Purchased from: Encore Music (Albuquerque, NM)
Sound — 10
This amp was tested against formidable competition. THD, Mesa, Laney and others were among those present. It was a clear winner, though, with cleans like a good Twin and a high-gain snarl that ranged from dimed Plexi to full-bore JCM 800. The amp is slightly noisy, partially (I think) due to the built-in fan that blows on the power tubes. It doesn't matter once you're playing, however the cleans are gorgeous and the distortion is easily dialed to anything short of death metal. I can't say enough what massive presence it has at all volumes compared with other amps the statements about "Phat Budda Tone" aren't just blather!
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for just under 20 years now, and I've owned some magnificent amps in that time. This amp is just terrific, my favorite thus far. I hope to add the 1210 cabinet Budda makes (2x12s and 2x10s) for more tonal range, and I suggest a Boss GE-7 to act as a boost for leads run it through the loops, it works great there! I'd have to replace this amp if it were stolen, it's a huge part of my tone now!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Almost 3 years later, and the only time it's been down was when some water got onto the circuit board my fault completely. The fix was quick, and the amp has been faultless. It is surprisingly easy on power tubes, even when I keep pulling the outers.
Features — 8
This amp was made in 2002, first year for the 80-watt model. I got the head and matching 4x12 cabinet without the cabinet-switching feature. It has 2 channels and only 6 knobs to deal with. It's all tube, running 4 6L6S and 3 12AX7S. It has incredible power, enough that I pull the outer tubes regularly to keep its roar in check. The amp has an effects loop and an adjustable slave out on the back panel. The only thing I'd add would be something similar to the "solo" function on varisou Mesa amps.