The Fender Mustang LT25 is nice practice guitar amplifier that's hard to fault, but it's slightly outshone by the competition
- Sounds fantastic
- Friendly visual interface
- Handy USB connection
- No Bluetooth
- Limited range of effects
Last year we tried out the Fender Mustang GT 40, a portable guitar amplifier with Bluetooth connectivity and an impressive range of built-in effects. Now it has a dinkier brother, the Mustang LT25. The new model has a smaller cabinet, a lower price and fewer features but it can still produce a fair spread of gorgeous guitar tones. Is this the perfect practice amp?
Fender Mustang LT25 review: What you need to know
The Mustang LT25 is a compact 25W solid-state guitar amplifier with an 8in speaker and a built-in digital effects processor, which simulates the sound of various classic amplifiers and can add drive, modulation, delay and reverb effects. A dedicated “encoder” knob and a 1.8in colour display let you browse through 30 pre-programmed tones and adjust and edit them to your liking.
The amp also includes a built-in tuner and a USB connector that you can use to capture a high-quality recording of your playing on a computer or iPad. In short, it provides all the basic features that a bedroom guitarist is likely to want, in a small, budget-friendly package.
Fender Mustang LT25 review: Price and competition
If you’re looking for a guitar amp with built-in audio processing, the Mustang LT25 is one of the cheapest options around. The Line 6 Spider V 20 MkII is a little cheaper at just £106, but that offers a smaller range of tones, and lacks the convenient digital display. Raise your budget slightly and you can also consider the Marshall Code 25, which has a more imposing 10in driver and a slightly higher £149 price tag.
If you prefer to think small, the £159 Yamaha THR5 has a compact 10W design but still offers a good spread of effects and can optionally be battery-powered. The Roland BTM-1 is even smaller and only has 8W of total power output but adds Bluetooth for easy wireless connections.
None of these amps is powerful enough to perform live with, but they’re all available in larger, louder variants. If that’s what you’re interested in, you could also consider the Boss Katana range, which starts with the Katana 50 MkII at £219 and goes up from there.
Fender Mustang LT25 review: Design
The Mustang LT25 is endearingly small, measuring just 36.8 x 21.1 x 33.2cm (WDH). At 5.8kg it’s quite portable too, although it’s not really beefy enough to hold its own outside of a domestic setting. That said, it’s louder than you might expect: it won’t compete with a drum kit, but crank it up and it’ll certainly annoy the neighbours.
Along the top sit physical knobs for tweaking the gain, volume, treble and bass, along with the encoder dial and a small but bright and legible LCD display, which allows you to see at a glance exactly what patch you have selected, or to check your tuning.
As well as a 6.35mm input for your guitar, there are two 3.5mm jack sockets which you can use to plug in a pair of headphones – doing so automatically silences the speaker – and an auxiliary music source so you can play along with your favourite songs. Unlike the larger Mustang GT40, however, the LT25 doesn’t support Bluetooth, so wireless streaming is out.
The remaining 6.35mm socket is for an optional one-button footswitch, which you can use to switch back and forth between two preset tones while playing. It would be nice to have a bit more control than this but it’ll do for most home players and you can get an official Fender pedal for a pretty affordable £17.49 (ASIN: B001L8NGJ2).
At the right-hand end of the control panel, there’s also a micro-USB socket, for connecting the amp directly to a computer or iPad. This gives you a very easy way to incorporate the Mustang LT25’s versatile sounds into your own recordings, without having to mess around with microphones and auxiliary outputs. Be warned though that it only captures your playing, and won’t relay any backing tracks you might have coming through the Aux socket.
Fender Mustang LT25 review: Sounds
I was impressed by the sounds produced by Fender’s Mustang GT 40 and the LT25 evidently uses the same modelling techniques, because it, too, sounds fantastic. It comes with 30 presets, ranging from warm blues and jazz tones to punk and metal and overblown prog sounds and almost all of them are inspiringly usable.
If you want to go beyond these predefined tones you’re also free to get hands-on with the LT25’s five-stage processing chain, which lets you apply and adjust amp, stomp-box, modulation, delay and reverb settings in that order. The amp selection includes gorgeous simulations of Fender’s Twin Reverb and Princeton amps, plus legends including the Vox AC30, Marshall JCM800 and Orange OR120. I can’t swear that these all sound identical to the originals but each has its own distinctive character.
Stomp-box effects meanwhile include various overdrive and distortion options, plus approximations of the Big Muff, RAT and Tube Screamer pedals. The modulation section offers chorus, flange, tremolo, phase and auto-wah options, while the delay stage lets you either dial in a delay time in milliseconds or use the amp’s dedicated “tap” button to set the rhythm. Finally, reverb types include hall, plate and spring.
If you’re looking for maximum versatility, it’s worth noting that the Mustang GT 40 gives you more virtual amps and effects units, and a lot more than 30 slots for storing your own patches. It’s also a little tedious to explore and try out settings on the LT25. The LCD display is brilliant for seeing what you’re doing, but all navigation and adjustments have to be made using that one encoder knob.
The GT 40, by contrast, can be conveniently paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth and programmed via the Fender Tone app. Even so, the LT25 is more than capable of producing gloriously playable sounds covering a wide range of styles and moods. I suspect many players will quickly find a few favourite tones and never feel the slightest need for anything more.
Fender Mustang LT25 review: Verdict
As a small, low-cost amp for playing along with your favourite songs at home, the Mustang LT25 is very hard to fault. It’s not the most feature-packed modelling amp in the world but the sounds you do get are so good you’re bound to find something that suits.
The only reason I’d hesitate to recommend the LT25 is that the Mustang GT 40 can be had for just £40 more and, with its Bluetooth support and wider range of programmable effects, it’s a tempting upgrade. If you want to keep things small and simple, though, the Mustang LT25 is a superb practice amplifier that sounds impressive for its size.