As a proud owner and user of the Mustang V1 15 watt combo, will this little guy win me over?
I really thought this was going to be a gimmick. I really thought it would be another low quality headphone amp, holy grail “practice amp” solution. But Fender’s Mustang Micro is actually seriously fun, seriously user friendly, and it sounds great. What you’re looking at here is basically the Fender Mustang Amp series (my first amp ever) shrunken down into a little headphone amp. With 12 amp voices, 12 effects voices, and the ability to slightly modify the EQ and effects voicing, you have surprisingly versatile control over your sound. While I’ll go through each setting and effect in the demo, the effects are generally centered in the reverb-modulation-delay genre. The amp sounds range from compressed cleans to mid-scooped metal tones, and literally everything in between. But arguably the major features I want to highlight in this overview are the connect-ability options. You can connect your phone via bluetooth and play songs or albums right into your headphones alongside your guitar signal. So you can actually play along to songs to learn or practice them. The real winner might be how you can record directly into your computer using the included usb-c cable. Plus one end into the Mustang Micro and the other into your computer, and you can record real amp sounds right into any software.
Review & Opinion:
I like this Mustang Micro so much more than I could have imagined. I really thought this was a gimmick, I thought it was going to be another low quality headphone amp that will sell thousands of copies and we’ll forget about in 2 years. But honestly, this is the real deal! The amp sounds aren’t going to make you throw out your Vox or Marshall, but they sound like an actual amp in the room with you. They have a diverse selection too, with ’60s and ’70s British inspired tones, grunge-y sounds from the ’90s, and multiple high gain and crystal clean options. It sounds eerily similar to my actual Mustang V1 15 watt amp, which is a compliment because that amp served me well during many live gigs in my life. I wish that a few of the modulated effects were replaced with other gain options, but generally speaking the different flavors of reverb, chorus, delay, and tremolo are more than acceptable. All your gain will have to come out of the amp voicing you selected, but when you combine that with the effects and the guitar’s pickups, you can cook up most every basic sound you’d ever want. The sounds speak for themselves though, and simply put, they are phenomenal for a headphone amp. Headphone amps have long been plagued by thin, one-dimensional sounds. At worst, it just doesn’t even sound like a guitar with some of the ancient attempts. This gets high grades not because it is the best amp I’ve played, but because it sounds amazing at most, if not all, settings, in a headphone amp application. I know there are some competitors out there, but this is thoroughly the only headphone or practice amp that I plan to keep and use.
Conclusion & Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
I know this is a product that’s been plastered around the web for a week or more now, but it really is that good. It’s incredibly convenient for practicing, learning songs, or recording quick scratch demos and tracks. Fender’s Mustang Micro can just do so much for you in a really small package and with a relatively small price tag. For about $100, I’m buying this tomorrow if mine gets stolen tonight. Quiet practicing in apartments, taking your guitar on the road, the applications are endless. And the price isn’t prohibitive to many players, be it beginners or experts. The Mustang Micro is a great accessory but really more of a tool for the modern guitarist. I use mine to mainly play along to songs while learning them by ear or looking up tabs. It’s great to plug in after a long day, not have to worry about turning my amp down or plugging in pedals, and just jam to some Muse or The Clash. I’m honestly buying the hype on this product, and if you need a practice amp or silent guitar playing solution, this deserves 100% of your attention!