Price paid: £ 249
Purchased from: Kennys Music
Features — 10
The amp comes with 4 different gains for electric guitars from clean to metal and an acoustic pre-amp or semi acoustics plus 15 built in effects comprising gains, modulations and reverb/delays. There 55 effects in total based on popular Boss stomp pedals that are accessible by connecting the amp to a P.C. using the supplied Tone Center software.
There's plenty of connectivity on the rear panel including an effects loop, headphone out, aux in and USB out. It has a built in attenuater for 100w, 50w, 5w and speaker off settings plus 4 storage areas for your best sounds.
Sound — 9
This amp is half transistor and half modelling. The left half of the panel is the usual gain volume and three band E. Q. And the right side is for effects and attenuation. The result is an amp that isn't trying to emulate just one of the big names but gives you the tools to dial in you own sounds. With a bit of tweaking you can either emulate the sound of a major amp brand or style.
I play in function bands and I need an amp to go from acoustic rhythm to country clean, warm jazz, dirty blues and heavy rock and this amp covers all the bases convincingly. I created four sounds from lush chorus, rockabilly clean, warm blues and 80's rock and stored them on the amp. I also bought the G.A.F.C pedal so I could call these sounds up on stage and you can also use the amp settings using the panel setting giving you 5 sounds on stage from the foot controller.
Most of the effects will be familiar to guitarists as they are all based on Boss stomp boxes from Blues Driver, Flanger, Delay etc and a majority of the effects impress as they are. You can control the intensity of each effect on stage but will need to hook up to a P. C. To alter specific parameters of the effects. This can be fiddly to do at first as the amp needs updating before it will work with the supplied software but one this is done then altering and storing sounds and effects is fairly easy.
I used the Tube screamer, Chorus and ambient reverb and on stage with drums, bass, vocals, sax and second guitar these effects were plenty for a mixed set list.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have used this amp for over 5 months in a variety of different scenarios from home practice, teaching, recording and gigging and its always consistent. The amp reacts differently to each of my 3 main guitars so I would suggest setting it up with your main gig axe if you have more than one.
I spent months researching amps to replace my main gigging amp of over 10 years and after trying out several, this is the best mid range low price amp I found. It suits my needs perfectly from sitting at home with headphones jamming to a backing track on my phone to loud full band gigs.
On the volume from I used it in 100 watt mode but only needed the volume on 4 even with 5 other band members at a very loud venue and on the final song the amp sounded so good (the solo was the end of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain) that people in the audience took phone recordings.
The amp has been used for several months being carted about from place to place and shows no sign of any problems and doesn't suffer the same problems other COSM modelling amps have as I have tried two other popular makes and one blew on the first gig and the second was drowned out.
Overall Impression — 10
This is the ideal do it all amp for guitarists who need one amp for all real world uses. It is perfectly at home as a practice/recording amp or one that you can gig with. If you only use a few effects you can leave your effect pedals at home and just take the amp and the GAFC foot switch.
I have been gigging for over 20 years in a variety of different styles of bands and this amp would have fit in them all. its such a small and unassuming amp but the sound can be tweaked to sound like a pro amp. The other guitarist at the gig had an early strat through a fender twin amp and this amp kept up in terms of volume and tone.
If your after creating your own guitar tone and want consistency and flexibility in a small and light package then this is the amp to try.