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Fender Prosonic Review

All tube 60w combo, with 2 x 10 Celestions, with switchable bias, designed by the legendary Bruce Zinky*. The Prosonic was a Fender Custom Shop attempt at producing a high gain boutique amplifier with features you would expect to find on a MESA / Boogie. Those features being:

  • switchable channels
  • dual cascading gain controls on drive channel
  • switchable recifier / bias
  • effects send & return

I first heard one of these about 15 years ago when they first came out. I had never been gotten a decent sound from built-in pre-amp drives, preferring to drive the input on non master volume amps using my old Ibanez Tube Screamer. However, 15 years ago, I can distinctly remember it being one of the best pre-amp drives I had ever heard. I also remember they were pretty expensive new (boutique pricing?) which partly explains why Fender ceased production after 6 years.

I eventually managed to get hold of this one about 18 months ago.

 

The Prosonic offers switchable bias / rectifier settings:

  1. solid state rectifier, class A/B 60w
  2. tube rectifier, class A/B 50w
  3. tube rectifier, class A 30w

Illustrates Bias / Mode switch

  1. Mode 1 sounds like traditional clean Fender tones, especially on the clean channel. Very clean, sparkly and very loud.
  2. slightly softer and darker due to compression of tube rectifier
  3. true class A mode, and at 30w super warm sound with early natural break up, but still loud, as is a decent Voc AC30. Maybe not exactly an AC30, but doesn’t disgrace itself  itself at all, and you could spend a lot more money than this on amp 30w class A amp.

These modes can be switched using the chicken head dial at the back, even whilst switched on. Beware though, 30 class A mode is hard on  tubes.

Great, great tone. Before I got hold of this one, I read one online review where it was described as one of the best amps Fender ever made. Clean channel will do classic clean Fender tones, and although I dont normally use much drive for my playing, the Prosonic seems to entice me to play harder and dirtier, and its so much fun –  a bit like a fast bike willing you to stretch the throttle cable. The 2 x 10 Celestions give warmth and crunch to the sound – perfect for single coil pickups playing in a small combo. It is a hot amp, and loud, even in 30w mode.

Downsides:

  • reverb is noisy. Doesn’t bother me, but for studio use, could pose a problem. Known issue with these, and there is an easy mod for it
  • channel switching produces pop – again, known issue with these, and there is an easy mod for it

The Prosonic is my current do it all amp, and after taking nearly 15 years to get hold of one, its a keeper.

* Bruce Zinky worked at Fender between 1992 – 1996 designing their custom shop range, including the Vibro-King, Tone Master and Dual Professional as well as the Prosonic. It was alledged that his designs were expensive, and even the Custom Shop had to cut corners, giving Bruce the imputus to leave and set-up Zinky amps.

Demo

By | 2017-04-01T20:39:04+00:00 June 6th, 2011|Amps|2 Comments

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2 Comments

  1. John November 2, 2015 at 12:51 am - Reply

    Great review. I’ve had one of these since 2005. Mine is surf green. I generally agree with your review and think it is fair. The clean channel takes pedals really well, especially in class A. I use a BBE Green Screamer and a Barber Direct Drive SS with it for semi-clean type dirt. The lead channel gets a very warm Santana type sound especially if you leave Gain1 at 3 and crank up Gain 2. The best 6L6 tubes I’ve found for this amp are the Tube Amp Doctor small bottle GE clones.

    Cheers

  2. admin April 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Hi

    I read the fender prosonic review with great interest as I have had one since the mid 90s. Fantastic amp and when I play alongside my Marshall toting mates I can dial in a sound that cuts through the mix and sits nicely alongside the big stacks.

    There were 2 mods mentioned, to reduce the noise of the reverb and to stop the clicking of the channel switch. Can you advise what these mods are or what I should be asking my local amo tech to do? Or is it as easy as saying “get rid of the notice and the click please”.

    Best regards

    Jason Hikawai

    Western Australia

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