So The Authorities green lit the practice amp purchase and I forked out the princely sum of 89 USD plus sales tax to Guitar Center online and a nice box arrived via UPS.
First impressions are that wow it’s small. Not much bigger than the 8″ speaker. But that’s OK. Second impression is that it looks reassuringly like an amp, not a piece of computer gear. There are the regular amp controls for Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass and Master (volume). Then there is a Preset control. a Mod control and a DLY/REV (Delay/Reverb control). On the right hand end is a min USB port and two 3.5mm audio sockets. One for headphones and one for a line in. On the other end of the amp are two 1/4 inch sockets, one of which is the guitar input, the other is for a (not included) footswitch.
The Preset is labelled with different amp models, so right out of the box you can start switching between classic clean tones and overdriven metal. The Mod selects chorus/phase/flange type effects and the DLY/REV takes care of echo and reverb. It’s all very intuitive and very simple. At least at first.
So I’ve been pretty pleased with it. Have not yet really had the opportunity to crank it up, but when I edged the master volume around the dial my 10 month old started screaming excitedly (a la Beatlemania I like to think) and my 3 year old put her hands over her ears and scolded me; “Daddy too loud!”. So I think it has enough grunt. I’m not going to be gigging with it, but as long as it aggravates the kids then I’m happy.
Setting up all the software doohickies and registering the amp is frankly a pain in the arse. Fender does not do interwebs well at all. It took me well over an hour and a half on Friday night to do it all, and I am still not done.
I’ve also noticed that as you twiddle the presets knob, the indicator LED changes colour in a mystifying, but perhaps significant ways. And as I’ve been pushing buttons (somewhat at random I will admit), I can no longer get a tone without reverb.
Next step: RTFM