Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar Amplifier Review

Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar Amplifier Review

The Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar amplifier is one of three new amps to the Fender Mustang amp line up for 2017.  This review attempts to answer a lot of frequently asked questions as well as to help you work out if you actually need this new amplifier.Fender Mustang GT200 Review

Basic Specs

The Fender GT 200 is a digital modelling amplifier featuring 2×12″ guitar speakers and 200 watts of power.  The Fender Mustang GT200 also comes with a 4 button footswitch and power cable.   Please note: This is the only amp from the range that has the included footswitch.

Weight

The Fender Mustang GT200 is an extremely light amplifier.  It weighs about the same weight as the previous Mustang III V2 amplifier.  That is correct it’s as light as the Mustang III.   The Fender Mustang GT100 is even lighter.  It’s so light it actually feels odd when you pick it up.  This is a double edged sword.  Some people really like light amps while others prefer them to feel heavy because that’s associated with quality.  If you have a bad back these amps are great.

Should I Upgrade from a Mustang V2 Amplifier?

I hear you asking me: “These amplifier are an upgrade right? I’ve seen it all over the internet”.

This is where I am not convinced.  In my personal opinion the connectivity features are an upgrade in many ways.  Updating the firmware of the amplifier without having to use the Fender Fuse software is fantastic.  You now download an app called “Fender Tone” to make, download, and upload patches.

This is where my first gripe with the amplifier begins.  Fender decided to rid the amplifier of the hardware keys for overdrive, mod, delay, etc in favour of having a phone in your hand.  I think the removal of the hardware keys is a huge problem and I will tell you why.  Imagine you’re at a gig or a jam night.  You forget your switch and now you have no way to really control the amp other than using the clunky menu system or the app.  What’s worse is sometimes the app doesn’t stay connected to the amplifier if the screen goes blank.  If your phone battery goes flat and you have no footswitch you’re in for some trouble especially when playing live.

The app itself isn’t too bad considering it’s new. I am sure Fender will update it and make improvements over time.  It’s a shame though there’s no PC/Mac option available.  Most modern computers have bluetooth connectivity and I would prefer to tweak my patches on a computer than always having a phone in my hand.  You can of course use the menu on the amplifier to do everything the app does in terms of setting up the presets but keep in mind it’s a lot more clunky.Fender Mustang GT200 Review

How does the amplifier sound?

Not very good overall.  The clean Fender tones are quite nice on their own but the drive sounds aren’t great.  It feels like this amp is more of a Hi Fi sound than a guitar amplifier.  What do I mean by that?  It sounds flat and scooped compared to a regular amplifier like a Peavey Bandit, Fender Blues Deluxe, or just about anything else.   The good news is Fender actually programmed the stock presets pretty well.  They aren’t perfect but you can easily tweak and save them as you go.

How well does the amplifier take pedals?

In terms of overdrive pedal the quick answer is not very well.  I am convinced that certain YouTube channels do a lot of post production audio editing on their videos to favour sales.  In my experience the Bandit sounds way more 3D in terms of pedal tones than the Mustang GT200.  The new Mustang GT amplifiers are very Hi Fi and very scooped in the mids.  They sound okay for home use but it’s the sort of sound that gets lost in the mix when playing live.  Trust me, I have a good ear for this stuff.  In my personal opinion the V2 amplifiers weren’t great with overdrive pedals either but this is on a whole new level (not in a good way).

Is the FX loop Good?

The good news is the FX loop works great for modulation and delay pedals.  I think this is a huge bonus for folks who want to use external effects.

The footswitch

Don’t get me started on the footswitch.  This is a serious downgrade on the previous version of the amps.  Check this video below for my rant on the footswitch capability.  Unlike the older amplifiers you can only connect one footswitch to the amp.  Not only that but Fender have skimped on providing even a 2 button footswitch for the GT100 and GT40 amplifiers.  This means you need to spend $100+ dollars on a pedal just to use the amp with more “convenience”.

The Looper Function

The looper function on this amplifier is awesome.  It’s a welcomed addition and something they got right.  It’s easy to use and works great.

What’s in the Box?

This unboxing video below shows you everything that comes with the Fender Mustang GT200 amplifier.

What you get in the box

  • The Fender Mustang Amplifier
  • Footswitch & Footswitch Cable
  • A power cable
  • Some instructions and warranty information

Watch my video review of this amplifier here.

 Easy Mods for making the amplifier sound better

The easiest mod you could make to the Fender Mustang GT200 or GT100 would be to change the speakers.  Fender really provided us with cheap, junk speakers that have no push in a live context.  If you were to swap these speakers out for an Eminence Swamp Thang or Eminence Texas Heat for example it would make the amplifier heavier but it would have to sound way better.  The Texas heat speaker would give the Mustang GT200 the mid frequencies it lacks for live use.

Who is this amp for then?

Someone who wants good tones at home.  I wouldn’t use this amplifier live without changing the speakers out. I am going to give it a try live but I already know it’s going to suck based on what I am hearing at home and from hat I know about many other amps.  While it is a loud amplifier it doesn’t have the 3D sound of a real amplifier.  For home use and jamming with friends it will be fine.  I really feel like the EQ system per patch is nothing worth writing home about.  The mids control adds honk and the bass control adds boom.  There’s a night and day difference between what these patches are trying to do and the real amps in terms of how the EQ system works.

The stock presets are pretty nice and I am sure you’ll get a great sound for playing at home.  My opinion is while you “can” use it live it won’t have the same 3D push/knock of a Peavey Bandit, the Mustang V2, or any decent Tube amp.  If you don’t already own a Fender Mustang then you can give it a shot but don’t expect miracles from it.  Think of the Mustang GT as a really loud Hi Fi sounding guitar amplifier for playing at home and jamming along to CDs.

Lasty, here’s why I returned the Fender Mustang GT200 guitar amplifier.

Get the best deal in the US on a Fender Mustang GT here.

 

Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

The Achillies Princeton Reverb amplifier is an Australian made hand wired amplifier built in Melbourne, Australia.  This is arguably the best sounding Princeton I have ever played.  It sounds rich and warm and responds amazing to your guitars volume control as well as with pedals.

The Princeton Reverb is the most desirable recording amp to date. Mouth watering overdrive and sweet cleans with a touch of vibrato will drive you to have on your most wanted list. It’s no wonder Randall Smith from Mesa Boogie based his MKI on this amp. A Hand wired reproduction based on the AA1164 circuit has been recreated right down to the last component. Focused on commitment to quality to produce the most accurate PR tone, and we have proven to build a true Blackface Princeton Reverb replica throughout. The steel chassis features original pattern stamped ends and correct position component placement including aluminum control panels. Our very own branded Achillies power capacitors for that ultimate tone and stability. Upon building the cabinet, we strictly request (knot free) Radiata pine which provides that perfect balance we need to offer you with the finest amplifier on the market. Constructed with Traditional Dovetail Joinery and wrapped with authentic Fender Black bronco Tolex with the highest attention to detail to match the tone of the amplifier. The aesthetics complemented by the aged grill cloth gives the amp that final touch it needs to call out “vintage tone”.

 

 Princeton Reverb Features:

  • Custom Wound U.S.A Transformers
  • Output Power 15 watts
  • Output Tubes: 2x 6V6
  • Preamp Tubes: 1x 12AT7, 3x 12AX7
  • Rectifier: 1x 5U4
  • Available as
  • Head (8? Speaker Output)
  • Combo 1x Jensen C10R Speaker
  • Combo 1x Jensen C12R Speaker
  • Unloaded (Please note baffle type at checkout)
  • Switchcraft Jacks and Plugs
  • Carling Switches
  • Achillies Caps (Made in Germany)
  • Sprague Orange Drop caps
  • Carbon Comp Resistors (Most Allen Bradley)
  • CTS Potentiometers
  • Aluminum Control Panels
  • Authentic Hand Wired Layout
  • Cloth Covered Solid Core Wire
  • Black Bronco Covering
  • Aged Black/White/Silver grill cloth
  • Pine Cabinet with Birch Ply Backs and Baffle
  • Traditional Dovetail Joinery
  • Proudly Hand Built in Australia

Joyo BanTamP Atomic Amplifier Head Review

Joyo BanTamP Atomic Amplifier Head Review

JOYO ATOMIC 20 Watt Mini Tube Head New banTamp SeriesThe Joyo BanTamP Atomic amplifier head has 20 watts of power and is loaded with a single 12AX7 tube.  The Atomic amplifier is based on the classic British tones of the Vox amplifiers.  To keep things simple the Atomic features three main controls including a Gain, Tone, and Volume control.  The amplifier has two channels including a clean and overdrive channel.  The clean channel is extremely clean even with the gain up close to maximum.  The clean channel seems to take pedals extremely well too so if you’re looking for a clean platform this will do it.   Where the Joyo Atomic amplifier shines in my opinion is the dirty channel.  The Atomic amplifier will do anything from off-clean to blues and classic rock tones.

Overall, I am very impressed with this amplifier and I think these will be a hit for Joyo.   Get the best deal these amplifiers on Amazon here.

Peavey Silver Stripe Bandit 112 Review

Peavey Silver Stripe Bandit 112 Review

Recently I picked up a Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube Amplifier Silver Stripe Amplifier.  This particular model is made in the USA and features a non-sticker version of the 12″ Sheffield Speaker.  I had a number of requests to review and demonstrate the Peavey Bandit 112 silver stripe amplifier so here we go.

Like most Peavey Bandits from the 1990’s onward this amplifier is branded with the “TransTube” logo which means it has a setting called “T-Dynamics” which allows you to set the sag/dynamics of the amplifier.  The further right you have the t-dynamics the louder and cleaner the amp will be.  The further to the left you have this control, the easier the amp will break up and sag will be increased.

The silver stripe Peavey Bandit also features a single clean channel as well as three different gain stages of drive channels.  I either live on the clean channel with pedals or I would just use the overdrive channel on its own.

What I did notice about this amplifier at louder volumes is it doesn’t seem anywhere near as loud as the newer generation of bandits.  I have a suspicion this drop in volume is related to the speaker efficiency.  That said, it’s still loud enough to play live without any effects (just if your band is really loud), and it sounds very warm and kind of “vintage” in tone.  I currently own a red stripe bandit 112 and I feel like while they share a lot of similarities on paper – tonally, they are very different.  There’s also some other differences with the silver stripe bandit in comparison to the red stripe for example.  The silver stripe amp cabinets are actually pretty big.  They are maybe 1/5 larger in dimensions than the red stripe.  This means the box is bigger both in depth, width, and height.   I think if you changed the speaker in the silver stripe amplifier to something like an Eminence Texas Heat 12″ Guitar Speaker, 150 Watts at 8 Ohms or Eminence Patriot Swamp Thang 12″ Guitar Speaker, 150 Watts at 8 Ohms speaker, you’d have a much louder amp.  That said, the silver stripe is probably loud enough for most bands and situation in smaller clubs and bars.

Below is a video from Dan Lopez explaining the timeline of the Peavey Bandit amplifiers and it’s well worth checking out.

 

Supro Royal Reverb Amplifier Review

Supro Royal Reverb Amplifier Review

The Supro Royal Reverb amplifier is a fantastic amp! It’s easily one of the best I have ever tried.  I know this might sound like a big statement but it’s true.  I would honestly rate this up there with my Fender 65 Super Reverb amplifier.  The Royal Reverb has a sound I can only describe as “Fender on Steroids”.  If you like amps like the Super Reverb and wished it was fatter and rounder sounding then this amp can do that in spades.

The Supro Royal reverb features 2 x 10″ speakers but don’t let that fool you if you’re a 12″ speaker fan, this amp is thick and juicy sounding.  Another fantastic feature is the on-board power settings.  You can run the amp in 35, 45, and 60 watt mode.

Features:

  • Switchable Class-A (35 Watts) or Class-AB (45 / 60 Watts)Supro Royal Reverb Review
  • Independent BASS and TREBLE controls
  • All-tube reverb
  • Output-tube tremolo
  • Tube or Silicon Rectifier
  • 6L6 power tubes
  • 2×10 Supro CR10 speaker
  • 5U4 Tube Rectifier
  • Blue Rhino Hide tolex
  • Assembled in NY, USA

 

The Reverb is lush and warm sounding and can only be compared again to the nice reverb of Fender amps.  The tremolo on this amp is by far the nicest I’ve heard it does what every other amp and pedal is trying to emulate. The tremolo is simply fantastic.

 

Music Man 112-RD Fifty 50 Guitar Amplifier Review

Music Man 112-RD Fifty 50 Guitar Amplifier Review

The Music Man 11-2 RD Fifty is a 50 watt guitar amplifier from Ernie Ball in conjunction with DV Mark (Mark Bass).  DV Mark is a brand of guitar amplifiers that are made and designed in Italy featuring a lightweight design, great components and underrated tone.  The two things people know best about the original Music Man amps is they sound killer but they weigh a lot!  They weigh so much that a lot of people would steer clear of them.  For example, their 2×10 combo weighs about as much as a Fender Twin, so get your back ready if you do buy an original.

The nicest thing about the reissue series of  Music Man amps is the fact they are light! Thanks to the new neodymium magnet in the speaker and class D amplification, these amps are way lighter than you’d expect from a combo.  The 112-RD fifty weighs about as much as Fender Mustang III.

Below are some videos of the Music Man 112-RD with a ES-335, Telecaster, and Les Paul guitars.

The best of both Worlds

The Music Man series of amps features a unique design which must account for their killer tones they are famous for.  The amps feature a solid state preamp mixed with a power tube output section loaded with some 6L6 tubes.  6L6’s sound big, warm, and round (think Fender Super Reverb, Blues Deluxe, etc.).  This winning combination offers more clean headroom on the clean channel with some of the best overdrive tones ever on the dirty channel.  My favorite blues man Chris Cain has been using Music Man amps for years and his tone is some of the best you’ll hear just straight into an amplifier. Music Man 112-RD 50

Speaker Design

The original speaker was a EVH speaker which was a traditional large magnet speaker.  This was part of the reason the amp was so heavy (but sounded amazing!).  The new series of Music Man amps feature a special designed speaker that is both lightweight (under half of the original speakers weight) while still being true to the tones of the original EVH speakers.  Thanks to Marco De Virgiliis for making this amp loud, light and extremely nice tone wise.  While I didn’t have an original amp to compare it to on the day I shot the videos I have played an original 2 x 10 Music Man recently and the tone totally captures the vibe of the originals.

Designed in Italy and made in Indonesia

One thing that surprised me for the price was these amplifiers are actually made in Indonesia rather than Italy or the USA.  I just started trusting companies who produce quality units in China and now everything is moving to Indonesia, it’s that trial and error feeling all over again.  This would be my only concern with the amp to be honest.  They are asking almost $1900 AUD for this amplifier which is more than a USA made Deluxe Reverb for example and I even paid less for my Fender Super-Reverb, Fender Super-Sonic 60, and many others.  If you live in the USA these prices will make no sense to you. I understand that they will vary depending on where you live and what your exchange rate currently is.  This is my only concern.  The amp feels rock solid but I hope they’ve done stringent quality control.  Since Epiphone guitars moved to Indonesia their guitars feel like crap to me now.  Thankfully though, the amp sounds and feels great to play, it’s light and  very loud and I didn’t expect it to be made in Indonesia when I was testing it.  I looked at the back of the amp once I was done filming/testing it.  Fingers crossed the quality control is as good as the tone/build quality.  I have to say, this is the only amplifier I would consider buying that’s made in Indonesia.

If you want to read the instruction manual for this amplifier please click here

Overall

I am giving this amp a 4.5/5 (4.5 / 5)

The tone is so good, and the amp can be totally cranked loud! It would be as loud as my Fender Blues Deluxe no problems at all.  The build quality appears to be fine for an Indonesian made amp and the upgrades to the weight of the amp is always appreciated by me.  The only thing I have yet to have any experience with is the reliability factor.  Something about Indonesian made electronics makes me uncomfortable right now and it might be the only reason why I would give it a miss especially at the price they are at.  I figured an amp made in Asia would be less than $1000 AUD, not closer to $2000.  That said, the amp exceeded my expectations in terms of weight, tone, and volume.  The reverb is really nice and it would be a great gigging amp because of these reasons.

Changing the speaker in a Fender Mustang III Amplifier

Changing the speaker in a Fender Mustang III Amplifier

Changing a speaker in a Fender Mustang III will give you mixed results.  I finally found one I actually love on the presets I made for Mustang Monday and it’s called an Eminence Swamp Thang Speaker.

This particular speaker has very low breakup and high output so it’s perfect for a Fender Mustang III.  It did make the amp a little more heavy but in terms of upgrades it was the best one I’ve tried so far.

If you’re swapping a speaker in this amp you need to make sure the speaker is rated at 100 watts minimum and rated at 8 ohm.

If you’re swapping a speaker in this amp you need to make sure the speaker is rated at 100 watts minimum and rated at 8 ohm.

How much better is it than the stock speaker?

It has more “oomph” and low end over the stock speaker. Tonally the Eminence Swamp Thang it’s different enough to notice a pretty big difference especially at louder volumes where you can feel the speaker starting to work. Buy a Swamp Thang Speaker on Amazon.com

Any questions please let me know.

Changing the speaker in a Fender Mustang III Amplifier

Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue vs Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III

Fender Blues Deluxe Amplifier vs Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III

In this video below I compare the Fender Blues Deluxe tweed amplifier and the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III amplifier.  Both are fitted with 6L6 Power Tubes and 12Ax7 Preamp tubes and come in pretty much the same size cabinet.  This comparison between the amps should help you decide which one you like more for your style of much, both are fantastic.

My personal choice doesn’t much matter as both amps are very similar and very usable.  Look at it this way, if you like the smoother and modern clean channel sounds go for the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III.  If you’re into Tweed and slightly edgy sounds the Blues Deluxe Reissue is the way to go.  Either is fine for many styles of music and they both take pedals very well.

(4.5 / 5)
Overall, both amps are awesome which is why they get a solid 4.5/5 star rating.  My reasoning for the score is, they have two good channels (even though the clean is better then the drive channel), they take pedals well, they aren’t too heavy and they are a decent price for what you get.