to make something unique.
Fender says the “tone, feel, responsiveness and character” of each available amp model will be “virtually indistinguishable” from the real thing, and that’s before making wacky combinations or throwing on layers of effects. Additionally, Fender included more than 6,000 custom-created impulse responses that recreate the tone of specific cabinet and microphone combinations.
There’s more to come on this front, as the device will support impulse responses from third-parties. This includes other companies, sure, but also garden variety users. The associated Mac/PC app lets you browse from a near-endless collection of IRs and presets from other players and Fender-approved artists.
There are four effects loops for integrating pedals from your own collection, instrument inputs and XLR inputs, making this a versatile unit. It also has plenty of specific features for playing live. There’s a 7” color touchscreen that’s bright and easy to read, a 60 second stereo looper and a brand-new song and setlist mode that lets you attach different presets to each track you’re set to play.
Fender promises regular firmware updates via USB. These updates will provide bug fixes, new amps, new effects and other goodies. The first update hits in approximately 90 days and the second one releases in around six months. The Tone Master Pro is available now with one major caveat. It costs $1,700. On the plus side, that’s only $17 per amp model and effect!
This isn’t the company’s first foray into digital amp modeling. The Tone Master Pro is just the latest release in the Tone Master series, though the previous entries are actual amp cabinets with the addition of digital amp modeling. Fender’s also toyed with the idea via its and the