Price paid: $ 492.27
Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 10
I play in a punk/rap metal band. This amp is loud and deep enough to punch a brilliant bass line. I have 3 guitars that I use, a 4-string P-Bass, with a single P-Bass pickup. A 5-string Jazz bass, with bridge and neck pickups, and a 4-string bass with bridge and neck humbuckers. All of them perform admirably, compared to my old amp this is unbeleivable. It brings out some awesome slap tonality with a P-Bass. It can easily handle the 5 string, this is where the compressor comes into play. My favourite tones are the ones produced by the twin humbuckers. The sound is just so raw and meaty. This amp really is good at handling a huge range of basses and tones.
Overall Impression — 10
For what I do, this amp is perfect. Gigs in clubs, large pubs and other smaller venues, this'll do it. Also, with the option of an extension cabinet adding 250 watts to the total 300 OEM, this amp could probably do larger venues. It is also capable of doing outdoor venues, with the volume quite high though. There is a minor hinderence that I experience for every gig I ever do. The weight. I would swear by it, that Laney have put weights in this amp. It weighs around 33kg! This amp could do with wheels. But, provided there are no wires on the bottom of the inside, it would be easy enough to screw some on. Where transport is concerned, you need an estate. I never feel comfortable lying an amp down. Also, if you can stand it up in the back its easier to get out. Two people would be a Godsend. I personally like the tone, and the volume. Its not like other amps where as you turn it up higher and higher you lose tone. It's perfect tone all the way. My favourite feature is the 7 band EQ, hard at first, but by God, when you get it right, it's gorgeous. I must have tried a million amps before settling on this one. For one main reason. The price. I could not find an amp with 300 watts for less than this one. Nor could I find one as good. I wish that this had wheels, simple as that. 10/10 overall, for being the best purchase of my bassist career!
Reliability & Durability — 9
When I first got the amp, I was let down. There was a dry solder inside the cabinet which took a bit of warming up and a hit on the head to get it working everytime I played. Laney were brilliant. I went through the problems with the guys and they told me exactly what it could be, and advised I sent it back through my retailer. Gak.com were also good. They arranged and payed for the courier to pick it up, on a day that suited me. And Laney had it back to them within 2 weeks. And I had it back within 3 in total (my fault, I didn't check my emails when GAK told me they had it back). Since then it has been a dream, you turn it on, wait 2 seconds, and full volume is yours. Great for fast change overs at gigs etc. I would be fully prepared to use this amp without a backup. I'd give this 9. It did go wrong first off, but hasn't since.
Features — 9
The R4 has no-end of features. A bass and treble control with a 7 band mid, compressor, enhance, FX loop, tuner out, DI, horn, high and low inputs and a limiter. The EQ section is quite confusing at first, until you get used to the idea of shaping your tone rather than just spinning 3 knobs around. But with the hugely diverse range of tones availiable it's hard to find a tone you like. For this I personally use an FX pedal through the FX loop. The compressor is only really any good if you hammer your strings or use a 5 string. I do both and I can't say I've noticed a difference between the sounds with it on of off. Enhance. This one confused the heck out of me, it seems to do nothing, it does bring a bassier sound through on the lower levels, and a tinnier sound on higher, but apart from that it appears useless! Now, the FX loop is great. If you have a volume control on your FX pedal, turn it all the way up and use the volume on your guitar and amp. This amp will not turn up further than your FX pedal. With a descent pedal, you'll have the best setup for the price! The tuner out is just what it says, does the job, but unessecary if you have one on your pedal. Handy for a gig if you don't though! DI. Never used it. This amp is more than capable of performing on it's own. The horn is good for slap and high bass solos, it allows you to play higher notes by giving a wider tonal range to the amp. The inputs are simple, low for a passive, low ouput bass, high for an active, or high output bass. The limiter seems a little extreme to me. I was in the middle of a solo and I pushed the amp a little too far. Instead of lowering the volume (like a Hartke), the amp completely cuts out. But I would guess that this is better than the amp blowing which ever way you look at it! Overall I'll give the features a 9, there are lots of them and they are all good, if a little pointless!