Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Music Go Round - Richfield, Minnesota
Sound — 7
OK, I don't exactly have the greatest guitars in the world. I have a Washburn Maverick BT4 (hey, don't laugh, this thing is as good as your Squire Strat) and an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. (don't laugh at this either, I got it for $40). The amp's sound I would rate at pretty good. As everyone says, the clean channel is really quiet. But I don't really care, I never use it. My 'Drive' dial is always at 10, sometimes I try to push it to 11 but it can't go further. The reason I do this is that the regular distortion is just a little wimpy. Don't put the low at 10, that will shake the speakers and be a bit damaging and just sound really crappy. Put the low at maybe 8, mid at 1 and high at 10, which is about the best distortion setting I can think of. Your first impression will be that it's pretty damn good. But it's a solid state. It's not a Marshall, it's not a Fender. Oh yeah, it'll give you that Metallica sound, no problem. But it can't deliver a really nasty, dirty, garage rock/grunge/noise rock/superfuzz type of tone, which is really what I like. It's not going to give you a sound like Hendrix gets live, for example. But I guess that's because it's not an incredibly huge Marshall, and it's not a tube. It's tone is what leaves me wanting a bit more, is basically what I've been saying. But it is loud. You can do shows with this thing. Another downside is that with the speaker setting on US, the sound is kind of distant. Put it on the UK setting and it sounds right there, in your face, AC/DC style. Put it on US and it sounds like you have the presence dial down a bit. But you only notice this if you switch between the UK and US dials right next to eachother. Take a look at the back of the amp though. Two 50 watt Jensen speakers which were made in Italy. These speakers are used in a few certain very high quality Fender amps, so these ain't some poor quality no-name speakers. These things have OOMPH! I was definitely surprised to see those in there. These are some of the best speakers you can get.
Overall Impression — 10
I play a few certain styles. I do many Sonic Youth style noise rock freakouts on effect #96, I play some very very heavy stuff like The Melvins (to get this sound, put on effect #96, put the low up, turn the tone all the way down on your guitar and do some riffs on the E string with your palm muting it a little bit. Hell yeah), and I do some old school hardcore punk style stuff (early Hsker D, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, etc) so I'm always using distortion. It is impressive. If it were lost or stolen, I would try to find one again, but I would have a tough time coming up with the cash. Best parts: easy to use, totally uncomplicated, loud, awesome effects, pretty good tones and distortion, for the price you absolutely cannot beat it. A Marshall with the same stats costs over twice as much. Seriously. Worst parts: Distortion tone could be better, but depending on your style of music, you'll probably think it's great. It's also pretty big and bulky. But I this was sitting in the store for $200 dollars. That is MASSIVELY cheap for what you get. I shouldn't be complaining at all. I'm not, really. I'm just telling you what you get. The bottom line is that if you can get this, preferrably slightly used for $100-$150 less like I got mine, buy it. It will not dissappoint you, but it will dissappoint your friend with the Peavey or the Crate or even the Fender amp. Heh heh heh. Basically, this is the cheapest 100 watt amp you can possibly find. Two 50 watt Jensen speakers. Those speak for themselves. And boy do they ever speak.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It seems very reliable. I would definitely use it at a show, because it's loud and more than enough power to get a good sound. It's really big and bulky, too. This thing is 2 1/2 feet wide, about a 1 1/2 feet high and 53 pounds. 53 pounds doesn't seem like a lot, but it's pretty damn wide and it has one measley rubber handle on the top to hold it (which I sometimes thing might just rip off because it's so flimsy) so it is kind of difficult to move around. As I said in features, it takes a long while for it to get real hot and overloaded. It can do shows no sweat. I bought mine very very slightly used and taken to no shows, so when I got it, it had no warranty. So I sure as hell hope it's reliable and durable.
Features — 10
This thing has a ton of features. It had more features than any amp in the store, actually. Chorus, Reverb, Flanger, Echo, those type of things. But the awesome ones are the wah (effect 72), the "wawawawawawawawa" type of vibrating wah (effect 74), and my personal favorite is effect number 96. Want more distortion than anything you can imagine? Turn the low to 10, mid to 1, high to 10. Put it on California, Hot, and US for the 3 channel effects. Put the master volume down to 3, turn the level on your channel to 7 if you want gain, 8 if you're gutsy, 9 if you've got balls, and 10 if you're insane. Turn the effect level to 99. Turn the effect on. You'll probably jump at first cause it's insanely loud, but at a level of 9 or 10 you can't even hear your notes because it's just fuzz. Think about the level of distortion on The Velvet Underground's "I Heard Her Call My Name". It also has a footswitch - one button to switch channels, one to turn the effects on or off, and if you hold the effect down for a few seconds it shuts off and goes into tuner mode (which I don't recommend. The tuner sucks. But it is a nice feature, and a way to quiet down inbetween songs during a show). Another nice feature are some big metal fins on the back to prevent it from heating up, which is definitely something I need. My last amp (a 15 watt solid-state practice amp) blew because it got too hot. This thing has never gotten really hot. I've played it very very loud for 30-40 minutes and it's not even really that warm. One thing it doesn't have though is a reverb dial. Instead, that is an effect. Hell, my old Peavey 15 watt practice amp had a reverb dial. This thing is a gig amp! It should have a reverb dial. Even a little amount of reverb is always healthy.