Price paid: $ 95
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 9
I'm playing an Epiphone SG Special with stock pickups tuned Drop/Open G#-C and D'Addario strings through a BBE Green Screamer OD pedal. This amp has very few problems with noise or interference, and I have it inches from my desktop PC. When the volume goes up so does the noise, but actually playing the guitar makes it go away. I haven't played around with the clean channel too much, but it sounds good enough to me. Most of the music I play would never utilize the channel in the first place. Probably not going to mention the clean channel at all past here. The Rhythm Channel can go from slightly dirty jazz/blues tone to a good medium-high gain distortion rock tone, it's a bit more bassy than the solo channel so I have to dial the bass back when switching or it can be overwhelming for my taste. The Solo channel is what you want for wicked high-gain distortion tones or distinct solo tones (duh) to make your guitar stand out. It uses the Rhythm 3-Band EQ knobs but it adds a "Shape" knob. Because the Rhythm channel lacks that knob your sound can change dramatically when switching between the two channels. The shape knob can either accentuate your mids or the lows/highs (scoopage) and can change your tone from super-compressed or scooped at 10 or super midsy at 1, 5 more or less makes it do nothing. Both channels sound great on their own, but I always love having a tubescreamer in front, really cleans up the sound well and only makes good tones better. The Reverb knob affects all 3 channels and uses a Spring Reverb chamber mounted at the bottom of the amp, It's analog and that's all that matters, it sounds great. Though it gets to be too much past 5 or 6 on the knob. The stock speakers are no V30s but they do the job well and haven't given me any issues. I've already established that this thing is LOUD, so before you turn it off, turn it down. When you turn it on there is a 1-2s delay before the volume is entirely there and can catch you by surprise or wake people up because the volume was still up. -1 because while the amp is versatile, the solo channel really should have it's own EQ instead of sharing with Rhythm.
Overall Impression — 9
For the price I paid this amp was a total steal, it's fairly basic but it does what it's supposed to do very well. It's super solid, super loud and blows any other amp in the price range out of the water. It Retails for $200-300, I don't know if it comes with the footswitch out of the box. For more than I paid, there are probably better amps out there but this one is top dog for $95. My favorite thing about the amp is that it makes my Epiphone and it's stock pickups sound good, and it's only going to sound better when I buy new ones.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's HEAVY. The manual claims 50lbs and I would agree. This was a used amp off of Craigslist and it has one (1) defect on the plastic in front where it may have gotten hit by something. Considering the guy used it regularly this amp is a trooper. I had to leave it in a car overnight last week during MN winter (near-zero temps) and it had a ton of frost on the metal in the morning. I let it warm up, wiped the moisture off and so far it hasn't had a single problem. I have had issues with the CD input however. Sometimes the volume fades in and out which gets old quickly. Sometimes the volume fades and stays that way for a random amount of time. You can crank up the volume on your device but when the volume comes back you're going to regret it. I still use the amp as a music speaker through the input and clean channel with a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter plug, I just can't play along on guitar through just the amp. -1 for RCA issues.
Features — 8
Made somewhere between 2002-05, and despite being from Craigslist, it's the cleanest used amp I've ever seen. This amp was going for $160 at a pawnshop and it was beat to hell. The 2x 12" Crate Speakers are made by SLM Electronics, It uses Crate's Flexwave 5 preamp at 120 Watts RMS so it's VERY loud once you start going above 3/10. So far the more volume I dial in the better my tone gets, no extra distortion or digital artifacts from high volume. It's got 3 Channels, Clean, Rhythm and Solo. Clean has it's own 3-Band EQ while Solo and Rhythm share one. The Solo channel has a "Shape" knob that either accentuates the Lows and Highs (mid-scoop) or just the mids. Non-digital reverb! Other stuff: RCA Stereo-to-Mono CD input, Footwitch jacks (I did not get the switch), Extension Speaker Jack (for cabs or other output, the main speakers remain on), FX loop insert jack.