Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
What originally attracted me to this amplifier was it's wonderful sound and the quality of it's internal effects so obviously this is something that I will be praising. The guitars I use with it are a Fat Strat (bridge humbucker) copy from a company called Indiana and a customized Fender Nashville Tele with humbuckers in the mid (yes mid) and bridge positions. I believe they're DiMarzio's with a standard Fender single coil in the bridge. With the Tele in particular this amplifer punches out spot-on tonal recrations of everything from Led Zeppelin (rhythm channal, bridge humbucker) to U2 (clean with dely and perhapse a little chorus). The clean channel does give a punchy overdrive when strumming hard at high volumes, a wonderful almost spot on recration of 50s rockibily sound, but otherwise remains clean as far as I've taken it (volume at the 1/2 mark or so) and the distortion in the rhythm is powerful without being intrusive to the character of the guitar, where the solo challen smothers the tone in a roaring wave of sound while retaining the core tone of the guitar plugged into it. The only real annoying issue on the sound is that this amplifier has a near constant "whine" that goes up with gain (but not level).
Overall Impression — 9
Everything I've played through it, including a couple different basses, has sounded excellent. I've been playing guitar for about 18 months and have a very choosy ear, this amplifier always delivers. If it were lost or stolen I would replace it with either another one of the same or an A-class Palomino 30 watt as soon as I had the money. The tone of the Palomino's does edge even this out but in terms of versitility (thanks to the 3 channals and effects, both of which the Palomino lacks) I'd come right back to this. It's got everything going for it, definently the best solid state amplifier on the market today for under $1000. I've tried Fenderd, Marshalls, Vox's, Line 6, Behringer and Kustoms, none of them come close without going into four-figure prices. Untouchible for the money.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've used this amplifier exclusively for the last 6 months, though my only other option is a 15 watt XTR so clearly I'd use this. I've played it for hours on end at high volume without overheating or negitively affecting the sound quality (if anything it improves). I've never had any problems with the amp itselve though the plasic nuts used on the outlets on the foot unit are subject to coming off, so keep an eye on them. I've had this thing tip over on me a couple times while trasporting (meaning in the car) and it didn't seem to affect it in the slightest.
Features — 9
I've owned this amplifier for about 8 months now and I can barely remember what it was like without it. The effects are crystal-clear on the clean channel and the modulation effects suffer with distortion (delay and reverb are still very good). I play anything from soft rock (say Coldplay) to hevey metal with some occasional blues and early ('50s style) rock 'n'roll thrown in. This amplifier delivers wonderfully on all of these and with the right guitar can go head to head with most tube amps in the process. It includes a footswitch unit for both channels and effect presets (which you can easily change), line out and a CD in. I believe it also has an effects loop (via line on and a seperate line in on the back) though I've never used it. I've used this at a few practices with drummers and I will say that it can easily overpower any conditions I've encountered. With "level" at around 1/2 to 2/3 on the rhythm channal I effectively kept the guitar over top of the drums.