Fender Tone Master Pro review: A masterful multi-effects processor from Fender

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The multi-effects processor (MEPs) has come a very long way over the years. I don’t know the entire history of MEPs, but I do know my first real experience was with the Line 6 POD. The little bean was a popular MEP and it ruled the roost for several years. But looking back at the Line 6 POD and comparing it to today’s MEPs, it is absolutely horrible. But great for its time. Now, we have a host of options from a myriad of brands, including Fender. The Fender Tone Master Pro delivers a masterful multi-effects processor with a lot to love and only a few things we wished for.

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Fender is no stranger to effects and pedals, but the Fender Tone Master Pro is an exercise in excellence, and it shows. The company knew the competition was stiff and unforgiving, so they poured the time needed to bring its game into the Tone Master Pro. If you’re not catching the tone of this review already, then let me spell it out for you. The Fender Tone Master Pro is by far my favorite multi-effects processor, making me regret my recent purchase of the Line 6 Helix Floor. Let’s jump right into the full review of the Fender Tone Master Pro.

The Quick Take

The Fender Tone Master Pro is one of those devices that you could literally spend months on and still discover new and exciting things. This review is barely scratching the surface of this new multi-effects processor, and I can honestly say I probably would need a solid year to get through everything this beast packs in.

But my Quick Take on the Fender Tone Master Pro is fairly simple. I’ve been using the Line 6 Helix Floor for the past 6–8 months and while I love it, I wish I would have waited for the Tone Master Pro. The preset tones included in this unit are far better than the presets on the Line 6. There are tones on here that can easily fill any need you have without having to build your own tones.

But presets aside, the way to build sounds is much more intuitive on the Fender Tone Master Pro. The touchscreen interface with graphical representations of the gear included is fantastic. The hardware itself is also ultra-premium with a robust chassis, knobs, and footswitches that can take a beating. The scribble strip functionality and turning functions on the foot switches are intuitive too.

Overall, the Fender Tone Master Pro packs in a TON of tricks and features into a compact size unit, weighing under nine pounds. My only real complaint about this unit is that it is missing an expression/volume pedal. Yes, you can add one to it, but I would have liked to see one built-in at this price point. But it’s not a dealbreaker in the least. Everything else is gold and you will get every ounce of value out of the Tone Master Pro.

Specifications

Fender Tone Master Pro review: A masterful multi-effects processor from Fender

The Fender Tone Master Pro has the following features and specifications:

  • Pedal Type: Multi-FX
  • Analog/Digital: Digital
  • Presets: 500+ User
  • Number of Effects: 89 x effects, 60x x amps
  • Effects Types: 21 x overdrive, 21 x modulation, 14 x delay, 14 x reverb, 11 x compressor/EQ, 8 x pitch/filter
  • Amp Modeling: 27 x amps, 26 x cabinets, 7 x microphones
  • Impulse Response: 6000+ Impulse Responses, 3rd Party IR Support
  • Looper: Up to 60 seconds
  • Inputs: 1 × 1/4″ (instrument), 1 × 1/8″ TRS (aux in), 1 × 1/4″-XLR Combo (mic/line)
  • Outputs: 2 × 1/4″ TRS (left, right), 2 x XLR (left, right)
  • MIDI I/O: In, Out/Thru
  • USB: 1 x Type C (audio, updates)
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Headphones: 1 × 1/4″ TRS
  • Other I/O: 8 × 1/4″ (Loop 1, Loop 2, Loop 3, Loop 4), 1 x MicroSD
  • Expression Control: 1 × 1/4″ TS (toe switch) 3 × 1/4″ TRS (expression 1, expression 2, amp control)
  • Software: Tone Master Pro Control App
  • Compatibility: macOS 12.7 or later, Windows 10 or later
  • Power Source: Standard IEC AC Cable
  • Height: 3.8 inches (9.65 centimeters)
  • Width: 14.6 inches (37.08 centimeters)
  • Depth: 10.3 inches (26.16 centimeters)
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds (3.99 kg)
  • Manufacturer Part Number: 2274900000
  • Over 100 amps and effects to choose from, all modeled with the same exacting precision as the Tone Master amplifier series
  • Contains models of both classic and modern Fender amplifiers, in addition to a host of other all-time great amps
  • Incredibly intuitive UI and workflow courtesy of a high-visibility 7-inch touchscreen, 2 rotary knobs, and 10 footswitches/encoders with LCD scribble strips
  • Over 6,000 IRs onboard, with an extensive Cab Editor section that supplies 33 cabs, 7 mics, and 32 cab positions to choose from
  • Load up your favorite third-party IRs to pair with your Tone Master Pro creations
  • Craft up to 504 onboard presets of your favorite sonic combinations, with true preset spillover for delay and reverb trails
  • 2 simultaneous signal chains available with parallel path options
  • Preset sharing available to share your custom tonal creations, with world-class Artist presets available from some of the biggest names in the music industry
  • Tone Master Pro desktop editor app available for players who prefer to dial in their presets on the big screen
  • Comprehensive tone-shaping and EQ controls, including a global EQ and preset-specific EQs
  • Song and Set List modes make it a breeze to set yourself up for the perfect gig
  • Loop mode provides 60 seconds of loop time and transforms your footswitches with dedicated looping functions, including as 1-shot, reverse, half-speed, and more
  • 4 FX loops to integrate outboard effects, with FX loops 3 and 4 offering the ability to be combined for a stereo FX loop
  • Includes both instrument and XLR inputs with 48V phantom power available
  • Bluetooth functionality to stream audio from your mobile device
  • USB to connect to the desktop editor, unlock audio interface functionality, and for firmware updates
  • 1/4-inch headphone jack allows for silent practice sessions
  • Robust metal chassis in an easily portable form factor, clocking in at under 9 lbs.

What’s In The Box

  • Fender Tone Master Pro
  • Power Cable
  • USB-C Cable
  • Manuals and Documentation
  • Large Graphical Quick Start Cards

Design

Fender Tone Master Pro review: A masterful multi-effects processor from Fender

The physical design of the Fender Tone Master Pro is like that of other MEPs on the market, there are more similarities than differences. The chassis is made of metal, as it should be, but it’s not super heavy, weighing in at just under 9 pounds (4.08 kg).

I’ll start on the bottom, sides, and front lip, since these are pretty plain with not much to them. The bottom is where the majority of the screws are, though I would advise against taking this thing apart. There are also four nicely made rubber feet to help keep the Tone Master Pro firmly in place.

The sides are void of anything, though I do like the way the two metals meet, giving a nice two-tone look to the unit. The front of the unit has venting to help keep the unit cool, and the design of the vent flows with the entire look.

The top of the unit has that familiar MEP look to it, with ten foot switches and a couple of knobs. The foot switches have a solid build to them. They have a pleasant clicky response to them without having to push too hard, but with some resistance so they aren’t easily activated.

Each footswitch has a small display above it which conveys various info, more on that in the interface section. Above all the footswitches you find two substantial multifunction knobs and the large touchscreen display. The knobs have a rotary feedback to them and these are used for volume, preset selection and other functions.

The touchscreen display is seven inches and looks very nice when the unit is on. It conveys a ton of info and the graphics are clear and crisp. The touchscreen on the Fender Tone Master Pro is by far one of the main selling points of this MEP.

The rear of the Fender Tone Master Pro has a lot going on, with a ton of inputs and outputs to choose from. Here’s what to expect, starting from left to right.

Fender Tone Master Pro review: A masterful multi-effects processor from Fender
  • Mic/Line: Connect a XLR mic or line in to this
  • Instrument: Connect guitars, basses, keyboards, or anything with this input
  • Four Loop Connections: These have left/right stereo connect up to four
  • Two Output Channels: One via XLR and one via 1/4″, for sending to consoles, recording, amps, etc.
  • AUX in
  • 1/4″ headphones
  • Two EXP Ports: For volume pedals and expression pedals
  • Toe Switch Port
  • Amp Control Port
  • MIDI In and Out/Thru
  • USB-C port
  • MicroSD port
  • Power Button
  • Power Port
  • LED Power Indicator

I really love the addition of that crystal LED power light, a charming touch to pay tribute to Fender’s Tone Master amps. There is also the Fender logo, Tone Master Pro logo, and another vent for cooling.

Fender includes a USB-C to USB-A cable for firmware updates and desktop interface usage. This was a bit odd to me and a minor gripe. Given that most modern computers all have USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, it would have been nice to either have a USB-C to USB-C cable or a USB-A to USB-C adapter included. Not a massive deal, but a bit annoying when my MacBook Pro has no USB-A inputs and hasn’t since 2018.

Overall, the design is similar to other MEPs on the market, but the functionality is certainly going to be different. The Fender Tone Master Pro has a solid build quality and it commands some of its cost because of this.

Setup

MEP

The basic setup of the Fender Tone Master Pro is simple, if you just want to use it out of the box as is. All you really need to do is plug it in, power it up and plug your instrument and amp in. You can get going in less than a minute and have a lot of fun.

If you want to get the most of your new MEP, you will need to be sure to update the firmware and start playing around with making your owns sounds. We’ll get into all that in the next section.

Overall, setting up is simple and you can get playing quickly. More time is needed if you want to get the best out of this MEP, but that is expected.

Interface and Software

The Fender Tone Master Pro interface is far superior to Line 6’s in every way. This is especially true for those of us who are visual learners. I love that Fender chose to represent their effects, amps, cabs, and everything with an image of what they are. Of course, these images, and names are not the actual devices because many of these devices are trademarked so they rename them. For example, if you’re looking at the green Ibanez Tube Screamer, it will be named something else but it is evident what it is emulating.

The display is bright, crisp, and vivid and it is effortless to get a hold of. My guess is that Fender based its interface on the smartphone and tablet models. This is excellent because everyone knows how to use a smartphone, making the move to the Tone Master Pro, effortless.

There are several ways to build tones on the Tone Master Pro. You can do it on the device, using the touchscreen and saving presets into one of the footswitches. This is effortless with the touchscreen, and Fender employs the footswitches as dials to adjust amps and effects easily. The adjustments made with the footswitch dials can be seen in the display above each footswitch and on the main display.

You can also plug the Fender Tone Master Pro into a computer and use the software interface on your computer. This is basically the same, but using the computer to make and save changes to the device. But really, you can literally do everything on the device itself.

I’m not one to make very good videos on this sort of gear, but Fender did release a good overview of the interface and software that I think gives a good idea of what to expect.

Overall, the interface, software, and user experience of the Tone Master Pro is the best of any MEP I’ve used. That’s not to say Line 6 is bad, it’s just more intense and Fender made the experience much more user-friendly and simple to grasp. This is a winner.

Performance

The Fender Tone Master Pro has the best preset tones out of the box of any multi-effects processor on the market. The presets that come out of my Line 6 Helix Floor do not compare to what Fender put together on the Tone Master Pro. Here’s that list again of everything this unit is capable of:

  • Over 100 amps and effects to choose from, all modeled with the same exacting precision as the Tone Master amplifier series
  • Contains models of both classic and modern Fender amplifiers, in addition to a host of other all-time great amps
  • Incredibly intuitive UI and workflow courtesy of a high-visibility 7-inch touchscreen, 2 rotary knobs, and 10 footswitches/encoders with LCD scribble strips
  • Over 6,000 IRs onboard, with an extensive Cab Editor section that supplies 33 cabs, 7 mics, and 32 cab positions to choose from
  • Load up your favorite third-party IRs to pair with your Tone Master Pro creations
  • Craft up to 504 onboard presets of your favorite sonic combinations, with true preset spillover for delay and reverb trails
  • 2 simultaneous signal chains available with parallel path options
  • Preset sharing available to share your custom tonal creations, with world-class Artist presets available from some of the biggest names in the music industry
  • Tone Master Pro desktop editor app available for players who prefer to dial in their presets on the big screen
  • Comprehensive tone-shaping and EQ controls, including a global EQ and preset-specific EQs
  • Song and Set List modes make it a breeze to set yourself up for the perfect gig
  • Loop mode provides 60 seconds of loop time and transforms your footswitches with dedicated looping functions, including as 1-shot, reverse, half-speed, and more
  • 4 FX loops to integrate outboard effects, with FX loops 3 and 4 offering the ability to be combined for a stereo FX loop
  • Includes both instrument and XLR inputs with 48V phantom power available
  • Bluetooth functionality to stream audio from your mobile device
  • USB to connect to the desktop editor, unlock audio interface functionality, and for firmware updates
  • 1/4-inch headphone jack allows for silent practice sessions

Overall, the performance of the Fender Tone Master Pro far outdoes my Line 6 Helix Floor. This is completely subjective, I know, but my buyers’ remorse is real and I’m now wishing I would have waited for the Tone Master Pro. The tones prepackaged in this unit are the best I’ve heard from any MEP, and those tones are what give you an outstanding array of options. Then add on everything else from Bluetooth to FX Loops, bang on awesome performer!

Price/Value

The Fender Tone Master Pro costs $1700, and that’s just about the price point you will find the rest of the competition. The only thing missing for me here is an expression/volume pedal but I can forgive this due to the enormity of the tones. I believe this unit is competitively priced, and the value is high.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking at buying a multi-effects processor, the Fender Tone Master Pro has everything you need. But best of all, it’s the most user-friendly unit I’ve ever used, and the tones Fender packs into this thing are outstanding. Big thumbs up from me, but I encourage you to read other reviews.

Fender Tone Master Pro

$1,699.99

Design

9.0/10

Setup

10.0/10

Interface and Software

10.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Nice looking design, big knobs, great display, perfect foot switches
  • Easy to setup and easy to use
  • The on display interface is the best in the business
  • Touchscreen interface/display is intuitive and useful
  • Performs very well, TONS of great sounds and options
  • Custom IR ready giving this unit even more versatility

Needs work

  • It would have been nice to have an expression/volume pedal attached to the unit
  • Pricey but inline with the competition
  • USB-C cable could have been USB-C at both ends

Last Updated on January 16, 2024.

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