Fender Tone Master Pro, a quick review

RickP

Established 1960, Still Not Dead
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
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Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
Posting this in general discussion, as it’s not a PRS amplification option. It is, however, an excellent option for amplifying PRS guitars and, as such, is proper content for this forum. I preface this for those who don’t know me by saying I am not pro-digital, pro-tube amp, or pro anything else. I like all of it, use all of it, and my bias favors what works, what sounds good, what makes music. The dogmatic pro and con comparisons don’t interest me, and I hope will be kept to a minimum here. This is just a requested discussion of one product. Any mentioned comparative sounds mentioned are for perspective, not better/worse BS. Ok? Ok. If it sounds good, use it. That’s the standard.

TLDR version- It sounds great, works like a charm in live band scenarios, appears well made, and is super amp/pedalboard-like. I’ll be keeping and using the Fender TMP in a variety of situations.

If there were to be an overarching thought with this modeler, it would be that it is purpose built for the one group of people I don’t think the modeling community has reached: the player who wants to go digital, likes the sound, but abhors the complexity and learning curve of modelers. This would be the person who wants knobs, not pages; swiping not scrolling, and seeing what he wants to adjust instead of a square on a grid. In a word: familiarity. This player wants to see what he’s familiar with, and adjust it the way he’s used to adjusting it. In this regard, the TMP excels… better than anything I’ve seen in the market.

The amps: Heavy on Fender models, as you’d expect, but a fair representation of the normal minimums you’d also expect. There are Marshall, Boogie, Vox, Friedman, actual EVH Stealth company-approved models, JC120, Bogner, and others. Plenty of good sounds in there. Also quite a few cabs and micing options.

Effects: All the iconic drives, fuzzes, delay and modulation effects, wah, comps, etc. What you’d expect to see on a pedalboard, not in a studio. The quality, though, is very good. I’ve been impressed, as have other players trying it.

Routing and connectivity: Excellent for the intended purposes. Ins and outs allow for multipath presets, 4 cable method setups, separated stage/FOH sends. There is also a XLR input, so busking or one man shows would be a snap, as you could run guitar and vocals with discrete paths and processing; or electric and acoustic.

Visually, it’s a nice presentation. The large touch screen is bright and clear, touch function works great. The buttons work very nicely, and feel solid. The “knob’ function work extremely well, and I love this idea.

Don’t judge this on just demos on YouTube or the presets on the TMP. I was kind of “meh” on it (I hate that phrase, but it fits here) when playing the presets. Good, not great. Once I started making my own presets, which was astonishingly simple by comparison to other units in my experience, this thing really came alive. I’m not a heavy gain player, so my initial attempts centered around familiar amps like the Super Reverb or Deluxe Reverb. Setting it to the settings I would normally use, it sounded like I expected it to sound… which is a plus. I am using an Atomic CLR FRFR speaker, or running through my mixer to my studio monitors, and both sound great. I add the things I’d normally have on the floor, adjust to taste and I’m off. Totally useful and workable tone and function.

As a test, I sprung this on my unsuspecting guitar partner at rehearsal. He loves his amps and pedals. He’s tried digital, mostly Helix, and hated the experience he’s had. He’s trying Tonex right now, liking some of the sounds, totally hating their editor. So I give him the 5 minute tour, and he sets into picking an amp (65 Deluxe) decides to use a 4x10 Super cab on it. He looks at drives and selects a ProCo Rat, which surprises me as he’s never used one when we’ve played. He adjusts it, we set the foot switches for on/off control, add a touch of reverb. Result? I can’t get him to stop playing. Loved it, and immediately loved the interface, especially how he could adjust things on the fly. This is a hardcore “disliker of modelers,” sold on it in minutes. His last comment was “damn, a Deluxe and a Rat… did you hear that? I could play a whole show with just that!”

So, I said it would be short, and it’s already kinda long. Check Pete Thorn’s video for a decent demo of the function, and a bit of the computer editor which, wisely, looks just like the touch screen on the pedals.

or John Bollinger’s review for a variety of tones:

In the end, this is a summary:

Amps and pedals will always be their own thing, and nothing else will be exactly like them in strengths or limitations. If you love that, are happy with it, don’t need a change then, by all means, stick with them! This setup is the basis of modeling… the model being modeled. Not a thing wrong there… as you were, gentlemen!

If you’re looking for the deepest, most capable, heaviest equipped, and road proven over years time, the TMP is none of those. In my personal experience, Fractal Audio Systems owns that crown. Kemper would be the other most proven option. Others come farther down the list, which is my opinion and YMM certainly V.

The TMP is for that guy I mentioned at the front. The guy who doesn’t want pages, menus, blocks, and controls that aren’t on the genuine article. “Give me things I recognize that operate like I remember and look like what they’re supposed to be.“ With the TMP, adjusting anything in your chain is exactly one step different from the real thing: you have to touch its icon on the screen to select it. After that, it’s just like what you know. “That guy” stuff. I have to think that Fender started with a blank slate and a list of everything guitarists hate about modelers. Add the kind of things most guitarists actually use to the blank slate, and eliminate as many or all of the things on the hated list. And they did a pretty damn good job for their first step into a deep pool. If they support and continue to develop it, this thing will be very, very popular.

Feel free to ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer.

Edit: For those who might be curious, no, it’s not replacing my Fractal Audio FM9T-FC6 setup. I’ve worked with the FAS setup a long time, and have things built in the TMP can’t do (yet). That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the TMP for a gig tonight, if needed. Especially in a jam format, the quick change ability would be welcome.
 
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Nicely done Rick. Sounds like it's a keeper!
I’m pretty impressed with it. While the interface is certainly worthy of “game-changer” status, it’s not just lipstick on a pig. It really sounds and works well, and fits right into a band soundstage. I feel that Fender did themselves proud on it, especially in live settings or anywhere the “set on the fly” nature of amps and pedalboards is at home.
 
I’m pretty impressed with it. While the interface is certainly worthy of “game-changer” status, it’s not just lipstick on a pig. It really sounds and works well, and fits right into a band soundstage. I feel that Fender did themselves proud on it, especially in live settings or anywhere the “set on the fly” nature of amps and pedalboards is at home.
Interesting... I have no desire or need to change as I like having the remote with a single cable and no need for AC at my feet.
That said, if my Kemper blew up I'd consider this TMP, so thanks a bunch for being a trusted tester!
 
It is refreshing to see an unbiased review of something. I like that Pete really shows the positive side of things. I wish he would be a little more honest about any shortcomings. I get it. He is getting paid to say good things. He rarely has anything critical to say about a piece of gear.
 
It is refreshing to see an unbiased review of something. I like that Pete really shows the positive side of things. I wish he would be a little more honest about any shortcomings. I get it. He is getting paid to say good things. He rarely has anything critical to say about a piece of gear.
Yes, you really have to just watch what it actually does and take your cues from that. Some players like Pete can make anything sound good, other demos make great gear sound bad. In the end, I just had to get one here to see if the sound was equal to the cool interface. I feel they did well, and at the cost of many quality low wattage amp heads, it’s great bang for the buck.

Time will tell if they support and develop this, and add functions as the top tier modeler makers do. That, in the end, may decide the future of the TMP in this market.
 
Sounds like a winner for a lot of people: a great sounding easy to use unit branded by one of the biggest players in the business. It can't hurt having more good competition for everyone to up their game.

As someone also on team Fractal will look forward to any more detailed comparisons for the two systems. I can't imagine anyone getting a 5 minute tour on the FM9 and being off and running. However, already being up on the learning curve I really appreciate the level of control.
 
Sounds like a winner for a lot of people: a great sounding easy to use unit branded by one of the biggest players in the business. It can't hurt having more good competition for everyone to up their game.

As someone also on team Fractal will look forward to any more detailed comparisons for the two systems. I can't imagine anyone getting a 5 minute tour on the FM9 and being off and running. However, already being up on the learning curve I really appreciate the level of control.
Yeah, you’re right on the money. The TMP can’t touch the level of control, adjustment, routing, block placement and such that we FAS veterans are accustomed to. Some things I use constantly, like auto-engage for pedals, are not yet there.

Still, the gapless switching on the TMP is great, and it sounds good. It’s really that interface that’s so endearing. I don’t know how much of that could be possible with something possessing the depth of control Fractal units have, but it would be nice to see some of the ideas reimagined through Cliff’s mind.

In the end, it might be like real amps where there are different brands and models for a variety of user preferences. I really like that idea, and hope that’s where we’re going. I mean, my Mesa Road King II is a great amp, but so is a nice old Princeton, right? Horses for courses, and all that. :p
 
Posting this in general discussion, as it’s not a PRS amplification option. It is, however, an excellent option for amplifying PRS guitars and, as such, is proper content for this forum. I preface this for those who don’t know me by saying I am not pro-digital, pro-tube amp, or pro anything else. I like all of it, use all of it, and my bias favors what works, what sounds good, what makes music. The dogmatic pro and con comparisons don’t interest me, and I hope will be kept to a minimum here. This is just a requested discussion of one product. Any mentioned comparative sounds mentioned are for perspective, not better/worse BS. Ok? Ok. If it sounds good, use it. That’s the standard.

TLDR version- It sounds great, works like a charm in live band scenarios, appears well made, and is super amp/pedalboard-like. I’ll be keeping and using the Fender TMP in a variety of situations.

If there were to be an overarching thought with this modeler, it would be that it is purpose built for the one group of people I don’t think the modeling community has reached: the player who wants to go digital, likes the sound, but abhors the complexity and learning curve of modelers. This would be the person who wants knobs, not pages; swiping not scrolling, and seeing what he wants to adjust instead of a square on a grid. In a word: familiarity. This player wants to see what he’s familiar with, and adjust it the way he’s used to adjusting it. In this regard, the TMP excels… better than anything I’ve seen in the market.

The amps: Heavy on Fender models, as you’d expect, but a fair representation of the normal minimums you’d also expect. There are Marshall, Boogie, Vox, Friedman, actual EVH Stealth company-approved models, JC120, Bogner, and others. Plenty of good sounds in there. Also quite a few cabs and micing options.

Effects: All the iconic drives, fuzzes, delay and modulation effects, wah, comps, etc. What you’d expect to see on a pedalboard, not in a studio. The quality, though, is very good. I’ve been impressed, as have other players trying it.

Routing and connectivity: Excellent for the intended purposes. Ins and outs allow for multipath presets, 4 cable method setups, separated stage/FOH sends. There is also a XLR input, so busking or one man shows would be a snap, as you could run guitar and vocals with discrete paths and processing; or electric and acoustic.

Visually, it’s a nice presentation. The large touch screen is bright and clear, touch function works great. The buttons work very nicely, and feel solid. The “knob’ function work extremely well, and I love this idea.

Don’t judge this on just demos on YouTube or the presets on the TMP. I was kind of “meh” on it (I hate that phrase, but it fits here) when playing the presets. Good, not great. Once I started making my own presets, which was astonishingly simple by comparison to other units in my experience, this thing really came alive. I’m not a heavy gain player, so my initial attempts centered around familiar amps like the Super Reverb or Deluxe Reverb. Setting it to the settings I would normally use, it sounded like I expected it to sound… which is a plus. I am using an Atomic CLR FRFR speaker, or running through my mixer to my studio monitors, and both sound great. I add the things I’d normally have on the floor, adjust to taste and I’m off. Totally useful and workable tone and function.

As a test, I sprung this on my unsuspecting guitar partner at rehearsal. He loves his amps and pedals. He’s tried digital, mostly Helix, and hated the experience he’s had. He’s trying Tonex right now, liking some of the sounds, totally hating their editor. So I give him the 5 minute tour, and he sets into picking an amp (65 Deluxe) decides to use a 4x10 Super cab on it. He looks at drives and selects a ProCo Rat, which surprises me as he’s never used one when we’ve played. He adjusts it, we set the foot switches for on/off control, add a touch of reverb. Result? I can’t get him to stop playing. Loved it, and immediately loved the interface, especially how he could adjust things on the fly. This is a hardcore “disliker of modelers,” sold on it in minutes. His last comment was “damn, a Deluxe and a Rat… did you hear that? I could play a whole show with just that!”

So, I said it would be short, and it’s already kinda long. Check Pete Thorn’s video for a decent demo of the function, and a bit of the computer editor which, wisely, looks just like the touch screen on the pedals.

or John Bollinger’s review for a variety of tones:

In the end, this is a summary:

Amps and pedals will always be their own thing, and nothing else will be exactly like them in strengths or limitations. If you love that, are happy with it, don’t need a change then, by all means, stick with them! This setup is the basis of modeling… the model being modeled. Not a thing wrong there… as you were, gentlemen!

If you’re looking for the deepest, most capable, heaviest equipped, and road proven over years time, the TMP is none of those. In my personal experience, Fractal Audio Systems owns that crown. Kemper would be the other most proven option. Others come farther down the list, which is my opinion and YMM certainly V.

The TMP is for that guy I mentioned at the front. The guy who doesn’t want pages, menus, blocks, and controls that aren’t on the genuine article. “Give me things I recognize that operate like I remember and look like what they’re supposed to be.“ With the TMP, adjusting anything in your chain is exactly one step different from the real thing: you have to touch its icon on the screen to select it. After that, it’s just like what you know. “That guy” stuff. I have to think that Fender started with a blank slate and a list of everything guitarists hate about modelers. Add the kind of things most guitarists actually use to the blank slate, and eliminate as many or all of the things on the hated list. And they did a pretty damn good job for their first step into a deep pool. If they support and continue to develop it, this thing will be very, very popular.

Feel free to ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer.

Edit: For those who might be curious, no, it’s not replacing my Fractal Audio FM9T-FC6 setup. I’ve worked with the FAS setup a long time, and have things built in the TMP can’t do (yet). That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the TMP for a gig tonight, if needed. Especially in a jam format, the quick change ability would be welcome.
Last month I was choosing between the Fender TMP and the competition, and it was not an easy choice.

Sounds like I share a similar perspective with you on gear in general; if it sounds good, it is good. These digital boards are great fun. I've owned the POD back in the day, ZOOM units and several of the BOSS units over the years. My favorite amps are mostly Fender, and I rarely use more than a handful of pedals, so the Fender unit really appealed to me.

Ended up going with a Helix Floor based on its proven record, continual useful updates (3.7 is a good one...) and frankly the ease of use.

Fender's TMP was the same price as the Helix. What I liked about the Fender was the interface; love seeing pictures of the items in the signal flow. Liked the smaller size of the Fender, and lack of a volume/wah pedal (hate those things).

What made me pass on the Fender is its reputation for allowing its digital gear die on the vine. I still have my G-Dec, and really wanted a Cyber Twin-- again, amps Fender simply turned its back on after a short time. Money is tight in our household, so I've got to be smart when spending $1700 on a piece of gear ;)

My preference is to have a good Fender amp and a few pedals, but lugging that stuff in & out of venues is a pain compared to the convenance (and light weight!) of these digital modelers.

FWIW I've found the Helix stuff to be really easy to get around on. Haven't plugged into the computer for the editor yet, and still get great sounding tones quickly.

What works, works! :D
 
One thing that has helped me be happier with my digital units is that I buy them for what they are the day I purchase them. If I feel like I am getting a device that does what I want for a price I am willing to pay, it is a win. I never depend on future updates. When I bought my first Fractal unit, an Axe FX Ultra that I still have, I was more focused on the updates and what it would be able to do in the future. That is a recipe for disappointment and anger. You are always anxious for the next update. Then you are either pleased for a short while at the new toys or are disappointed because the update didn't give you what you were hoping it would. I see people all the time posting F5 over and over looking for the next update. You can drive yourself crazy with this loop of thinking.

In the end it is planned obsolescence in my opinion. They keep updating and bloating the software until you need new hardware to run it, there goes another 2k. Then you start feeling like you need the latest hardware to keep getting the latest software updates... it is a vicious cycle. When I bought my FM9, I went into it for what it was at the time. I am glad I did because after they couldn't get processors, they updated to the turbo model because the processors they were able to get were faster. Why in the world they didn't just put faster processors in it from the start, higher than what the turbo has today, is beyond me. I have been working with computers for many years now and whenever I buy or build one, I always go with a much higher processor than I think I will need so I get longer life out of the unit.

Kemper has been better in this regard. Their software updates work on the first units they sold over a decade ago. I really appreciate that.

Buying a unit for what it does at that time is one reason I was never a quad cortex customer. I was not about to buy a unit at that price based on a promise of future capabilities. That first up date took forever.

If I were looking for a unit today, I would take a serious look at the tone master pro. It looks like a good unit and I have seen plenty of videos of people getting great tones out of them. I think most of these modern units provide the ability to get great tones from them. It is really about finding one that has a workflow that works for you. I appreciate a unit that doesn't make you dig into the deep parameters to get it to work like you want it to. I am mostly an amp and pedal guy. I like units that let me get tones I like with about the same level of effort as adjusting pedals into my amp. If I have to dig into deep parameters to do this, I am already annoyed.
 
Posting this in general discussion, as it’s not a PRS amplification option. It is, however, an excellent option for amplifying PRS guitars and, as such, is proper content for this forum. I preface this for those who don’t know me by saying I am not pro-digital, pro-tube amp, or pro anything else. I like all of it, use all of it, and my bias favors what works, what sounds good, what makes music. The dogmatic pro and con comparisons don’t interest me, and I hope will be kept to a minimum here. This is just a requested discussion of one product. Any mentioned comparative sounds mentioned are for perspective, not better/worse BS. Ok? Ok. If it sounds good, use it. That’s the standard.

TLDR version- It sounds great, works like a charm in live band scenarios, appears well made, and is super amp/pedalboard-like. I’ll be keeping and using the Fender TMP in a variety of situations.

If there were to be an overarching thought with this modeler, it would be that it is purpose built for the one group of people I don’t think the modeling community has reached: the player who wants to go digital, likes the sound, but abhors the complexity and learning curve of modelers. This would be the person who wants knobs, not pages; swiping not scrolling, and seeing what he wants to adjust instead of a square on a grid. In a word: familiarity. This player wants to see what he’s familiar with, and adjust it the way he’s used to adjusting it. In this regard, the TMP excels… better than anything I’ve seen in the market.

The amps: Heavy on Fender models, as you’d expect, but a fair representation of the normal minimums you’d also expect. There are Marshall, Boogie, Vox, Friedman, actual EVH Stealth company-approved models, JC120, Bogner, and others. Plenty of good sounds in there. Also quite a few cabs and micing options.

Effects: All the iconic drives, fuzzes, delay and modulation effects, wah, comps, etc. What you’d expect to see on a pedalboard, not in a studio. The quality, though, is very good. I’ve been impressed, as have other players trying it.

Routing and connectivity: Excellent for the intended purposes. Ins and outs allow for multipath presets, 4 cable method setups, separated stage/FOH sends. There is also a XLR input, so busking or one man shows would be a snap, as you could run guitar and vocals with discrete paths and processing; or electric and acoustic.

Visually, it’s a nice presentation. The large touch screen is bright and clear, touch function works great. The buttons work very nicely, and feel solid. The “knob’ function work extremely well, and I love this idea.

Don’t judge this on just demos on YouTube or the presets on the TMP. I was kind of “meh” on it (I hate that phrase, but it fits here) when playing the presets. Good, not great. Once I started making my own presets, which was astonishingly simple by comparison to other units in my experience, this thing really came alive. I’m not a heavy gain player, so my initial attempts centered around familiar amps like the Super Reverb or Deluxe Reverb. Setting it to the settings I would normally use, it sounded like I expected it to sound… which is a plus. I am using an Atomic CLR FRFR speaker, or running through my mixer to my studio monitors, and both sound great. I add the things I’d normally have on the floor, adjust to taste and I’m off. Totally useful and workable tone and function.

As a test, I sprung this on my unsuspecting guitar partner at rehearsal. He loves his amps and pedals. He’s tried digital, mostly Helix, and hated the experience he’s had. He’s trying Tonex right now, liking some of the sounds, totally hating their editor. So I give him the 5 minute tour, and he sets into picking an amp (65 Deluxe) decides to use a 4x10 Super cab on it. He looks at drives and selects a ProCo Rat, which surprises me as he’s never used one when we’ve played. He adjusts it, we set the foot switches for on/off control, add a touch of reverb. Result? I can’t get him to stop playing. Loved it, and immediately loved the interface, especially how he could adjust things on the fly. This is a hardcore “disliker of modelers,” sold on it in minutes. His last comment was “damn, a Deluxe and a Rat… did you hear that? I could play a whole show with just that!”

So, I said it would be short, and it’s already kinda long. Check Pete Thorn’s video for a decent demo of the function, and a bit of the computer editor which, wisely, looks just like the touch screen on the pedals.

or John Bollinger’s review for a variety of tones:

In the end, this is a summary:

Amps and pedals will always be their own thing, and nothing else will be exactly like them in strengths or limitations. If you love that, are happy with it, don’t need a change then, by all means, stick with them! This setup is the basis of modeling… the model being modeled. Not a thing wrong there… as you were, gentlemen!

If you’re looking for the deepest, most capable, heaviest equipped, and road proven over years time, the TMP is none of those. In my personal experience, Fractal Audio Systems owns that crown. Kemper would be the other most proven option. Others come farther down the list, which is my opinion and YMM certainly V.

The TMP is for that guy I mentioned at the front. The guy who doesn’t want pages, menus, blocks, and controls that aren’t on the genuine article. “Give me things I recognize that operate like I remember and look like what they’re supposed to be.“ With the TMP, adjusting anything in your chain is exactly one step different from the real thing: you have to touch its icon on the screen to select it. After that, it’s just like what you know. “That guy” stuff. I have to think that Fender started with a blank slate and a list of everything guitarists hate about modelers. Add the kind of things most guitarists actually use to the blank slate, and eliminate as many or all of the things on the hated list. And they did a pretty damn good job for their first step into a deep pool. If they support and continue to develop it, this thing will be very, very popular.

Feel free to ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer.

Edit: For those who might be curious, no, it’s not replacing my Fractal Audio FM9T-FC6 setup. I’ve worked with the FAS setup a long time, and have things built in the TMP can’t do (yet). That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the TMP for a gig tonight, if needed. Especially in a jam format, the quick change ability would be welcome.
Great review.
 
Last month I was choosing between the Fender TMP and the competition, and it was not an easy choice.

Sounds like I share a similar perspective with you on gear in general; if it sounds good, it is good. These digital boards are great fun. I've owned the POD back in the day, ZOOM units and several of the BOSS units over the years. My favorite amps are mostly Fender, and I rarely use more than a handful of pedals, so the Fender unit really appealed to me.

Ended up going with a Helix Floor based on its proven record, continual useful updates (3.7 is a good one...) and frankly the ease of use.

Fender's TMP was the same price as the Helix. What I liked about the Fender was the interface; love seeing pictures of the items in the signal flow. Liked the smaller size of the Fender, and lack of a volume/wah pedal (hate those things).

What made me pass on the Fender is its reputation for allowing its digital gear die on the vine. I still have my G-Dec, and really wanted a Cyber Twin-- again, amps Fender simply turned its back on after a short time. Money is tight in our household, so I've got to be smart when spending $1700 on a piece of gear ;)

My preference is to have a good Fender amp and a few pedals, but lugging that stuff in & out of venues is a pain compared to the convenance (and light weight!) of these digital modelers.

FWIW I've found the Helix stuff to be really easy to get around on. Haven't plugged into the computer for the editor yet, and still get great sounding tones quickly.

What works, works! :D

You know, this is exactly what I mean when I say check it out yourself, and if you like it, it’s golden for you! This thing where you get something you like, share your thought with people online, and they essentially tell you you’re an idiot because you didn’t buy what they bought that they were told to buy by some YouTube influencer or overly-forward forum authority is nonsense… the height of stupidity. What do they know about you? Your ears? Your gig? Nothing.

You did the right thing picking the unit that fit your situation, your needs. Even if another unit has features yours didn’t in a side by side comparison, who cares? You picked what you liked. More power to you, my friend. Good choice.

Reviews are great for finding out things when you’re researching and undecided. Like using a road map… benefit from those who have seen the road ahead. But you still need to pick your streets, your path. That’s my take on it anyway, which is just one more opinion! :)
One thing that has helped me be happier with my digital units is that I buy them for what they are the day I purchase them. If I feel like I am getting a device that does what I want for a price I am willing to pay, it is a win. I never depend on future updates. When I bought my first Fractal unit, an Axe FX Ultra that I still have, I was more focused on the updates and what it would be able to do in the future. That is a recipe for disappointment and anger. You are always anxious for the next update. Then you are either pleased for a short while at the new toys or are disappointed because the update didn't give you what you were hoping it would. I see people all the time posting F5 over and over looking for the next update. You can drive yourself crazy with this loop of thinking.

In the end it is planned obsolescence in my opinion. They keep updating and bloating the software until you need new hardware to run it, there goes another 2k. Then you start feeling like you need the latest hardware to keep getting the latest software updates... it is a vicious cycle. When I bought my FM9, I went into it for what it was at the time. I am glad I did because after they couldn't get processors, they updated to the turbo model because the processors they were able to get were faster. Why in the world they didn't just put faster processors in it from the start, higher than what the turbo has today, is beyond me. I have been working with computers for many years now and whenever I buy or build one, I always go with a much higher processor than I think I will need so I get longer life out of the unit.

Kemper has been better in this regard. Their software updates work on the first units they sold over a decade ago. I really appreciate that.

Buying a unit for what it does at that time is one reason I was never a quad cortex customer. I was not about to buy a unit at that price based on a promise of future capabilities. That first up date took forever.

If I were looking for a unit today, I would take a serious look at the tone master pro. It looks like a good unit and I have seen plenty of videos of people getting great tones out of them. I think most of these modern units provide the ability to get great tones from them. It is really about finding one that has a workflow that works for you. I appreciate a unit that doesn't make you dig into the deep parameters to get it to work like you want it to. I am mostly an amp and pedal guy. I like units that let me get tones I like with about the same level of effort as adjusting pedals into my amp. If I have to dig into deep parameters to do this, I am already annoyed.

That’s a good mindset to have. As I’ve often said, my Super Reverb was last updated by Fender when they made it, and that was 1964. Still sounds great.

On the other hand, I also started on the Ultra. I’ve upgraded through pretty much every new iteration. And while the Ultra still sounds great, it can’t match the function of the newer units even remotely. See, that way of doing it works for me… a guy who uses the modeler for gigging and making money that pays for the next unit, which becomes a business expense for the tax side of that money making equation. So updating for greater power and ease of use is worth it for me, and has been a planned expense over the years.

Still, your mindset is a good one. Especially your Quad Cortex scenario , which is a stellar example of what not to do! If you’re going to buy for sounds you like, you can’t like sounds that aren’t there! Great point!

I’m more towards buy what works, accept it getting better, move on when it’s not doing what you need. I kept my iMac 27 for a dozen years… loved that computer but it eventually wasn’t supported even though it’s still faster than most new machines. It’s the game… and there are workarounds but it gets to the point I just upgrade. That was skipping many iterations between, like my iPhone (from 6 to 13). So I hang with some tech probably longer than I should.

But for guitar playing I like the new bells and whistles sometimes. It works with my financial plan, or at least it used to before gigging opportunities slowed dramatically in my area post-Covid. I’m adapting and doing smaller things now which, back to my original subject, is where is see the TMP getting used.

But don’t get me wrong; while my way of looking at upgrades and new firmware is somewhat different from yours, I’m on board with your point. That’s why I keep saying, play it, hear it, make up your own mind. You’re not going to like it more eventually because a subsidized YouTuber says you will!
 
Cool review, thanks for sharing. Nothing says being broke like keeping up with the Jones' in the guitar world. lol. That being said I still run a version of Adobe Audition from 2004 as my DAW and cant tell the difference between it and the new stuff.

Everything is subjective in this musical life of us guitar nerds....just like notes, there is no right or wrong, its how you put them together that matters and whatever tools you choose to do it with is perfectly fine.
 
Another I found from Brett Kingman (Burgs from the Fractal forum). Love Brett’s stuff, and he’s a straight shooter, real gigging guy who does nice demos.

He Always Has Great Demos. One Of My Go To Guys For That For Sure.
 
I Am Really Curious About The Really Heavy Tones On This Thing. From Your Description And These Videos It Sounds Great! Thanks For The Write Up!!
 
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