Purchased from: Musicians Warehouse
Sound — 7
I'm using an ESP with an EMG 85 on my bridge with this amp and it can pll off most of the genres I play. I mainly play metal and for the crunchy sound I'm after (similar to Machine Head) this amp is not very suitable, although when combine with my metal zone it sounds amazing. When I play jazz I get a thick, clean sound which works marvellously for the genre. It also suits blues very well, whether clean or a little gain, chances are it was made for the latter two genres as it suits them very well. With the reverb set to full on the clean channel I can achieve a Pink Floyd sound (although this cannot be replicated as well on the mean channel). As I play through a metal zone (with gain set high), an EQ (to scoop mids) and a reasonably high-output pickup, unwanted noise is going to be unavoidable, and although it has reasonable control over this, I do think the amp is a little too noisy. Even set to its own mean channel with no extra effects the amp is a little noisy. In terms of the clean channel, at high volumes I've yet to hear distortion yet. The clean sound has great clarity and sharpness.
Overall Impression — 7
Despite the amp not being suited to my main style, heavy metal, it works well with my secondary styles; blues, jazz, rock. The only thing I really regret about this amp is that the distortion isn't vicious enough for my liking, but to each their own. If it were lost or stolen I may not buy it again, I might look around for a model up or a more metal-orientated amp.
Reliability & Durability — 5
As mentioned above, I haven't been able to gig with it yet because it broke. My first VP30 broke about 3 times and I kept getting it repaired until finally it got irritating and I asked for a new one from the customer support. This would lead one to think that they aren't very reliable, and I would agree in a way, but ever since I received a new amp from Ashton I've had no problems with the model. I guess my first one was just faulty. The customer service people were very helpful. Each time they took the amp, no hassles, called me in a day or two when it was fixed and there were no problems with it. After I decided to ask them for a new amp they did not put me through piles of paperwork or try to start an argument about whether I haven't been looking after it correctly. The customer service bloke just said "sure, fair enough, wait here and I'll get you a new one", so I was very happy with the customer service of Ashton.
Features — 7
A relatively new model, the VP30 is very similar to it's big brother, the VP50, minus a few features. - 30 Watts RMS @ 4 ohms - High Voltage All Tube Amplifier - Pre-amp Valves: 12AX7 + 12AT7 - Power-amp Valves: EL34 - Single 12 Speaker - Spring Reverb (footswitchable) - 2 Channels: Clean (footswitchable) or Mean (footswitchable) - 3 Band EQ with Push/Pull Tone Shift - Extension Speaker Output Jacks (4 or 8 ohms) - Optional Footswitch FSW200 The amp produces a beautiful clean tone, great for "jazzy" sounds or finger picked tunes. Though when on the mean channel, and the gain is up this thing can be a hard rock monster, depending on the type of sound desired. It does not have a very good crunch to it, so would not, in my opinion, be very good for heavy metal unless you were going to use an FX pedal with it. If you're looking for that thick, tube-like distortion though, this is just what you're looking for. I hardly use the push/pull tone knob; but when I have, the tone change has been quite dramatic, an interesting feature for anyone looking for an original tone. The secondary tone can be described as a lighter sound, and almost comparable to the tone of BB King. Both the clarity and amount of reverb on this amp are impressive, if you love your reverb, this amp is for you. I haven't gigged with this amp yet because it actually broke a few days before I was performing, so I've only used it at home. As such, it provides sufficient power for me, although undoubtedly this would have enough power for small to medium gigs, you may want a backup though.