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Fender Tone Master Pro

Amplifier, Cabinet & Effects Modeller By Bob Thomas
Published February 2024

Fender Tone Master Pro

Guitar giants Fender join the modelling pedal party with this powerful and comprehensive floorboard. We put it through its paces...

We’re almost spoiled for choice today when it comes to high‑end amp, speaker and multi‑effects floor units, but until recently Fender had been notable only by their absence from this market. Still, their recent launch of the Tone Master Pro did not exactly take me by surprise: the company’s Tone Master range already put digitally modelled versions of their most popular valve amps into active combo speaker cabinets, and conceptually it was a short leap from there to a standalone modelling device. What they’ve delivered is undoubtedly a very powerful device — there’s an 8‑core processor inside — and as its core technology, hardware and software are new, I would be surprised if Fender aren’t planning to develop this platform for years to come. So, was it worth the wait? When Fender reached out and offered to send me a Tone Master Pro and an accompanying FR‑10 full‑range flat response (FRFR) speaker for evaluation, that’s precisely the question I aimed to answer...

Grand Tour

Presented in a chic black box that would be at home in a Bond Street boutique, the Tone Master Pro (or TM Pro, as I’ll refer to it from here) is a visual delight, with curved ends, understated grey, semi‑sparkle finish, and a rectangular, semi‑transparent panel that occupies the upper 40 percent of its top panel. This panel not only carries the Navigation/Preset View and Master Volume/Mixer View encoders, but also covers and protects the unit’s seven‑inch, high‑resolution colour touchscreen. Below sit 10 footswitches (all bar one of which double as rotary encoders) and two‑row scribble‑strip screens that display their current assignments. Each footswitch sits inside an LED‑illuminated ring, whose colours (which are user‑assignable on all but two) change to denote the current function.

All but one of the 10 footswitches double as rotary encoders, to put lots of control at your fingertips.All but one of the 10 footswitches double as rotary encoders, to put lots of control at your fingertips.

A comprehensive set of inputs and outputs on the rear panel are joined by an LED‑illuminated version of Fender’s traditional red ‘jewel’ power‑on indicator. (Speaking of power‑on, the boot‑up time seemed a tad longer than on some competing devices). The instrument input is an unbalanced quarter‑inch TS jack and this has a switchable ‑6dB pad and three input impedances (1MΩ, 330kΩ, and 22kΩ, with or without 330pF of capacitance), designed to simulate the real‑world input impedances of modelled effects and amplifiers; these can be configured automatically or manually within a preset. A balanced XLR/TRS combi connector caters for microphone and line‑level inputs and can supply 48V phantom power on the XLR. Four send/return loops sit between The input and the input buffer. Loops 1 and 2 are mono and allow the programmed insertion of hardware effects as the first stage of any preset, while loops 3 and 4 can be configured as either separate mono loops or a single stereo loop, and can be inserted into the signal path of any preset at any post‑input buffer point.

Output 1 is a balanced stereo analogue output, and this is paralleled on XLR and quarter‑inch TRS jack connectors. Output 2 is a single pair of unbalanced quarter‑inch jack sockets, and sitting above this are the auxiliary input’s 3.5mm stereo mini‑jack and a quarter‑inch stereo headphone output. Between the latter two sockets sit two miniature buttons, one initiating a factory reset and the other to invoke a firmware update. A Bluetooth input, separate from the aux input, allows the connection of two separate stereo audio streams of, for example, backing tracks that can be routed separately to the unit’s analogue and USB 1 and 2 outputs using the TM Pro’s onboard mixer.

There are inputs for two expression pedals as well as one for a toe switch (or any footswitch). The Mission Engineering SP1‑TMP pedal, developed specifically for the TM Pro, can connect to one expression jack and the toe switch and this allows you, for example, to configure the pedal to control a wah and use the toe switch to turn it off and on. An Amp Control TRS jack socket offers the potential to switch functions on two suitably equipped external amplifiers. Two full‑size MIDI connectors (On and Out/Thru/merge) not only equip the TM Pro to send and receive Program Change and Continuous Controller messages, but also allow the connection of up to four MIDI expression pedals and a toe switch, each of which can be assigned on a preset by preset basis.

Above the MIDI connectors sits a micro‑SD slot intended for “future expansion”, together with a USB‑C port for connection to a desktop computer. Running on macOS (Monterey or later) or Windows (10 and above), a Tone Master Pro Control app mirrors the TM Pro’s onboard functionality and adds in the download of presets from the Fender Cloud and the upload of third‑party IRs to the TM Pro. Anything that can be done on the TM Pro can be done in the app, making editing an intuitive and seamless blend of computer and hardware whether the TM Pro is on a desk next to the computer or on the floor. The TM Pro also functions as a 4‑in/4‑out USB 2 audio interface with two recording modes (standard and re‑amping).

The extensive I/O options include a phantom‑capable mic input, as well as 4x4 USB audio interfacing.The extensive I/O options include a phantom‑capable mic input, as well as 4x4 USB audio interfacing.

In standard recording mode, dry mono tracks from each input are sent to the computer on USB outputs 3+4, while USB outputs 1+2 carry either separate stereo processed tracks from each input channel or, if a dual‑channel routing is in use, an overall summed signal. USB inputs 1+2 carry a stereo monitor signal from the DAW to the TM Pro, and USB inputs 3+4 are disabled. In re‑amp mode, USB inputs 3+4 carry the dry signal from the DAW to the instrument and mic/line channels respectively, and inputs 1+2 carry a stereo monitor signal from the DAW. As before, USB outputs 1+2 return either separate stereo processed tracks from each re‑amped channel or an overall summed signal when a dual‑channel routing is in use.


At the time of writing, the TM Pro ships with 134 factory presets: 129 combinations of amplifiers, cabs and pedals, one putting an acoustic guitar and vocal on parallel paths, and four pedal‑only setups. These presets are made up of models including: 24 combos and half‑stacks (each of which can be split into heads and cabs); three additional heads; 26 cabs; 21 boosts and distortions; 21 modulation effects; 28 reverbs and delays; five compressors; three EQs; three noise gates; one volume pedal; one auto swell; three wahs, four pitch‑based effects; and a microphone selection that includes one ribbon, two capacitors and four dynamics, each with 64 possible positions, plus variable high‑ and low‑ pass filters.

TM Pro ships with 134 factory presets: 129 combinations of amplifiers, cabs and pedals, one putting an acoustic guitar and vocal on parallel paths, and four pedal‑only setups.

With such a generous selection, navigating through that could have been a nightmare — but actually the touchscreen‑based UI makes it pretty easy. It’s based on six top‑level lists of presets, or Modes in Fender‑speak: My Presets, Favorites, Factory Presets, Cloud Presets, Songs and Setlists. My Presets contains a list of the 504 user preset locations and is partially populated by the factory presets. Factory Presets is self‑explanatory, while Cloud Presets can contain 100 presets downloaded from the Fender Cloud, and Favorites is a list of user selections from the other preset lists. Factory and Cloud presets can be edited in situ, but as with all edits, the results have to be saved to My Presets or they’ll be lost, without warning, on exit. Songs can store a maximum of six footswitch‑selectable presets per song for up to 200 songs, and Setlists can hold a list of up to 99 Songs. The contents of My Presets, Favorites, Songs and Setlists can be freely reordered with a simple drag‑and‑drop approach.

Individual presets in the My Presets, Favorites, Factory and Cloud lists can be viewed on the touchscreen, either in the all‑text List view or in the graphical Preset view of a preset’s contents and signal path. In either view, you can use the Navigation encoder to scroll through and select presets, or step through them using the footswitches: the leftmost footswitches handle bank up/down switching in groups of six, and others recall individual presets. That leaves two remaining footswitches, and in Preset view a short press on the upper one toggles between the other footswitches’ bank and recall mode and their Effects mode, which displays the roles of those footswitches that have been assigned to control blocks in the preset. A longer press activates an easy‑to‑operate 60‑second looper, while a longer press on the lower footswitch toggles between its tap‑tempo and tuner modes.

There’s a comprehensive range of good‑sounding virtual stompbox effects.There’s a comprehensive range of good‑sounding virtual stompbox effects.

Preset Editing

Preset editing takes place in Preset view, and will feel instantly familiar to anyone with experience of other floorboard modellers. Effect, amplifier and cabinets (‘blocks’ in Fender‑speak) can be inserted, re‑ordered, deleted and edited using the touchscreen. While the Navigation encoder can scroll through a list of presets, that functionality doesn’t extend to the list of blocks, so can lead to the occasional accidental rapid exit from edit mode. Tapping a block in a preset zooms it to the fore, where its virtual front‑panel controls can be adjusted either on the touchscreen or using any of the up to seven encoders/footswitches that have been assigned to its control. When editing a block, the top‑left footswitch is used to cycle through any multi‑page control assignments and is held to save an edit, whilst the upper‑right exits edit mode when pressed. The bottom‑right footswitch’s tap‑tempo/tuner assignment remains unchanged across all preset‑related views and modes. Surprisingly, that footswitch’s encoder cannot be used to set the tempo.

Fender Tone Master Pro

Much as I’d like to, going into the mechanics of creating and editing presets in detail would require rather more space than is decent in a magazine review, but I do want to offer an overview. Despite being centred on the touchscreen and having the odd operational quirk, I found both creating and editing presets to be simple, though I’d still recommend reading through the user manual. For me, a standout feature of the process is the way in which Fender have implemented footswitch assignment in a preset — they’ve created a very powerful tool. Each footswitch can control up to three assignment types: on/off (which can be assigned to up to five blocks); parameter change (switching between two preset values of a parameter on one block); and amplifier switching on two amplifiers. And this opens up the possibility of creating complex block switching combinations within a preset. One point to note when building presets is that the TM Pro will start to limit access to memory/processor hungry blocks (in particular the effects spillover as presets change) in order to protect its performance level.

The Playing Experience

Having owned a good many vintage and reissue Fender amps over the years, I’d hoped that the TM Pro would feature many of the classic circuits, so I was somewhat disappointed to discover that its list of Fenders contains only combos. These are the five members of the existing Tone Master series, plus three emulations of the Bassbreaker’s Structure (gain) settings, a Blues Junior, a 3x10 Vibroking reissue, an Acoustasonic head, and both a solid‑state and a valve preamp. But this isn’t all about Fender emulations: Fender appear to be aiming at a wider market, and to that end they’ve also included combos from Vox and Roland, and half‑stacks from Marshall, Friedman, EVH and Bogner. All of these, as with the Fender combos, can be split into their constituent heads and cabs, with additional cabs expanding the available choice.

The Fender combo guitar amp models were impressively realistic, and they felt good under my fingers too.

The Fender combo guitar amp models were impressively realistic, and they felt good under my fingers too, especially through the matching Tone Master FR‑10 active FRFR cabinet. The Acoustasonic head partnered well with my acoustic guitars, both piezo and magnetic, and the solid‑state and valve preamplifiers worked well, in particular as electric, acoustic and bass guitar DIs. The models of the non‑Fender amplifiers were equally impressive, notably the Vox AC30 Normal and Brilliant emulations and the Roland JC‑120 emulation, both of which have everything that I like about those amplifiers.

Released alongside the Tone Master Pro are two full‑range, flat‑reponse Class‑D‑amplified speakers, the FR‑10 and FR‑12.Released alongside the Tone Master Pro are two full‑range, flat‑reponse Class‑D‑amplified speakers, the FR‑10 and FR‑12.

Although I’ve owned a Mesa Boogie MkIII combo, a Triaxis/2:Ninety combination, and a small‑box 50W Plexi Marshall, none of those are covered by the TM Pro, so I don’t feel sufficiently qualified to comment authoritatively on the accuracy (or otherwise) of the TM Pro’s emulations of Mesa Boogie, Marshall or of those amps and cabs from the other manufacturers. But all sounded great and felt good to play through, even if some models were more to my tonal tastes than others. On top of everything else, the TM Pro’s selection of cabinet IRs with their 64 possible microphone positions, choice of seven microphones and their high‑ and low‑pass filters offers an amazing degree of cabinet customisation, and if you feel that even this isn’t enough, there’s the option to upload third‑party IRs via the TM Pro Control app.

The TM Pro’s collection of boosts, distortions, time‑based effects, reverbs, dynamics, filters and pitch‑shifters sounds good and is also comprehensive, to say the least. It kept me occupied for far too long, auditioning old friends and new acquaintances in a pedal collection that my wallet could only dream of. If you’d like to check out what’s available, you can find a PDF file with a full list of TM Pro models at:

The Control app makes it easy to select and position your virtual mics on the IR‑based speakers.The Control app makes it easy to select and position your virtual mics on the IR‑based speakers.


Since the Fender Tone Master Pro is more of a platform than a fixed product, you’d like to think there is plenty of scope for expanding its capabilities. That mysterious rear‑panel micro‑SD slot hints at promise for the future, and I look forward to seeing where this leads — especially if it brings with it models of every Fender amplifier ever made from the 1946 Woodie onwards!

But even at this early stage in its life cycle, at this price I reckon the Tone Master Pro is a very attractive and good value proposition for guitarists who are looking not only to enjoy playing through a collection of amplifiers, cabinets and effects, but also for a realistic user experience — that’s a combination that it definitely delivers, particularly when paired with its matching active FR series of FRFR cabinets. If you’re in the market for an amplifier, cab and effects modeller for this sort of price, then, I highly recommend that you add Fender’s Tone Master Pro to your list of potential purchases.


  • Impressively realistic emulations — especially of Fender amplifiers.
  • Well‑designed and easy to use touchscreen and encoder user interface.
  • The Pro Control app works well.
  • Attractive and competitive price.
  • It looks stylish, and it’s a Fender!


  • An occasional minor UI quirk to get used to.
  • Doesn’t (yet?) model all my favourite vintage Fender amps.


A very impressive debut from possibly the best‑known electric guitar brand around, Fender’s Tone Master Pro amplifier, cabinet and effects modeller delivers a very high level of performance at an attractive and competitive price point.


Tone Master Pro £1649. FRFR speakers: FR‑10 £469; FR‑12 £519. Prices include VAT.

Tone Master Pro $1699.99. FRFR speakers: FR‑10 $499.99; FR‑12 $549.99.

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