Sound: I'm using my little Ibanez GIO bass with a GFS PB Pro pickup, does what I need it to. I haven't tried to do too much with it, but for just supporting the bands, and even some jazz funk type stuff, it's perfect. It has a huge low end growl that's very clean, but very aggressive, and using the compressor controls, you can accentuate the lows or the highs to make it sit father back, or more forward in a mix. The controls on this amp literally give you thousands of different sounds, and makes it almost limitless in the types of tones you can get, which makes up for the lack of a Drive channel.
This amp is very very quite, very little buzz, if any. I have yet to push it, cause I don't want to blow up my soundcard, but I'm sure when you push the volume, it starts to get very aggressive and the breakup would sound almost natural.
The valve in the preamp is not there for just looks, that preamp tube makes a world of difference between a cold solid state tone, and that warm tube tone, I'm not kidding, it has that much effect on the tone. It's even more apparent when you actually dial out the valve from the circuit using the valve volume control. I usually keep the valve fully in the circuit, gives it a lot of natural warmth and extra growl.
The pre-shape controls are interesting, the first pre-shape give it a kinda bity trebly thin crunch, which is interesting to play with, but not my favorite. The second pre-shape is almost like just running it without the pre-shape, except it's alot smoother, and it cuts most of the growl, and makes the tone much more controlled. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This amp has seen better days, and I'm surprised it still works like new. I honestly think this amp could survive almost anything you can throw at it, it also weighs a lot, the entire thing is just one solid steel case. This amp has been neglected for many years, and no longer has any fuses, the main fuse has been soldered together, and the speaker fuse is missing, yet it still works as if there wasn't any problems.
The cooling fan on this one still works good, but when you shut it off, it kinda starts to clunk as it slows down, prolly just old.
Even as is, I think I could rely on this amp 100 percent. // 10
Overall Impression: My impression of this amp, is that it deserves a lot more attention than it's seen. I've only met two people on UG who have even heard of this amp, and one was a guy who programed the amp sim for Guitar Rig 3 of the RAH250SMX(same amp, less wattage). This amp should be up there as one of the top 10 bass amps you have to own.
If it was stolen, it would be a heart break, and would try my best to find another one, but I don't know if I could, I really don't think Trace Elliot made to many of these amps.
The only thing I don't like about this amp is the lack of a Drive channel, it doesn't really need one, but it would of been nice. // 10