When Musiciansfriend.com offered the Fender Expo as the “STUPID DEAL OF THE DAY” I jumped at the chance to buy it for this price. My mentor at the local music store “Danny D’s Guitar Hacienda” (in League City, TX) really raved about the Fender Expo
when it first came out. He used them in the store for events and performances which always sounded great.
When I opened up the Fender Expo to check it out I had high hopes that this would replace my Fishman Solo Amp (I so regret selling that).
Right off the bat I noticed several shipping labels on the exterior of the box. This is never a good sign as it usually means the item has been returned and shipped back out several times. When an item is sent back to the company it is tested for 5 minutes? before deeming it suitable to ship out to someone else. This had 3 shipping labels attached on top of one another and the box looked like it had a very rough trip to my front door.
Fortunately, the Fender Expo was packed in its original box which was then boxed in a 2nd box. The Expo box looked untouched, clean and what you would expect with a new item. I was happy that I didn’t find fingerprints or opened plastic bags (I love musiciansfriend.com but, 8 times out of 10 items have been repacked. You would think that they would at least wipe the finger prints off of something a buyer is expecting to be new).
Plugged in my Taylor T5 guitar and it sounded great. Plugged in my Audix OM2 mic, no sound. I changed, XLR cables, microphones, even went so far as to read the 2 page instruction manual. Nothing worked. Tried the guitar in both inputs and it sounded great. Tried using my Bose T1 mixer by plugging it into the combo jacks, still nothing. Tried to plug the T1 into the RCA jacks, nothing.
At this point I call Musiciansfriend tech support to see if I was missing something.
The unanimous opinion is that the Fender Expo is defective and I am to send it back to retailer (musicians friend.com). Musiciansfriend is quick to offer replacement but at this point I’m not thrilled with the Fender Expo and decide to get my money back instead.
Of coarse the guitar sounded amazing through the Fender Expo and I was able to get an iPhone S+ to play through the Expo using a 3.5mm to rca adapter cable. Which was enough to sample how the Expo operated and performed.
Unlike the Bose L1 Compact, it allows you to hear every minuscule adjustment of the dial controls which was not the case with the Fender Expo. The Fender Expo dial must be turned up to 10:00 position before you hear any sound. The Subwoofer was heard at 12:00 and not much difference after that. It seemed to me the adjustments on both subwoofer and volume were either on, middle, all the way, with nothing in between.
I was quite disappointed with the Expo and unless you get it for $399, I would take a look at other options. I use a Fishman Artist for smaller gigs and the Bose Compact with the T1 Tonematch.