Price paid: $ 200
Sound — 3
This is a bad amp. I don't own it but for the price I had to try one out to see what the fuss was about. With a humbucker PRS guitar I found it lacking on several fronts. One, the reverb is pretty much useless, extremely exaggerated on anything over 1. But I could have looked over this if the rest was good, since I barely use reverb anyway. So on to the rest... On tone controls, I found the bass to be way overkill and on my mahogany PRS (not particularly bassy, more midrange guitar)I had to turn the bass all the way off and still found it overpowering. The treble ironically is the exact opposite, although my PRS isn't particularly tinny, I had to max out the trble on the amp and still didn't get the clarity I wanted. It sounded muddy but squeely at the same time. Kinda the worst of both worlds. The distortion it produces isn't really that bad, producing a fairly smooth overdrive that is good for classic rock or rock in general. This provides a small ray of hope that with extensive mods, this amp could actually be good. But I personally don't consider modding something that isn't good to begin with. What's the point? Would you put rims and an intake on a Kia for instance? I give it a 3 just to not be cruel and give it a zero.
Overall Impression — 3
I've had a jones for a tube amp ever since I sold a Fender Hotrod 60W DeVille a while back. That amp was amazing and I haven't really found anything close except things that are in that same cost range or way higher, which isn't surprising. You get what you pay for. Now I'm using a Fender solid state with an excellent clean channel. That amp is 10 billion times better than this crate, tube or no tube. My advice, both to myself and to others, is the value of having tubes vs SS is not nearly as important as the sheer quality of the amp in general. If you aren't willing to pay a premium price for a tube amp, cutting no corners, don't expect it to be better than an SS amp as cheap or even cheaper. Don't buy into the hype.
Reliability & Durability — 5
Can't say. Being a tube amp I imagine it is fragile, as all are. But it looks solid enough and I the construction doesn't appear shoddy. The Tolex is well done but does appear to be on the discount end. I can't really opine further since I just tried it out in the store.
Features — 9
It has 1 channel, 1 gain, master vol, bass, mid and treble tone controls, and reverb. 2 12 inch speakers, a line out and jack to disconnect speakers. All tube amp. I'd say it is loud enough for a small gig if you dime it, but not much headroom. So basically an amp that only plays with overdrive unless you have it at bedroom vol. I find the features are sufficient given that this is presented as a 1-channel amp. No frills but if it works, I like the simplicity.