Price paid: $ 1099
Purchased from: American Musical Supply
Sound — 9
I'm using an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the Bridge and AlNiCo II Pro in the Neck. This amp suits me perfectly, and should suit ANYONE perfectly. My band plays mostly Groove/Thrash, and I model my tone after the likes of Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society and Ozzy, Alexi Laiho of Children Of Bodom, Mark Morton/Willie Adler of Lamb Of God, Slash of Guns N Roses/Velvet Revolver and his Solo Stuff, and Brendon Smalls of Dethklok. It's great for nailing these tones, but I also play a lot of clean and low-gain stuff like Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Beatles, and all sorts of others. If it's played on guitar, I probably play it, other than country, but I even dabble in that from time to time. The second channel gets a bit hissy when the gain is up past about 7 and the Gain switch is set to +, but my ISP Decimator in my effects loop took care of that no problem. Like I've said, this amp can do literally ANY tone. For the SUPER BRUTAL stuff, you might want a boost or EQ, but that's only if you're hell-bent on NAILING the tone. The Clean channel can distort if you push the gain up, but it's a 120w amp. If you want the cleans to stay clean, they'll do it at ANY volume. However, if you want them to break up a bit, it's got that handy-dandy half power option. The distortion is amazing. It can go from classic rock tones to straight up modern metal with no problems.
Overall Impression — 10
Like stated, I play every style of music, and this amp can keep up with any of them. I've been playing for about 14 years now and I've been gigging for about 4 of them, although I played some smaller shows when I was younger. I've owned a Fender Blues Junior, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Mesa Rectoverb, Marshall MG, Fender Frontman, Peavey Rage 158, and this amp takes the cake on all of them. The Rectoverb would be the closest contender, but the Vengeance still beats it. As for pedals and such, I've owned a Zoom 505 Gutiar Multi FX, a Crybaby Wah that I've modded, a Digitech Hardwire Tl-2, an Mxr 10-band Eq, and an Isp Decimator. This amp has reacted well to all of these pedals, although I haven't used the Zoom with it because I don't really use it much. If this thing were stolen or lost, I would find the person, rip their arms off, and beat them to death with them using nothing but groin shots. If I couldn't find them, I might try a new amp just for the sake of a new experience, but I doubt it could beat the Vengeance in terms of features, versatility, and sound quality. I love that this amp is heavily packed with features that are all actually VERY useful. They don't have any gimmick knobs or false advertisements, no useless built-in effects, no features that seem different and cool until you realize they're useless. It has great features that are all usable and they aren't over charging for them. I don't hate anything about this amp except maybe that it's kinda boring looking. The design of the baffle could be better, but it doesn't affect the sound, so I would rather have a bring looking amp that blows all others away in terms of sound than a sweet looking map that sucks. I can't say that I have a favorite feature on this amp. They're all pretty damn awesome. The amps that have been in the running for this purchase are: Blackstar Ht-100, Marshall Tsl100, Marshall Jcm800, Jet City 100H, Jet City 100hdm, Peavey 6505+, Peavey 6534+, Peavey Xxx, Bugera 333, Bugera 333XL, Bugera 6260, Bugera 6262, and Bugera Trirec. This amp beat them all. Towards the end it was down to just this and the Jet City Jca100hdm, but I bought this in the end because of features and problems with Jet City's deliveries. The great thing about this amp is that it can sound like all of the other amps, but it's not a clone. It still has it's own sound going on no matter what you dial in. Egnater did this amp absolutely right. If I could add just ONE thing to the amp, it would be the ability to dial in a little bit tighter and gainier sound on the lead channel to nail stuff like Children Of Bodom without using an EQ, but it could just be that I haven't found that sweet spot in the amp's EQ system yet.
Reliability & Durability — 9
So far I've had no problems with it, but I haven't gigged with it yet. When I do, I'll have to gig with no backup because I HAVE no backup. It hasn't broken down yet, but if it had, something would have been seriously wrong. The tolex and construction seem damn good to me, and this thing is one HEAVY son of a gun, so it doesn't seem like they wimped out in any department.
Features — 10
This amp is definitely versatile as hell. It could fit literally any style of play. It does everything from the cleanest of cleans to the heaviest of heavy. It can sound both British and American on any setting, and is basically a 4 channel amp that can only be switched between two channels at once. I play everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton to Lamb Of God and Children Of Bodom. This camp covers it all. I had to run my 10-Band EQ through the loop to nail a Children Of Bodom tone, but it gets pretty close without the EQ. Like I said, it's got 2 Channels that have 2 Gain settings each. You can switch between them with the provided SIX BUTTON footswitch. The footswitch can switch: Channels, Mid boost for each channel, Reverb, effects loop (which can be set to either channel or both channels), and can switch to the amp's second Master Volume (which can be set to either channel or both Channels). The ability to set your effects loop to just one channel is awesome so that my EQ and Noise Suppressor are only running on my high-gain channel. The Second Master Volume can be used as a Solo Boost, a Master Volume for just one channel, a secondary volume to play at, or even a complete volume cut. It won't completely cut off your sound like a kill switch, but it cuts it down to VERY quite. The amp's built-in Reverb is great. It is very natural and organic and the amp has a built in "spillover" so that when you switch channels, the reverb from the first channel continues going so that there isn't an awkward cuttoff. It's a subtle addition, but it's a great feature that keeps your channel switching sounding as natural as possible. The amp can also be set to either 60 or 120 watts, which is nice if you want some power tube saturation or if you want a more subtle change when you turn the volume knob. Each channel has it's own knobs for: Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Reverb, and Volume, not to mention mini-toggle switches for: Tight, Bright, and Gain that can be set to either + or - and a Mid switch that can be set to +, -, or neither. Finally, there are Master controls for Density and Presence, not to mention the Main and Second Master Volumes. On the back of the amp, you have your standard impedance selector switch, two jacks for hooking up your speaker cabinets, and an effects loop that has Send and Return level knobs and a push toggle that switches between IN and OUT/PEDAL. There are also controls for biasing the tubes on the back, which is convenient so you don't have to open the amp head to bias. Then, it's got a socket for the footswitch to hook in to, not to mention 3 other 1/4" jacks to run separate footswitches if you so desire. Last, it's got a socket labeled: "Record Line Out" so that you can record directly via MIDI so you don't have to mic up or anything like that. As for features I wish it had, It would be nice it if had 4 independent channels or even 3 instead of the mini switches for gain, but it's not that big of a deal. It's not very often I need Clean, Crunch, and Metal tones all in one song. There are no features on this amp that are useless other than maybe the extra jacks for footswitches, but that just makes it easier to find a replacement if you break the 6 button footswitch provided with the amp. I use this amp at home, at band practices, and at gigs. It has PLENTY of power. It's 120w or all-tube power. If you need more than that, you're doing it wrong. Not even Motorhead needs THAT much power...