Price paid: £ 200
Purchased from: Second hand
Features — 10
Valve preamp (12BH7), valve power amp (ECC83), two 10" speakers (open back) in a neat package that weighs around 50-60 pounds. Footswitch, FX loop, AUX input, headphones / speaker emulated output on the back side. The control panel has: single input; basic clean channel: volume and tone; clean/OD push button; overdrive channel: gain, volume, bass/mid/treble + ISF; digital stereo reverb; standby and power switches. A footswitch came with the amp, but as I bought is second hand I don't know if it was included in the original package or sold separately.
Sound — 9
I'm mainly a blues player, though we play a lot of genres for fun when I get together with friends and jam. The amp is easily tuned in to suit any genre. I use a Boss Compression Sustainer CS-3 and a TC Electronics mini Spark booster on the input. A Mooer PitchBox and a Trio Band Creator is on the FX loop. One gripe: gain on the overdrive has a shorter range than the control pot implies; it sounds like the gain is maxed out after the 12 o'clock position. My PRS SE Torero turns the clean channel to crunch, I believe that's a problem caused by the high-output from the EMGs, rather than something wrong with the amp.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp will definitely gig. It is loud enough to be used on its own in a garage session. It can be miked up (or connected to the PA via the speaker emulated output, I guess) for larger venues. The frame is tested :-) and found sturdy (I weigh around 200lbs and I frequently sit on the thing while playing). The materials and the finish are OK. The knobs and switches and sockets and inputs etc. are pretty solid. It has the same finish as my ID:30TVP. I had thought it would get dents and scratches easily, which it didn't. This one hasn't, either.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a good, feature complete valve amp with simple controls. While the price point for a brand-new one is fair, a bargain on a second hand unit is even sweeter. I already own a Blackstar ID:30TVP, and I love the versatility of the ISF tone shaping: that was one of the main reasons I bought this one. I use it coupled to my main axe for the last 2 years, a 2014 American Standard Telecaster (in natural ash), and it truly shines when playing the BLUES. All in all, I'm quite impressed with this amp.