Sound — 10
It sounds like a typical EL 84 British tone, Think Orange AD 30, Vox AC 30, Marshall Bluesbreaker. It has a lot of bass which is good for me because I play some metal. I go for a Zakk Wylde sort of sound, this amp is perfect for it. I just get on the low gain overdrive side of the amp, put the gain down to 4 and stomp on my MXR Wylde Overdrive. It sounds just like a JCM 800 only sweeter, with way more harmonics and sustain, and tons of clean bottom end, really tight too. I seriously don't think I will ever use a different amp, this just works perfectly for any price. No more hauling 4x12 cab around with a head, a 30 watt 1x12 seems to have more than enough bass for me. And no I am not a straight up thrash metal rythem guy, I like tons of bass for my Leads. It makes solos sound more full. I set up the EQ flat all the way across, this amp just has a nice voicing. I compared this to a Marshall DSL 401 and an Orange AD 30. It sounded more like the Orange, and the EQ worked the same as the Orange. The EQ does little to nothing for tone change at low volumes, but you can boost frequencies alright at higher volumes. The Marshall's EQ was all over the place with slight adjustments. The V30 and the AD30 sounded similar on the overdrive, the V30 had a bit more bite though, and a bit more bottom end, nice and heavy. The Marshall was deffinately not comparable.
Overall Impression — 10
Its loud, it's got balls, it's got bass, it's got punch. I can't think of anything else it would need, the only thing that might have been usefull would be a headphone out or some sort of out for recording. Oh wait, I just hook up my GNX into the effects loop, then use the GNX's multiple outs to record. BTW The GNX's harmonizer sounds amazing through the effects loop of this amp. Any harmonized solo is doable for me now. Look on www.myspace.com/memnochband for my video, it has some serious harmonizer action. Cannot find decent guitarists to harmonize with, might as well just do it myself.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It makes a weird noise when I play, but only somtimes, and it's not louder than the output from the speaker. I think it's just breaking in or somthing, I don't care, 5 year warrenty. It will get fixed if it has to be. It seems really solid though, I can't see anything bad happening other than tubes blowing, just like any tube amp. It does run hot, but so do most EL 84 powered amps. Check out the Marshall DSL 401. The reviews say they run hot too.
Features — 10
4 EL 84's, One Clean Channel, An Overdrive and a Lead Boost. Tone Tubby Celestion speaker 1x12. 33 watts. Has a better speaker than the Palomino, but aparently their the same amps. No headphone jack. Though it doesnt't matter much. Effects loop, Reverb. Nothing I don't need. Features are on Crate's website.