Price paid: $ 790
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Best sound comes unplugged with medium weight strings. Very mellow tone, great for rhythm strumming. Doesn't push to treble or bass - very well balanced. I use Martin Marquis phosphor bronze - it sounds broken in as soon as I put them on. It leans toward brighter sound when plugged in, but with good levels it can sound as good plugged in as it does unplugged.
Overall Impression — 10
Blues, Classical, and a little bit of everything. You can get a lot of sounds and feels out of it with different strings, so take your pick. It's really a lower end martin, which still means something. The next step up adds better electronics and better wood, but you won't find a better sound for this price. I don't love the action with medium gauge strings, but I deal with it. I love the unplugged sound and how extremely solid it feels when I play it. Some acoustics have this fragile feeling, but this one is just sturdy. I would compare the feel of playing it to that of some of the mid-range Seagulls. Solid, mellow tone with a lot of play when it comes to strings/sound.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Great for live playing, but I feel like with the natural finish, people who sweat more when they play would notice quicker wear. Hardware is still good after 3 years, strap buttons are very solid but not very deep (get a good strap and you won't have problems). I've used it in gigs without a backup - strings are my ONLY worry. Electronics are trustworthy if your battery is good (I've replaced once).
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Like I said, light strings give it GREAT action but poor tone. You lose higher fret action with medium strings but the tone gained is worth it. It had no flaws whatsoever. The hardware was good, bridge hasn't ever cut my strings, and the neck is all in line. Natural finish is beautiful but susceptible to scratches if you aren't careful. The back and sides hold up really well, and they obviously won't have flaws.
Features — 9
Great neck, frets took some breaking in. With lighter strings it gets great action, but loses tone. Beautiful maple solid top (butterflied, but I've seen single piece tops), and even better mahogany neck. Martin's synthetic back and sides, which sounds bad but it doesn't affect tone and keeps it from getting scratched. Electronics are fantastic, but the features that come standard are pretty weak - hard to get just right. Came with a case.