So far, so good
I bought this amp because all I had was my gig rig (Boogie F50, pedal board with TC Nova System, distortion pedals, wah, TC Voicetone Correct, sub-mixer for my monitoring, various power supplies etc), cables, cables, cables... Not only was I lugging a car full of gear just to rehearsals, I was also having to take it to parties just because someone's dad wanted to do his Neil Diamond. So I bought a Mustang II the other day and same day took it to a low-key rehearsal (i.e. vocal practice, no drummer), and with a bit of tweaking got a really useable Fender clean sound that did the job for that occasion. The great thing was that I walked once from the car to the rehearsal room with all my gear instead of breaking my back unloading a car full of heavy kit. Next day I downloaded the Fuse software and that's when the fun started. The out-of-the-box presets on the amp don't really inspire (Nobody's OOB presets seem to. Why is that?), and trying to change them using the top-panel controls on the amp doesn't get you far. But the Fuse software brings everything out into the clear and within a few minutes I was in Satch heaven. A few minutes more I had a perfectly useable Nile Rodgers funk sound. A bit more tweaking got me a really nice clean-with-a-hint-of-crunch country-rock sound. I ran out of time to do more because I spent an hour playing my Satch sound it was so good. The whole thing was way beyond my expectations and naturally my thoughts gravitated to the half-ton of gear I gig with and the amount of stage real-estate it takes up. Now I'm not saying that the Mustang can take on my Boogie in a side-by-side test, but it made me think about how often I really get to appreciate the F50's tubely wonderfulness. Maybe one gig in five I come away thinking that my amp was a joy to play. At most gigs the stand it sits on has a drum stand intertwined with it and a bass amp butted up against the other side, and as a result I don't get to appreciate the subtleties of my amp's sound. I also wonder whether the quality of my Boogie is actually cutting through to the audience, or whether something a little less magnificent would make not a blind bit of difference to them. I haven't tried the Mustang with a band yet, and there is a chance that it will thin out when competing with drums, bass, keyboards etc. However, it is quite loud and like a lot of players these days, my amp gets miked up and I don't want a lot of on-stage volume. The thing that would stop me using the Mustang II for gigs where I need a lot of different sounds is the restriction of the one-button footswitch and the two quick-access settings. However, if the sound holds up in a band setting, then I will have a look at the Mustang III with the four-button footswitch. While some of the controls seem fragile on the Mustang, I reminded myself that it weighs almost nothing and cost a tenth of what I paid for my Boogie. I could have two Mustangs and leave the spare in the car - something I could never afford to do with my Boogie. I've got more to discover yet about these amps, but up to now it's been something of a revelation.