Price paid: $ 274.5
Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 6
I picked this amp up when I bought my first bass a few years ago because I wanted to get something bigger than a piddly little 30W practise amp. I played a Ibanez GSR200 (PJ pickups) through it for the first couple of years and it gave a decent enough sound but there's only so much you can do for a cheap starter instrument. Paired with my ESP-LTD B404 (twin active EMG humbuckers) it gives a nice rich, deep tone (provided you don't push it too hard) but I think a lot of that is down to the active EMG circuitry in the instrument. The amp delivers quite a weighty sound courtesy of the 12" driver in it, though sadly it's not quite enough to cut it in a band situation (well not mine anyway). Back in the bedroom though where it's just you this thing can deliver a solid volume without cracking up. I found it starts to come apart when you turn the mid gain up too much, but then I don't usually have it turned up much at all. I only ever use the compressor when I need it to be a little quieter so I can't really tell you about that. In my band I play through an Ibanez distortion pedal and the effects loop is worth its weight, the amp copes with the additional gain fine. I have taken to using the pedal on clean as a tone filter though as the overall shape of sound you get out of the amp wasn't really good enough for me, which is a major let down.
Overall Impression — 7
I can't say I'm overjoyed with the amp, nor too disappointed. I can get the sound I want with additional pedals, but the amp is able to produce the volume I want for practising on my own. Don't get your hopes up if you've got an angry demon for a drummer though or an ego trip guitarist Who seems intent on being the only audible thing in the world. On the plus side though this amp is built like a Kalashnikov. When I was choosing an amp it was between this and a Behringer so the Laney was the obvious choice, though if I were to loose this amp I would go out with a bigger budget and pick up something else with a bit more oomph and better tone control.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Having abused this amp weekend after weekend with the volume cranked to 10 for hours I can say that although it sounds shit at those levels it won't burn itself out or self combust or anything like that. it's been dropped a fair few times and the cabinet seems unbreakable, the metal grill is definitely kick-proof. Never had any problems in this respect. I think I might actually have to give it a ten.
Features — 7
This is pretty much your bog standard single channel bass amp. You've got your gain and volume, bass, treble and mid sweep/gain knobs for shaping the tone as well as a compressor. The amp has active and passive inputs for your instrument, an effects loop, CD line in, and 1/4" direct out all on the front panel, with a headphone jack and external speaker jack round the back. To be honest I can't figure out when I'd ever need the speaker jack for a 65W practice amp. It would have made more sense to me to have the headphone jack on the front and direct out and effects loop jacks on the back, but perhaps that's just personal preference. There are just too tiny little things that piss me off about this amp: it has the gayest name anyone could ever give an amp(the "Hardcore Max" does genuinely sound like a sex product), and the terrible font they used for the text on the amplifier. They gave it a distinctly mean looking metal grill, then went and gave the choice of font to a pubescent teenage schoolgirl.