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Author Topic: Frontman 212R vs. Mustang IV vs. Acoustic G120 DSP vs. Behringer V-Tone GMX212  (Read 2246 times)

Big Bruce

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Hi,

This is my second post here.  I joined, and made my first post, regarding someone's questions regarding a 40+ year old Sears 125XL amp, which happened to be the first serious amp I ever owned.  It's ironic how we can end up coming full circle.  After decades of playing almost nothing but tube amps, I'm looking, within a tight budget, at acquiring an amp more suitable for gigging, than the Peavey Valve King 50-watt 1X12 tube combo I've been playing for the last couple of years.

I figure I can get enough for the Peavey, to move into a SS amp in the 100-120 watt class, with 2X12 speakers.  For value/price, my top candidates are all priced new, between $250 to $350, and some are generally available used, in the vicinity of $150-$250.  So my question is really two-fold.

I should mention that outside of very infrequent efforts at soldering guitar pickups, switches, etc. I am functionally illiterate in terms of electronics.  So, I'm dependent on amp techs, or the retailer when something goes wrong.

When it comes to entry-level SS 100+ watt amps, therefore, should I stick to buying brand-new, from a retailer with a strong return/replacement policy, such as Guitar Center?  Or, am I on reasonably solid ground, buying a 2-4 year old used amp, if, during a 10-15 minute road-test, with my guitar, it behaves itself, doesn't crap out, and tends to hold a reasonably pleasing tone, without undue buzzing, humming, etc.?

Second, since these SS amps are all generically similar in terms of power and speaker configuration, based on others' experience, I am wondering if some of these are more prone to breakdown, or other problems, and therefore should be avoided, while some other model might have a far better record and be therefore, a more desirable alternative to the others.  I really have very little background knowledge of any of these current-day SS amps, and would like to be as sure as possible of not choosing a lemon.

The leading amps I'm considering, include the Fender Frontman 212R,  the Fender Mustang IV,  The Acoustic G120 DSP, and the Behringer V-Tone GMX212 2X60watt Stereo amp.  Members' input would be very sincerely appreciated.  Thanks.
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QReuCk

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Of those amps, the only one I have used is the Fender FM212R.
As far as I know, it is pretty much as reliable as you could get. The one I played on belongs to a music school and has been used and abused not only by guitar teachers and their students, but also by bands who signed a contract for using the music school rehearsal room. I recently someone play bass guitar on this (far from recommanded), and I know this thing has served to amplify voice, keyboards, etc... for years without any problem. Its clean chanel is pretty good once understood the right amount of tone knob on the guitar and EQ settings on the amp and its output volume is more than enough to gig.
The drive chanel can sound decent, but you will probably want to stay away of the "more drive" switch. So consider a good overdrive/distortion stompox to complement it if you need overdriven tones.
Overall and with the exception of high gain settings (more drive + a lot of gain), It is pretty respectfull of the character of your guitar and playing style and does react to playing dynamics, volume and tone knobs variations. But even for rehearsing with 2 drumers I like my Peavey Envoy 110 (40W, single 10' speaker) far better than this one, especially if I put an EQ in front of the Peavey.
In case of problems, a FM212R is on the "don't repair" list for Fender dealers, so if it brakes under waranty they will simply give you another one. When not under waranty, depending on who you speak to, they might not want to spend time on it, although it is pretty simple and as such not that hard to fix (just not economically realistic).


DSP based units such as the mustang IV are, guess what? DSP based. This is a completely different world. When testing them, you should be carefull to test how it reacts to playing dynamics, guitar knobs and pickup configuration, because that's the main weak point of entry-level DSP based units.
If they brake, they won't be repaired and that's not just an economicall decision. Repairing the DSP part is just not feasible by a regular tech. Repairing the power amp, powerinput or jack connectors usually are, but that's pretty much all about it.

My preference goes to analogic SS amps. If you search a good used one, my recommandation would be to seek Tech21 TM120 (discontinued and maybe a bit complicated preamp, but built like a tank and very good sounding - have one myself, which costed me 290€ used, and really like it, especially for live usage thanks to the 3 independant preamps it features and wonderfull tones you can get from it), Peavey Bandit (also on the advanced-circuitry side of the SS type and would require a 12' additional cab to be turned into a 2x12, but steal analog and sounding great). I've also heard good things about Hiwatt Maxwatt 100's and Randalls.

Another option would be to buy a FM212R anyway as it may be the cheapest 100W poweramp with 2 12' speaker you can find, begin with it and if you feel you need something different tonally, you just have to focus on the preamp part (some good analog preamps are available on the market for just a handfull of $ more than a distortion stompbox) and maybe the speakers, but that's not even sure you'll need a change here.

Oh, and if you go to a music store, prepare for the vendor not understanding you, cause they usually are not aware that you can sound good with SS gear too...
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joecool85

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I vote Frontman 212R.  Cheap, reliable, easy to fix, loud.  The only downside is poor overdrive built in (depending on your taste of course).  This is easily remedied with a good stompbox or preamp in front.
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QReuCk

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Sometimes I start typing, end up with an indigest page covered with words, and someone comes in, and manage to say the same thing in 2 lines, being far more understandable than my long text.

Maybe I should work on my boss's main recommandation: "learn to be more synthetic in your reports".
 :lmao:
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joecool85

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Short and sweet.  It was trouble in college though, always hard for me to meet the minimum length of papers without feeling like I was adding "fluff".
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Big Bruce

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Thanks for the input and info.  I'm leaning toward the Frontman myself, as I've played through a Frontman 25R and liked it a lot.  Incredibly nice clean tone for such an inexpensive SS amp.
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Enzo

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A store might have a good return policy, but that only helps you at the outset.   Chances are six months later, no one will take it as a return.  SO you might also consider support.  Peavey has repair stations everywhere - I am one of them.  So does Fender - I am one of those too.  SO warranty or after warranty, you can get them serviced.  Now, go look up where the nearest authorized repair stations are for Acoustic and Behringer.    They may tell you to box it up and ship it to them, but unless you kept the box, ever try to find one to fit a 2x12 combo amp?  Not to mention the $30-50 shipping cost.   Or you may luck out and be near one of their few places.

Call Peavey or Fender and ask for a schematic so your local tech can work on an amp.  They'll send it to you in minutes. Now call Behringer and ask for a schematic.   No dice.   Peavey will sell any part to anyone who calls.  Most other companies won't, they refer you to their dealers.

Age of an amp is not nearly as important as condition.   There are PLENTY of guys gigging regularly with 30 year old amps.  There are 2-3 year old amps that are beat into junk.   As a tech I don;t care what year an amp was made, I leave that for the amp fans to obsess over.  I do care what revision version an amp is of course, because the circuits change.

It makes a difference what you want to play.  A pedal steel cat wants a different amp from the Metallica tribute band.

Try as many amps as you can.  I like Peavey as a company, and recommend their amps a lot.  The Bandit is one of the worlds most popular amps for a reason.  SOunds good, works well, is well supported.  Might not be a 2x12 or 100 watts, but worth a look.

Now just my own opinion on the DSP stuff.  Ever get one of those multi-effect pedals like DOD makes?  Got a hundred patches, and every effect you can imagine.  And at first it is exciting to run through all the patches.  But after a short while, you wind up using three of them and rarely any others.  SOme of the entry level DSP amps do this as well, in my mind.  And modelling itself is a compromise.   You get a switch to select Fender Twin, Marshall Plexi, AMpeg something,or whatever.   And sure enough, the amp sounds kinda like a Twin and kinda like the Marshall and kinda like whatever it says it is.  But no one would confuse the sound and dynamics with the real original.  Like the Metallica or Beatles tribute bands don;t really sound just like Metallica and the Beatles.

On the other hand, the drunks dancing in front of you in the club gig don;t care.  SO if your multi-modeller sounds close enough to whatever cover tune you are playing, that's good enough.  I guess my point is not to be overly impressed at all the modelling and DSP, consider those in terms of the gig it will be used in.

Entry level amps are just that.  Aimed at players early in their career.  The stuff tends to be not as robust as the more pro stuff.  tends to be feature laden, with extra eye and ear candy.
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lurkalot

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I'm quite liking the idea of the Mustang IV.  One of my mates has a mustang 3, and loves it, he did a review on my site, http://guitaristguild.com/index.php?topic=210.0

The Mustang IV seems to give you best of both worlds, with quite a range of modelled amps, and effects.

100 preset amp sounds paired with 37 different effects
12 different amp models from vintage FENDER® sparkle to modern metal distortion
37 different effects in four categories (stomp, modulation, delay and reverb)

Plus, hook it up to your PC using the included Fender FUSE software Editor, and you can tweak it to your needs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbeWlrNG23w&feature=share&list=PL1F8F363FC8925EE9
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