Fender is one of those music brands with recognition well beyond guitar-heads and core music fans. Its imagery has adorned the likes of some of the most classic guitar amps and instruments ever made, many of which were used by some of the most iconic players in history. While similarly recognizable brands, like Marshall, have already crossed over into the casual, home and portable audio space, Fender is also looking to expand its consumer-level product line with a pair of new Bluetooth speakers…
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Early last month, the company unveiled its new smartphone-connected amp and app combo lineup. The Mustang GT digital amps feature the company’s classic hardware design while implementing a sweet digital/virtual front-end that allows guitar players to create some of the wildest sounds we have heard in a while. Certainly still a product directly aimed at guitar players, the Mustang series also packed in some features that pointed at Fender’s interest in the prosumer, and more importantly, casual audio market. With all its amazing app-connected features, the Mustang is also a fully functioning Bluetooth speaker that connects with all your favorite streaming services and devices.
Fast-forward just one month, Fender is now introducing its new Bluetooth speakers. While they are designed, like Marshall, with the company’s iconic amp-looking design and branding, these are just your typical home and portable streaming boomboxes.
There are two-models on the slate: The larger Monterey and its portable younger brother, the Newport. The Monterey features a much larger design that houses dual woofers and tweeters along with the classic Fender amp grille aesthetic. However, this is not a portable Bluetooth speaker. It has no internal battery so you’ll need to have it plugged in.
The smaller Newport is the portable model with a dual woofer and single tweeter configuration. Along with a microphone and controls for taking calls, its built-in battery lasts for up to 12 hours on a single charge over USB. While details and imagery are still hard to come by here, judging by what we have, the whole Fender iconography thing didn’t really pan out as well on the smaller, much more plastic looking Newport. Although, we will have to get a better look before passing judgment completely.
As for pricing and availability, both speakers are available now starting at $199.99 for the Newport. The Monterey is going to run you $349.99 shipped. Now, there is no doubt that Fender can make a good sounding speaker, but the price tags do seem slightly inflated here considering you could pick up one of the aforementioned Mustang GT digital amps, with the entire emulation/companion app system in place, starting at $250. Having said that, Marshall’s basic Bluetooth speakers certainly fetch a premium, and Fender is clearly trying to cash in on the same kind of brand nostalgia here as well.