Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
For the price, this amp really delivers. The clean channel is very clean; it does not break up until the volume is at ear shattering levels. The cleans are very dark and warm and great for jazz, but they can be EQed for a brighter Fender sparkle. You can't really get a Vintage blues OD on this amp without a pedal though, but this amp is not voiced Vintage in anyway. The Overdrive channel on the amp is also very good. There is plenty of gain on tap, but if the gain is turned up all the way, it gets too fizzy. The contour knob really comes in handy. If you turn it down you can get a more scooped tone without compromising your tone in a band situation. If you turn it up, you get a nice crunch. This amp is great for hard rock. If you turn down the gain, turn up the volume, and turn up the contour you get a pretty damn good hard rock tone ala AC/DC. Other classic rock tones are not as easy to get on this amp. It is more voiced on the modern side, and on mid gain it reminds me of modern pop punk, and modern rock type tones. If you turn up the gain, you can get a nice thrash tone or a hardcore tone, but don't turn it up too much or it will fizz up. If you want a chunky extreme metal tone, you need a pedal, but my EQ pedal really suffices when trying to get more gain for a "brutal metal tone" Some cons with the overdrive channel are it is a bit muddy, the high end can be harsh, it is not as tight as I would like, and playing leads can be a bit weak on a low output guitar on this amp. Also, the speaker breakup when turning this amp up is really harsh, so I think a speaker change is a must. The other problems can be altered with a speaker change which I will undergo in the near future. This amp is pretty damn quite on all channels.
Overall Impression — 8
This amp really delivers a convincing tube tone for the price. It was my first tube amp, and a great upgrade from the Roland products I used before. Great clean and overdive channel with plenty of versatility is what you get with this amp. I have been playing for three years, and a number of different styles. It does me good for all the styles of music I play (or at least attempt to). While the tone is not perfect, particularly the distorted one, you get what you pay for. If this amp were stolen, I would probably just save up for something even better. All that aside, this was my favorite amp in the price range, and I enjoy the tones and versatility this amp has to offer.
Reliability & Durability — 6
There have been a lot of claims about this amp being unreliable, and I think there might be some truth to these claims. I bought this amp off the floor, and after having it for a while, the volume started to cut out. I thought it was a tube problem, but that was not the case. I had to send it in to an authorized dealer, and wait for three weeks for them to fix it. The problem ended up being faulty wiring in the circuit board and on some jacks. I didn't have to pay anything, but it was very There have been a lot of claims about this amp being unreliable, and I think there might be some truth to these claims. I bought this amp off the floor, and after having it for a while, the volume started to cut out. I thought it was a tube problem, but that was not the case. I had to send it in to an authorized dealer, and wait for three weeks for them to fix it. The problem ended up being faulty wiring in the circuit board and on some jacks. I didn't have to pay anything, but it was very inconvenient. These amps are made in China like most other entry level tube amps, so the reliability is always an issue.
Features — 7
This all tube amp features a clean and overdrive channel each with separate EQ controls. There is a master reverb and a low res knob which adjusts the low end. Both channels have separate volume knobs, and the overdrive channel features a gain knob which adjusts the amount of gain, and a very useful contour knob which adjusts the mid range of the amp. On the back of this amp is an effects loop with seperate level controls, an impedance Switch from 4 0hm, to 8 ohm, and 16 ohm, and a line out. This amp has all the basic features of most amps along with extra features such as the contour, and low res, but it is lacking in a master volume knob which would have really come in handy. Compared to the AT-212, this amp is lacking in features.