Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 3
I have a few guitars that I use with this. I have a Gibson SG Special Faded, and Ibanez rg prestige, ESP eclipse with emgs, and a Schecter c1 for the floyd. I don't like how any of those guitars sound through this amp. Besides the Schecter, those are all pretty decent guitars, and will usually sound pretty good. It has a decent amount of gain, but it's to lo-fi sounding for my taste. It's pretty noisy most of the tme, in my room, and soundproof studio. I guess it makes the basic sounds, haha. Has a fairly small variety of tonal possibilities. The clean channel is difficult to get to high volumes without breaking up which gets annoying when I need to play cleans over entire bands. The distortion is pretty brutal, but like I said, it doesn't sound very good.
Overall Impression — 3
Like I said, I play lots of metal, and this would be a good match is it sounded better, but this amp doesn't seem like it can handle what it's delivering if that makes sense. I've been playing since I was about 5, so I've got some experience, and I've mentioned my other gear in sound. I wished I asked more about the amp's build quality, it seems China's living up to its usual reputation and producing low quality, cheap pieces of equipment. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy something different, maybe the actual JCM 900, I love that amp. There's not much I love about this amp except for maybe its price. I hate lots about it that I mentioned earlier. I didn't compare this before I bought it, but as I progressed in my ownership, I played it with other amps, and it definitely fails in comparison to most other tube amps. There's not much I wish it had, except maybe some decent tone.
Reliability & Durability — 2
I wouldn't say I could depend on this amp. It died on me a few months ago, but I got it taken care of (expensively I might add) and it's been pretty behaved since then. The tubes also needed to be replaced after only 2-3 months. I got it biased after that so hopefully it wont happen again.
Features — 4
This amp was made in 2008. Got it new from Guitar Center and waited a while before posting a review. It's been my personal and studio amp for a while. This amp is not very versatile in my opinion. I play metal mostly, anything from heavy stuff to all the random "cores"... You know what I mean. 2 channels, lead and clean. It has a channel switching button, and also has a footswitch. It has an effects loop, but no headphone jack. Although it has these features, I gave it a 4 because they are not very good quality, and the following reasons in addition..some features I wish it had was a headphone jack incase I need to work late at night or something. Also I wish it had valve failure leds like the JCM 900s do. I use this amp at my house, and usually, it's in my studio for my recordings and other guitarists who want to use it. It has enough power, but the 5881 power tubes don't really cut through quite as well as EL34s (but that's purely opinion).it's a tube amp, and has 3 preamp tubes with 4 5881 power tubes (obviously, since I just stated that).