Price paid: C$ 299
Purchased from: Don't Fret
Features: Similar to the LX20R that has been around for a while now, Laney's LX20D is a very nice 15-watt solid-state combo amp that includes a range of digital effects.
This two-channel amp (one clean, one distortion) varies from the LX20R in that the reverb dial to the top right corner of the head has been replaced with a rotary dial that allows the player to select from a range of digital effects, including chorus, flanger, reverb and delay, plus multiple combinations of each.
The other significant difference between the digital amp and the older LX20R is that the CD/LINE IN input on the new LX20D uses a pair of RCA jacks, rather than the quarter-inch jack employed on the previous model. I do not know why Laney made this change, but the sound quality of music played into the amp from an iPod is surprisingly good, even with the guitar layered over top.
Those two features aside, the LX20D retains most of the same features as the LX20R: a single, quarter-inch guitar input jack; master volume; crunch and master volume dials; tone adjustment for bass, mids and treble; and a quarter-inch headphone jack. A push button located between the Volume and Crunch dials allows quick selection of wet or dry channels. // 9
Sound: The single eight-inch speaker delivers more oomph than one would expect, with surprising low-end for a compact amp in this price range. I play a range of music through it, from Chicago blues to prog rock to funk and jazz, using a standard SSS Stratocaster and a Yamaha AES420 with Twin humbuckers. As a compact practice amp, the Laney LX20D works very well.
The digital effects sound very good (particularly the reverb and chorus) but the limited range of adjustment may leave some players wanting. I like the fact I can take this amp alone, without any stomp boxes, and still be able to achieve a fairly broad range of sounds. At home, I tend to play it clean and use my standard footboard with traditional pedals.
For the most part the amp is fairly quiet. With the distortion cranked up loud there is a bit of a hum, but not to the point of being unacceptable. Sound does distort a bit in either channel at high volume, but this is a LOUD amp and I sincerely wonder who on earth would ever play the thing on 9 or 10 for any length of time? It's designed as a compact practice amp - not for a live performance at Shea Stadium. Used in the role it was designed for, it sounds just great. // 9
Reliability & Durability: Short answer - built like a tank. Sturdy construction, heavy metal grille and metal corner covers suggest this is an amp that doesn't need to be babied.
My only other comment regarding durability concerns the channel switching button located by the master volume switch. This plastic button has a bit of play to it, and feels a bit sloppy to be honest, but has not failed yet in approx. Six months of use. All other dials are very smooth and silky. // 9
Overall Impression: Laney's LX20D is clearly designed for a beginner guitarist, delivering great sound with a wide range of built-in digital effects For the price paid, it's quite a bargain.
Having said that, it would be unfair to simply dismiss this as just a beginner amp. It delivers a great sound in a very compact package. With the ability to use its onboard effects and leave a couple of stomp boxes at home, it provides legitimate convenience and I think real value. If anything happened to it, I would not hesitate to buy another. // 9