Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: eBay
Features: Let me start out by saying this amp is the king of versatility. The only way to come close to this amp in sound and features is the Vetta II. The JM150 is a tube integrated modeling amplifier, which means that it incorperates two 12AX7 pre amp tubes into each of it's amp models. This "tube integration" allows the amp to mimick the eq curves of the amps it is modeling. Each of the amp models have two channels, clean and dirty, along with controls for gain, level, treble, bass, and mid, and a universal contour knob. and the amp itself has 100 user presets and 100 factory presets to choose from. The amp models are broken down into 5 categories. American stacks, which include the Mesa/Boogie Mark II (which does include the eq automatically when the amp model is selected) and Dual Rectifier, and the Soldano SLO, British stacks, which include the JCM800, hot rodded Marshall, the American combo category includes the '65 Black Face Twin, Boogie MKII, Matchless DC30, Dual Rectifier, and Trem-O-Verb, and the British combos inculde the'63 Vox AC 30 Top Boost, Marshall JCM 800 and and 5th category is populated by Johnson Custom amps and combinations of different amps, such as a recto/fender. There are two ports on the back for expression pedals to control wah, whammy effects, volume, and even eq parameters and effects levels. It has two direct xlr outs for recording, and two extra 8 ohm ports for extra speakers.
Now onto the digital (maybe) effects. All of the effects have all of the parameters that a single effects pedal devoted to that effect would, and 4 different effects can be run simultaneously. The JM150 has modulation effects, delays, reverbs, and a category called "other". In the modulation section, you will find various flangers, chorus, phaser, rotary speaker simulator, tremelo, and combination of chorus/flanger and chorus/delay. The delays section offer many delay presets, as does the reverb section. The "other" section is basically a whammy/wah/eq/compressor pedal. // 10
Sound: I use a Fender American Double Fat Strat with this amp, and I've gotten clone tones of the follwing bands: Metallica, Pantera, Dream Theater, Slayer, Steve Vai, and I've gotten pretty close to Anthrax. Other tones that came with the amp as factory presets were: SRV, Dick Dale, David Gilmour, Van Halen(aka brown sound), Smashing pumpkins, and some hendrixish fuzz settings just to name a few. The most Brutal distortion I've gotten out of the amp was a factory preset! The amp does give some feedback, but that problems rectified(no pun intended) by switching on the noise gate. The digital effects sound as analog as can be, and so do most of the amp models. Ok, now onto the only part of this amp I dislike. I've found through gigging that the two vinatge 30 loudspeakers are very directional in their sound, it's almost like a flashlight. I've unitentionally blown the audience away(not with my madskillz though) because I had been standing to the side of the amp during the sound check. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This amp has never broken down on ME, but I hear sometimes the battery will die, and all of your presets will be erased. But, I've also heard that the guys over at Johnson are more then happy to fix the problem and send you on your way. I'd gig without a back up no sweat, so long as no one does anything stupid with it, and it's pretty much noob proof, bcause you can run the amp safely with out the speakers attached, and it warms itself up. It only has a couple of preamp tubes, so if they go, it's no sweat, maybe 20 bucks at most to get em both replaced. // 10
Impression: If this amp were stolen, I'd really miss it, but I'd probably be saving for something else, variety is the spice of life. I love the digital effects and the ability to save and load presets at the turn of a wheel, but I just wish it spread it's great tone out more evenly through it's speakers. Line 6 bought out Johnson, and then they eventually made the Vetta II. after trying both amps, the Johnson reigns supreme. In tone and in features. Line 6 makes some great amps, but compared to the JM150 they're just posers. In closing, I'd like to say that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this amps capability. In my opinion, this amp has equal potential in the studio, and in a live environment, so long as you have a good pa. // 9