Price paid: $ 157.38
Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 8
I'm using this with an Ibanez SZ520QM with a swineshead venom bridge pickup. I tend to plug straight into this without any effects, it's good for those purist moment we all tend to have. The overall tone of the amp is very Vintage, quite Marshally in voicing to me. It has a great sound for Classic Rock, and can do blues quite well (though I expect it'd do blues better with a strat or similar SSS guitar). I've got some good Hendrix sounds out of it. It starts to break up when the volume gets over halfway, but that's the point! You can get a nice Vintage clean sound by cranking up the volume and rolling down the volume knob on your guitar. The stock speaker distorts when you get the volume up to full, but this is to be expected really. In my opinion the sweet spot is at about 8 o'clock on the volume knob, where the valves are working hard and you get a little bit of speaker breakup. I run this amp in stereo with my Laney VC50, and the contrast in tones makes for a great sound. Very powerful, and the VJ adds some nice Vintage crunch. I plan to change the valves in the amp soon, as the stock ones aren't too good, but they do the job decently enough.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for about 4 and a half years at the time of writing, my other amp is a Laney VC50 (combo version of the VH100R head, don't ask about the naming because I've got no idea). This is a great amp, but I think it's best use is as a secondary amp you can noodle around on once in a while. It's not versatile or powerful enough to be used as a main amp, really. It's also great to mod. I plan to mod this amp with more controls and a master volume, plus various other goodies, for when I go to Uni, so I can use it as a practice amp. If it were stolen, lost, or broken, I'd probably buy the head version and run it through the speakers in my Laney, because I think the amp would sound better pushed through 12" speakers. I'd also look into the Crate Palomino series, which are supposedly very good and have more features. However, I'm very happy with this amp and for the price it's a steal.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This isn't a gigging amp (well, not by itself. You could mic it, I suppose). But it's very tough and surprisingly heavy. I can't see it ever breaking down or falling apart if you treat it well, the enclosure is very well made and doesn't rattle. I'm going to mention how sexy it looks at this point too, I love the Vintage look.
Features — 7
This amp is simplicity incarnate. One preamp tube, one poweramp tube, one volume knob. 5 watts class A pushed through a single 8" speaker. I play a lot of different stuff and I have a very versatile amp already, but I bought this as a kind of secondary amp that I could have some fun with. I mainly use this amp at home, but I've used it for a band practice and it kept up with the band well enough. There aren't many features but that's not the point of this amp.