Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
Alright, well I use a Gibson Les Paul Studio with burstbuckers in both positions its fairly stock and a Vox Tonelab LE as a multiprocessor and I also have a Jerry Cantrell wah and Metal Muff distortion pedal. It can get really noisy when you have many effects run into it especially the distortion pedal in line before the pre amp it can get quite squeely, but what I love about this amp is the master volume, I had a Fender reproduction of a 65 Deluxe Reverb before this one and it seemed the master volume was on a very small scale and only went to 1, 5, and 10. With this thing you can turn the master about to 3, the gain to 9 and the channel volume to 6 and its louder than anything you could imagine with no noticeable noise. The 3 band EQ that controls all channels also is very useful, I hand a 10 band EQ on the previous amp and I needed it on this one the tone pots actually seem to be useful and can dramatically change the sound your looking for if you know what your doing. I play all kind of styles as mentioned above and it covers them all well, my advice would be to get a noise suppressor if your going to play hardcore stuff, but anything like Tool or even up to Slayer can be handled like nothing with this amp. I've heard a lot of people complain about hearing humming and the like from tube amps. What do you expect? thats like turning on a chainsaw and saying dang I hate the noise it makes, I mean tubes have a lot of magnetic interference around them and things like the shielding in your house or how close you are with your guitar can affect that. Aside from the noob complaints on that unless you turn the master pass 5 or 6 this thing is pretty seamless especially since its not a household name such as Fender or Mesa. The clean channel is pretty nice I wouldn't say it compared to my Deluxe Reverb, but its great for the amp, but the 2 gains and the high and low inputs for the distortion channel are what really makes this amp, its just fantastic and you can also control feedback really well and volume swells and the like are also fantastic on this amp. I had a choice to choose a busted up Mesa Boogie or this and it was about 300 dollars difference and I chose the B-52 so that should say something, overall good cleans, great distortion, just an all around versatile amp.
Overall Impression — 8
This is a good match for what I need right now, just straight versatility because I play such a wide range of music, and it can do them WELL, not GREAT or FANTASTIC, but for the steal that people are selling them for now since they are discontinued you can't beat it and I dare anyone to find an amp that will. Well thats all I have to say about it if you can get it for under 500 I really suggest to do so its Killer and just take care of it!
Reliability & Durability — 5
Alright, this is the only problem I've found with this amp. As previously stated I had to fix the toggle Switch and I blew the main fuse within the first hour of having it, otherwise it has held up. BUT it is 85 lbs, I used to do gigs and play live but lately I haven't had the time, and I can tell you that if I was bussing this around everywhere I went it wouldn't last a month. Even though it could fill up a bar or club or small gig, I would not advise it I mean its 85 lbs and the parts seem to be fairly fragile stock. The electronics themselves won't break on you but the other parts might, so unless you know what your doing plan to keep it parked in your bedroom or studio because its a pain to lug around and seems too fragile to do so. When I first got it from GC I inspected the tubes and they had all seemed to be replaced fairly recently so they were all good and the reverb tank I pretty much just disconnected because replacing the potentiometer was not a high priority. The inside of this is very complicated, I've taken apart Fenders and Marshalls but this one I barely knew where to start so I'm hoping I won't have to spend a summer to learn the schematics of it. Overall I haven't had anything other than cosmetic problems that have not affected the sound but IMO I would not tour with it, but I would definitely record or just Jam with it.
Features — 10
This is a fairly recent model of the amp, probably 2007 or 2008. I got this amp used and it was actually in pretty bad shape when I first got it, the toggle Switch was sticky and the tolex was torn, corners were damaged, and other cosmetics like that. Not to mention the reverb potentiometer was broke and the reverb was always on. I bought this amplifier for about 1/4 of its original price and considered it a steal. I replaced the toggle Switch and killed the reverb tank since I use a pedal for a reverb effect if at all. The tubes are stock along with the speakers the only thing I fixed were cosmetics. This amplifier is 100 watts has 2 channels, it has a Triple Rectifier which means this amp could be run on A class tube, A/B class, or solid state. I love the sound of an all tube A class amplifier so that is mainly what I run it on but in the A/B class and solid state it delivers great sound. It has an effects loop, which can be adjusted by 2 level knobs along with 2 gains, a bright Switch for the clean, and a contour knob for both gains. Mine also did not come with the footswitch but B-52 customer support said I could order one for 50 dollars, I declined since I mostly run pedals for OD and reverb, etc. It's built like a tank and weighs 85 lbs. The cosmetic issues I believe are just from people not taking care of it as I've heard B-52's have a lot of reliabilty issues, but so far, if taken care of it can really hold up. Also, with a little know how you can fix broken toggle switches, bad tubes, or anything like that. So overall, those kinds of things don't bother me, but they may you when looking for an amp so its something to consider, overall though this amp couldn't have come with more features and more versatility, I can do jazz, classical, blues, alternative, and metal. I'm also sure with the right pedals it could go way beyond that if you wanted it to.