Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp: What is it?
The Fender Mustang Micro is a headphone guitar amp that sells itself on the simple premise that you can play whatever, whenever you like and no one else can hear it but you.
And there are a dozen amp models and another effects combinations to allow you to dial in the tone that most inspires you. The Mustang Micro is tiny. It fits inside your pocket, and has a quarter-inch jack that can rotate fully 270-degrees so it that it may fit pretty much any electric guitar, or “all popular guitar models”.
For so many players, this is a godsend. Busy lives and crowded schedules make it hard to eke out the time for guitar playing. Not all amps have a headphones output, and many occasions – young ones in the house, late nights, crowded accommodation – demand silent practice.
The take-anywhere aspect of the Mustang Micro is incredibly appealing too. Stick your guitar in a gig-bag and take off and you can play it anywhere.
The unit has a simple layout, with one large dial mounted on the front to control master volume, and a series of +/- buttons along the side of the unit for selecting amp type, EQ, effects, and a modify button for adjusting one select parameter of each effect. LED lights indicate when these buttons are active.
On the other side of the unit, there is a three-position slider that turns the amp on and off, or places it in Bluetooth mode. Headphones and USB-C outputs complete the spec. To use it, simply plug your guitar into it and connect your headphones. And off you go…
Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp: Performance and verdict
The Mustang Micro could not be easier to use. The plug in and play aspect is a huge part of the appeal here. There is, however, another more challenging obstacle to overcome, and that is rendering electric guitar tone via headphones.
In the olden days, when we were lucky if our practice amps had a headphones output, that dry, direct signal had no sense of ambience or space. But driven by the same amp and effects modelling technology found across Fender’s Mustang series, the Mustang Micro does an exceptional job of giving you a tone that’s fun and inspiring.
And there’s no latency, either. Appropriately, given that the unit is designed to fit all popular guitar models, there’s a sound for pretty much everyone here, from crystal clean chime through to high-gain weapons-grade metal tones. With an amplifier lineup as storied as Fender’s, it would be amiss if we don’t reference some of those sounds here.
The clean options include a ’65 Fender Twin Reverb (with a little compression to sweeten it up), a ’65 Fender Deluxe Reverb, and a ’57 Twin modelled after the classic tweed 2x12 tube amp combo. Rounding out your clean tone options is a setting voiced after a Vox AC30. When these are selected, the LED beside the amp setting lights up white, red, green and blue respectively – a handy way to know which setting you are on.
• Boss Waza-Air Wireless Guitar Headphone Amp
It’s basically Boss’s much-loved Katana amp in a set of headphones. You get a wireless adaptor, connect your phone to the bundled Tone Studio app and get going. There is lots to explore.
• Fender Mustang LT25
Modelling tones, onboard effects and USB connectivity for recording your playing, the Mustang makes for a great value practice amp.
Crunch options offer a variation on the theme, including a ’65 Deluxe plus Tube Screamer setting that’s just the ticket when workshopping your Texas blues turnarounds. There are also Marshall Super Lead and Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier settings, with your high-gain options inspired by a Friedman BE-100, EVH 5150, and Bogner Uberschall heads. A direct mode offers a totally transparent studio preamp mode that pairs well for bass guitar and acoustic.
EQ options are limited to five presets, with the middle one set flat, but work well. Adjusting brightness for humbuckers or single-coils is a cinch. The effects blocks are arranged similarly, with five presets of varying intensity available on each of the dozen effects combinations. The effects on offer are well thought out, too, classically Fender, too, if that’s what you’re after with spring reverb and tremolo, but there also some nicely modulated sounds with delay and tape echo to add to taste.
The Mustang Micro also knows when to play to its strength and make the most of the stereo headphones output and panning delays both left and right. With a full charge, the amp offers up to four hours of playing time.
All this, allied to the price, would make a convincing case for the Mustang Micro as a gig-bag essential but there is more. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stream music to the amp and play along, and that USB-C output makes recording your ideas very easy.
MusicRadar verdict: Practical and fun, with a great range of tones, the Mustang Micro is the guitar amp that allows you to play anytime, anywhere, and it is one of the best practice tools on the market.
Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp: The web says
“It all sounds superb and the EQ presets help to tame the high gain models from getting too ﬁzzy, but honestly we were taken aback at how much quality is on access wherever you are. And it’s the mobility angle that is key here – pick up, plug in and play with an internal battery chargeable via USB to simplify things further.”
“As a no-fuss home practice tool, beginner amp, travel rig, or even an emergency pedalboard amp, there’s no reason why all of us shouldn’t have one of these stowed away in our gigbags.”
“The most impressive part about all of the amp models I tested is just how physically responsive they are. Good amps – analog and digital alike – offer a feeling of how hard you are driving each note. I found that with a pair of in-ear headphones on, I could really pay close attention to my articulation while practicing.”
Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp: Hands-on demos
Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp: Specifications
- TYPE: Headphone modelling amp
- CONTROLS: Volume, on/off/bluetooth pairing, amp +/-, EQ +/-, Effects +/-, Modify
- [effects] +/-
- FEATURES: USB-C recording/charging out, Bluetooth audio streaming, 12 amp model, 12 effect model combinations, rechargeable lithium-ion battery (4 hours minimum and 6 hours max battery life)
- DIMENSIONS [LxWxD]: 77mm x 37mm x 17mm
- CONTACT: Fender