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Fender Fender Stage 160 (non DSP)

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 1 Review

The Fender Stage series was short lived before Fender moved forward with using DSP in the newer models. Afterward the series, seems to have been replaced by the Fender Frontman 212. There were 3 amps released under the Stage series, the 100/100H/160. Ill just be covering the Stage 160.

13th February 2014

by thekitefighter

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5

First off, I'm mind blown that this amp has not been used or cover more largely.

I bought this amp about three or four years ago. I was sick of using my half stack and was not in the position to buy a tube amp. I had tried the Fender Princeton Chorus 212 and found it to be darker than I wanted.

Before I start about what I like about this amp, I will preface that I do not like DSP and amps that have built in effects. I find these amps to be to busy and constantly full of flaws. I have owned amps like this in the past and they are dreadful. There is no real control to the effects and it really takes away from the usability of the amps.

Ok, yes, this is a full blown Solid State Amp, but I have been very happy with it. I truly prefer very clean amps because I am a pedal board junkie. For over three years, this was my main rig until I acquired my Fender Deville.

The Fender Stage 160 is sparkly clean. Even at high volumes, there is not a lot of breakup or output distortion. I will also note that this sucker is LOUD. I usually keep it at 4 or 5, even with a full band. The spring reverb is very nice too. I like to keep is at 1 or 2 for a little bit of round off.

I don't use the distortion channel often, but it does sound good. In fact, it is the best on board amp distortion ever heard in a Solid State Amp. There is also a high gain setting, but I honestly have never used it. I use pedals for all of my Gain/OD/Distortion.

Overall, this has been an awesome amp. What has always puzzled me is that the FM 212, Princeton Chorus, and the Fender SS combos do not have a cab extension or power out. The Stage 100/100H did.

As always, as with any SS amp, there is going to be no round off like a tube amp with natural compression. It also may seem a little harsh with high gain or heavy distortion. I always found that using a OD pedal and compressor was a way to get around that.

I would gladly suggest this amp or any fender over any other Solid State.

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