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Fender Mustang I guitar combo review

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Features 10/10

Fender Mustang I is a cool, modern guitar combo amplifier. It's an all in one device with many effects, numerous amp & cab models, built-in tuner and USB port that can be used for recording, in depth tone editing and managing presets. It gives fair performance in all fields and it's fairly priced.

  • 20 Watts of power
  • Digital modeling amplifier with effects
  • Footswitch in
  • Headphone out
  • AUX in
  • Built-in tuner
  • USB connectivity (recording, in depth editing, managing presets)
  • Fender FUSE software included (editing and managing presets)
  • Bundled with Ableton Live, Amplitube Fender

Tone capabilities:

Amps (12):

  • Fender '57 Deluxe
  • Fender '59 Bassman
  • Fender '57 Champ
  • Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb
  • Fender '65 Princeton
  • Fender '65 Twin Reverb
  • Fender Super-Sonic (Burn)
  • British '60s
  • British '70s
  • British '80s
  • American '90s (MESA Dual Rectifier)
  • Metal 2000 (Soldano SLO100)

Cabs (12):

  • Fender '57 Deluxe
  • Fender '59 Bassman
  • Fender '57 Champ
  • Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb
  • Fender '65 Princeton
  • Fender '65 Twin Reverb
  • SS212
  • SS112
  • 4x12 Modern
  • 4x12 Vintage
  • 4x12 Green
  • 2x12 Closed

Stompboxes (7):

  • Overdrive
  • Fixed wah
  • Touch wah
  • Fuzz
  • Fuzz touch wah
  • Simple com
  • Compressor

Modulation effects (11):

  • Sine chorus
  • Triangle chorus
  • Sine flanger
  • Triangle flanger
  • Vibratone
  • Vintage tremolo
  • Sine tremolo
  • Ring modulator
  • Step filter
  • Phaser
  • Pitch shifter

Delays (9):

  • Mono delay
  • Mono echo filter
  • Stereo echo filter
  • Multitap delay
  • Ping pong delay
  • Ducking delay
  • Reverse delay
  • Tape delay
  • Stereo tape delay
  • Reverbs (9):

    • Small hall
    • Large hall
    • Small room
    • Large room
    • Small plate
    • Large plate, ambient
    • Arena
    • '63 Fender spring
    • '65 Fender Spring

    USB operation

    This isn't clearly stated anywhere, so here's a list of what you can and what you can't with Fender Mustang.

    You can:
    • Edit tones and manage presets on you computer through USB
    • Tune your guitar with an onscreen tuner which however reacts slowly
    • Record Mustang in DAW software in 16-bit resolution
    You can't:
    • Record dry input while playing through an amp model, bundled Amplitube Fender is useless with Mustang
    • Use Mustang as an audio interface, it offers only input, computer's integrated audio is used for output

    ASIO driver that comes with Mustang is a Fender edition of ASIO4ALL, how you set it up is you select Mustang for input device and your computer's audio for output. This actually is a convenient solution for notebook users. Backing track, metronome and already recorded tracks are played back through notebook's speakers and guitar is rehearsed with Mustang.

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    Fender FUSE software window (click to enlarge)

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    Fender ASIO 2.10F settings window

    Sound quality 10/10

    Mustang delivers quite a sound quality, especially given its digital amp modeling design. Hi-gain amps are really plastic, all knobs work like they should. MESA simulation clears up at low gain, but its dynamic response is preserved. Cabinet simulations are pretty cool and they could beat up Line 6 with ease.

    Metal tones that can be achieved with Mustang are not that brutal, they are more creamy, nicely saturated and dynamic with lots of gain reserve. There are three hi-gain amp simulations available - MESA Dual Rectifier, Soldano SLO and Fender Super-Sonic.

    Reverbs and delays are great and it's easy to apply them to any sound. I didn't like all of modulation effects, but there's plenty to choose from.

    What is worth mentioning is that this amp offers great dynamic range, fast response and it feels pretty much like an analog amp.

    Ease of use 10/10

    I don't think that Mustang could be any easier to use, I only wish its USB capabilities were clear in the first place. Because of the bundled Amplitube Fender I was expecting more possibilities, also I found myself confused with only no output available for audio applications.

    Overall

    Fine product, playable, lots of features. I can only wish it was even better.

    Advantages

    pic Sound quality and versatility
    pic Feautures
    pic Ease of use
    pic Bundled software
    pic Price

    Wish list

    pic More hi-gain amp models would be great
    pic Tuner in FUSE application could react faster
    pic USB audio could be more than just a one-way street
    pic Recording could be allowed in 24-bit depth
    pic It could be possible to record dry input while playing through an amp model

    Product page on www.fender.com

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