Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Oxford Guitar Gallery
Features: I'm not too sure when this amp was made. I think it's one of the original 1998 versions, as it says that the manual was published in 1998. These amps are discontinued now, I think, and originally retailed at about 850 ($1200). I play mostly play rock, alternative rock and occasionally some jazz type things. The amp is definitely able to play all those styles easily, and I'm pretty sure it could tap into others too, but I haven't tried. For starters, it's a modeling amp. It's 80 watts and has single 12" speaker, so this thing is bloody loud. It features a high-input and a low-inout (depending on your guitar's output). There is a trim knob (something to do with the preamp) and an overall output knob (this does not affect the final tonality of the sound). There is obviously an on/off switch. It also has a gain knob and a master knob. It has 2 clean amp models, 2 drive amp models, 2 crunch amp models and 2 lead amp models. It has a 4 band eq (treble, hi-mid, low-mid and bass), it also has a presence nob. The amp also features very versatile effects (chorus, tremelo, 3 reverbs (spring, hall and plate) and tape echo (delay)). There are 2 nobs for tremolo (speed and depth), 3 for chorus (speed, depth and level), 3 for tape echo (time, feedback and level) and 1 for reverb (level) as well as a button to change reverb type. You might think that there would be far too many nobs to keep track of, but this is one of the clever things about the amp. All the nobs (excluding trim and output) are motorised. All the nobs are doubled up, so basically, you push a button (mode) and the light changes from "amp" to "effects". All the nobs now turn back to 0 (or preset or whatever) and you can now adjust the secondary function for the nob, which is indicated above.
This probably all sounds a little complicated, and I'm not done just yet, so bare with me. The amp also has the ability to store and recall the sounds you have "created", and takes advantage of the motorized nobs. Basically, the amp can store up to 128 presets that you can recall instantly with a push of a button. When you cycle (pressing up or down) to which one you want (shown by the little LCD display) and you simply puch "recall" and the amp remembers what you've saved for that preset. Furthermore, it rotates all the nobs to the set position for that set. Sounds complicated? Its much simpler in real life. Also (yet again) the amp is compatable with Midi foot controllers. This enables you to recall whatever presets you wish with your feet while you're playing or whatever. I've not tried this just yet though, but it looks even more complex. There is also a line out (speaker/amp), an external speaker-out, a midi in and out and an effects loop. Definitely more functions than a swiss army knife. Unfortunately, it involves a bit of a learning curve to get used to it. // 9
Sound: I play a Yamaha Pacifica 112X with the stock pickups (I really need a new guitar). I play rock, alternative rock, some metal and some jazz type things. I feel it can play anything I want really. The amp models are more than perfect for this. I also play some Satriani and similar type things and the lead channels combined with some delay and chorus can produce brilliant, classic Satch sounds. The amp isn't noisy when it shouldn't be, such as lead and Drive. However, I know its not the amp as my friends and guitar teacher have played their guitars through it and they sound fine, one being a Vintage Telecaster (oh yes). The Drive and crunch are fine for some solid power chording as well as some tasteful warm Drive sounds (I prefer my SD-1 though). And, of course, the cleans. I could just marry these. You can vary them from warm, mellow cleans to gritty, harsh tones. You can even get an almost acoustic sound too (I swear). The effects are absolutely brilliant as well. All the people Who've played it have said they'd pay good money for pedals that could make this sort of sound. Overall, the sound dosn't change whatsoever as you increase the Output. Definitely loud enough for practice/recording and small to medium-small gigs. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This thing is heavy and appears to built like a tank. I've had it a few months now and the worse injury it has is one of the stickers peeling off the front (oh noes). It's made of that black rubbery/plasticy thing and has metal bump things on the corners (to stand on(sorry about my lack of technical language)). The board is a mauve red and the speaker cover is like woven thatch material, not your usual metal grill. It has an open back too, which is cool, as well as useful for putting leads in and stuff. It's reasonably manouverable, requiring you have another person to help, but it seems happy to slide around the floor if I need to move it. I doubt this thing is going to get damaged from dropping it from short heights (I havn't tried though). I love this amp to pieces and I'd happily gig without a backup. Also, there are no tubes or anything else to fiddle with, which is good. // 10
Overall Impression: I think this amp matches my style incredibly well and I don't regret it a bit. I've been playing for about 3 years (on and off) and this is my first proper amp (I've been playing a tiddly 10watt practise amp) and so its a big step up for me. My guitar isn't too shabby and has lasted about 6 years (originally my sister's) and the sound quality has improved sooooo much. I also own an SD-1, a DS-1 and a Dunlop Crybaby (yes, I'm a bit of a rocker). If someone stole it, I'd definitely try to find another when. Then I'd first shake their hand for actually being able to pick it up before giving them the ol' 1-2 to the chops and the 3-4 to his more sensitive region. I love the fact that is so cool and does everything so effortlessly. I still can't get over the motorized nobs, I've never seen anything like it before. The next step I think I'll take is trying to get my hands on a midi foot controller, but I'm not sure I want to dish out 100 + for one just yet. Seriously, if you see one of these around, at least give it a play as it won't be around for long. // 10