My main onstage guitar amplifier for the last couple years is the Fender Cyber-Twin SE. As a live guitarist this amplifier has been invaluable to me. Because I play in a cover band as well as an original band, I needed an amplifiereffects setup that could cover a wide range of different guitar sounds. At a gig I will use sounds ranging from a country twang to hard rocking Marshall type distortion to full on saturated mid-scooped distortion. I used to use a Digitech 2120 Valve Guitar System but it just didn’t have the punch and presence of an actual amplifier and it’s sound always left me wanting more power. When I was searching for a new amplifier I played a bunch of modeling effects units and amplifiers including the Line 6 POD, Boss GT-8 Effects Processor and the Line 6 Vetta 2 among others. None of those modeling devices gave me the playing response that the Fender Cyber-Twin SE did. The biggest thing I noticed was on the other modeling devices, whether I played light or heavy, or when I turned the guitar down or up, the sound stayed the same. The Fender Cyber-Twin SE responded to my playing touch, guitar volume adjustments and my picking attack. It simply breathes more than a standard DSP modeling amplifier. There’s a secret to how Fender achieved this with the Cyber-Twin SE.
The Cyber-Twin SE is a 2×12 combo amp with a tube preamp and reconfigurable analog and digital circuitry. The secret to it’s amazing responsiveness is in it’s configurable analog circuitry. This is what sets it apart from other DSP amp modelers like the Line-6 products. The Cyber-Twin SE has a number of analog switches inside that are used to re-route the guitar signal into the various analog circuit configurations. You can actually hear the solenoids switching to the different analog circuits when you turn the control knob to different presets. The analog circuits are actual amplifier circuits made up of the tubes, resistors, capacitors, etc. of the original amplifier circuit that the Cyber-Twin SE is emulating. The Cyber-Twin SE has two 12AX7WC tubes that it uses in the analog circuit section. So when you switch the amp to a Fender Blackface amplifier, the circuit rewires itself to become a Fender Blackface. Because the amp models are actual wired amplifiers, you get actual amplifier response to your playing. That’s why the Fender Cyber-Twin SE responds so well to your playing. Now you can actually play your amplifier as well as your guitar. Once you select an amp model on the Cyber-Twin SE, the built in DSP can radically increase your sonic pallete. The tubes are also easily accessible from the rear panel and can be replaced without the need to re-bias if you replace them with the same type of Fender Groove Tubes.
The fact that the Cyber-Twin SE actually rewires the individual circuit components, resistors, tubes and capacitors makes it unique in the world of ultra-versatile amplifiers. It’s loaded with an array of vintage and modern amplifier tones. The amps that the Cyber-Twin SE can produce by rewiring it’s circuits are the Dyna-Touch, Blackface, Tweed, Modern and British amps (yes that means Marshall). It has 16 drive cuircuits, 12 tube types, 4 solid state types and some extreme types as well. You can combine these drive circuits in a number of different ways to get a large variety of amps. The distortion effect in the DSP section is also assignable and can be routed before or after the analog section. The Cyber-Twin SE uses two 12-inch, 8 ohm Celestion G12T-100 speakers that sound very, very good.
There are a number of other innovative and extremely useful features built into the Fender Cyber-Twin SE. Here are some of my favorites.
It has motorized knobs that turn automatically when you switch presets. This gives you an instant visual to how your amp is set when you switch to a new preset. You can also adjust the knobs on the fly for instant tweaking of the sound and if you want, you can save your adjustments to the same preset or a new one. This makes setting your amplifier equalization very quick and easy, just like a standard one-trick amplifier. I like being able to glance behind me when I’m playing and see exactly where my volume knob is at. Using the MIDI Foot Controller I can control the volume with the pedal, then glance at the amp to see where it moved the volume to by looking at the motorized volume knob that moves when I use the volume pedal. It’s really a great feature!
Another thing I really like is the huge plethora of outputs on the back of the amplifier. It has an Effects Loop, Stereo Headphone Out which when engaged turns off the main speakers, Stereo XLR Outputs (which can be switched to Mono if you prefer), SPDIF Digital Out, and MIDI In/Out/Thru jacks. The XLR outputs are very handy to use for running a line to your PA system if you don’t want to mic the amplifier. They are EQ’d to simulate a mic’d speaker and the speaker simulation is very convincing. The rear panel of the amp also has Right/Left powered speaker outputs which put out 65 Watts RMS per channel, an Expression Pedal input, Rev/FX Bypass input and a Foot Switch input for the included 4-button footswitch.
The Cyber-Twin SE has a built-in tuner that works really well for on-stage tuning. It’s not as accurate as my Peterson tuners but I do use it when I’m in a hurry. The Cyber-Twin SE also has a ton of pre-programmed presets that are what I consider to be a good starting point for programming your own sounds. Luckily there are 100 user locations to store your amp settings in. I currently use about 25 and I doubt I’d ever fill up the whole 100. With the Cyber-Twin SE being so programmable and easy to program it’s not hard at all to dial in some killer amplifier tones. I’m able to cover anything from Johnny Cash to Nine Inch Nails and the amp does it easily.
The Cyber-Twin SE comes with a 4-button footswitch and a single footswitch. The 4-button switch is used to switch between four user assignable presets. So if you can narrow down your sounds to your 4 favorite then this switch will work fine for you. The single footswitch is for the Reverb/Effects Bypass input and allows you to toggle the reverb and effects on and off. So right out of the box the amp is stage ready. The Cyber-Twin SE also comes with an embroidered black amplifier cover that looks really sharp when it’s covering the amp. Another thing I really like about the amp, and I’ve never had an amp with this simple but so convenient feature, is the included casters on the amp. I love being able to roll this amp where I need it to go instead of having to lug it around by the handle. The amp isn’t super heavy but I love those wheels!
There is one accessory that I feel is a must-have with the Cyber-Twin SE and that’s a MIDI foot controller. I use the Fender Cyber Foot Controller which was made specifically for the Cyber-Twin SE but there are many good MIDI foot controller options out there such as the Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Footcontroller. My Fender Cyber Foot Controller has 12 buttons that control the amplifiers presets, a Tap Tempo/Tuner button and an Effects On/Off button. It also has two expression pedals that I use to control Volume and Gain on the fly. You can assign the expression pedals to control almost any parameter on the Cyber-Twin SE. I highly recommend purchasing a MIDI Foot Controller when you buy the amp.
The Fender Cyber-Twin SE is a fantastic amplifier for the money and haven’t regretted buying for a second since I’ve owned it. Please follow the links below to download the Cyber-Twin SE Owners Manual and Schematic Diagram. The Owners manual has in depth descriptions of the many features of the Cyber-Twin SE. On the Schematic, you can see the switching solenoids used for the analog circuits.
Fender Cyber-Twin SE Owners Manual
Fender Cyber-Twin SE Schematic
I have also posted some of my custom programmed patch presets for the Cyber-Twin SE for you to download here: Free Fender Cyber-Twin SE Preset Downloads. If you don’t know how to use MIDI Sysex data I’ve written a tutorial about how to load presets onto the Cyber-Twin SE. I’ve also included a link to download the software to load and save presets from you Cyber-Twin SE: How To Save And Load Presets On Your Cyber-Twin SE
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