Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
I usually play my Schecter C-1 Classic with Seymour Duncan Jazz p-ups (an uncharacteristic guitar for metal, but it's just too beautiful) through this amp, and they make a pretty good match, although that combination makes for some pretty annoying feedback at mid to high volumes without a noise gate. With out one it can be almost impossible to mute the strings and let it be silent with out turning the guitars volume knob down first. At first I was plenty satisfied with the distortion for the brutal/technical death metal I was playing, but over time I started to find it a bit lacking. Coupled with the fact that I lost the foot pedal for it, and couldn't get a replacement, I eventually just started running a POD HD300 through the clean channel most of the time. B52 had already discontinued this amp by the time I needed the foot switch replaced. Now, with a real band and playing shows almost constantly, the POD is a necessity. Luckily the clean channel on this thing is crystal clear, and has good flexibility.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing guitar for about 8 years, and have had this amp for 5. It has served me very well in that time. I really don't know why they discontinued it. My only complaints are: - The reverb is so terrible, I thought mine was broken, but all the reviews have mentioned it. - The distortion sounds good, but is a tad lacking for the blackened death metal that I play. - It gets pretty hot. Sometimes I can barely hold my hand over one of the top vents. If it were lost or stolen, I honestly would look for something else, but if I found one in good shape for cheap, it wouldn't be a bad choice. It's really too bad that this amp and just about everything else B-52 makes has been discontinued. It has been nothing but reliable for me. Although, now that I've written jinxed it in this review, I bet a couple tubes are going to burn out when I turn it on for band practice tonight. Check out my band at www.youtube.com/gravespellmetal.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I bought this amp in 2006 or 2007, played with it constantly for 2 years, let the amp sit in my garage for about 2 years, then broke it back out when I joined my current band. Since then I have used it 2-3 times a week for band practice and usually 1-4 shows a month all over southern California. This amp has been completely rock solid. It's still using all the original tubes, has never been taken into a shop or worked on AT ALL. This thing is a beast. The only damage is one of the two cabinet line outs was pushed through and broken by someone shoving my amp against the wall. Luckily I make due with only one cab, but it would be nice to use that other line out. Also, the faux leather on the cab was torn pretty badly on the side, but some black duct tape fixed it up nicely.
Features — 8
This amp has a pretty good range of sounds and channels, with 2 distortion channels (shared eq), and a really nice clean channel. The reverb is absolutely terrible, and barely existent even when cranked up. A few of the stand out features here is the Bright switch on the clean channel, and then the Low-res knob. The Bright button totally transforms the clean, giving it a really warm, clear, and well, bright tone. Perfect for anything from technical jazzy picking songs to strummed chords. In fact, I don't even turn it off. It sounds dull and lifeless with out it. The Low-res knob is great for heavily distorted, chunky palm muting. Add a little of this with low tunings and it really starts to rumble those palm muted chugs that you can feel in your chest. Also, this thing is plenty loud. I find that turning it up a little less than half way across all channels is enough to be heard clearly over drums, bass, and the other guitarist in my bands relatively small practice studio.