The Fender Cyber-Twin SE is a powerful, versatile solution that could be the perfect solution for a gigging guitarist.
If any name is synonymous with classic amplifier design, it’s Fender. From the Bassman to the Twin Reverb, Fender is a company that knows amplifiers. So, when they’re willing to step into the amp modeling arena, it’s worth paying attention to the results. The original Fender Cyber-Twin was heralded as a major contribution to the hybrid amp marketplace, relying upon both traditional tube technology and digital amp design (technically, the Fender Cyber-Twin isn’t a modeling amp). The latest incarnation is the Fender Cyber-Twin SE. How does it stack up to its predecessor and other similar amps? Let’s look at the details and see.
The Fender Cyber-Twin SE is a 2×12 combo (with twin Celestion G12T-100 speakers) that sports a tube preamp in combination with analog and digital circuitry that reconfigures itself depending upon the sound needed, rewiring the sound as needed. The stereo amplifier pumps out 65 watts per channel for a total of 130 watts. The Cyber-Twin SE also features 250 total preset sounds, 100 of which are user customizable. The remaining 150 sounds feature the best of Fender’s own amp collection (from the Deluxe Reverb and Bassman to the Vibro-King and Twin Reverb) plus emulations of other classic amps such as Marshalls and Mesa Boogies.
Numerous presets are included from such artists as Greg Koch and Gary Hoey to serve as starting points for your own sounds. There are 28 effects you can choose from, and each effect has several user-adjustable parameters. Different reverbs and noise gates are also available. The amplifier’s digital section is complemented by two 12AX7 preamp tubes that feature Fender’s tube rattle prevention system. A new hum reduction system is also standard. Of course, traditional controls for gain, volume, treble, middle, bass, presence, reverb, and master. Clearly dedicated buttons are also available for the tuner, noise gate, tap tempo, and hum reduction.
Clearly, the Fender Cyber-Twin SE has a wide array of tone modification available, but what’s the verdict for actual use? The first positive thing I can say about the amp is that the front panel doesn’t look like a NASA engineer designed it. It’s pretty intuitive and if you’re like me (play first, read manual second), then you won’t be surprised. It’s pretty easy to navigate.
Of course, the sounds are what really matters. My overall impression is very positive. As you would probably expect, Fender does a great job at capturing their own amp sounds, and there are several of them here, all the way from the Super Champ to the Twin Reverb. Less convincing are the Marshall and Mesa Boogie tones, but that’s not to say they’re not very, very good.
The dual 12AX7 preamp tubes add a warmth that you just can’t capture otherwise, though I wasn’t terribly impressed with the quality of the included Groove Tubes. The presets are, well, presets and are likely meant to grab your attention in a busy music store. Still, they offer a great starting point for your own sounds. Honestly, I don’t know too many players (unless you’re the Edge) that uses more than 4-5 sounds during a normal gig anyway, so there’s more than enough with the Cyber-Twin SE to carry most players.
The onboard effects are where the amp really shines. If you wanted to leave your pedalboard at home and still have a wide array of stompbox and rack effects, this might be all you need (in addition to your guitar, of course). The amount of connectivity in the amp is truly impressive. Since the amp is true stereo, I opted to connect the XLR outputs to a club mixing board and hard pan left and right to maintain the stereo separation. The sound was impressive and left me with no need or desire to mic my amp.
Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the Fender Cyber-Twin SE is that it feels and plays like just a really good amplifier, not some sterile digital toy. With a list price of $1,697, it’s a powerful, versatile solution that could be the perfect solution for a gigging guitarist. Whether it’s a church or a nightclub, Fender has a solution for a variety of sounds in an affordable, powerful package.
Name of Gear: Fender Cyber-Twin SE
List Price: $1,697.99
Manufacturer Info: Fender Musical Instruments; fender.com
Pros: Unique approach to amplification; wide range of usable sounds
Cons: Stock tubes a bit weak