Price paid: $ 874
Purchased from: Landers Music Orange
Sound — 10
I use a Yamaha Pacifica 604W with a splitable bridge humbucker and single coils for the middle and front. I have played an Epiphone V, and Ibanez RGX through it. As I mentioned earlier, this thing has quite a good heavy tone on the boost channel. If you turn the contour down to about 3 oclock it has a very Metal Zone sound to it. Turn it up to around 6 and you get a nice smooth distortion, good for modern punk stuff. The dirty channel really leaves a lot to be desired however. Even with gain almost all the way down it is still impossible to get a good crunch sound. Turn the gain up and it just becomes a raspy sound. Thats why I got a Boss DS-2. I find using the dirty channel with the DS-2 in normal mode gives an absolutley amazing fuzz sound - suitable for Hendrix. The clean sound is what you would expect from a solid state, very clear with no hint of breaking up.
Overall Impression — 8
This amp is made for metal, punk and heavy rock. Unless you have a spare $5000 to spend on a mesa, the next best thing would be maybe a Marshall with a Metal Zone. The value for money here is something hard to beat. Try finding another half stack with celestion speakers for around the $1000 mark. If Ashton can fix the reliability problems then this would be the ultimate begginers package. By the way, I have also tried the valve model and it sounds terrible.
Reliability & Durability — 4
This is where the Ashton falls down. I have gigged this amp a few times but have not treated it roughly. Yet I am finding that the speakers are starting buzz quite loudly when palm muting on mid to high volume. Also, having all four speakers working is a bit of a hit or miss afair and I am guessing the wiring or soldering in the cabinet needs looking at. Luckily my drummer is an electrician because its past the waranty. The amp itself seems fairly sturdy tho.
Features — 8
Made in 2003 in China, this amp has good sound for a solid state. I play punk, ska, metal and hard rock and with the exception of hard rock it is easy for me to find suitable tones. It's a 3 channel amp with clean, dirty and boost. I bought a footswith for an extra $50. There is an FX loop but it seems to reduce overall gain too much. I have gigged this amp a few times and it has stood up well. It is extremely loud being a solid state 100 watter. However if you plan on doing low palm muting riffs the volume can't really go too loud because the speakers dont seem to handle it.