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Thread: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Okay, with the Mann 5 string baritone in hand I toddled off to Guitar Center to see what's new in the way of small, powerful amps with modeling built in. The comparison came down to the Fender Mustang 3 (100w, 12", $299) and the Line 6 Spider IV (75w, 12', $299).

    I'm curious to see if anyone else here using an electric mando has used either of these or has another recommendation. It's been millennia since I look at amplifiers and I feel like a total noob!

    Tx.

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    The Fender Super Champ XD (also $300) is the best sounding amp I've tried in the under $800 category.

    I haven't played an e-mando through one yet, but I recently demo'ed one of these with a couple of different electric guitars and I was completely blown away by the tone, ease of use and the overall quality.

    I own the Line 6 Spider III 75 (75W/12"), and although my JBovier EMC-4 sounded decent through it (and I love the 12" Celestion speaker in it), it has never really provided me with the "Wow factor" that I got almost immediately with the Super Champ. Also, I find the Line 6 Spider emulation amps very difficult to figure out (though this is probably more an issue with me than with them )
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I prefer to keep my amps and my effects generators separate . but that is not a big deal .at least the line 6 has a pedal board so you can change effects midsong with your feet . but i have heard many complaints about the effects/ amp modelers from line six sounding bad to many guitarists

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Rico, I bet you would really like the high-gain "Mesa Boogie Inspired" voicings (amp voices 13 & 14) on the Fender Super Champ.
    I found them to have a great high-gain tube-like tone, and by rolling the gain on the amp and the tone on the guitars back, I was able to get a sweet "swamp fuzz" Blues tone a la Dan Auerbach without losing any musicality. If you get a chance, try one of these. I think you will be impressed.
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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    From just the simple check out I gave both of these amps I found that the Fender seemed a little easier to use and in general I liked the preset amps that were already in the machine. The Line 6 seemed a little more difficult to undertand and I looked at quite few videos out on You Tube, but none seemed to really explain how to use it. The Fender also comes with software to store the presets and that seems like it would be handy too.

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I know exactly what you mean about the Line 6.
    I've grown increasingly frustrated trying to understand how mine (the generation before IV) works.
    I would not buy another Line 6. I recommend a new slogan for their Spider line...
    "Hundreds of Insane & Totally Unusable Rock Settings"
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Rico, I bet you would really like the high-gain "Mesa Boogie Inspired" voicings (amp voices 13 & 14) on the Fender Super Champ.
    I found them to have a great high-gain tube-like tone, and by rolling the gain on the amp and the tone on the guitars back, I was able to get a sweet "swamp fuzz" Blues tone a la Dan Auerbach without losing any musicality. If you get a chance, try one of these. I think you will be impressed.
    well if i did get another amp it probably be another mesa boogie or some such , but nothing with amp emulation on it . the eleven rack or the fractal audio axe fx is where i would go for amp emulation

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I would add my vote for the super champ xd in this price range. I run mine through a speaker cabinet with a pair of 12 inch celestion heritage speakers becuase I don't care for the sound of the 10 inch speaker. I bought mine used for $160.00 I had to change a preamp tube and I still have a little hiss, but it's tolerable for now. I may end up buying the 12 inch speaker cabinet for it. It's a good little amp and well worth considering. What type/style of music do you play with your emando?

    I looked at a early 80's "Red Knob" Fender Champ 12 tonight (12 inch speaker). It was a very nice amp, but it distorted a little to quick for me. I think it is 5 or 10 watts as opposed to the super champ xd which is 15 watts.

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    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by rico mando View Post
    .......at least the line 6 has a pedal board so you can change effects midsong with your feet . but i have heard many complaints about the effects/ amp modelers from line six sounding bad to many guitarists
    The guitarist in the band I play with uses one of the Line6 Bogners with a pedalboard......at a rehearsal, I just wince but in a live situation, I dread it! (hard to concentrate on playing the right notes when there`s a load of wonky mayhem howlin` out)
    If by accident, he doesn`t get the right button on the pedalboard, then his sound isn`t "the right setting." Consequently, loads of bum notes follow as his brain is trying to figure out what he can do to get the sound right.....
    He`s also on his third amp and second pedal board so he`s now looking to get a Mesa (and of course, a proper pedalboard).....those Line6 things don`t seem cut out for the rough and tumble of gigging.

    P.S. and I don`t like the sound either

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by jlt View Post
    What type/style of music do you play with your emando?
    No particular style, I'm just looking for something that is versatile. I also like the idea of the whole thing being self-contained. At this stage of the game I really don't need something like an effects rack. I also looked at the Digitech RP255, but I think the amp models and effects that are in the amp might be enough to keep me satisfied.

    There is an amp shoot out on You Tube that compares the Fender, Line 6, Roland and Vox small practice amps and the Fender won. Mind you these were the 40W versions, but I think the other characteristics what made the Fender the winner were the value, portability (it's light!) and ease of use. Looks like that is what I'm gonna go with.

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopete View Post
    No particular style, I'm just looking for something that is versatile. I also like the idea of the whole thing being self-contained. At this stage of the game I really don't need something like an effects rack. I also looked at the Digitech RP255, but I think the amp models and effects that are in the amp might be enough to keep me satisfied.
    Have you tried the roland mini cube amp . i h ave one and it is fun and versatile and easy to use and carry . i would not gig with it unless it was at the beach or campfire type thing

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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I absolutely love my mustang 3. you don't need a wack of fx. I use a 57 deluxe for clean, with or without chorus, either a pair of 57 champs in stereo (or mono) for rock, sometimes an overdriven bassman, and a 61 princeton for leads. getting the additional 3 button footswitch makes life easy and you can update through usb, add patches, get musician's setups etc. it simplified my setup as I have far too many pedals around my feet with midi guitar, vocal harmonizer and such.

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I am hesitating to reply to this post because the topic resulted in hundreds of replies over at the Fender forum. But, here goes.

    Some people have bought Mustang IIIs and IVs and love them. Others have complained about a "fizz" or other type of undesirable decay sound in these models of the Mustang amps. I was about to buy a III when I happened on to the issue at the Fender forum. I called Fender and was told by a tech that there was a problem that they had tried to address with firmware and were now working on a new fix.

    Long story short, Fender eventually punted and stated something to the effect that some of the amps didn't meet the expectations of some discriminating owners and that any issues should be addressed on a case by case basis through the warranty.

    After reading all the comments, I came to the conclusion that some of the amps made the noise and others didn't. Since I didn't want to swap out amps until I found one that didn't fizz, I passed on the amp. My guess is that Fender will fix the issue during ongoing production, but that they didn't want to to get into a blanket "recall" so they have determined that the amps are OK as is unless the owner wants to return it for a replacement under warranty. They will not "repair" the "fizz".

    I would liked to have been one of the folks who bought one and lucked out.

    I am playing my JBovier through a Princeton '65 Reissue. Sounds great.

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Hi Bob, thanks for posting this information. I tried the one that was on display at Guitar Center and I didn't really notice anything in the way of a "fizz" with the sound. I assume that this noise has something to due with the amp modeling software, is that true? If that's the case I would assume that it could be fixed through the firmware, but I don't know. My intention was to probably buy a new one at a place like Guitar Center, but I usually ask them to give me a new one (in the box). In this case it might be prudent to take it out of the box and check it to make sure everything is in good working order.

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I liked my Roland Cube 30, but stopped using it after I tired of the weird amp-modeling side effects, mainly the stair-stepping decay response. As a note dies away you can hear it drop off in a clunky way, not the natural tailing off of normal amps. It is likely a noise-gate acting to reduce background hiss, but it isn't available for adjustment.

    It was nice to avoid the pedal rig, but not at the cost of unwanted decisions made by the amp designers. And for a not-too-impressive power (really only 15 or 20 watts RMS) it was heavy.

    Available distortion pedals, especially analog ones from various boutique designers, are the answer for "warm" tone as well as extreme overdrive. AnalogMan sells several fine ones, and their King of Tone is really great for three sounds in one, being a double pedal. And accepting the task of designing your own setup allows combining high power with light weight by using class D digital power amps like the low-cost Crate PowerBlock (I have one) or the high-end Walter Woods or Euphonic Audio amps. The latter sells a 300W head that weighs 2.5 lbs.

    For medium power I like the little Electro-Harmonix amp pedal, Magnum 44. It is a real amp in a tiny pedal along with a laptop-size power adapter. All you need is a cabinet and perhaps some optional tone control/EQ. Overdrives sweetly and is a real (RMS) 25 watts. My next project is building a tiny cabinet for suitcase or shoulder bag. It will use an Eminence neodynium-magnet AlphaLite 6.5" woofer (100 watts RMS) in a small ported box about the size of a shoebox. Using 3/16" ply and multiple internal braces like a guitar it should weigh about 4 pounds.
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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Mandopete, FYI, here is a Google search of the topic of the 'fizz' problem with this amp.
    I hope you get a good one!
    BTW, I've watched several of the demo videos, and this does look like a wonderful amp when it's working properly!
    Good luck with it, and please keep us posted.
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    Mandolin Botherer Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I've had no problems using a Spider IV 75W but only use the clean channel for mandolin.

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Thanks for the link Ed. Sounds like the best thing to do is to try the amp and see what happens. Sounds like the affect is heard on low strings (in my case a low G) on the clean setting.

    I won't likely be buying it until after the holidays (you know how it is), but I will let ya'll know what happens.

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopete View Post
    Hi Bob, thanks for posting this information. I tried the one that was on display at Guitar Center and I didn't really notice anything in the way of a "fizz" with the sound. I assume that this noise has something to due with the amp modeling software, is that true? If that's the case I would assume that it could be fixed through the firmware, but I don't know. My intention was to probably buy a new one at a place like Guitar Center, but I usually ask them to give me a new one (in the box). In this case it might be prudent to take it out of the box and check it to make sure everything is in good working order.
    Hi Pete...

    The theories regarding the cause of the fizz are boundless. Firmware, LCD noise, power supply, poor residential wiring, the list goes on. The Fender tech I spoke to thought it was fixable through firmware. My guess is hardware.

    My further guess is that the reason some have it and others don't is different sources for electronic components. I know that my $1,200 MSRP Princeton has junk plastic plugs from the speaker to the amp and they used to be metal. I had to have the plug replaced under warranty because it wouldn't stay seated in the jack.

    The I & II models don't have fizz and they don"t have the LCD. Whether there are other distinctions between the I/II and the III/IV versions, I don't know.

    Some have reported no fizz in the store and fizz at home. If the store was Guitar Center, I would not be surprised that they couldn't hear the fizz in the store; I can't hear anything in any Guitar Center.

    I really wanted a III but cooled off with the fizz reports and went totally cold after Fender ended a few months of anticipation by suddenly deciding that the problem they were working on was no longer a problem. My guess is that future iterations of the III/IV will eventually be fizz free simply because of design mods that Fender is willing to make during production as opposed to having to deal with ship loads of amps that are already in customer's hands.

    In the meantime, I still have a Cube 60 that works pretty well for my needs.

    ...Bob

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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I had buzz in the more overdriven sounds but the newest firmware cleared those up. I'm happy with the clarity. I will admit I don't do a lot of metal so I don't use many of the really heavy driven sounds or amps... you get lost scrolling through the thousands of patches and crap...

    my zoom pedal can use on screen to look at hooking usb to the puter but you have to scroll side to side to see what pedals and such are connected. with the fender it's always on the screen to see and the background pic is whatever amp you are using at the moment. I admit I also have a little Yamaha practice amp, a Fender bass amp and a Yorkville for keys. for jamming the mustang and yorky are stacked.

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Borzelleri View Post
    If the store was Guitar Center, I would not be surprised that they couldn't hear the fizz in the store; I can't hear anything in any Guitar Center.
    Word.

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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Ed, thanks for your review of the Super Champ XD (elsewhere in this corner of the MC). I read a bunch of other stuff around the Interweb, and went down to the local for a try out. The Clean Channel alone sold me on the box! Wife suggested we take it home as my X-mas gift, and that it probably should not stay in its box.

    ++1 on the Super Champ.

    I can certainly see the cool-ness of the Mustang series though. I just didn't need/want the USB aspect (too much tweaking for me).

    A friend comes over occasionally with his Line6 and I have never been able to get a tone I could use out of it. Works for him, in his band, using presets for each song/verse/etc. Not my thing.

    So glad I got turned on to the SCXD (again, thanks Ed!) because it is a sweet spot for me, covering all the basic tones in a simple manner. I've ordered the footswitch so all I will have is: Clean Chanel 1 - Dirty Channel 2 - Effects On/Off

    (Now I have e-MAS of course)

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    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    I think I have narrowed down my choice to either the SCXD or Mustang III. I agree that the Mustang may be a too complex and I'm a little concerned about the reports of "fizz". I do like the fact that it is 100 watts as opposed to 15 watts for SCXD. Not sure it will make that much difference as I don't really plan on playing any stadium gigs in the near future <grins>.

    I think the thing that might be the real difference is tube vs. solid state. The age-old amplifier argument, eh?
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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amps: Fender Mustang 3 vs. Line 6 Spider IV

    Hi Michael, no problem! Though the credit really should go to Jim Hilburn for enlightening the Cafe community to this little gem back in February with this post.

    I was in the exact same boat as you regarding the complexity of the Line 6! I had a really nice 75WX12" Line 6 combo but never could quite figure it out or get it to sound exactly as I wanted. On the other hand, I'd say my new SCXD offers the perfect balance between versatility and simplicity.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your SCXD...I've also ordered the footswitch and can't wait for it (and my new e-mando) to arrive.

    Speaking of versatility, having that footswitch (to switch between channels and to turn the amp effects on/off), and running one or more stompboxes into the SCXD provides lots of tonal options...Certainly as many as I might ever need.
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