As a guitarist, I can’t tell you how often I’ve needed to practice but couldn’t without disturbing everyone around me. It’s an experience that all guitar players can likely relate to.
Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, there’s a wonderful solution for this. Micro headphone amps allow you to play silently without bothering your family, friends and neighbors.
While many amplifiers allow the use of headphones, these small plug-in amps are portable and simple to use. They allow you to practice quietly just about anywhere. I recently picked up a new model and decided to write this Fender Mustang Micro review after spending some time with it.
Fender Mustang Micro Overview
The Fender Mustang line of amplifiers has been a personal favorite of mine for years now. The Fender Mustang Micro is a tiny plug-in amp designed to be used with headphones.
This line of digital-modeling amps allows you to choose from multiple amp voices and effects to create the perfect sound. They’re versatile and perfect for playing live gigs or for recording.
Fender’s Mustang Micro is a brilliant solution for those who need to practice quietly. Its small size and portability makes the Mustang Micro excellent as a travel amp too.
This little wonder has gotten a lot of buzz and positive feedback in the guitar community. It’s often praised for its sound quality and wide range of possible tones.
Design and Features
When I first removed the device from the packaging, I could immediately tell that it was of a high quality. It feels solid and well-built. All of the buttons and the volume knob feel solid as well.
The Mustang Micro has a 270-degree rotating input jack that allows the device to be used with just about any guitar.
I tried it on a number of instruments, including a Fender Stratocaster with its unique body-mounted jack input. It worked well with all of them, and the device stayed firmly in place as I played.
The Mustang Micro has Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect to a speaker, smartphone or tablet. You can even play along with a backing truck. There’s a 1/8″ input for your favorite headphones and a USB port for connecting to recording equipment, as well as for software updates.
Check out the following video that demonstrates how you can use the Mustang Micro’s connectivity features to record directly into an iPhone, iPad or computer:
This little amp is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and offers around four hours of playtime on a single charge.
I personally found the button interface easy to use, though you will have to memorize which LED color represents each amp model and effect. When in doubt, you can always check the online Fender Mustang Micro manual.
Amp Models and Effects
There are 12 Fender Mustang Micro amp models to choose from. Each amp is set for a specific voice, which can be altered with the EQ settings.
There are clean amp sounds from classic Fender models like the 1965 Fender Twin Reverb and the 1957 Twin. One setting even emulates the sound of an AC30 Vox for authentic 60s British tones.
Three amps cover a variety of crunch tones from classic rock to 90s nu-metal. Four models give you extremely high gain by emulating amps such as Eddie Van Halen’s EVH 5150 setup.
A Studio Preamp setting is ideal for direct recording or for use with bass or acoustic guitars. There are also 12 Fender Mustang Micro effects that can be added to each amp voice. These cover a variety of reverb and modulation types and can be tweaked to your liking.
This category is where the Mustang Micro really shines. The amp does a surprising job of copying the sounds of some iconic amps.
I particularly enjoy the clean tones, which is something that other amps of this type don’t always pull off so well. But this is Fender, the company that’s known for its beautiful clean tones.
The Mustang Micro also handles high gain with ease. I was able to get some excellent classic rock and metal tones. Your choice of headphones will affect the tone, of course, in the same way that a speaker or cabinet shapes the sound of a full-sized amp.
The Mustang Micro is an easy to use, plug-and-play type of device. The number one concern I had before trying the unit was the possibility of latency.
This certainly wasn’t a problem while using wired headphones. It works flawlessly with both expensive and cheap headphones. I couldn’t detect any noticeable latency while playing through my phone via Bluetooth either.
Last of all, it was easy to use with my digital audio workstation once connected via the USB-C cord.
Pros and Cons
- Great sound quality.
- It’s portable and has a rechargeable battery.
- The rotating input jack works with most guitars.
- Numerous amps and effects to choose from.
- Can connect directly to a computer for recording.
- Bluetooth allows you to play through an external speaker or smartphone.
- Bluetooth doesn’t work with wireless headphones or earbuds.
- It takes awhile to memorize the color-coding system.
- The buttons can be hard to see in low-light conditions.
Fender Mustang Micro vs Vox Amplug
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Fender Mustang Micro, there are a few to choose from.
The Vox Amplug is one of my favorite budget choices. It comes in at less than half of what the Fender costs, though there will only be one amp sound for each model. Each model is specifically for a music or tone type like metal or blues. If you only play one genre, it’s not a bad choice.
Mustang Micro Amp Review: The Final Verdict
I enjoyed my time with the Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp and will be using it on a regular basis going forward. I like its simplicity, sound quality and variety of tones.
It took awhile to get used to the LED color-coding system for the different amps and effects, but I don’t know what else Fender might have done with a device this small. Overall, this is a fantastic piece of gear.
About the Author
Thomas M., the founder of Guitar Top Review, boasts 15+ years of guitar experience and was a church band member in L.A. Transitioning from piano to acoustic guitar, his first love remains his Taylor GS Mini. Alongside like-minded hobbyist friends, he launched the site, driven by a deep love for music that transcends professional boundaries.