Fender Twinolux - worth the money? Yes!
Yes, 5 stars! And for $3,000.00 it had better be 5 stars or it was going back.
I originally ordered the Tremolux, but they were out of stock and I decided to go whole hog and get the Holy Grail of the EC signature amp line. I did so because I wanted a little more control over the sound and vibrato, which the Twinolux offers in the form of a "treble", "bass" and "presence" knob whereas the Tremolux offers just a "tone" knob. Also, the Tremolux only offers control of the tremelo's speed, whereas the Twinolux also offers a "depth" knob to control the magnitude of the tremelo effect.
I had questions that I wished I could find answers to prior to purchase that I'll take the time to answer here. "How much power does the attenuator actually cut?" According to the manual it cuts overall speaker volume to 1/4th of full power. Or about 25% of its full-on sound. Does it work this way? Thankfully it does. It miraculously still maintains the amp's tonal characteristics. It's still fairly loud as a practice amp at this position. The third attenuator selection keeps the output the same, but shuts one speaker off. The drop in volume isn't as drastic as the drop from full-on to position 2. But it is quieter. The drawback here is the amp does lose some of it's personality when cut down to one speaker. Most notably the low end. However, if you're considering the Twinolux you're probably not too concerned with cutting it down to one speaker and 25% volume. So to be clear, all 3 positions of the attenuator are extremely useful. It's not just a gimmick,
Secondly, I like a little reverb. I have played for over 25 years and about 20 of those years my only effect has been reverb. So I was dreading having to buy a reverb product for a 3,000.00 amp. Other reviews online said you won't need it. Well - they're right. The amp is so warm and glassy that you don't need the reverb at all.
Build quality? Bar none. Amp could not be built any better than it is. Looks amazing, can go into a living room and look like vintage art. My amp came with those ridiculous rubber booties on the on/off and standby switches. These are not shown in pictures of this amp. They are a safety thing, but they can be removed fairly easily.
Amp is not good for your back. It's heavy at 53 pounds. But if weight was your concern you probably should be looking at the Tremolux.
I play a 2005 Custom Shop Telecaster through it. Has a Duncan 59 Humbucker in the neck and a NoCaster pickup in the bridge. This amp makes love to the guitar in beautiful ways. Everything is perfect. The amp is very sensitive you how you play. Play with a hard pick (I use a 2.75mm V pick) and you can tell. Switch to finger picking and the sound is different again. The amp is very faithful to your style...like it or not. :)
The overdrive you ask? Hoochi-mama! With my tele this thing screams like Hendrix, SRV, Jack White, and like. Sunshine of Your Love is effortless. Add a compressor to the signal and you get BB King tones.
Which leads me to another question I had. How does the amp handle effects? LIke it was designed for it. Again, I'm not an effects maven. I like a little OD once in a while, and reverb. But I plugged a Boss HM pedal into this, as well as a Route 66 and it was perfect. Amp took the pedals and gave me everything I wanted and nothing I didn't.
Oh and the "custom amp cover" it's really just a dust cover made of brown nylon. No logo or anything. But it's better than nothing.
The vibrato, which is not an effect I have dabbled with often in the past, is a lot of fun. There is a very "vintage" sound to playing with the vibrato. It evokes all kinds of surf and early blues (Peter Green). I have a lot of fun playing Link Wray's tune with it.
So in conclusion, do you have to be nuts to spend 3,000.00 on this amp? Well...at 3,000.00 you can pretty much buy any sort of modern amp you want. There are beautiful Mesas and Oranges out there for less money that offer FAR more in the way of versatility via onboard effects. In fact, it's a bit hard to justify spending $3,000.00 on any amp unless you make a living with it.
That being said, it IS a Fender. Most people think of Fender and immediately conjure up images of beautiful strats, teles, and the other landmarks along the way. However, anyone who has more than a casual knowledge of vintage amps knows that Fender was just as prolific and important with their early amplifiers. Fender's name amongst the famous players in the world extend well beyond the realm of guitars and delve deeply into amplifiers.
This Fender twin mongrel mutt is actually the culmination of all things great about Fender amplifiers. This amp seems very straightforward, on/off and crank it to fuzz. But you have to think of it more like another instrument, not just a way to make a guitar sound loud. Vintage styled amps are extremely versatile, you just need to play with them. There is no knob for overdrive because you need to turn the amp/tubes up to get it. Below breakup this has a BEAUTIFUL, warm clean sound. Push it and it's a tube-driven OD. Much moreso than a gadet-laden modern amp, this amp needs your touch to make it sing. It can do many, many things...it just requires a bit of knowledge.