Price paid: $ 1024.8
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
I am playing a Maverick X1 through it, with apparently "unique to Maverick" pickups, which are in fact a slightly modified version of a low end Dimarzio, so they aren't amazing. Cab is a 2x12 Engl unit with Celestion Vintage 30s. The amp would seem to be perfect for all the music I play, metal (i.e. Lamb of God, Pantera). And it can handle some classic stuff as well (AC/DC, early Metallica). Clean channel is pretty good with the gain at about 3. Above that it is useless. Isn't really useable for an acoustic breakdown in a metal song. Crunch channel is perfect for classic rock, or some slightly less distorted/quieter parts. Sounds thick, but not muddy. Great. Lead channel - now the business end. It is brutal. With the gain knob between about 4 and 10, there is a whole range of ridiculous distortion/overdrive to be had. Tight bottom end, clear mids, and cutting highs, this is no doubt the highlight of the amp. Perfect for single note playing, or chunky palm muting and powerchords. This is the channel for modern metal, shredding etc. Loses a point for lack of a useable clean channel.
Overall Impression — 10
For a relatively inexpensive tube amp, this is plain amazing. It can be tweaked to suit all kinds of rock/metal. As you can imagine, it is a huge upgrade from my old Laney SS combo. If it was stolen, I would stab the guy who did it many times, before either buying another, or somehow scraping up the money for an Engl Powerball, my dream amp. Engl ahve made their enrty level amp one of the most desirable in their range, it's a true gem, and it looks great to boot! It could do with a proper clean channel, but I would never use it anyway, so I just don't care.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The amp is a couple of years old at least, and it still sounds and looks in tip top condition. It is obviously built to last, there aren't even any tears in the covering. When I start gigging, this will be my gigging amp. I will happily use it without a backup. I would bet money (yes, money) that the German build quality will hold up for a good few years yet.
Features — 8
All Engl amps are made in Germany, I think this one was made in 2003. 50 Watt All Valve. 3 footswitchable channels: clean, crunch, lead. Metal grille front. There isn't much in the way of features, but this is the stripped down simple model (entry level). but, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in sheer awesomeness. But I'll get to that later. I'm using it in my bedroom at the moment, but I will soon be using it for band practice/gigging. It is plenty loud enough for any situation. It is only missing one feature. There is only one gain knob to control all three channels, meaning that the clean channel is very dirty if engaged during a heavy song, but that doesn't bother me, as I only play metal. The lack of seperate channel EQs only lowers it a couple of points.