Purchased from: Musicican's Friend
Ease of Use — 7
Dialing in your tones is easy-peasey. There's no weird, gimmicky preamp stuff going on here. Simple and right to the point EQ adjustment. However... it was 4' tall and weight 140 lbs. Kustom had the wherewithal to install spring loaded casters and a sturdy handle in the back so you could roll it around, and handles on the side for lifting. But heaving this thing into a car or pickup, getting on stage, moving it around your house if it has more than one floor... All horrendous. I would not buy another. A stack is a much more practical approach that this monster combo. I miss the power for sure, but I sure don't miss trying to move it. My current amp, a Peavey TNT115, can be lifted with one hand if you're a little bit strong, and is much easier to find a home for on stage and in your practice space. Consider the 310c only if you have a full-time roadie.
Sound — 10
All right, full disclosure: I don't own this amp anymore and haven't for almost 5 years. However, it was my only bass amp for about 4 years, during which time I was playing local clubs a couple times a month.
Basically, this combo is loaded with Kustom's 1200HD head, which is a 1200-watt solid state amplifier, and 3 10" Eminence speakers. The name of the game with this rig was PUNCH. It was LOUD, it hit hard, and it'd do it all night and come back for more. The band I was in at the time mostly played hard rock and a little bit of classic, alt, and grunge. I played a Yamaha RBX374 first, then a Schecter Damien-5 and a Peavey Fury IV, so all my experience with this amp was with active electronics. Thankfully, it is equipped with an "active/passive" selector, which is essentially a -15dB pad specifically designed for basses with active hardware.
The amp provided a powerful, well-defined sound while still bringing thundering lows. It had a graphic EQ and High/Mid/Low controls, allowing you to dial in your tone for any sound. It also had a "boost" function to kick up the volume and gain a hair, giving you a little flexibility, especially if your band has a very zealous drummer.
Reliability & Durability — 6
Construction-wise, this rig was nearly indestructible. I had it stuffed in backseats and trunks and pickup beds, and it rode out the abuse fine. Electronics-wise, about a year in it fried some chip on the PC board which processed signal to the power amp. Big deal? ... not really, unless it quits you in the middle of a gig like it did me. Fortunately, the XLR pre-amp out was still emitting signal, so I was able to run through the board and the mains for the rest of the night. Is this indicative of the brand or the model as a whole? Not sure, and it was repaired under warranty for free. But I gotta deduct points for reliability on that.
Overall Impression — 8
I loved playing through this rig, and the price was definitely right. There is absolutely no way you're going to get this kind of power for $500 with any other name on the grille. Maybe used, but even then I'd wonder. I was trading off using our drummer's rig, a GK 1001RB-II head through GK 4x10" and 1x15" cabs. The GK had a better sound, but the Kustom provided significantly more wallop. As I said first off, I traded it almost 5 years ago, stepped down to a mid-'80s Peavey TNT115... seems like madness right? Well, it was considered thoroughly and I think I made the right choice for me. And I'll explain why next.