The Fender Roc Pro 700 is a clean, dual-channel, distorted, semiconductor combo amplifier with tube preamp.
I bought it as my first amplifier in 2000, new, in a shop in northern Italy, for the tidy sum of 800,000 lire.
After years of honored service, I decided to share its strengths and weaknesses with all the musicians ????
The Fender Roc Pro 700 is a 65 watt combo amplifier, with tube preamp, quite small in size and considered quite revolutionary for the time. Personally, I have always transported it without too many problems from home to the room.
– height: 41.9 cm
– width: 52 cm
– depth: 24.7 cm
– weight: 13.6 Kg
The cone is a 12 “by 8 ohm” Fender Special Design “and the amplifier chassis is made of aluminum, in theory to reduce background noise as much as possible. Aesthetically it has a modern look, covered in tolex and with a metal front grille. It has two channels (clean / distorted), both with dedicated equalization of treble, mid, bass and volume. The supplied footswitch controls both channel selection and activation of the spring reverb (very nice), in common to the two channels.
The valve, a classic 12AX7 is relative (unfortunately) to the distorted channel only. The clean channel is made up of a circuit made up of semiconductors only… Too bad.
On the back there are a LINE OUT output for direct connection to external recording or amplification devices, a SEND to feed multi-effects or additional amplifiers and a RETURN for the return from them. In addition, there is the ability to attenuate or amplify the signal sent to the effects via a small toggle switch, with settings at –7dB, + 4dB and -16 dB.
The clean is neutral, as per Fender tradition, with a reverb that naturally does not disappoint the expectations of the brand. Pedals can be connected to the input without problems, I would call it a good “pedal eater” without problems.
With the clean channel of the Fender Roc Pro 700 you can play everything without problems, both in clean and with effects connected to the input to generate the most disparate sounds. Being nice neutral and taking every type of pedal well, it is really possible to use it in a versatile way from jazz to rock to metal.
The adjustments are sensitive and the potentiometers work well, as long as you move them often, otherwise they will start to crack due to internal oxidation. However, nothing that cannot be solved with a few nice laps from idle to full stop and vice versa until the sound clears up.
However, even if, as I said, the clean is beautiful, neutral and is good for everything (perhaps for this reason) it does not excite. Let me explain: there is no depth, something is missing. A nice tele or connected layer doesn’t “twanga” as it should with an amp of this brand …
But the volume of the clean channel…?
On the other hand, what is not linear at all, on the contrary, which has really created some headaches for me, is the volume potentiometer! It’s too sudden !!! It is not possible to go from 0 to a manageable volume at home, it goes from the minimum barely audible volume to an exaggerated volume to be used in the home.
Really, I really can’t figure out if whoever designed it also tried it later in this context or not. Or maybe it’s just mine that has this problem, even if I don’t think so. Apart from that, in the room it is not a problem, once the “pissed neighbor” threshold is exceeded, the volume reacts linearly in the room, as one would expect. The fact remains that it really has a frightening dB reserve, even in the hall !!!!!!! And the beauty is that, by not distorting the clean channel at all volumes, you have a considerable clean reserve.
The distorted channel of the Fender Roc Pro 700 is very mellow, has a pretty powerful saturation, probably thanks to the tube. I used it at home, often preferring it to external effects, giving me great satisfaction, especially at the beginning. The sound is very saturated and full of harmonics, I would say almost lead rather than crunch. In fact, crunches are definitely not the daily bread sound (for this there are other famous amplifiers, like those of good old Jim ????), also due to a not exactly progressive distortion.
In particular, even setting the gain potentiometer to zero, the sound is never clean. Also, that channel saturation / compression remains regardless, so you’ll never get a clean sound or a “dry” crunch from this channel. It’s not the kind of versatile distortion you can do anything with, in fact, it’s reminiscent of a full ball tube amp, nice soft in sound, but very pissed off. And compressed. Maybe too much.
In the house it is also pleasant, dirty a lot and a lot of fun. In the room the thing changes, it kneads too much and the notes are not very clear. Better to use the clean channel with a nice pedal in front. Too bad, having the valve one would expect more, but unfortunately this is not the case.
The Fender Roc Pro 700 is a turn-of-the-millennium amplifier, not exactly cheap at the time, with a nice transparent clean channel and powerful, compressed distortion. Generally not very popular, in my opinion it is a decent amp that does everything well (especially with the clean channel), without excelling at anything. Here an accordian published an article just in the period in which I bought it, thus bearing witness to the impressions of the time: https://www.accordo.it/article/viewPub/37, in which I see myself quite faithfully (for the time).
Would I buy it used today? Mmm… honestly no, I sold mine for non-use (although I was very fond of it by now, having been my first and only real amp for years). But nowadays there are also better amps in terms of sound, dynamics and general characteristics, at much more competitive prices, so I would not feel to recommend it.
However, if you want a neutral amplifier, which eats the pedals well, to be used mainly as a backup in the room, reliable and with a monstrous volume… look for a used one and you will not be disappointed!
Published on musicanza.it on: 29/03/2020