Pros: This is a great sounding amp.
FENDER FRONTMAN II 25B BASS AMPLIFIER
The Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amplifier is a very reasonable choice for the beginning bass player or for a more advanced player who wants an acceptable practice amp for home use. I shall try in this review to discuss the pros and cons of this amp, so that if you are considering purchasing this amp, over another comparably priced one, you will be able to make an informed buying decision.
The Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amp is a newer version of the Frontman series of Bass Amps, and it is an upgrade for the Fender Frontman 25 Bass Amp. It features all solid state circuitry for reliability and ease of use. The appearance is reminiscent of the famous Blackface series of Fender Amps from the 1960s, and it features skirted control knobs, black textured vinyl, and a silver grill cloth.
One on the things that makes this amp so desirable for the beginning musician is that all of the controls and functions of the amp are so very easy and straightforward to understand and to operate. All of the controls, as well as the input and output jacks, are located on the front panel of the amp. To begin with there are two Inputs. Input # 1 is suitable for most bass guitars. Input #2 is attenuated by -6dB, and as such it is more suitable for bass guitars with active pre-amp electronics, or similar instruments that may have a high output. Next on the front panel are the Volume Control, followed by the Low Control (which adjusts the low frequency levels), the Mid Control (which adjusts the mid-frequency levels), and the High Control (which adjusts the high-frequency levels).
The front panel also has several useful input and output jacks. There is an Auxiliary In RCA input jack that can be used with a portable CD player, drum machine, etc. These input jacks are not linked to the Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amps Volume or Tone Controls, and as such, any adjustment to the volume or tone of the device that is being plugged into this input must be controlled from outside of the amp itself. There is also an effects loop that can be utilized by connecting a standard guitar jack into the Pre-Amp Out jack and the input of an external effects device. The output of the external effects device can then be connected via another guitar jack to the Power Amp In jack on the Amp. The last output jack on the amp is a Headphone Out jack for use with stereo or mono headphones. Using this jack automatically by passes the speaker, and makes late night practicing in ones room an easy chore to accomplish.
A secret weapon that the Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amp has is the Deltacomp circuit, which is an adaptive compression circuit that dramatically lessens the chance for distortion in the power amp section, and the result is a clear and punchy tone, without the muddiness that usually accompanies a bass amp in this price range. Another useful feature of this amp is that the Headphone Out jack can also be used as an unbalanced line output for connection to a sound reinforcement device, such as can be found on a good sound system, and it can also be used as an unbalanced line out to an outboard recording device.
The Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amplifier also packs a lot of power into a compact space. The amp produces 25 Watts RMS of power, and sends it to a Fender Specially Designed 8-Ohm 10 inch speaker, in a ported cabinet. The amp is compact and light weight as well. It is 18 inches high, 14 ? inches wide, 10 inches deep, and only weighs a mere 32 pounds. This makes the Fender Frontman II 25B small enough to fit into the truck of a compact car, and light enough to easily move around.
And now, on to the sound. Firstly, I must confess that I was surprised. I usually feel that in most cases, a bass amp should be about three times the wattage of a comparable guitar amp in order for it to hold its own, especially in a live venue. The Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amp was very impressive. It did not have a rumbling unclear or indistinct sound, like is so commonly found with amps in this price range. This is perhaps most attributable to the Deltacomp adaptive compression circuitry. This amp sounded clean, clear, and punchy, especially at volume settings below 6. Above 6, the cabinet began to vibrate a bit, and there was some unwanted buzzing. However, the speaker did not produce a flapping sound as is so often found in amps in this price range. I found that the tone was good, as was the overall sound quality.
This amp does of course have its weaknesses and limitations. For one, 25 Watts is not very much use if you are playing with a drummer and a couple of other instruments in a moderately sized room, and it is also insufficient for loud practices. This amp would perhaps be suitable for backing acoustic guitars in a small coffee house or the like. I would not advise gigging with a drummer, as it really does not have room filling power. However, if the room you are playing in is your bedroom, then this is a good amp to use. It is certainly loud enough and clear enough for practicing by oneself. It is a good practice amp, and I would not really recommend it for other purposes. Further, I must also say that I think that it is a very good sounding practice amp, and I think that it sounds better than amps costing twice the price made by some of the competition.
In sum, I like the Fender Frontman II 25B Bass Amp. It is an excellent value for the money, and because it carries the Fender name, it will have some resale value should you ever decide to sell it and upgrade to a bigger or better amp in the future. This is saying something, as most other practice amps in this price range have little or no resale appeal, and often end up collecting dust in someones basement. By the way, that is exactly where I found this amp, in someones basement. I bought it second hand as a gift for my young nephew who is in the processes of discerning if he wants to follow in the footsteps of so many of his family members, and someday be a musician himself. Ah, but then again, that is another story.
Well, I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to ready my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.