If you’re a beginner who wants a practice amp but doesn’t want to enter the world of multi-effects or compact pedals yet, this could be the amp for you. In this Fender Mustang LT25 Review we examine this surprisingly priced 25 watt practice amp. We’ll look at it’s features and also discuss it’s practicality. After all, it’s all well and good having a ton of features, but can you actually use them practically? Read on to find out more.
Overview of Fender Mustang LT25
Build & Setup
The LT25 delivers 25 watts of power via a single channel. That means it doesn’t have the traditional “clean” and “overdriven” or “distorted” channels. Sound is delivered by an 8″ Fender special speaker, which is housed in a closed wooden cabinet. In turn the wood is covered by textured black vinyl. The handle is recessed, so no issues with straps fraying over time.
The control panel is plastic, with similarly plastic control knobs. They don’t feel the most robust, but it’s an area where Fender has opted to keep costs down. There’s a display window, which will show you selected patches and also allow you to fine tune effects and amp styles in conjunction with the encoder wheel to it’s right on the control panel. The display window also doubles as a tuner.
The amp is pretty compact, as you’d expect from a practice amp. It does have some weight to it at 12.75 pounds / 5.7kg. But it’s still not obstructively heavy.
If you’re looking for something smaller, you might be better off with something like the Boss Katana Air, or the VOX Adio Air GT. Just be aware that you’ll lose some of the features by opting for a smaller amp in most cases.
The Mustang LT25 has a pretty basic control panel. There’s a standard 1/4″ input jack for your guitar along with two 1/8″ jacks for headphones and AUX in. There’s also a 1/4″ jack for a footswitch. Here’s my first problem with the LT25. It’ll only support a 1 button footswitch, which will allow you to toggle between two on-board patches.
It would have been nice to have had the option to plug in a footswitch with more buttons to allow switching up and down between patches, or for toggling effects on and off. At least you can define which two patches you want to be able to switch between via the amp’s settings. For most I’d imagine this will act as a clean / distorted switch.
Next you find gain, volume, treble, bass and master control knobs. The master volume controls the overall output of the amp, with the others affecting the selected patch specifically. You can actually control all of these variables via the encoder for finer control. In addition you can define the mid via the encoder, which you can’t via the control knobs.
The control knobs aren’t tied to the encoder at all, so if you select parameters via the encoder and then twist the control knob it’ll revert to the level of the control knob rather than adjusting the parameter set on the screen. That’s a little annoying, and no doubt it’ll cause some headaches until the user gets used to it. However we must remember that this is a very competitively priced amp, so perhaps we should forgive it for that indiscretion.
Next to the display screen is the encoder wheel. This allows you to navigate between patches and to make adjustments to parameters. It’s pretty simple to use once you understand the menu type structure. To the right of the encoder wheel are a few handy buttons to use in combination with the encoder wheel. Here we also find a tap button, which allows you to set the tempo of delay or reverb by pressing the button to the desired pattern. The tap button also doubles as access to the tuner if held down.
The LT25 also has a USB port, which allows you to connect to a computer. That’ll allow you to update firmware, record and access additional features via Fender Tone. Unfortunately a USB cable isn’t included, which seems a little ludicrous as they only cost a few dollars. Another inconvenience, although not substantial, is that you’ll need to download a driver to be able to use the LT25 with a Windows based computer.
The headphones jack allows you to practice silently, with the speaker being automatically muted when headphones are connected. The AUX in allows you to plug in an external device, such as your phone, to play music through the amp. There’s no integrated volume control, so you’ll need to control the volume via your external device when playing music via the amp.
Amp Styles & Effects
Here’s where the LT25 excels. There are 20 in-built amp models and 25 effects. These can all be shaped by editing parameters. Additionally there are 50 preset slots. 30 are pre-loaded with an additional 20 for your to write custom patches to. Additionally you can overwrite and relocate the 30 pre-loaded slots.
You access each slot using the encoder wheel. There’s a huge variety of tones already preset. From Fender Clean at slot 1, which emulates the middle and bridge pickup combo clean tone of a Stratocaster through to Metal Lead at slot 9. There are patches for classic rock, blues, jazz, country, punk and even an acoustic simulator.
Before moving onto the amp models, it’s probably worth talking about customization so that you understand how the amp styles are blended with each slot. To make adjustments you press the encoder wheel down. You can then rotate the wheel to select an effect or parameter. As soon as you make a change the screen turns red to let you know that changes have been made, but haven’t yet been saved.
You can edit everything from gain, volume and EQ. When saving it’ll give you the option to save at the current location, replace one of the existing slots, or select from one of the additional 20 slots to save your customized patch. You can also rename each patch to something more meaningful. That’s always handy. In my multi-effects pedal I have patches specifically named. I have a patch named “Sir Psycho” that allows me to recreate the effect used by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the song “Sir Psycho Sexy”.
Lets talk about the 20 in-built amp models. You can use these styles in conjunction with any of the slots to create an array of tones.
- 50’s Twin – Based on Fender’s 2×12″ tweed twin – clean to dirty tones
- 60’s Clean – VOX AC30 type tone
- 70’s Rock – 70’s Marshall type amp – early hard rock tones
- 70’s UK Clean – High powered clean British stack tone
- 80’s Rock – 80’s metal tones
- 90’s Rock – Heavier tones of the 90’s – Nu Metal sound of the late 90’s
- Bassman – Replicates the Fender Bassman amp
- Burn – Based on the Fender Super-Sonic amp – two preamp gain stages for enahnced sustain
- Champ – Models a 1957 Fender champ
- Deluxe Clean – Modeled on the 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb – common in clubs in the 1960’s
- Deluxe dirty – Modeled on 1957 Deluxe, known for thick and compressed overdrive
- Doom Metal – Modeled on the Orange OR120 – dirty metal sounds
- Excelsior – Based on a 15″ speaker of modern Fender amp
- Alt Metal – Nu metal again – slightly more adjusted for higher gain styles
- Metal 2000 – Modern hi gain sound, great for metal
- Princeton – Based on the 1965 Fender Princeton – models a 10″ speaker
- Smalltone – Modeled on 1960’s Sears Silverstone – great for retro tones
- Super clean – The direct channel for output to mixing desks / recording devices
- Super heavy – Another amp style great for higher gain styles such as metal
- Twin clean – Modeled on the 1965 Fender Twin Reverb – great clean tone with some body
You’ll probably find that your predisposed to a few of the amp models, but it’s nice to have the choice of so many and gives plenty of room for experimentation. The next logical step is to talk about effects. Some of the patches will already have some effect active, such as those with reverb.
Let’s first talk about editing effects. When you first arrive at a patch you might want to dial off some of the effects. You can edit the effect using the encoder wheel again. When editing you’ll see the name of the effect either outlined with a solid border, a dotted border, or not outlined. A solid line denotes that the effect is on. A dotted line means it’s not active by default and no border mean it’s off. Highlight a particular parameter to edit it. For example for delay you can set the delay intervals and depth. For modulation effects you can affect the rate and depth and so on.
There are four main categories of effects available. Stompbox, modulation, delay and reverb. Here’s what’s available in the Stompbox category:
- Classic overdrive
- Blues drive – Tube screamer type effect
- Myth drive – 90’s style overdrive
- Rock dirt – Modern distortion
- Big Fuzz – Modeled on the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff pedal
- Octobot – Synthesizer type effect
- Compressor – Styled on the MXR Dyna Comp pedal
- Sustain – Modeled on the MXR M-163 sustain pedal from the 80’s
- Metal gate – Noise gate ideal for high gain styles
- 5 Band EQ – Finer control over the EQ
So a little something for everyone. I really like that they have a compressor effect. Essential for any guitarist in my view. There are a bunch of modulation effects too:
- Step Filter
- Touch Wah
We see the stalwarts of modulation, such as the Chorus, Phaser and Flanger, but there’s a few additions too. Of course you can alter the parameters to create some wacky effects. Then we move onto Delay and Reverb. There are three main delay types. Clean, reverse and Echo, which gives you a warmer tape like delay effect. There are 5 types of reverb, from small room to arena.
As previously mentioned you can use the tap tempo button in conjunction with delay / reverb to manually customize the intervals. The small light next to the tap button will flicker to denote the tempo. You can get finer control over intervals by using the encoder wheel to edit each effect.
As a bonus you can use the Fender Tone software, which is free but you’ll need a USB cable to have it interact with your LT25. The Fender Tone software is similar to Boss Tone Central, in that you can edit presets and download additional Fender preset patches.
So who would the Mustang LT25 suit? It’s a pretty powerful practice amp at 25 watts, but it won’t keep up with a band. It’s a little bigger than most other practice amps but has a ton more features. If you’re not too worried about space, can afford to make a little noise but won’t rely on the LT25 for band rehearsal then this amp could work well for you.
The wide range of effects and amp styles is great for beginners, meaning you won’t need to buy additional effects pedals, at least at first. I am disappointed that the LT25 can’t support footswitches with more buttons, which I feel limits it’s practicality. But if you’re a beginner who just wants to switch between two patches then that won’t be an issues. Of course you will have to buy the separately sold footswitch too.
I like that you can hook it up to a computer. That’s pretty much an essential feature in modern times. I’m a bit annoyed that they don’t include a USB cable however. I know they’re cheap and can be picked up easily. That’s fine, but if they’re that cheap why can’t Fender just include one in the box?
Even though it has it’s drawbacks, the price considering the features is pretty insane. It’s actually unbelievably cheap. If I tried it without knowing the price I’d have said it was easily over $200. So it’s pretty insane value. If you’re someone who’s just starting out and wants an array of amp styles and effects all in one price, this is definitely an amp worth considering.
LT25 not doing it for you? Check out my Amplifiers Page for more. I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Want to find out more about the LT25? Click the link below.
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